Clearly one of the most popular figure skating stars in the world today, Scott Hamilton is also a role model, a humanitarian, and a cancer survivor. As a figure skater, he is forever bridging the gap between sport and entertainment. As a role model, he contradicts the saying that "good guys finish last."As a humanitarian, he avails himself to any plight that will improve mankind. But, more importantly, as a cancer survivor he is a constant reminder that with fortitude and determination, anything is possible. Hamilton's much-publicized bout with testicular cancer in 1997 and his November 2004 diagnosis of a benign brain tumor (from which he is successfully recovering) were not the first time he had faced such adversity.
Six weeks after his birth on Aug. 28, 1958, Scott was adopted by Ernest and Dorothy Hamilton, both professors at Bowling Green State University. When Scott was about 2, he contracted a mysterious illness that caused him to stop growing. For the next six years, doctors prescribed a variety of unsuccessful treatments. After his illness was mistakenly diagnosed as cystic fibrosis and he was given six months to live, the Hamiltons took their son to Boston's Children's Hospital where his ailment began to correct itself by special diet and moderate exercise.
From the beginning, Scott skated with great confidence and uncommon speed. He began taking formal lessons, joined a hockey team, and within a year, his illness disappeared and he began growing again ‑ although he would always be considerably smaller than his peers. His miraculous recovery was attributed to the effects of intense physical activity in the cold atmosphere of the rink.
At 13 he began training with Pierre Brunet, a former Olympic gold medal winner and, despite steady progress, abruptly quit competitive skating in 1976 due to financial struggles and enrolled at Bowling Green. But before he began classes, an anonymous couple who had supported other Olympic hopefuls volunteered to sponsor Hamilton. He immediately resumed training.
Over the next several years, his continued dedication paid off. By 1980 he was good enough to capture third place in national competition and win a berth on the U.S. Olympic squad. In addition, he earned a solid fifth‑place finish at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. Then in March of 1981, Hamilton's dazzling free‑skate program at the World Championships enabled him to overtake fellow countryman David Santee and Igor Bobrin of the Soviet Union to win the title, only the second American to do so since 1970. Later that same year, he took an individual gold medal at the first Skate America tournament and was voted Male Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee.
Hamilton held onto his national and world titles in 1982 and 1983. As the winner of 16 consecutive championships after the 1980 Winter Olympics, he was heavily favored to take the gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and that is precisely what he did, despite an uncharacteristically tentative free‑skating routine. A month later, he went on to score a stunning victory at the World Championships in Ottawa, Canada. Shortly thereafter, in April of 1984, Hamilton turned professional after being inundated with lucrative contracts from the major ice shows. The Ice Capades secured his superstar talents for two years.
In September of 1987, the United States Olympic Committee nominated him for the first Olympic Spirit Award given for the 1984 Winter Games. The award, which has since become a tradition, was voted on by Olympic Committee members and over 1,900 members of the American press with Hamilton winning the prestigious honor by a landslide.
Since 1986, audiences have seen him perform in his own Scott Hamilton's America Tour; with numerous U.S. symphony orchestras; and 15 national touring seasons in Stars On Ice which he also co‑created and for which he served as co‑producer until his retirement from the tour in April 2001. Since then, he has returned to Stars on Ice as a Special Guest Star in select cities and continues to be the creative producing force behind each annual production. Over the years he has toured the country in the proscenium theater production of Festival on Ice highlighted by a two-week engagement at the Opera House of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; and dazzled audiences with multiple headlining appearances in the South Shore Room of Harrah's Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Additionally, he is one of television's most sought after guest‑stars on a variety of yearly network and cable skating specials. His October 1997 comeback to skating, preceded by a People Magazine cover story profiling his courageous battle against cancer, and Maria Shriver's highly rated profile of Hamilton for Dateline NBC, was capped by the live CBS Television Network Special Scott Hamilton: Back on the Ice.
In March 1988, Hamilton received perhaps the second most important award in his career from the International Skating Union. This institutional governing body of all world amateur competitions presented him with their highest recognition of merit, the Jacques Favart Award. A most prestigious honor, it is only sporadically given and, at the time of its presentation to Hamilton, he became the award's first solo male recipient.
As an independent producer, Hamilton has twice presented major theatrical proscenium ice shows for Sea World of San Diego, Calif. The initial production, Celebration on Ice (1988), became a first for the 25-year-old landmark. The second, Tune Traveler: An Odyssey On Ice (1989), surpassed all of Sea World's expectations and became the most stellar attraction ever presented at the famous marine life park's 7,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre. The production played to nearly a million people over a three-month engagement.
