89 (passed away May. 17th, 1992)
Mar. 11th, 1903
Strasburg, North Dakota, USA
Lawrence Welk's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles
The accordion maestro provided nearly two decades of squeaky-clean music and family entertainment on TV every Saturday night between 1955 and 1971 on prime-time, and for another 11 years in syndication. His trademarks included his "A uh-one, a uh-two" intro and a perpetual bubble machine.
- Parents, Ludwig and Christina Welk, emigrated from Alsace-Lorraine via Russia to Strasburg, North Dakota, where Lawrence was born.
- A good judge of talent, Welk's discoveries included 'Lynn Anderson (II)' (qv) and Pete Fountain, both of whom got their starts with his band.
- Served as his own producer for most of his years on TV, via Teleklew Productions. The name was made up of "tele" for television and "klew" was Welk spelled backwards.
- Recorded prolifically before and during his TV years, primarily for Columbia, Coral, Dot, and Ranwood records, scoring a number one single and album with "Calcutta" in 1961.
- His show was initially cancelled by ABC-TV in 1971, after 17 years as a Saturday night perennial on the network, because of a question of viewer demographics. Advertisers and networks were convinced that they should gear their shows to younger, urban audiences, who were thought to have the buying power, and Welk's audience was simply considered too old. In what was then considered a bold move, Welk began producing shows for first-run syndication, and by the start of the 1971 fall season he was back on the air, where he remained until he retired eleven years later. Ironically, many of the stations that carried his show were local ABC affiliates.
- Co-wrote several books with Bernice McGheehan, most notably his autobiography, "Wunnerful! Wunnerful!" (1969), "My America, Your America" (1971), and "My Musical Family Album" (1978).
- Welk's son, Lawrence Welk Jr, is owner/operator of the Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri.
- Despite being born in the U.S., he grew up speaking German and did not speak English until he was 21.