Jay was born July 11, 1949, Lubbock, Texas. Jay started performing at 11 years old when he discovered his natural ability to make a cousin's doll come to life and began a career using his imagination. His acute dyslexia disappeared in this world of imagery where he was able to find
his self esteem and compete. In high school he produced and starred in his own local television show sponsored by a car dealership. This led to summers performing in theme park shows at Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags over Georgia and Astroworld. The summer Jay graduated from high school he logged 918 performances at the Crystal Pistol theater at Six Flags over Georgia. (That's 10 shows daily for thirteen weeks) About the experience Jay says, "After a summer like that you're either burned out or fired up... fortunately I got fired up. "
Pursuing His Dream
In the mid 70's Jay moved to Los Angeles to pursue his ideas for television. To date he has done over thirty national commercials, hosted three comedy specials, produced and performed in two network television specials, two HBO specials, hundreds of guest appearances on variety shows and starred in four television series ("Soap" was in production for 4 years and still runs in syndication all over the world).
Jay perform live at thousands of comedy club his particular talents are best suited for live and spontaneous interchanges. His quick wit and unbelievable technique are pure magic when witnessed first hand.In addition to being a ventriloquist Jay is also a writer, comic, cartoonist, poet and puppeteer.
Jay's strength is the way he understands how reverie and creativity apply to the world of business. With a college degree in Marketing,
Jay Johnson also starred in Broken Badges, a 1990 Stephen Cannell CBS television production where he played a psychologically depressed police officer named Stanley Jones. He also appeared as a celebrity guest on many game shows and hosted two series of his own, So You Think You Got Troubles (1983) and Celebrity Charades (1979). He won the 2007 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for Jay Johnson: The Two and Only. He made a guest appearance in an episode of Mrs. Columbo where he played a ventriloquist who finds his dummy is acting independently of his will and kills the man who carved it.Jay is a ventriloquist best known for his role on the television show Soap. He played Chuck Campbell, a ventriloquist who believed his puppet Bob was real and demanded everyone treat Bob as human.
The Two and Only
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only was written and performed by Jay Johnson, it opened on Broadway to rave reviews at the Helen Hayes Theatre on September 28, 2006. This was proceeded by an acclaimed off Broadway run at the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York. The show also performed at the Zero Arrow Theatre, Cambridge, MA, and the Brentwood and Colony Theater Company in Los Angeles. The Cambridge performance garnered the New England Critics Award, and in Los Angeles Johnson received the 2006 Ovation Award for Best Solo Performance.
Jay Johnson is the only ventriloquist to ever be nominated and win an American Theatre Wing Tony Award or an Ovation Award.
The original Bob puppet featured on Soap was inducted into the Smithsonian Institutions collections of pop culture icons in May 2007.
Jay has been married to his wife Sandra Asbury Johnson, for 34 years.
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