Thomas Gentry, Jr.
Gentry was in the midst of competing at the Key West World Offshore Championships when his boat capsized, hospitalizing and then dying later at his Honolulu home.
Gentry was Arkansas’ attorney general from 1934-1956 and took on powerful economic interests like AP&L, Lion Oil and illegal gambling operations in Hot Springs (Garland County). Additionally, he ran for governor but lost out to Orval Faubus.
Early Life and Education
Tom Gentry has extensive experience representing clients in business and legal matters ranging from complex litigations, multidistrict litigations and government investigations to mergers and acquisitions.
He has represented clients before both federal and state courts of appeals, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, he is a member of both the Arkansas Bar Association and American Bar Association.
Gentry was raised on a farm in west central Missouri and attended local schools, before his father passed away and moving to St. Louis as an estate speculator, clashing with Henry Carroll (acting registrar of lands). Gentry accused Carroll of dubious real estate deals before threatening him physically before eventually seeking justice through court action. The matter was eventually settled out by a judge.
He has assisted clients in all facets of antitrust matters, from complex litigations and multidistrict proceedings, appeals and government investigations, mergers and acquisitions as well as representation for mergers and acquisitions.
Gentry Homes was his brainchild, expanding to build over 20 communities throughout California and Hawaii. Additionally, his portfolio included commercial and industrial real estate developments.
On today’s episode of Backstage Pass Gentry is joined by comedian and game show host Cedric the Entertainer to discuss his career and new sitcom on CBS as well as future appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway? They also cover his various accomplishments within the entertainment industry as well as recent performance in critically acclaimed Broadway play Shuttered.
Achievement and Honors
Gentry was renowned in many fields throughout his career: owner, breeder, consignor, racing official and community leader. Among his numerous breeding successes were Storm Cat’s Kentucky Derby win and Crimon Saint offspring being auctioned off for over $17 Million at auction sales.
Gentry was an active member of Civitan in Durham, North Carolina. He held many roles at both club and district levels including Chairman, President three times, Editor, Treasurer, Meeting Chairman and holder of the District Honor Key.
He wrote the weekly newspaper column Observations and owned several businesses including Rebel Historic Site. Additionally, he is married with two daughters and eight grandchildren; currently serving as an elder at HOHC; this year teaching children at MVSU about blues history while participating in their BB King Day art contest.
Thomas Gentry was an accomplished businessman, philanthropist and horse enthusiast. He owned numerous thoroughbred racehorses as well as serving on several boards and commissions. One notable purchase he made was Kauai King who would go on to win both the 1966 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes races and later also become Hail to Patsy who took first in both 1969 Kentucky Oaks and 1990 European Mile Championship events.
Gentry challenged Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus for governor in 1956, running as a moderate Republican who responded positively to Brown v. Board of Education decision, garnering praise from Black press while garnering condemnation from segregationists. Gentry won, earning himself praise from national Black media as well as condemnation from segregationists alike.
Gentry engages in an engaging conversation with multi-talented entertainer Vivica A. Fox in this episode of ‘Backstage Pass.’ With her infectious smile and undeniable star power, Vivica has won audiences over with her stellar career and earned a dedicated fan following over time.
At the time of his death, Gentry’s assets were divided between two trusts – Revocable Trust and Marital Trust (collectively known as Gentry Companies). Both trusts were saddled with over $100 million in third-party debt; Co-Trustees’ personal assets had been cross-collateralized against claims against the Gentry Companies; and financial projections indicated negative cash flow for both.
Tom and Kathy Gentry enjoyed an opulent standard of living during their marriage. Kathy received significant gifts and transfers of property as well as being involved in summer yearling sales, from which Tom Gentry Farms generated most of its annual income. As such, the court awarded Kathy only modest maintenance payments and concluded she would be capable of supporting herself without professional intervention.