Mostly Credited As: Sandy Prudden
Sandy, "Sanforn" Prudden was my older cousin. Sandman was his nickname. His father Tony, was my mother's older brother. When I was 1 and 2 years old, Sandy's mom and dad had to go work in Australia for a year. Sandy was about 8 or 9 then. He came to live with baby me, my mom, dad, my mom's parents, and our Aunt Marge. My father and Sandy were like father and son during that time. When I was a little older, Sandy became my hero. He was always good to me, good to all his younger cousins, of which there were and are, many. He and his father gave me my first pair of roller skates -- real skates with boots and wooden wheels, so I could skate at the old Coliseum in downtown Chicago, on the real roller-derby track, where my Uncle Tony worked setting up the track.
When Sandy and his parents moved to California in 1959-60, I was heart-broken and cried for days. Sandy not only was my cousin and hero, he was, like me, an only child. So he became something of a big brother to me. But my mom and his dad kept in touch, as his father did with all the Prudden family. Sandy's first job in show business that I know of was as a cameraman for Hugh Hefner's Playboy After That. Later, Sandy worked as a stage manager for Dinah Shore, The Smothers Brothers, Cher, Olivia-Newton John, Rick Dees, Joan Rivers, and twice for Donny and Marie Osmond, and numerous others.
Years later, Sandy told me in a phone call that, no matter how much time passes, if anything ever happened to my parents, I was to call him right away, because he cherished them. When my dad was dying of cancer, I called Sandy every night, and we talked for long hours. He offered guidance and love, comfort and anything else I might need -- even money. He told me, "When your dad's alive, you can always stay a kid. But once he's gone, now you're a man, and you will see your father's hands in everything you do." I found that out after my father died; it was so true. My dad was nuried in October, 1999. Not even 2 months later Sandy's wife called to tell me that Sandy had passed away. He was working on the Donny and Marie Show at that time. I am still in touch with his widow, and I've recently reconnected with his many other children -- all my cousins, as well as his ex-wives. I miss my cousin Sandman as I miss my parents. He was a powerful force, a whirlwind who was never churlish with his love. This is my little tribute to him. I pray he's with his parents and mine, too.