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.
- 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.
- Founder of the still-thriving Lawrence Welk Resort and Country Club in Escondido, California.
- 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.
- Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1989.
- Welk's show was originaly entitled "The Dodge Dancing Party," after his first national sponsor. His longest-lasting sponsors were two over-the-counter medicines, Geritol and Serutan ("That's 'nature's,' spelled backwards!").
- Welk's son, Lawrence Welk Jr, is owner/operator of the Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri.
- Dropped out of school in the fourth grade to work on the family farm. At age 21, he left home to make his way in the music business.