Episode #0010 - Bill Dance – America's Favorite Angler
From Shooting And Editing 208 Shows A Year By Himself To Becoming A Fishing Icon
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William G. “Bill” Dance
Bill Dance, one of the world’s most famous fishermen, always planned to be a doctor like his father, grandfather and three other generations of Dances.
Then, driving home one night while enrolled in medical school in Memphis, Tenn., in the early 1960s, he came upon a horrific motorcycle crash. The grisly encounter changed his life.
“I was the first person on the scene,” Dance recalls. “It was very traumatic and it affected me deeply. At that moment I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore.”
What did he want to be?
“Well,” says Dance in his down-home Southern drawl, “I’d always loved to fish.”
And fish he did. He began competing—and winning—in bass tournaments and landed a lure manufacturer for a sponsor. The sponsor encouraged Dance to start a TV show to help promote the product. Bill Dance Outdoors premiered on a Memphis ABC affiliate in 1968 and has been growing in popularity ever since. Today the show is televised nationwide and its host has achieved celebrity status among the nation’s 45 million anglers.
“Bill has a special knack for connecting with his viewers,” says Tony Mack, Dance’s TV producer for 36 years. “It’s hard to explain, but whatever he does, it works. People love it.”
“He’s the greatest people person I’ve ever known,” adds Carlton Veirs, who handles Dance’s personal appearances and endorsements. “Bill’s never met a stranger, whether it’s at some rural little boat dock or at a big outdoor show in Las Vegas. And it’s genuine; he likes people, and people like him. That’s the key to his success.”
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