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Burgess with dance partner Cissy King and Lawrence Welk, 1969.
|Born||Robert Wilkie Burgess
May 19, 1941
Long Beach, California
Robert Wilkie "Bobby" Burgess (born May 19, 1941 in Long Beach, California) is an American dancer and singer. As a child he was an original Mouseketeer and later in life a regular on the The Lawrence Welk Show.
Growing up in Southern California, Burgess first started performing at age five, which included dancing, singing and playing the accordion. In 1955 he was selected as one of the original Mouseketeers by Walt Disney to appear on his new ABC television series, The Mickey Mouse Club, giving young Burgess his first taste of celebrity. He also guest starred on The Donna Reed Show as a suitor of Mary Stone (Shelley Fabares). Burgess attended Southern California Military Academy in Long Beach, California in the late 1950s for his elementary and junior high years.
When the series ended in 1959, Burgess returned to a normal teenager's life, completing high school. In 1961, while attending Long Beach State University, he and his childhood friend (and dancing partner) Barbara Boylan entered a Calcutta dance contest held by Lawrence Welk and his orchestra based on the hit song of the same name. They won the contest and first prize was an appearance on The Lawrence Welk Show, which appeared nationally on ABC. After their initial appearance, Burgess and Boylan continued to guest on the maestro's show for the next few weeks, either dancing to Calcutta or to the orchestra's next hit song Yellow Bird. The positive fan response led to Lawrence Welk hiring the dance couple as permanent members of the show, which was described by the maestro as having created a job for themselves.
Over the course of the show's run, first on ABC and later in syndication; Burgess had three dance partners: Barbara Boylan from 1961 to 1967 and was a temporary fill-in for a few shows in 1979, Cissy King from 1967 to 1978, and Elaine Balden from 1979 until the show ended in 1982. He also did song-and-dance numbers with fellow Welk hoofers Arthur Duncan and Jack Imel. Burgess shared with Mary Lou Metzger as host of the wraparound segments on The Lawrence Welk Show's PBS reruns in 2010.
Today Burgess still dances, whether it is in his dance studio teaching young students, or with Elaine Balden out on tour with his fellow Welk stars.
He married Kristin Floren, the daughter of Welk accordionist Myron Floren on Valentine's Day 1971. The couple today lives in Studio City and are the parents of four children, Becki, Robert, Wendi, and Brent.
- Hollis, Tim; Ehrbar, Greg (May 2006). Mouse tracks: the story of Walt Disney Records. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-57806-849-4. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- Newcomb, Horace; Communications, Museum of Broadcast (2004). Encyclopedia of television. CRC Press. p. 1329. ISBN 978-1-57958-411-5. Retrieved 10 July 2010.