PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
principal’s office, announcing that her grandson could be lefthanded
MICHAEL DAVID HARRISON
Lives in: South Bend area of
Port St. Lucie
Occupation: Professional singer
Family: Two sisters
Education: High school in
Clinton, Indiana, and Yeoman
School in the U.S. Navy
Hobbies: “I like to plant things. Acting. Singing is more than
Who inspires me: “So many do and have. Eleanor Roosevelt.
Helen Keller. I thought Barack Obama was great.”
Something most people don’t know about me: “If there’s
anything people don’t know about me, I think I’ll keep it
Port St. Lucie Magazine 31
if he wanted to be.
“Now everyone knows the smartest people are lefties,” he
says with a laugh.
At age 8, Harrison got his first paying job, a 20-minute
bus ride away in Terre Haute. His father worked at the Fair
Furniture Store and got him the job there knocking nails out
of wood to be reused.
“He said if I needed books or clothes, I could damn well
pay for them myself.”
Harrison was in choir, band and drama in high school, designing
costumes for annual music revues. After graduation
he joined the Navy. Two years later, his plans for a military
career “went down the toilet” when the Navy discharged
him for medical reasons and gave him $175 to get him home
and through a few weeks.
Harrison was in San Francisco then, unsure of his next step.
An acquaintance let him pay rent to sleep on the couch in a
flat with three other people. Unfortunately, his money ran out
before he landed a job, and while he could keep his clothes at
the flat, he had to sleep in the park.
“They were a tough group,” he says. “I broke down and
wrote my mother, asking to borrow $20. She said no. Grandma
Harrison sent me $5, all the money she had.”
Soon, Harrison was hired as a singing waiter and also
worked with a semi-professional theater. One night, Danny
Windsor, half of the comedy team of Doodles and Spider that
opened for Judy Garland, saw him perform and offered him
a job with their traveling troupe.
Harrison assumed he’d be singing in the burlesque-type
show. He was wrong. Windsor arranged for the famed Gypsy
Rose Lee to prepare him for his job — a male stripper.
“She’d never worked with a man before but she showed me
some moves,” Harrison says. “I’d always been a good dancer.”
Harrison performed as Micky Martin for 15 years, landing
film work and meeting celebrities like Mae West and Troy
“I took to it like a duck to water, I’m such a ham,” he says
with a laugh. “I love being in the spotlight.”
Aging out of stripping at 35 and living in Muskegon,
Michigan, Harrison grew tired of cold weather and took Jensen
Beach friends up on their offer to visit. He loved the area
so much he moved to Florida, getting involved at community
theaters in Stuart and Jupiter. Later, he was a founding member
of Shiloh Productions and a liquor manager at Sandpiper
Bay before going into interior and landscaping design.
He also got married.
“When I met Diane, all I could see were those blue eyes. I
was amazed that she’d go out with me,” Harrison says.
One of the couple’s favorite songs was Love Changes
Everything and in Harrison’s case, it certainly did. When the
2007 recession ended his landscape career, Diane’s property
management business was doing well. However, in 2010 she
was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Treatments were costly. Diane’s death in 2018 was devastating.
“We were like oil and vinegar — great together, but you
have to keep things shaken up.”
Harrison had never stopped performing, and now, the best
thing for him was work. “I beat down doors and made it
Until the pandemic, Harrison did three musical shows
a week at area independent and assisted living facilities.
Today, he might have three such shows a month, but he’s
also picked up regular gigs at Terra Fermata and Notes in
Stuart with a six-piece ensemble, The Fluid Band. He’s also
produced and performed fundraisers for Molly’s House and
When Harrison celebrated his 70th birthday with a gala
event, he questioned how much longer he would be able to
sing professionally. Five years later, he’s still going strong.
Give him a mic, put him in a sequin jacket, and he’s ready to
shine again. E
We were like oil and
vinegar — great together,
but you have to keep
things shaken up.
— Michael David Harrison
Harrison’s favorite role was King Herod in Jesus Christ,
Superstar, shown here at Stuart’s Barn Theatre in 1995 and
later, with Shiloh Productions.