Robert Ralston (born July 2, 1938 in Montebello, California) is an American pianist and organist who performed on television's The Lawrence Welk Show from 1963 to 1982.
A native of California, Bob Ralston attended Wheaton College on a full music scholarship but later returned home to attend the University of Southern California, where he graduated with a degree in music composition and accompaniment. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from USC in 1964. During his years in college, he played six nights a week with the Freddy Martin orchestra (1959-1962) at Los Angeles's Coconut Grove nightclub, where in 1962, Welk invited him on his show as a guest musician. That lasted until the summer of 1963 when he was hired on a permanent basis. The Welk TV shows feature Bob Ralston's piano and organ solos, but they frequently include his performances as a singer, dancer, and comedian. He arranged music and continued to perform for the Music Makers live and on television until 1982 when Welk retired from active performing.
Throughout his career, Ralston has recorded several hundred albums; many of them as a solo artist or with bandleaders such as Welk, Ray Conniff and Billy Vaughn. He has also been active in the preservation of theater pipe organs across America and has been a guest conductor for several symphony orchestras.
Ralston and his Dutch-born wife Fiejte have been married since March 3, 1963, they make their home in Southern California and are the parents of two adult children, Dianne and Randy. He still holds regular concerts in his home with various guest vocalists.
... Ralston often played a Thomas Organ on The Lawrence Welk Show ... Bob Ralston was discovered on his 15th birthday, July 2, 1953, when he appeared on a TV show called "Hollywood Opportunity" ... Bob Ralston’s mother, Marjorie Norton, was the original voice of Minnie Mouse when she began work with Walt Disney in 1927, she was his 13th employee, supervising a team of “inkers ...
Famous quotes containing the word bob:
“It was because of me. Rumors reached Inman that I had made a deal with Bob Dole whereby Dole would fill a paper sack full of doggie poo, set it on fire, put it on Inmans porch, ring the doorbell, and then we would hide in the bushes and giggle when Inman came to stamp out the fire. I am not proud of this. But this is what we do in journalism.”
—Roger Simon, U.S. syndicated columnist. Quoted in Newsweek, p. 15 (January 31, 1990)