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Mon, 09.25.1933

Arthur Duncan, Tap Dancer born

Arthur Duncan

*Arthur Duncan was born on this date in 1933.  He is a Black Tap Dancer.  

Born in Pasadena, California, Duncan entered show business at age 13, when he was a dance quartet member performing at McKinley Junior High School in Pasadena, California.  He later entered Pasadena City College to study pharmacy but left to pursue a career in show business.

Duncan started touring with The Jimmie Rodgers Show and performing on Betty White's 1954 daytime television talk show.  Also, when Jim Crow segregation was at the forefront of American issues, Duncan was featured on “The Betty White Show”. She politely declined when she was encouraged to take him off because of J. “I'm sorry, but, you know, he stays," White said, according to a PBS biography. 

After several years of appearances in Europe, Duncan was discovered by Lawrence Welk's personal manager Sam Lutz. After appearing as a guest on the show, Welk offered Duncan a permanent spot as a member of his "musical family."  As a performer on The Lawrence Welk Show from 1964 to 1982, which made him the first African American regular on a variety television program.  

The 1989 film Tap featured Duncan in a cameo appearance with other famous tap dancers.  In 2004 Duncan was honored at the annual "Tap Extravaganza" in New York City.  In 2016, Duncan appeared on the series premiere episode of the reality talent series Little Big Shots: Forever Young, where he performed a dance and reunited with actress Betty White.  In 2018, Duncan appeared on The Talk as part of a surprise for co-host Sheryl Underwood who performed a tap dance routine with Savion Glover as part of the show's New Year's Evolution. Underwood said Duncan was her inspiration for tap dancing. Duncan gave Underwood flowers to congratulate her return to tap dancing.  

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