Arthur Duncan, TV Trailblazer Who Defied Censors with Betty White, Dies @ 89

Sad news that legendary tap dancer Arthur Duncan died January 3. He was 89.

A dapper Duncan at the height of his dance career (Image via Wiki)

Duncan was esteemed as a lifelong dancer who became TV's first Black regular on a variety show when he joined The Betty White Show in 1954.

Southern censors demanded he be fired, but White retorted, "He stays. Live with it."

Duncan was born September 25, 1933, in Pasadena, California, and served in the U.S. military during WWII. As a veteran, his January 25 funeral is expected to be a military committal service.

He first appeared on TV on 1951's The Jerry Colonna Show, and made his biggest impact on over 200 episodes of The Lawrence Welk Show, on which he was its only Black hoofer.

Duncan's status as a trailblazer was underscored when, in 2017 and 2018, he reunited with Betty White, his old boss and friend, on both Little Big Shots: Forever Young and Betty White: First Lady of Television.

Duncan won many awards and danced all over the world. In 2018, he appeared on The Talk as a surprise for co-host Sheryl Underwood, who had called him an inspiration of hers.

According to friends, Duncan is survived by his wife Carol, who describes him as "a gentle soul."


RIP Arthur Duncan! Betty White Knew TALENT & CLASS When She Saw Them

♬ original sound - Matthew Rettenmund/BoyCulture

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