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December 14, 1941 ~ November 19, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old
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Having suffered an abusive childhood, during which he was beaten and crippled for life, he found refuge in the acting profession from the time he was 11 years-old.
At 16, he was the youngest disc jockey in the country as an announcer for WHBG in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Northwestern University in 1963, while recuperating from a second hip surgery.
The following year, he was awarded a master’s degree in Oral Interpretation, under the Lovedale Scholarship Program.
By the time he was 32 years-old, Vance had performed in 111 college productions, as well as 63 major roles in Repertory Theatre in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Virginia. His legendary acting teacher, Alvina Krause, said of him…” He is brilliant. He can play anything.”
Vance fulfilled her assessment of his talent by entertaining audiences through such playwrights as Chekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare, and Shaw, with roles that included Hamlet, Iago, and Macbeth, often to standing ovations.
Possessing a superb singing voice, he extended his range to include leading roles in musicals like Man of LaMancha, My Fair Lady, The Mikado and Shenandoah.
Vance’s performances proved always to be not only entertaining but inspirational as well. Inexperienced or insecure younger actors pursued work in the profession because of his influence on them.
His appearance as the nefarious charlatan, Matt McAllister, on ABC’s One Life to Live, marked a transition to film performance. Audience response to him produced two fan clubs. (U.S. and Canada)
His last years were spent battling Dementia and Pneumonia, supported by his life partner of 63 years Phillip Tavonatti, who said of him...“Vance fought the catastrophic illnesses with the same courage, strength, and stamina that always defined his unique personality.” Vance expired in the arms of his life partner on Sunday November 19, 2023, at 2:12 P.M. The Gregory F. Doyle Funeral Home in Milford, CT is handling arrangements.