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Myron Floren was an American musician, accordionist,
composer, assistant conductor of the Lawrence Welk
Orchestra, and TV personality of The Lawrence Welk Show fame.
As one of the most recognized accordion players
in history, "The Happy Norwegian" endeared himself
to generations of fans over his six decade career.
Audiences never tired of hearing his trademark
song, Lady of Spain.
| Myron Floren
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Myron Howard Floren
Date and place of birth: November 5, 1919,
on a farm southwest of Roslyn, South Dakota, U.S.A.*
Date, place and cause of death: July 23, 2005,
at 26 Georgeff Road, Rolling Hills Estates, California, U.S.A. (Colon cancer)
Spouse: Berdyne Mae Koerner (m. August 19, 1945 -
July 23, 2005) (his death)
Reverend Glenn performed their wedding ceremony at the
First Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.A.
Siblings: Arlie Floren, and Duane Floren (a.k.a. Dewey Floren) (brothers)
Sisters: Valborg Floren, Genevieve Floren, Virginia Floren, and Gloria Floren
Daughters: Randee Lee Floren (b. October 13, 1949)
Kristie Ann Floren (b. November 22, 1951)
Robin Gay Floren (b. July 1, 1954)
Holly Floren (b. 1957)
Heidi Lynne Floren (b. October 29, 1960)
Father: Ole Floren (a farmer/local civic leader/politician)
Mother: Thilde "Tillie" Louise Lensegrav (b. 1896 - d. January 1, 1978,
McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Error corrections or clarifications
* Some sources erroneously report Floren was
born and raised in "Webster, South Dakota." In point
of fact, his family did not move to Webster until
Myron was in his junior year at Roslyn High School.
Career - Selected musical compositions - Hobbies/sidelines
"When I discovered the accordion, I was only
about four years old," he once recalled. From
the moment he first saw the instrument being
played, he was, "totally captivated, watching
and listening to the accordion music. For some
reason, I was hooked on the accordion from that
day forward, though I was not yet old enough,
at age four, to communicate my inner yearning
to learn the accordion. Just two years later,
however, after much pleading with my Dad, he
finally bought me a beautiful new 'button box.'"
Myron Floren began his career in entertainment
as "the Melody Man" on Sioux Falls, South Dakota
radio station KSOO. He also taught accordion while
living in Sioux Falls. Floren once explained, "I
was teaching about 75 students at that time, but
looking back, I honestly don't know where I found
the time to do the teaching because I had four
radio shows a day, jobs at night with "Bill and
His Old-Timers" and was taking classes at Augustana
College." One of his first students was Berdyne
Koerner, his future wife. He had initially arrived
in Sioux Falls in September of 1938 to attend
He was unable to serve in the military during
World War II due to a weakened heart, the result
of rheumatic fever he suffered as a child. He did
manage to help the war effort by joining the
United Service Organizations (USO) and had some
memorable experiences entertaining troops in
Following the war, the young couple moved to
St. Louis, Missouri, where Floren joined the
popular country group, Buckeye Four. Specializing
in hillbilly music, they performed on the radio
and local TV. It was in St. Louis where he would
meet, audition for, and join Lawrence Welk and
Myron Floren joined the Lawrence Welk Orchestra
as an accordionist, June 7th, 1950. Shortly
after joining, he became the band's star performer.
He made his television debut with the orchestra
in August of 1950, and even played at the inaugural
ball for President Eisenhower. Myron noted, "Lawrence
was doing one-nighters all over the country and
a radio show on Friday nights over ABC. This
opportunity led to shows in New York and Los
Angeles and many points in between. In the fall
of 1950, we did a show on the Dumont TV Network
in New York. Shows were still in black and white.
From there, we went to Los Angeles, doing shows
on KTLA. Our audience at the Aragon Ballroom in
Santa Monica grew from 300 to 3,000 in just four
weeks. Our future seemed rosy, indeed." The Lawrence
Welk Show (1955-1982) began its lengthy run on
Los Angeles independent TV station KTLA channel 5.
The show's nationwide network television debut
occurred July 2nd, 1955, on ABC. ABC carried the
popular musical show from 1955-71, then it ran in
syndication until 1982. Repackaged episodes continued
to appear on PBS stations for decades.
Dubbed "The Happy Norwegian" for his perpetual grin,
Floren attributed his ever-present smile to the fact
he was incredibly happy with his career, and truly
blessed by a loving wife and family.
After the series went off the air, Floren hit the road,
performing as many as 200 engagements a year. He worked
as both a solo artist and also with other members
of the former Lawrence Welk Show. He appeared
at many music festivals around the country, as well as
the Lawrence Welk Resort and Champagne Theater in Branson,
Missouri. He kept up the grueling schedule until health
problems forced him to slow down. Before his death, he
suffered a stroke and battled colon cancer.
Selected musical compositions:
Skating Waltz in Swing
Swingin' in Vienna
Long Long Ago in Swing
Minute Waltz in Swing
Accordion Man Polka
Hobbies/sidelines: Jogging/running, and woodworking/carpentry.
The most in-depth of more than two dozen sources
consulted in preparing this profile, was
Myron Floren's 1981 autobiography, Accordion Man,
written with his eldest daughter, Randee Floren.
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