Hamilton made his "musical comedy and acting"debut in 1989 as star of Broadway On Ice, a specially written vehicle for his diverse talents. First presented at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, the show then toured the U.S. with Hamilton receiving great critical acclaim for his versatility beyond skating. Setting a precedent as the first star in ice skating history to combine skating, acting, singing, and dancing into one stage production, this new dimension only further complemented his already illustrious career.
He has successfully segued into producing for television and has co‑produced not only his own television specials, such the 1996 Emmy Award-winning Disney's Scott Hamilton... Upside Down , but the 1997 CBS holiday hit Snowden on Ice and its 1998 Emmy Award-winning sequel The Snowden. In 1998, Hamilton also produced Olympic champion Tara Lipinski's first network special for CBS, Tara Lipinski ... From This Moment On. In 2002, he produced Scott Hamilton & Friends with special guest stars Susan Anton and Jack Mack & The Heart Attack, which aired on the NBC Television Network, and in October 2003 produced an all-new Scott Hamilton & Friends with special guest stars Michael Feinstein and Darlene Love, which aired Jan. 11, 2004, on the NBC Television Network. On Jan. 13, 2004, the highly rated special was released internationally on DVD.
In addition to producing ice specials for television and ice spectacles for the stage, Hamilton has ventured into producing for off‑Broadway. His first project, in association with David Hyde Pierce (co‑star of the NBC series Frasier), is producing Now Hear This! at the Lambs Theatre in New York. The play, written by and starring Kathy Buckley -‑ America's first hearing‑impaired comedienne and a five‑time American Comedy Award nominee -‑ first took Los Angeles by storm when it premiered there in 1997 and returned in 1998 for a second smash run before opening to rave reviews in New York during October 1999.
In July 1990, to add to a remarkable list of achievements that now includes over 70 titles, awards and honors, Hamilton was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. He was distinguished in this induction by being the only Olympic athlete from any Winter Olympic games held since 1924 to become a 1990 Olympic Hall of Fame class member and one of under 100 Olympic athletes ever to be honored as of that date. In that same year, he also became a privileged member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and his career was selected to be permanently published in Marquis' Who's Who In America. In 1992, Marquis began publishing his biography in Who's Who In Entertainment, and in 1994 he was added to their Who's Who In The West edition. In 2005, he also received his first Emmy Award nomination for his NBC television network special Scott Hamilton & Friends with special guest Michael Feinstein.
In 1997, Hamilton was the recipient of yet one more distinguished honor when on March 14 in front of a sold‑out crowd of 17,000 at New York's Madison Square Garden, he became the first figure skater ever to be inducted into the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame. Until that night, the Garden had not added a member to their illustrious "club"of 46 legends in five and a half years. Humbly accepting the accolade, which professionally represented over 50 appearances by Hamilton at Madison Square Garden during the last 21 years, Scott is now in the permanent company of such luminaries as Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, the Rolling Stones, and Frank Sinatra.
Hamilton received notable critical praise for the writing of his autobiography, Landing It: My Life On and Off the Ice, ) an intimate, candid, and insightful look at his professional and personal life on and off the ice. During the summer of 1999, he made his feature motion picture acting debut in On Edge starring Jason Alexander, Kathy Griffin, and Wendie Malick, a hilarious mocumentary of figure skating in which Hamilton portrays Ricky Metford, a frenzied, offbeat former coach and judge. He recently created a character voice for an upcoming segment of the popular animated television series King of The Hill and appeared as a special guest star in a 2003 television pilot Hench at Home, written and produced by actor Michael J. Fox. Hamilton continues to appear regularly on various television talk shows, national news shows, and variety shows.
During a 14-year tenure with the CBS Television Network as one of their most articulate sports analysts, Hamilton’s coverage of the figure skating competition at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, and the 1992 Games in Albertville, France, were heralded as incisive, exuberant, and refreshing.
Similar accolades were bestowed upon Hamilton for his NBC Television Network commentating and coverage of figure skating at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City during February 2002.
During the last few years, Hamilton has also become a much sought-after motivational speaker at various events throughout the country, speaking to a wide variety of groups and organizations about his life and his overcoming cancer.
When he is not performing or participating in a wide variety of charitable events, or acting as an official spokesperson for Target House at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., as well as his own Scott Hamilton C.A.R.E.S. Initiative (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) (www.scottcares.com)at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Center in Cleveland, Ohio, or promoting his newest web site, Chemocare.com (in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and CARES), or serving on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics, Hamilton can be found on the golf course and enjoys spending time with his wife, Tracie, and their son, Aidan at their home in Los Angeles.