Sacra was a professional comedian/impressionist since the age of 16
until he died Feb. 9th, 2005 from testicular cancer, at the age of 46.
I met him in September of 1977 when I was hired to work as a mime in
a local strip joint in Louisville (that's another story) ...18 year
old Bill, had already been the emcee there for two years. He was one
of those guys who slipped through the show biz cracks. Although he never
made it big, he was an amazingly talented artist on so many levels.
His natural abilities allowed him to develop himself, first of all,
as an incredible impressionist, but he was also a great physical comedian,
voice-over artist and character actor who was absolutely born to be
a comic. In addition to all of that, he was an accomplished painter,
scultptor, caricature artist, cartoonist and make-up artist.
time I met him to his last days, Bill was filled with undying determination
to fulfill his dreams. His often wild schemes to achieve success were
classic among his friends. One of the biggest regrets of my life was
that I didn't see the act he was doing when he partnered with Joe the midget
in the mid-eighties ...it just sounded like such a train wreck to me
that I kept making excuses to miss it.
Bill was a unique character who
allowed those of us who spent any time with him to have plenty of Sacra-stories.
He was one of those guys who had mannerisms and a comedy style that
got "into your system." His character, Sal Manella, the swarthy,
Vegas lounge comedian was so hip that most crowds simply stared with
bemused indifference. In order to become "Sal", Bill did such
an intense and realistic make-up job on himself - putty nose, fake teeth
and hair, etc - that audiences couldn't get past how disgusting he was.
Other comics would make special trips to the clubs to see him whenever
they heard he was going to be doing Sal or his Answer Baby (a smartass,
cigarette smoking doll that took questions from the audience). He was
respected by the rest of us as being a fearless dragon slayer when it
came to experimentation.
Bill believed in himself no matter how much
time passed and no matter how badly the years tried to beat him down.
If he lived to be 80, I'm sure he would have still revealed some kind
of plan to take Sal to stardom. The great thing about him was that he
had just as much confidence in everyone else as he did himself - he
was supportive, encouraging and giving to the end. His friends grieve
as we eulogize him and mourn his passing in disbelief. He was loved
by us and is missed sorely. Bill Sacra has left the building, but for
those of us who knew him well, he has left behind a piece of himself
in our hearts.