After more than 20 years, Terry was still performing, but he was anything but a star. "I did a performance for a thousand-seat theater in Dallas, and there was only one 12-year-old in the audience," he says. "It was so disheartening."
On the verge of hanging up his dummies for good, Terry's wife convinced him to keep going. He decided to go for his big break, competing on America's Got Talent in summer 2007. Despite their skepticism of all ventriloquists, Terry won over the judges and audience with a tight-lipped, jaw-dropping performance of Etta James's bluesy standard "At Last."
After weeks of competition, Terry was named winner of America's Got Talent and walked away with a $1 million prize.