Paul Sand

Active - 1960 - 2010  |   Born - Mar 5, 1944   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A shy and withdrawn child, 11-year-old Paul Sanchez emerged from his shell upon joining Viola Spolin's Children's Theatre Workshop. Even at this early stage of the game, he was a gifted improvisational comedian, delighting friends and theatregoers alike with his inspired flights of fancy. After attending Los Angeles State College, he journeyed to Paris at his own expense, hoping to meet his idols Jean-Louis Barrault and Marcel Marceau. The latter was so impressed by his instinctive talents that he hired the young performer for his prestigious touring mime troupe. Upon returning to the states, he worked with Viola Spolin's son Paul Sills at Chicago's Second City; somewhere along the way, he changed his professional moniker from Sanchez to Sand. He appeared in the popular off-Broadway revue The Mad Show, then linked up with Sills again in Story Theatre, winning a Tony Award for his portrayal of an itching dog! Hired as a general-purpose comic actor by MTM productions at the recommendation of his old Story Theatre-cohort Valerie Harper, Paul was starred in his own sitcom, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers. This fey, good-natured endeavor was widely touted as the sleeper of the 1974-75 television season. Unfortunately, viewers were not as enchanted by Sands' talents as "live" audiences had been, and Friends and Lovers was axed after 13 weeks. Paul Sand has continued to thrive as a supporting actor in films (his first was 1969's Viva Max) and such TV weeklies as St. Elswhere. Paul Sand's best showing of the 1980s was on the NBC sitcom Gimme a Break, in which he played Marty, an eccentric Manhattan-born restaurateur who posed as a flamboyant Mexican named Esteban for the benefit of his customers.

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