Inspirational actor and author, Tom Sullivan, to give keynote at 2010 Free Enterprise Dinner
The 2010 Free Enterprise Dinner is scheduled for March 30 and will feature actor, singer, entertainer, author and producer, Tom Sullivan. Private law practioner and former member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, C. Gene Samberson from Lovington, will be presented with the 2010 Trustee of Free Enterprise Award.
Tom Sullivan lives and works by "Sullivan's Rules." As a young boy he found himself fenced in his back yard, but he refused to be fenced in by his blindness. "Sullivan's Rules" were invented by Tom and his father, Porky Sullivan, so he could play baseball with the neighborhood boys without the benefit of seeing the ball. One of Sullivan's first rules is "Any negative can be turned into positive." Even as he may have had to change the rules slightly, he has proven that one need not be limited by a handicap- whether it is playing backyard baseball as a youngster, or in any activity he's pursued. Tom is an excellent golfer and is an Olympic-class wrestler. He's an avid snow skier and a marathon runner finishing both the New York and San Diego Marathons.
Having spent the early part of his career pursuing his ambition as a singer and composer, Tom started out playing in summer resorts in New England. He eventually gained national prominence with countless appearances on the Tonight Show, a major recording contract and. co-headlining in Las Vegas and resorts around the country. One very memorable highlight of his musical career was when he sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 1976 Super Bowl Game Bicentennial Celebration in a moving performance.
In 1975, Tom's autobiography took him on yet another journey--this time as an author. The success of the book led to writing a young-adult version of his story. The story is an inspirational one of Tom's childhood in Boston, his neighborhood friends and their antics and the lessons and resulting wisdom from his family experiences. If You Could See What I Hear became a major motion picture in 1982. Tom composed and performed much of the music for the film. The Leading Lady, Dinah's Story, co-authored with Emmy Award winning actress Betty White chronicles the loving relationship they both shared with Tom's wondrous guide dog, Dinah, who was retired and spent her later years loved and cared for by Betty.
Between 1979 and 1982 he was a special correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America. Over the years he's made a number of guest-starring appearances in television shows. He also helped write and develop many of these stories and characters. He was a regular on Search for Tomorrow, and was awarded the 1984 Governors Committee Award for his role. Tom has also been nominated twice for Emmy Awards. He has also appeared in films. He is currently developing two more films for television: one about Mark Wellman, a paraplegic who climbed Half Dome in Yosemite with just the use of his hands, and another the story of Hal O'Leary, who has taught over 43,000 disabled people the joys of skiing.