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[none found]
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.
- In the early 1990s, the U.S. Congress refused federal funding to restore Welk's boyhood home in Strasburg, N.D., as a museum. His many still loyal fans, hearing of this, donated the money themselves, and to this day the Welk Home and Museum has been restored and maintained entirely by private funds.
- Despite being born in the U.S., he grew up speaking German and did not speak English until he was 21.
- Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1989.
- 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).
- Registered his car with a vanity license plate that read "A1 AN A2".
- 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.