May. 11, 2011 at 8:27amNorma Zimmer

Lawrence Welk Show

Norma Zimmer, the "Champagne Lady" on national television's The Lawrence Welk Show, died at her home in Brea, CA on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, at the age of 87. Norma was a featured soloist on The Lawrence Welk Show weekly series on commercial television from 1960 to 1982. In 1987, the weekly series moved to public television where it continues to air today on 276 PBS stations.

Before joining The Lawrence Welk Show, Norma was part of a quartet called The Girlfriends, a legendary group much in demand by singing stars such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como and others.  Norma's group sang with Bing Crosby on his recording of White Christmas, which has sold more copies than any other song in history. Norma also appeared with Crosby in the 1950 film, Mr. Music, and was the voice of the White Rose in the 1951 Disney film, Alice in Wonderland.

Religion was an important part of Norma's life and she often appeared with her friend, Billy Graham, on his evangelistic tours. She also appeared many times as a guest soloist at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA.

Norma Larsen Zimmer was born on July 13, 1923 in Larson, Idaho.  She grew up in Seattle, WA, married builder and property developer Randy Zimmer in 1944, and settled in Los Angeles.  They had two sons, Ron and Mark, and were married for 64 years, until Randy's death in 2008.

The Lawrence Welk Show is the longest-running weekly series on national television. It premiered on KTLA in Los Angeles in 1950, moved to ABC in 1955 where it aired until 1971. In 1971, Lawrence Welk took it into syndication until 1982 when he retired. In 1987, OETA-The Oklahoma Network, brought it to public television where it will celebrate its 25th year beginning September, 2011.

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