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 Lawrence Welk

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Lawrence Welk

Jazz Bandleader, Musician. He is best remembered for his television show, "The Lawrence Welk Show" which ran for 27 years, from 1955 to 1982. Born on a farm in Strasburg, North Dakota, the sixth of nine children, his parents were Alsatian Germans, and he dropped out of school in fourth grade. Since virtually everyone in his community was German, he grew up speaking German, not learning English until he was 21. As a result, his unique accent never left him. When he was 17, he realized that he would never be a farmer, and wanted to learn music instead, becoming an accordion player. Apparently, his father had different ideas, as he did not leave North Dakota until he was 21. In later years, he would donate money to his birthplace, Strasburg, but always conditioned his bequest that none of the money would go to restoring his family's farm. Of his life between 1924 and 1955, not much is know, except that he started his band and made a good living, developing his trademarks "Ah wun, Ah two" introduction, and his Champaign bubble machine. His music show started in 1955 as a summer-replacement show, and quickly grew audience appeal, going on for an incredible 27 continuous years. His show business formula was simple: easy-listening family music (what he called "champagne music"), and wholesome musicians, singers, and dancers. In the early years, the show was called "The Dodge Dancing Party" after the sponsor, Dodge automobiles, and as his success grew, the name was changed to "The Lawrence Welk Show." ABC canceled his show in 1971, after 17 years, because the show sponsors and network directors wanted to gear the show to younger, more urban audiences, and the majority of Welk's audiences were older people. In a bold move, Welk then began producing the show for first run syndication, and he was quickly back on the air, where he remained for eleven more years, until his retirement in 1982. Many of the stations that carried his syndicated show were ABC affiliates. He co-wrote several books with Bernice McGheehan, including "Wunnerful! Wunnerful!" (1969), "My America, Your America" (1971), and "My Musical Family Album" (1978). He founded the Lawrence Welk Resort and Country Club, in Escondido, California, and a second resort in Branson, Missouri, which is operated by his son, Lawrence Jr. He died in Santa Monica, California, of pneumonia at the age of 89.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1547
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lawrence Welk (11 Mar 1903–17 May 1992), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1547, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .