Thomas Hammond, Producer and Entertainment Lawyer Who Repped Bernadette Peters, Dead at 80

Obituaries   Thomas Hammond, Producer and Entertainment Lawyer Who Repped Bernadette Peters, Dead at 80
 
Thomas Hammond, longtime producer, entertainment lawyer, and manager who represented Bernadette Peters and Bette Davis, died July 1 in Granite City, Illinois, after a long illness at age 80.

Born Howard Thomas Hammond in Wenatchee, WA, in 1924, Mr. Hammond graduated from New York University Law, and worked as an entertainment law specialist at Weissberger & Froche, a prominent New York law firm whose client list included entertainment icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier.

Mr. Hammond first met Peters (Into the Woods, Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy) when she was starring in the 1965 Off-Broadway musical The Penny Friend. He managed Peters' career from this first encounter, when she was 17, until his death earlier this month.

"Tom has been such a remarkable guiding light in my career and in my life," Peters said. "I will miss him terribly. Our professional relationship was cemented with a handshake, not a legal contract. Despite his legal background, Tom sealed so many of his business deals with a handshake. He was the kind of person who followed his heart and believed in making a difference in the world. He often told me, `No matter what job, you always leave a place better than when you arrived.' He wasn't referring to climbing the proverbial ladder of success or making outrageous amounts of money. He meant: always learn from your experiences and always give back to the world."

Throughout his career, Mr. Hammond produced a number of successful Broadway shows during the 1950s and '60s, becoming the youngest producer on Broadway with the 1950 production of The Liar, starring and directed by Alfred Drake.

Mr. Hammond's other general manager and Broadway producing credits Candida featuring Olivia de Havilland, The Gambler with E.G. Marshall, The Rainmaker starring Geraldine Page, The Wooden Dish with Louis Calhern, and the original Broadway production of Candide starring Robert Rounseville and Barbara Cook. Mr. Hammond's work also extended to the worlds of cabaret and television. He was the general manager for Plaza 9, a series of satiric cabaret revues directed by Julius Monk, and he produced industrials for "We Interrupt This Season," a 1967 NBC television series featuring Bernadette Peters, ABC-TV's "People to People," and other television programs during the late '60s and early '70s.

As a manager in Hollywood, Mr. Hammond played an instrumental role in cinema icon Bette Davis' famed comeback during the early 1960s, encouraging her to star in the cult favorites "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" and "Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte."

All contributions in Mr. Hammond's name can be made to Sts. Cyril & Methody E.O. Church, 4770 Maryville Rd., Granite City, IL. 62040.

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