Part II. Eric Rhone concludes the second of two interviews with the Ladue-Frontenac Patch. Rhone has been Cedric the Entertainer's business manager and chief contract negotiator his entire professional career.
Patch: Let’s talk about your role in tourism in Missouri.
Rhone: Yes, I am an official Tourism Ambassador for the state of Missouri. I was appointed by Jay Nixon, our governor and this is my fourth year. We carry the torch for Missouri around the nation and around the world.
On our new show, Soul Man, every episode show opens with a shot of the Arch and the landscape of downtown. In most of our episodes, you will find Cedric in a Mizzou shirt, or a SLU shirt or a Cardinals jersey or SEMO or Rams.
This is a great way to help Missouri and St. Louis be known.
We did a Show on the Travel Channel: Cedric and St. Louis and we took people to places. One of the scenes we shot was at the Goody-Goody Diner on Goodfellow. The show aired in 64 countries and to this today, Richard Connelly, the owner reports people come in literally from all over the world. A lot of traffic came through the diner off of seeing the show.
Patch: Can the movie industry take hold in St. Louis?
Rhone: That’s the tax credit situation these days. We've talk to the governor on down, the film commission and others. Its a matter of do we have the will to give tax credits to do some good. There are just so many issues to deal with.
Patch: What do you and your family think about living in Frontenac?
Rhone: We’re having a great time. We actually used to own a home in the Central West End. We decided when we had children we looked at all the school systems and my wife really like the programs at Montessori Countryside and Conway School and my wife liked both programs. Conway is a great school, great teachers, great staff and great parents so we said lets move into the Ladue School District.
We have a home in Los Angeles as well, but we raise our children here. They will come out soon to stay with me most of the summer in LA. Our parents, brothers, sisters live here, a we get a lot of support from them.
It gets difficult to go back and forth so much of the time, but I’ve grown used to it over the years.
If soldiers can deploy and risk their lives every day, I can get used to living in two different cities. I have nothing to complain about.
Patch: What is Cedric like with the public?
Rhone: He’s a home guy. He is polite to everyone. He will stay until everyone has taken their pictures and gotten an autograph. He never has security or body guards. He can go to Star Bucks and just be himself.
Patch: What would you do next if Cedric decided to call it quits?
Rhone: Ahhh, I’ve had a very good life. And we’ve been fortunate to be successful. I am prepared myself for when that day comes. Obviously, that would cut back on my travel. Someday, he will give it up. The weeks and weeks of shooting and the stand up could be toned up. I’m 47 and maybe another 10 good years. Age 60 might be the retirement age.
Look at Betty White. She’s 90 and still going strong.
Patch: When you graduated college, did you think you’d ever be in entertainment your whole career?
Rhone: I worked at Monsanto for seven years and Cedric worked at State Farm for six years. We working doing our corporate jobs and go out at night and do our comedy routine. We got to a point we had to make a decision. We quit our jobs on the same day, we put our clothes in UPS boxes shipped them to Los Angeles, and the rest you might say was history.
Everyone who wants to go into entertainment should have a plan. I don’t recommend this for everyone. You have to be happy with what you are going to do with your life.