JOHNNY ZELL featured trumpet player was born on November 24, 1944 in Fort Benning, GA. When he was six, his family moved out to Los Angeles. At thirteen he took up the trumpet for the first time and in no time his natural talents got him noticed. Toured with bands and musicians with the likes of Freddy Martin, Liberace and Russ Morgan before moving on to NORAD. Joined the Welk Music Makers in 1968 until the show ended in the early 80's. Now living in Oregon with his wife Laura, he is the father of four, John Jr, Lisa, Collette and Nick., Johnny continues to perform nationwide, and has worked with numerous celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Gerald McRaney and Delta Burke. More info can be found at his webpage.
LARRY HOOPER versatile musician and vocalist was born July 22, 1916 in Lebanon, Missouri. He joined the Welk band in 1948 when they were doing nighters at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. His trademark deep bass voice and renditions of "This Old House" and "Asleep In The Deep," along with his sense of humor has made him a beloved fan favorite. He also scored hit songs with "Oh Happy Day," and "Minnie the Mermaid." Plagued with health problems for years, he left the show on sick leave in 1969 to a heart condition, which took him four years to recuperate. Returned for the first show of the 1973-74 season, which drew an huge emotional ovation from the audience and cast. He left the show for good in 1980 when his health began to fail once again, and tragically passed away three years later in 1983.
KATHIE SULLIVAN vocalist was born May 31, 1953 in Kenosha, WS. Discovered by Lawrence while attending the University of Wisconsin, she was the local Miss Champagne Lady while the show went on the road. With her natural brilliant, pure voice...she was hired in 1976, after completing her studies at the University. She sang numerous solos, and often was paired with Dick Dale in various numbers. Once romantically linked to comedian Andy Kaufman, she married in 1986 to Hugh Tollack and is the mother of two daughters. Now living in Dallas, TX; she still keeps busy with singing engagements, personal appearances during PBS pledge breaks, and currently is activities director at a local Dallas retirement community. She, in recent years, did a one-woman show of Texas pioneer Jane Long at the Texas State Fair and for various local schools.
BARNEY LIDDELL trombonist was born in Gary, IN on August 13, 1921. First discovering the trombone in high school since they were out of trumpets, Barney took to the trombone with vengeance and became well known for his ability to make good sounds. Attending Notre Dame University, he started out professionally in several bands, among them Tommy Dorsey's before joining Lawrence Welk in 1948. In addition as a music maker, Barney also served as road manager for the live shows proving himself and Lawrence as indispensable. Barney was the father of six children and six grandchildren. He was married to his fourth wife Elaine until his death on May 5, 2003 at the age of 81.
HENRY CUESTA clarinetist was born in Corpus Christi, TX on December 23, 1931. At an young age, he first studied classical violin but later switched to woodwinds. Was so gifted that while still in high school, he played in the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. After a stint in the Army, he played in various bands & symphonies in both the US and Canada. It was during his time in Canada when Henry got his big break with Lawrence Welk, who in 1972 was looking for a clarinet player to replace Peanuts Hucko. Henry got the gig and made his Welk show debut later that year, becoming a fan favorite by anchoring the woodwinds section with Bob Davis, Russ Klein and Dave Edwards. He has also appeared as a soloist with Bob Crosby, Mel Torme and on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He continued to perform live in Branson and on the road with Welk alumni until his death on December 18, 2003. He is survived by his wife Janette and his two daughters and is preceded in death by his son, Henry Jr.
BOB HAVENS trombonist was born May 3, 1930 in Quincy, IL. At an young age, he learned not just the trombone, but also violin, piano and composition. First toured with Ralph Flanagan's Orchestra and later George Girrard's Jazz Band and the Al Hirt Band in New Orleans, where he crafted his reputation as one of the world's greatest Dixieland Jazz trombonists. That led him to Lawrence Welk in 1960...where his skills in front of a weekly national TV audience led him to greater fame. After living for years in California's Simi Valley, Bob, the father of three and grandfather of four, now lives in Buies Creek, NC. Today he still performs regularly in concerts, jazz festivals, parties as well as several orchestras.
RICHARD MALOOF bassist and tuba player was born in Sacramento, CA on January 17, 1940. After attending Sacramento State University, Richard honed his talents with Les Brown's band and later Carmen Cavallaro. It was during his stint in NORAD when he got the invitation to join Lawrence Welk and his Music Makers, that was in August 1967 and he remained when the show ended in February 1982. During that time, he also worked in several TV shows such as "The Julie Andrews Show," and "Kojak," as well as numerous commercials and feature films.
He also did six years with the Los Angeles Pops and also teaches music sight and ear training for LA's Musicians Institute. Today, he lives in Sherman Oaks with Mary Lou Metzger, married to since June 1973, and addition to his work on the bass and tuba....can cook up one great tasting Sour Cream Sole!
CLAY HART guitarist and featured country singer, was born July 1, 1936 in Providence, RI. Originally pursing a career as a stockbroker, he decided to pick up a guitar and pursue singing and soon played his way in various groups and engagements, and after attending Amherst College, fate took him to West Virginia in 1968. Lawrence Welk was touring with the Cancer Fund, which made it's way to Charleston, and discovered Clay performing at a hotel nightclub, impressed with his talents, he was hired on the spot. He made his show debut in June 1969, and stayed on for six years with his dose of country. Clay also charted a pair of Top 30 Country singles (Spring peaking at #30 and Another Day, Another Mile, Another Highway peaking at #25). Married to Sally Flynn since December 1974, the two have toured and performed together, did a home improvement show on TV, appeared on TNN, and ran a keep-sack business. Clay passed away from cancer on July 28, 2022. He is survived by his two children (daughter Elizabeth and son Hank) from a previous marriage, and his two grandchildren.
SHERRY & SHEILA ALDRIDGE vocal sister act were born in Avery County, NC on December 1, 1952 and July 18, 1956 respectively. Growing up in Knoxville, TN; the girls were active in their Baptist church choir, and sang in school and community concerts, and were also regulars at radio station WPTX in Lexington Park, MD. Sherry was proficient in vocals while Sheila took part in the musical community at home. After briefly holding jobs as flight attendants, the girls decided showbiz was better so they tried out for Lawrence Welk. They joined the show in August 1977...teaming up with the Otwell Twins as one of the most popular acts in its later years. Today, Sheila makes her home in Tennessee while Sherry makes her home in Florida with her husband John Orchard. They have recorded the Christmas CD "The Gift" with the Billy Andrusco Trio and still perform regularly to adoring fans.
DAVID & ROGER OTWELL vocal brother act and guitarists were both born August 2, 1956 in Tulia, TX. They first got into music by playing the tuba in the high school band which won them music scholarships to Lubbock Christian College as members of the "Good Time Singers." After moving on to West Texas State, they tried out for Lawrence Welk and joined the show in October 1977, teaming with the Aldridge Sisters. Today, David lives in Amarillo, TX with his wife Leslie, and Roger lives in Canyon, TX with his wife Millie and their two children. Both brothers still perform together...in concerts, churches and for Welk show wraparounds on public television.