Comedian with Diabetes
Tom Parks has been making people laugh for over 25 years. He started in 1976 on the college circuit and, in 1979, was named "College Entertainer of the Year" and "College Comedian of the Year" by the National Association of Campus Activities.
Following his first television appearance on "The Tonight Show" in 1987, Parks quickly appeared on "Late Night with David Letterman" and all the major comedy shows. He has starred in his own comedy specials for both HBO and Showtime and for two seasons was the anchorman on HBO's award winning "Not Necessarily the News," for which he was nominated for an ACE Award. His network television appearances include "Sisters” and “Wings," and he hosted the Family Channel's well-received game show, "Wait Till You Have Kids." Film credits include "Ladybugs" with Rodney Dangerfield, and "Clockstoppers." Legitimate theater is a late addition to Park's list of accomplishments. He did his first play in 1995, and did an eight month run co-starring in a Los Angeles production of Neil Simon's "Rumors."
Diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes in 1985, Parks became involved with the American Diabetes Association. He founded the "Comedy Crusade Against Diabetes," which raised in excess of $500,000 for the ADA. He served for three years on the ADA National Board of Directors and in 1990 he and two partners produced the video, "Diabetes: A Positive Approach." It won top honors at seven film festivals both nationally and internationally and, to date, sales of the tape have raised over $350,000 for the American Diabetes Association.
In 1993, Parks received the Wendell Mayes Award, the highest honor the ADA gives to a volunteer. He has also served as spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation/NutraSweet Golf Tournaments nationwide and has helped raised over 5 million dollars for that organization's efforts to eradicate diabetes.
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