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 Dance is the fishing legend. The first time I met Bill Dance he was unbelievably nice and helpful. Every time I see him he rushes over and gives me a giant bear hug and asks about everything, "Where's the Toot?" (Asking about my partner). He is a shining example of a high quality individual and it is no wonder why he has been so successful. I love this guy and aspire to help as many people as he has and be as excited about fishing and life as he is when I am his age. Thank you Bill Dance for blazing a trail that we can follow in the outdoor television world. I hope I can walk it as well as you you have.
“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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