Me and Bill at the Comedy Caravan - December, 2001

Bill 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.

From the 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 a midget in the mid-eighties 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.



Promo from a one-man show he performed in Vegas.
At the top is Sal Manella, on the left is Charles Bronson and Archie Bunker is on the right.

As Sal Manella ...everybody loves Sal


Sal as Hamlet ...getting back to his roots of acting

Sal Showing his versatility

As Archie Bunker in Bill Kirchenbauer's Legends of Comedy Show.

Me and Bill at the Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville, KY in 1984.

On April 12th, 2005 there was a memorial show for Bill at the Comedy Caravan in Louisville, KY. Over a hundred people showed up - the local comics shared stories about him and I played the video that I edited and narrated. There was an auction to raise money for the local cancer center and overall, the evening was a terrific success. It gave us all much needed dose of our strange friend.


Here is the first 7 minutes of the video
High Speed Only

Windows Media

Real Player


For dial-up 56k modem users - click the link below. It is a Windows Media file that will take a few minutes to buffer but will be much faster than if you use the ones above.

56k - Video
It is a 7 minute Windows Media Player file.

Here's a link to a YouTube page of Bill's stuff edited by his friend Ben.

If you knew Bill and want to share a memory, I pass all of them on to Bill's mom.