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“Where the North American St. Nicholas Revolution Began”

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Fr. Joseph Marquis

Founder / Executive Director

Famous Santa Claus, Fr. Joseph Marquis, St Nicholas Institute

Fr. Joseph Marquis is a Catholic priest (Byzantine Rite) serving as pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church, Livonia, MI. For ten years, he served as Director of Pastoral Care at Detroit's Holy Cross Hospital, until its closure in the fall of 2003. Prior to that, Fr. Joseph was a resident chaplain for one year at Children's Hospital of Michigan (Detroit, MI), where he received a year of clinical pastoral formation within a pediatric setting. Accompanied by his puppet, "Terry the Dinosaur," Marquis drew upon his skills as a ventriloquist to entertain children being prepared for surgery. Needless to say, he was often called upon to arrange clinical visits from Santa Claus during the Christmas Season.

As a young artist he joined the parade crew of Detroit's famed J.L. Hudson Thanksgiving Day Parade for 3 years and later became the official Santa Claus for the parade (arrival in front of Hudson’s marquee, pictured above). Marquis was with the parade from 1977 through 1989. Until his call to ordained ministry, and his eventual career in clinical chaplaincy, Fr. Joseph was employed for a number of years as a restoration artist; repairing and repainting department store mannequins at a studio in downtown Detroit's Greektown area.

Highlights of Professional St. Nicholas / Santa Claus Experience

Years of Professional Experience: Christmases

Awards & Honors

EMMY AWARD WINNER (The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) Won for portraying Santa in holiday musical television special featuring several artists, including The Four Tops and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (WXYZ-TV/ABC, Detroit).

SUPER SANTA AWARD Title conferred by The Detroit News, as the "Best Santa in the land...Super Santa."

GO-4-IT! AWARD Presented by WDIV-TV (Detroit) for Santa Claus work with: crippled children, area hospitals, nursing homes, homes for the aged, etc.

AWARD OF APPRECIATION Citing 20 years of professional Santa service to Macomb Mall, Roseville, Michigan, and Schostak Properties.

EMMY AWARD WINNING PRODUCTION Starred as Santa Claus for the Emmy Award winning television program, Santa Goes Back in Time (WXYZ-TV, ABC - Detroit).

2 EMMY AWARD NOMINATED PRODUCTIONS performing in Christmas commercial with own original copyrighted puppet character design named, "Troll Hozz."

INTERNATIONAL SANTA CLAUS HALL OF FAME (Inducted in 2012)

Union Affiliations

Screen Actors Guild
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

Video Courtesy: WDIV-TV (NBC/Detroit) and WTVS-Public Broadcasting Service (PBS/Detroit)

Professional Experience (Partial Listing)

J.L. Hudson's Thanksgiving Day Parade (CBS National Broadcasts / ABC Television -Detroit / WDIV Television - Detroit)

Detroit Renaissance Thanksgiving Day Parade (CBS National Broadcasts / ABC Television -Detroit / WDIV Television - Detroit)

Michigan's Thanksgiving Day Parade (CBS National Broadcasts / ABC Television - Detroit)

LIVE appearances for both nationally and locally produced television and radio broadcasts.

Numerous appearances for a variety of nationally and locally aired television and radio commercials.

Extensive commercial print experience.

Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth, MI
Perform annually as St. Nicholas for 4 weekend shows at the world's largest Christmas store, Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth, MI.

Portrayed St. Nicholas, and created the original script and music, for the video:
“How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus: The True Story” (1992, St. Paul Video, Boston). Broadcasts seen on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network).

Illustrated and co-authored workbook to How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus (St. Paul Video, Boston).

Profiled in documentary: Santa Claus is Alive & Well & Living in Detroit (WTVS/PBS, Detroit).

Appeared in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (brief Christmas parade sequence).

Songwriter and vocal performer for the children's song: "I'm Old St. Nicholas."

Instructor and Founder of: THE Super Santa Training Seminars.

Founder and Executive Director of the St. Nicholas Institute. This one-of-a-kind (three day) training symposium is designed for the integrated formation of aspiring St. Nicholas and Santa Claus professionals. Learn more about the seminar here. (Inauguration Date: Detroit, MI; October 2012)

Annually appears at: department stores, shopping mall Santa arrivals, private clubs, LIVE radio/television appearances, promotions, holiday concerts, breakfasts, luncheons, etc.

Performed as St. Nicholas and Santa Claus in the fast-paced children’s educational DVD production, entitled: “Saint to Santa: How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus.” The original script was co-authored by Fr. Joseph and six time Emmy Award winner, Christ Stepien (Stepien Creative Services, Dearborn, MI). Fr. Joseph (Troll Hozz) and Chris (Smitty the Elf) were also the voices for two on-screen puppet characters.

Composed all new bonus song for bonus music video on the “Saint to Santa” DVD entitled: “HO-HO-HOLY (Is Jolly Santa Claus)”.

Saint to Santa”: A New Educational DVD for Children, and the Child in Us All


Originator of all six puppet characters featured in “Saint to Santa” DVD: Troll-Hozz; Trollene; Terry the Dinosaur and his fraternal twin sister, Sherry the Dinosaur, Wiggles the Elf; and Smitty the Elf.

Click here to watch a trailer and for purchase information for the DVD

Fr. Robert Reed, President, Catholic TV Network, Boston (pictured above, left), joins Wiggles the Elf and Santa Claus (a.k.a., Fr. Joseph) on the set of “Saint to Santa: How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus.” Several members of the Daughters of St. Paul (above, right) prepare their new puppet friends for a screen test. The one-of-a-kind children’s educational DVD was a co-production of Catholic TV Network (Archdiocese of Boston) and Pauline Media (Daughters of St. Paul), Boston, MA. “Saint to Santa” may be purchased for $19.95 online. (All proceeds from the sale of the DVD benefit the ministry of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church, Livonia, MI.)

Parting Shot

Fr. Joseph (pictured above) portrays Eastern version of St. Nicholas on "Living Right with Dr. Ray Show", hosted by noted psychologist Dr. Ray Guarendi on EWTN (Global Catholic Television Network). Photo: Bob Kasarda (Gemini Video Productions).


Copyright ©2015, Fr. Joseph Marquis. All rights reserved.


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