Dr. Arthur Duncan was born in Pasadena, California, September 25, 1933. Pursuing his college education, he entered the Pasadena City College to study pharmacy, but left school soon after to pursue a career in show business, at which he garnered success as a tap dancer and singer. He toured with the Jimmy Rodgers Show.
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, Lawrence Welk offered Duncan a permanent spot as a member of his musical family.
Arthur Duncan gained fame as the first African American performer on the popular Lawrence Welk Show. Duncan danced and sang on the show from 1964 to the show’s finale in 1982.
Besides his solo number on the show, he teamed up with Bobby Burgess and Jack Imel in performing popular dance routines.
After the Lawrence Welk Show finale in 1982, Duncan has appeared in several television shows such as Diagnosis Murder, Columbo, The Betty White Show and many more. He also appeared with Red Skelton, Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Hines, Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke, Tommy Tune, Lionel Hampton and much more.
He was featured in the Challenge scene in the 1989 movie TAP with Harold Nicholas, Jimmy Slyde, Steve Condos, Bunny Briggs, Sandman Sims, Pat Rico, Henry LeTang On Piano, Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr.
He continues to be a major force as a Tap Master on the Tap Festival scene Nationally and Internationally, among an enormous busy schedule.
Duncan has received the 2004 Flo-Bert Award of Lifetime Achievement of Tap Artistry, in New York City, and the 2005 Living Treasure in American Dance Award from the Oklahoma City University and an honorary doctorate was presented to him in Spring 2008. Also receiving the Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award from the Gabriella Axelrad Education Foundation for his work with the Inner City Kids’ Non-Profit Dance Program.
The clip is from the 1965 Lawrence Welk Show, with Duncan tap dancing on the piano to Cute played by Doug Scherer!!!