Bo Wagner Detailed Acting Profile

Bo Wagner was born in a show biz family. He started on TV when he was just five years old on a TV show that was broadcasted in the afternoons five days a week. “Bobby” Wagner as he was known then would sing, tap dance, play musical instruments and do comedy skits.

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Bo Wagner Tap Dancing as a Youngster

At the age of seven he started performing at night clubs and hotels across the country with the biggest stars. During these earlier years Bobby Wagner also began honing his acting skills by doing musical theater and summer stock. He made his first movie “Conorade” a civil defense movie, at the age of eight.

When Bobby Wagner was ten years old he was a TV guest on the Original Mickey Mouse Club as a featured drummer and tap dancer. He also did numerous personal appearances with different Mouseketeers such as Tommy Cole, Annette, Bobby Burgess and Cubby O’Brien. Throughout Bo Wagner’s career he worked a lot for the Disney organization. Bo’s first band open Tomorrowland’s Space Bar and Disney added Roberta Shore, another Disney personality that was featured on the Annette series on the Mickey Mouse Club, as his band’s girl singer.

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Bo Wagner and Roberta Shore a Disney Personality Featured on the Mickey Mouse Club

 

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Bo Wagner, Roberta Shore, and Bo’s Band at Disneyland

He spent a year working at Disney World in the early 70’s as a member of the Pearly Band, the World Band, backing acts at night at the Contemporary Hotel, like Howard Keel and Mel Torme, doing concerts playing drums, marimba and vibes for Roger Williams and the Supremes, doing his song and dance night club act at conventions with the Disney World Review and danced around the park with Mary Poppins as the Dick Van Dyke chimney sweep character and as a mouseketeer. They worked him so much that he usually didn’t have time to go home and would just sleep in the underground dressing room.

With the band Starbuck, Bo and the band worked continuously, for several years, at Disneyland and Disney World doing concerts, proms and bringing in the New Year in front of the castle at Disneyworld. On Starbuck’s first visit to Disneyland, the Disney Studio brought Bo out to the Disney Studio lot in Burbank, California to meet the new group of Mouseketeers. They wanted him to explain what it was like when he filmed there with the original group of Mouseketeers. They even had Bo Wagner take pictures with new Mouseketeers with Mickey Mouse ears on top of his long rock & roll hair and beard. Disney used this photo as advertisement for Starbuck’s performances at Disneyland.

After moving to Hollywood, Bobby Wagner had to change his name in order to become a member of Screen Actors Guild and do movies, because of Robert Wagner the actor. Once in Hollywood, the now known Bo Wagner continued to perform in the Hollywood night spots, such as Moulin Rouge, Ciro’s and Macambo Night Club, with the same headlining stars he had been previously performing with in night clubs and hotels throughout the country. Several of these stars now had TV variety shows and would have Bo on as a guest such as Gisele McKenzie Show and the Jimmy Durante TV Special.

 

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Bo Wagner, Jimmy Durante, Connie Francis and The Lennon Sisters

 

Besides performing in night clubs and on TV, Bo Wagner began filming movies and TV sitcoms like Gypsy with Natalie Woods and Rosalind Russel and I Dream of Jeannie with Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman.

 

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In this photo we can see Bo Wagner acting in the Gipsy movie

The great comedians Bo Wagner had been performing with were now headquartering in Hollywood making movies and doing TV shows. These famous comedians loved to associate together and formed their own fraternal club called the Hollywood Comedy Club, which later became known as the Friars Club and also the Masters Club. All the greats from vaudeville, nights clubs, TV and movies were members, such as Milton Berle, Jack Benny, Mickey Rooney, the Three Stogges and character actors like Joe E. Brown. They would meet several times each month at a club called the Troupers Club on Highland Blvd in Hollywood. They would have dinner and reminisce about the old days, vaudeville, the early movies, their many experiences and having worked together. They were always on, telling jokes continuously. There was a small stage and they would sometimes get up and do little bits. Since Bo had worked with many of these celebrities, Bo had the honor of being invited to visit their club (the only youngster ever invited). They treated him like he was one of them and did not pull any punches in telling their stories. Bo became a regular participant at these meetings and eventually was invited to become a member of the club.

