Stars of the Lawrence Welk Show With Biographies of Cast & Crew

Member of the Society of Professional Journalists

 

 

Johnny Klein, Drummer (1957 - 1976)

Hometown: Strasburg, North Dakota

 

Johnny Klein, Lawrence Welk's second cousin, was born in Strasburg, North Dakota, in 1918, the son of German-Russian parents, the oldest of a family of five children.   Johnny was a talented and trained musician, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Missouri in 1948. He earned a Master's Degree in Music Education at the University of Missouri in 1951.  While Johnny was studying in Missouri, Lawrence Welk came to St. Louis for an engagement and encouraged his cousin to join the band.  He joined the Welk Band in August, 1951 in Los Angeles and played through 1976, when several heart attacks forced him to retire. He was replaced by drummer Paul Humphrey. 

 

After Klein recovered, he went to work as the band librarian. Johnny Klein passed away in 1997.

 
 
 

In this clip below, Johnny Klein plays "Love is Just Around The Corner" with Frank Scott (piano), Neil LeVang (guitar) and Richard Maloof (bass)