10 Things You Need to Know
1. Andy started his career as a comedian
Andy was voted "Comedian of the Year" by more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide for two consecutive years. In addition to that, the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) member schools named him "Entertainer of the Year" in 1987. Andy was in good company; the honorees from the two previous years were The Police and Huey Lewis and the News.
2. Andy has performed in front of 80,000 people at one time
The largest crowd Andy ever entertained was in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As the opening act, Andy entertained 80,000 people who had flocked to the Riverboat Festival for a performance by Patti Labelle.
3. The Traveler's Gift was turned down by 51 publishers
I said to myself, "I know you don't know what to do now, Andy, but if you did know, what would you do? As I thought about the situation, the realization dawned that there must be someone who is more important than the publisher and who could influence his/her decision. That person, I finally determined, was a publisher's spouse. The first spouse to read the manuscript stayed up all night to do so. Subsequently, her husband published the book, and it sold more than a million copies. If I had given up after 51 rejections, that success would not have happened."
4. Fishing is Andy's passion
"I don't have a boat now, but if I did, it would be a fishing boat. I always tell my wife: You can ride on a fishing boat, but you can't fish on a riding boat!" Andy loves to fish the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico, and often ventures far offshore to pursue this passion. "Being a hundred miles out at night," he says, "is like fishing on another planet!"
5. Summer is Andy's favorite time of year
"I love summer…the laughter of my boys in the dark backyard…their smell before bath time (like a copper penny)…and cool summer pajamas. I get out in the backyard some afternoons and throw the ball with Peyton and Eli Manning (aka Austin and Adam). They tell me what I'm supposed to be doing. It's great!"
6. Andy lost both of his parents at the age of 19
Larry and Joyce Andrews, his parents, met at Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, Alabama, where they both majored in music. His father was a minister of music at large churches, while Andy's mom played the piano, organ, and directed the children's choir programs. Andy lived a relatively normal life until the age of 19, when both of his parents died — his mother from cancer, his father in an automobile accident. "I took a bad situation and made it much worse," he says now. Within the span of a year, young Andy found himself literally homeless, sleeping occasionally under a pier on the gulf coast or in someone's garage.
7. Andy loves history
He has read several hundred biographies of influential men and women throughout history. "In studying these stories, I identified the principles that are the foundations for a remarkable life. These principles turned my life around, and they can be applied by anyone who is committed to leading a more successful and fulfilling life." These principles laid the foundation for Andy's book, The Traveler's Gift.
8. While he is an accomplished author, Andy does not like to write
"I don't like writing at all. I love having written. You don't have to like everything you do, but you do have to desire the result enough to make you do something. People who can discipline themselves to do what they don't like to do live a wholly different life."
9. Andy has a secret board of directors
Andy wrote about the importance of creating a board of directors to guide the direction of a company in Mastering the Seven Decisions. "I recommend creating a personal board of directors and not telling them they are on it. That way, it doesn't cost you a dime…but it also doesn't cost you any embarrassment; you get honest answers."
10. Joan Rivers threw a surprise birthday party for Andy
Joan Rivers once surprised Andy backstage with a birthday cake. The impromptu party took place during the first of what would be several week-long engagements with her at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Andy went on to tour as Joan's opening act for two years during the time she was guest hosting "The Tonight Show" for Johnny Carson. Joan later invited Andy to appear on the opening night of the talk show she hosted for Fox Television.