1967 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Work hard, honor God, and live by the Golden Rule."
One of nine children, Lawrence Welk was born in 1903 in Strasburg, North Dakota. He lived in a sod farmhouse with his immigrant parents, where they only spoke German. As a youngster, Welk learned to play the pearl-keyed accordion brought from the old country by his father. He studied music after school and eventually formed an orchestra in Aberdeen, South Dakota. For years, he played one-night stands. At the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh he developed a style of music called "champagne music" after a patron suggested that his music was "light and bubbly, like champagne." He spent the 1940s directing his orchestra in hotels, and then moved to Los Angeles to produce The Lawrence Welk Show for television, which debuted in 1955. He retired from the show in 1982.* Deceased