July 9, 1933-September 15, 2014 Hometown: Beaumont, TX
Tom Vance was born on July 9, 1933, in Waltham, Massachusetts. He lived there until 1951 when he enlisted in the Marines, serving two years in the combat unit in Korea where he was wounded in action and received two Purple Hearts for his service.
Vance then served two years in the Entertainment Unit as the co-writer and co-producer of a Marine Corps production, “Broadway on the 38th.” The show was successful and cited in The Saturday Evening Post, Life, and Look magazines. Upon his return to the United States, Vance took up residence in Beaumont, Texas.
From 1959 to 1963, Vance produced and hosted a top-rated local dance show, “Jive at Five,” which Billboard Magazine rated the No. 2 show per capita in the nation. In 1964, Vance founded the Vance Agency and became the personal and business manager of a variety of celebrities and athletes, including Alex Karras, Dick Butkus, Dan Pastorini, George Plimpton, and Earl Campbell.
Vance helped organize the National Football League’s Players’ Association. He represented the organization at press conferences, in lobbying politicians, and in union negotiations with team owners. He also served as its first Public Relations Director.
For ten years, he served as emcee for the local production of the Jerry Lewis Telethon for MDA, urging viewers to contribute. As co-owner of the Vance-Mathews advertising agency, he helped market some of the biggest law firms in the state, including the Provost-Umphrey Law Firm.