May 19, 1941 – Dancer, Singer, and Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess is Born
“After being in seventy-five amateur shows, I was ready for a job where I’d just be dancing. I wanted to pay my dues and get some professional experience.”
On May 19, 1941, Robert Wilkie Burgess was born in Long Beach, California. He first began dancing and playing the accordion at age 5, and when he auditioned for the Mickey Mouse Club at age 13, he had already won several amateur talent competitions with his tap and jitterbugging skills. At his audition, he was prepared to audition for acting more than dancing, reading for a role in the upcoming serial The Adventures of Spin and Marty. However, the role had already been cast, and Burgess was directed to the Mousketeer auditions instead. He auditioned with a barefoot jazz number to “Rock Around the Clock,” and won a coveted role on the show. After the show ended, he moved back to his parents’ house in Long Beach and was one of the few Mouseketeers to have a smooth transition from child star to normal adult. He entered a dance contest with his girlfriend, winning the chance to star on The Lawrence Welk Show, and stayed on the show until its final episodes in 1982. Burgess currently runs a dance studio in Long Beach that specializes in ballroom dancing.