When a performer would become a member, they would have an initiation. They held the initiations at the American Legions Hall also on Highland Ave. just down the block from the Hollywood Bowl. It had a large auditorium and main stage to hold the initiations. On the night Bo Wagner was initiated, all these great performers came to support and witness his initiation. They chose Joe E. Brown (whom they knew was one of Bo’s favorite comedians) to do the initiation. After Bo was initiated he had to perform, so he first did a tap dance, his main forte, because most of these comedians also tap danced or at least did the old soft shoe.

Joe E. Brown one of Bo Wagner's favorite comedians was selected to the the initiation when Bo Wagner became a member of the Hollywood Comedy Club
Joe E. Brown one of Bo Wagner’s favorite comedians was selected to do the the initiation for Bo Wagner to became a member of the Hollywood Comedy Club

But this was a comedy club so Bo had to do some standup comedy. He was used to telling jokes in his night club act. So his dad, an old vaudevillian himself, help him put some comedy material together. Also a number of the members gave Bo some zingers to say about another member; like Berle said say this about Durante, and Durante said say this about Benny, and Benny said say this about George Burns and Burns said say this about George Gobel and so on. Bo ended up with a wealth of material

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Picture of Bobby Wagner and George Gobel

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So during his performance Bo Wagner zinged one of the famous comedians and the audience was pleasantly shocked that an eleven-year-old just sapped one of their members. Bo continued to sap many of them and the audience when wild. It turned out to be a great night and everyone had a ball. They members loved the roasting so much, it became a regular part of their meetings and went on to be the famous Roasting of Celebrities on the Friars and Master Clubs TV shows. Being a member of the Hollywood Comedy Club was one of the greatest highlights of Bo Wagner’s career.

When he was 13 years old, Bo Wagner had his own show in Las Vegas, Nevada and was commuting to and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas performing on the Lawrence Welk TV Show in Hollywood and the glamorous hotels in Las Vegas. Bo Wagner and his first Las Vegas Show, “The Bo Wagner Quintet”, first worked downtown Las Vegas at the Fremont Hotel opposite Wayne Newton. Then Bo Wagner and his different groups, The Bo Wagner Review, Wagner, Hart & Co. and for several years with his partner Chet DeMilo, moved to the Tropicana Hotel on the famous Las Vegas strip and then to Caesars’ Palace, plus the Holiday Hotel in Reno, Nevada, the Wagon Wheel Hotel and Sahara Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada and Nugget Casino and Hotel, with Liberace, in Sparks, Nevada.

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Bo Wagner, Hart & Co.

 

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Chet Demilo and Bo Wagner

 

Throughout Bo’s career, he has continued to perform from time to time at the MGM Grand Hotel, Riviera Hotel, Showboat Hotel, Sahara Hotel and for several years with Liberace at the Hilton Hotel. At the same time, Bo Wagner had a side career as a print model for major fashion magazines. From time to time, Bo would take a break and fly to New York and Los Angeles to do photo shoots. There was never a dull moment for Bo.

 

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Bo Wagner Side Career as a Fashion Model

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Another Picture of Bo Wagner’s Modeling Portfolio

During the 60’s Bo recorded a lot of records with many of the biggest stars and was a member of two hit groups: The Lewis and Clarke Expedition, Eternity’s Children, and also touring drummer with the Fifth Dimension.

 

Image of  album cover by the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, one of the songs was Plastic Child, Bo Wagner is also pictured on the right side
Image of album cover by the Lewis and Clarke Expedition, one of the songs was Daddy’s Plastic Child, Bo Wagner is also pictured on the right side

 

He spent a year working at Disney World in the early 70’s as a member of the Pearly Band, the World Band, backing acts at night at the Contemporary Hotel, like Howard Keel and Mel Torme, doing concerts playing drums, marimba and vibes for Roger Williams and the Supremes, doing his song and dance night club act at conventions with the Disney World Review and danced around the park with Mary Poppins as the Dick Van Dyke chimney sweep character and as a mouseketeer. They worked him so much that he usually didn’t have time to go home and would just sleep in the underground dressing room.

 

Bruce Blackman, Bo Wagner, and other members of the Starbuck group posing for a picture during the Moonlight Feels Right album period.

Bruce Blackman, Bo Wagner, and other members of the Starbuck group posing for a picture during the Moonlight Feels Right album period.

