|Age (at audition)||47|
Tony Vera was born on May 12, 1959, in Philadelphia, PA. By the age of 12, he was doing magic shows for schools, navy bases, and fire stations in the New York area. At 13, he got a job at Madison Square Garden peddling popcorn and soda for the chance to watch the greatest show on earth, ‘The Ringling Brothers Circus’. The experience cemented his desire to perform. As a sophmore, while most kids his age were finishing high school, he was experimenting with ‘blowing and eating fire’. He soon added the fire act to a repertoire that included comedy and mime, and began making a name for myself in ‘The Big Apple.’
Like millions of others, 9/11 broke Tony's heart and stole a piece of his soul. He couldn’t help but remember back to the days when he was a kid in New York, performing at the local fire stations. These were the men that he held as heroes, and they always treated him with dignity and respect. When people see Tony's act and call him The Fireman, his heart swells with pride, and he realizes just how much the heroes lost on that fateful day mean to so many.
Through all the ups and downs, including a period of brokeness and drinking problems, he can honestly say the last 20 years spent on the Venice Boardwalk have been his greatest blessing. He has learned to live life day-by-day and let the future take care of itself. Performing will always come first and he hopes to still be working the boardwalk 10 years from now. 1