'The Lawrence Welk Show'
Musician Myron Floren Dies
McLellan, Dennis McLellan. "'The Lawrence Welk Show' Musician Myron Floren Dies." Los Angeles Times, 25
|While the big band plays
on, bandleader Lawrence Welk dances with the 'Champagne Lady'
Norma Zimmer, in this June 25, 1964 photo. (AP Photo)
LOS ANGELES Myron Floren, the accordion virtuoso
who came to fame in the
mid-1950s as a regular on "The Lawrence Welk Show,"
has died. He was 85.
Mr. Floren, who continued performing until a few
months ago, died of
cancer Saturday at his home in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.,
Margaret Heron, syndication manager for the Welk show.
Dubbed "The Happy Norwegian" for his perpetual
grin, Mr. Floren joined
Welk's orchestra on the road in 1950. A year later, the orchestra
first TV appearance, broadcast from the Aragon Ballroom in Santa
"The Lawrence Welk Show" began its 27-year
national run on Saturday nights
After the show ceased production, Mr. Floren continued
to travel 150,000
miles a year, playing special engagements and making appearances
other Welk show performers.
The son of a grain farmer and the eldest of seven
children, Mr. Floren was
born Nov. 5, 1919, in Webster, S.D. He fell in love with music
at age 6.
"All the neighboring families would get together
on Saturday nights, roll
back the rugs and do a little dancing," he recalled in a
with the Los Angeles Times. "The thing that intrigued me
was this one
neighbor who played a little button-box accordion. He played Scandinavian
and German waltzes and polkas, and I just sat there watching him
His father bought him his first accordion a year
later. By age 8, the
self-taught Mr. Floren was entertaining at the local county fair.
In 1950, Mr. Floren and his wife, Berdyne, celebrated
her birthday by
going to a St. Louis ballroom where the Welk orchestra was playing.
Floren had met the bandleader in South Dakota, and Welk invited
stage to play. The crowd was so enthusiastic that Welk offered
him a job
Mr. Floren never tired of playing the accordion
for an audience. "I'm
going to keep squeezing this thing," he once said, "until
Mr. Floren is survived by his wife, five daughters