For the rest of the 70’s, Bo Wagner was a member of the hit recording group Starbuck. Starbuck’s biggest hit was Moonlight Feels Right. It is usually remembered because of the excellent stylistic vocal by Bruce Blackman and by the marimba solo performed by Bo Wagner. This would be the first time that a top 40 hit single included a marimba composition.

With the band Starbuck, Bo and the band worked continuously, for several years, at Disneyland and Disney World doing concerts, proms and bringing in the New Year in front of the castle at Disneyworld. On Starbuck’s first visit to Disneyland, the Disney Studio brought Bo out to the Disney Studio lot in Burbank, Ca to meet the new group of Mouseketeers. They wanted him to explain what it was like when he filmed there with the original group of Mouseketeers. They even had Bo Wagner take pictures with new Mouseketeers with Mickey Mouse ears on top of his long rock & roll hair and beard. Disney used this photo as advertisement for Starbuck’s performances at Disneyland.

All in all, Bo Wagner had an exciting career in the entertainment industry and was skilled in multiple fields: DANCING, CHOREOGRAPHY, SINGING, COMEDY, MUSIC, ARRANGING, RECORDING, PRODUCING and ACTING.

Being involved in the entertainment industry from a very early age, Bo Wagner was exposed to all the different vices, and he saw it for what it was. He chose early on to be healthy. When he was seventeen he had a serious back injury, he couldn’t stand up, could not dance, could not get in and out of cars. So he visited an orthopedic doctor and was told that his injury was not serious enough to operate. He was sent home to relax, and was told there was nothing else that could be done for him, except to take tranquilizers. So for a few months he took tranquilizers with no results, and was told that he may be like this forever. Somebody suggested he visit a chiropractor, so Bo Wagner went to see one and in 15 minutes he was able to stand up straight and dance, and even better he was able to get rid of the tranquilizers.

Rest of the story as told by Dr. Bo Wagner himself:

“A light bulb went off and I realized that there were some alternatives that you could do to be healthy. I wanted to learn everything I could to have all options available, so I enrolled in a chiropractic school the next day! At the time most chiropractors also did colon therapy. I was also introduced to vitamins, health food, yoga, meditation, and I just took  it all in. It was perfect for me. I changed my major, got really interested in nutrition, became a holistic healthcare practitioner, which was my first diploma. I became the renowned health guru on the set.

When I was 21 I went to Mexico and caught some wicked bacteria and lost 30 pounds in three days. I got back to the US finally after many days and went to see a couple of internists, who were very fine doctors by the way. They said I had the worst bacteria case they had ever seen, it was eating my liver and colon, and they gave me less than six months to live. They said “there was was nothing anybody could do for me” and sent me home. Well, I was devastated, after a couple of days I said, ‘Wait a minute, I know better than this’. So I submitted myself to a daily rigid cleanse and detox routine for three months. I am a fighter; after three months I felt great.

This motivated me to learn more, so I decided that I wanted to be a colonic therapist and nutritionist. I wanted to know how to take care of myself and my family, so I went back to school and became a colon therapist, and a Certified Practitioner of Natural Healthcare. So now I really am a Holistic doctor. I never expected to become a healthcare therapist, I just wanted the knowledge, but everyone was looking at me like one.

I kept performing, having hit records with the musical groups I was a member of, doing all the big TV shows, and yet backstage I was the healer. So when I retired from Starbuck and from my career in entertainment in 1979, I opened up a natural healthcare clinic, a health food store, and a performing arts school.

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Bo Wagner Art School Brochure

 

So I would educate my students in nutrition, diet, hydration and how to maintain a healthy life style through natural health care, trained them in the performing arts, arrange and record their music, and choreograph their act. It was all about them being as healthy as they could be so they could go and perform at their best.

As the years went by I continued to study and received a Doctorate of Naturopathy, Doctorate of Natural Medicine, a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences/Clinical Nutrition, became Board Certified and received a Fellow in Integrative Medicine, a Diplomate in Clinical Nutrition and became a Professor and Dean at the University of Natural Medicine. I also started my own natural health supplement and beauty care line, formulating all my own products and creating detoxification, rejuvenation and weight management programs. Natural healthcare saved my life and my healthcare practice, products and programs are my gift back to help others.”

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