By the time Sandy reached the fourth grade, he knew his father was an actor. When he first saw him perform at the Diplomat Hotel in Florida, he realized he was also a comedian. "Of course, I didn't know what being a comedian meant," recalls Sandy, "but I knew I liked it."
For Sandy, the recognition began at age 12 when he accompanied his father to the set of the old Rowan & Martin's Laugh In show. Munching contentedly on an apple, he watched the show's director and stars debate the humor of a scene. "I'm just a kid, but I thought that was funny," said Sandy to no one in particular. "That's a great line!" shouted the director, who promptly signed Sandy for the show. He did 20 cameo spots over a 2-year period during 1968 and 1969.
Although he had already appeared before millions of viewers, Sandy had not yet decided on a show business career as yet. "I was in seventh grade, and I had a crush on a girl. She was trying out for the school play, and I immediately knew I need to be an actor," explains Sandy. The play was The Music Man, and Sandy was cast in the lead. "Things worked out great with the girl!" he says with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Sandy also entered forensic competition as a high school freshman because of a crush--this time on the debate coach. "I wandered by an open door of a classroom where my best friend was sitting talking to a gorgeous girl," he confides. "I walked in, said I was sorry I was late and sat down. The great looking girl turned out to be the teacher, so I immediately signed up for the class. It was public speaking." But success didn't come easy for Sandy; "She worked me and pushed me and prodded me into forensic competition." He performed his father's famous "Chinese Waiter" routine and won the California State Forensic Championships in Humorous Interpretation. At the age of 15, Sandy performed the routine at the Westbury Music Fair in New York before 3,500 people. His father was so impressed that he made the routine a present to Sandy.
After graduation from high school, Sandy enrolled at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to study Hotel Management. He garnered experience in the hospitality industry at the Sahara Hotel and Casino where he worked his way through all facets of the hotel--front desk, purchasing, food and beverage, advertising and publicity, entertainment and gaming. He received his degree in 1977.
Sandy took his degree and promptly launched himself into the world of stand-up comedy. He started to sharpen his comedic skill on the famed Casbar stage in the Sahara where he produced and hosted a talent showcase once a week for entertainers. On his off nights, he went to other showcases and comedy clubs and learned his trade of becoming a stand-up comedian. Soon, he was being offered work and started to hit the road, working in clubs across the country. Sandy was a natural, but expectations were high for the young son of a superstar. "It was never easy!" quips Sandy, "everybody expected me to be as great as my father." Sandy improved quickly and was soon working the comedy club circuit regularly. He got additional seasoning working in the resorts of the Catskills where his father worked. "Now that was pressure!" Sandy exclaimed.
A casting director for CBS saw Sandy and auditioned him for a TV pilot. Sandy got the part and shot the pilot, but the series never sold. Sandy fell in love with acting and decided to go to film school and acting school. He landed a small role in Hot Dog the Movie. The producers of that movie later cast Sandy in a lead role in Hamburger the Motion Picture. Sandy landed another lead as the killer in a low-budget movie called Ex-Cop.
Over the years, Sandy has done half a dozen TV pilots and dozens of roles in film and television. In 1998, he added nice roles in two more films for release in 1999, and he landed a lead in the PBS series On Common Ground, portraying district attorney Martin Siegel. Sandy premiered his own one-hour television talk show four nights a week in Nevada. The show was an immediate success, and Sandy was approached by a syndicator to take the show national. Look for Las Vegas Tonight with Sandy Hackett sometime in 2000, Y2K permitting. Sandy also recently completed taping a pilot/special for Direct TV called The Audition, currently scheduled to air in 2000.
Sandy has worked in just about every venue, from the main showrooms of Atlantic City and Las Vegas to corporate conventions to cruise ships around the world. He has performed from Bermuda to New Zealand, from Canada to Mexico.
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