There is an old saying that
"Behind every great man, there is a great woman."
Well, that quote fits Lawrence Welk to a tee because his Champagne Ladies have given him and
his Music Makers grace, talent and beauty for almost seventy years.
From the first unofficial Champagne Lady in
Maxine Gray to the current titleholder in
Norma Zimmer, each and every one of those women have left a unique and lasting mark on the show and
the audience has loved them for it.
In honor of their achievements, this page is for them.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Roberta Linn, Helen Ramsay, Lois Best, Norma Zimmer and Jayne Walton from the "Milestones & Memories" show in Branson, MO during Labor Day Weekend 2000.
MAXINE GRAY known as the first longterm girl singer in Lawrence Welk's band. She held the title of unofficial Champagne Lady
during her tenure from 1934 to 1936.
Known for warm Southern hospitality and charm. Left to join Hal Kemp's band.
LOIS BEST was first to hold the official title of Champagne Lady when she joined the band in 1939 during an engagement in Boston.
Left in 1940 when she married his trumpet player Jules Herman.
JAYNE WALTON became the second Champagne Lady in 1940 and held that title until 1945.
Her ability to speak Spanish with her beautiful voice made her an audience favorite...especially when she sang "Marie Elena."
JOAN MOWERY became the next Champagne Lady in 1945 at just seventeen years of age. She scored a hit song with Bob Cromer with "Doing What Comes Naturally," as one of her highlights of her two year reign before leaving in 1947.
HELEN RAMSAY assumed the Champagne Lady title from 1947 to 1949. A stunning petite brunette with a beautiful sweet voice, she was an audience favorite with songs such as "Blue Moon," and
"It Might As Well Be Spring."
Sadly, passed away of natural causes in 2004.
ROBERTA LINN assumed the duties of Champagne Lady from 1949 to 1954. She along with the band made the trek to California and on to television. A stunning and vivacious personality, she was adored by audiences at the shows in both the Aragon Ballroom in Santa Monica and Lawrence's early TV shows on local station KTLA.
ALICE LON assumed the reigns of Champagne Lady in 1954 until 1959. When the show debuted on ABC in 1955, Alice was there and instantly became one of the most beloved of the Champagne Ladies.
After leaving the show, the Kilgore,TX native performed in nightclubs, concerts and in venues such as Las Vegas.
Once married to former football player Bob Waterman, the mother of three boys married her second husband, George Bowlings of Dallas, where she lived until her passing in April 1981 after a long battle with schleroderma.
NORMA ZIMMER has held the title of Champagne Lady since the New Years Eve show in 1960.
Always graceful, talented and versitile, she was one of the most beloved of the Champagne Ladies.
She did duets with Jimmy Roberts, performed at Billy Graham crusades and is also an accomplished pianist, swimmer, skiier and painter as well as a loving mom.
Norma was married to Randy Zimmer for more than sixty years and both were the parents of two grown sons, Ron and Mark.