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2014 Lonnie Burr
Lonnie Burr, one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1959), has spent more than 50 years in show business as an actor, dancer/choreographer, singer, director and author.
Lonnie started dance lessons at the age of four, and was soon making live appearances on local TV shows and acting on radio; he turned professional at five. By the time he was six, he began working on national television and radio, acting in commercials and landed his first film appearance (in A Yank in Korea, 1950). He had his first recurring television role as the next door neighbor Oliver Quimby on The Ruggles (1950–1951) and guest starred on such series as The Range Rider, The Colgate Comedy Hour, The Roy Rogers Show, The Alan Young Show, The Donald O'Connor Show and Father Knows Best. His film roles include Queen for a Day (1951), Hans Christian Andersen (with Danny Kaye, 1952) Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth (Oscar’s Best Picture of 1952) and Apache (1954).
In 1955, he was signed to a seven-year contract by Walt Disney Studios as one of 24 original Mouseketeers. He was made a member of the show's first string unit, the Red Team. While on the show Lonnie performed in skits and musical variety numbers, both as a soloist and with others. He was generally acknowledged to be one of the show's three top dancers and his slightly husky singing voice caused other Mouseketeers to nickname him "The Velvet Smog," in recognition that at 12 he resembled singer Mel Torme, known as The Velvet Fog.
After The Mickey Mouse Club stopped filming in 1958, Lonnie took a hiatus from performing to finish his schooling. He resumed performing in the 1960s. His films include Sweet Charity (1969), The Hospital (1971), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), Hook (1991), Newsies (1992), Mr. Saturday Night (1992), and Police Academy: Mission To Moscow (1994). His more than 60 TV credits include guest roles on The Beverly Hillbillies, Hill Street Blues, Hunter, Murder She Wrote, Chicago Hope, L.A. Heat and Homicide: Life on the Streets, plus a recurring role on Falcon Crest. Burr also has a total of over 100 radio performances. His 49 stage roles range from Mack and Mabel on Broadway to the Los Angeles company of 42nd Street.
Burr also directed for radio, TV, and theater and choreographed plays, musicals, commercials, industrial films, and live performances; one show that he wrote and starred in was presented at Disneyland. He has written two books of poetry, the non-fiction book Two for the Show: Great 20th Century Comedy Teams (2000), five plays, and the book and lyrics for the musical Fantasies, which has been staged in Los Angeles and New York City. In February 2009, his autobiography, Confessions of an Accidental Mouseketeer, was published. The book was updated and reissued as The Accidental Mouseketeer in February, 2014.