From 'Sanford & Son' to DeFuniak: Demond Wilson keynotes Chautauqua

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 05:08 PM.

On returning home from Vietnam , Wilson sought work on Broadway, a place he knew well. He appeared in several Broadway and off-Broadway productions before moving to Hollywood where he appeared in " Mission : Impossible" and "All in the Family," and a couple of films.

Before one audition, Wilson made his second promise to God. His first was made when as a child in Harlem he almost died of a ruptured appendix. He knew then that if God allowed him to live, he wanted to serve him in some way.

This second time, many years later, he told God, "If I get this part, it will bring fame. If I get it I will do this for 15 years, then I'll serve you."

Fifteen years later to the week, in 1983 Wilson kept his promises.

He established a worldwide ministry of speaking about something he says is close to his heart and has since preached the gospel around the world and ministered to troubled young men. He founded Restoration House of America in 1995 for the rehabilitation of former prison inmates.

"I minister to men who haven't done anything real bad, but just made mistakes," he said.

Wilson worked at his ministry until 2004, when he said God told him to start writing, which he did. He has now written 11 children stories, two screenplays and a sitcom. His book, "The New Age Millennium: An Expose of Symbols, Slogans and Hidden Agendas" is in its second printing and is used in theological classes. His latest book is "Second Banana: The Bitter Sweet Memoirs of the Sanford and Son Years."

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