Minister Demond Wilson, co-star of the 1970s hit TV series Sanford and Son will be the featured keynote speaker at the 2014 Florida Chautauqua Assembly themed “A Journey into the World of Motion Pictures.” Wilson will address an anticipated crowd of more than 800 at Walton High School at 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24.
While millions of television viewers recognize him most for his role as “Lamont Sanford” in the hit series, Wilson is also famous for his starring roles in Baby I’m Back (CBS), The New Odd Couple (ABC), and Demond Wilson and Company (BET Network). He also starred in the long running TV series Girlfriends. His films include The Dealing (Warner Bros.), The Organization (Sam Goldwyn Studios), Full Moon High (Indie), Me & the Kid (Indie) and Hammerlock (Indie).
Wilson grew up in Harlem, N.Y. When he was 12 years old, his appendix ruptured, almost killing him. At that time the young Wilson vowed to somehow serve God as an adult in some ministry capacity. Wilson served in the US Army from 1966–1968 and was in the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam where he was wounded. Upon returning from Vietnam as a decorated veteran in the late 1960s, Wilson was featured in several Broadway and Off Broadway stage productions before moving to Hollywood where he performed guest roles on several television series such as Mission: Impossible and All in the Family and acted in films such as The Dealing in 1970 and The Organization in 1971.
Wilson says he accepted the call on his life in 1983 when he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world and across America. He formed Restoration House of America in 1995 for the rehabilitation of former prison inmates across the racial divide.
Wilson has written 11 children stories. His book, “The New Age Millennium: An Expose of Symbols, Slogans and Hidden Agendas,” is in its second printing. He has written two screenplays titled Nat Tyler Freedom Fighter and Bay City Blues, and has written a sitcom titled Hawkins for the Defense. His latest book is titled “Second Banana: The Bitter Sweet Memoirs of the Sanford and Son Years.”
“We are so proud to have Minister Wilson address the 2014 Florida Chautauqua Assembly,” says Christopher Mitchell, president of the Florida Chautauqua Center, Inc. “His television career, roles in family based film projects and breakthroughs for African American actors make him an excellent choice for being our featured keynote speaker. We look forward to learning more about Sanford and Son and the work the Minister has done since the award-winning series ended.”
A limited number of tickets to Wilson’s featured keynote presentation are available for $15 each and can be purchased by calling the Florida Chautauqua Center, Inc. at 850-892-7613. Only 100 people can upgrade their ticket to $50 to be invited backstage immediately following his presentation at 10 a.m. to have their picture made with him and receive an autographed copy of his book, “Second Banana: The Bitter Sweet Memoirs of the Sanford and Son Years.” Tickets and back stage passes can also be reserved at www.FloridaChautauquaAssembly.org.
Register in person at the Florida Chautauqua Center, Inc., 1290 Circle Drive in DeFuniak Springs, (the old Lakeside Building across from the DeFuniak Springs, Library) during normal business hours between now and Jan. 23. If any tickets are left, they can be purchased the morning of the event at the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood beginning at 7:30 a.m.