Vital entertainer dies, leaves profound legacy
Renowned singer/comedian/impressionist, Dick Kerr, passed away September 7 at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer.
As a young boy, Dick found his niche in singing at various venues in his home area of Turtle Creek, and Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. Following high school, Dick went into the United States Air Force, where he was discovered at Sampson Air Force Base, Geneva, New York, by Horace Heidt, when Mr. Heidt was looking for a fourth singer for his shows and already had a young man from each of the other branches of military service, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Kerr founded the Air Force “Tops in Blue” entertainment program (which still is ongoing under another name) and had a great reputation as a singer.
The award-winning Kerr performed at Carnegie Hall with Heidt and at every famous showplace in America during the seven years he worked for Heidt. Heidt, Sr., built a show around a group of talented performers that included Kerr, Johnny Standley, Reita Green, Ralph Sigwald, Allen Breneman, Lisabeth (Liz) Lynch and the Heidt Steppers. Filmed in Hollywood, a one-hour pilot was produced by Heidt, directed by Bob Lehman, written by Joe Twerp and choreographed by Don Sky. Kerr remained close friends with Heidt and his son, Horace, over the years, and also performed with Horace, Jr., periodically during the years since Horace, Sr., passed away.
Kerr worked in theatres, radio, television, Las Vegas and top hotels, nightclubs and concert halls around America. He travelled abroad to perform in Europe and Asia and entertained our troops stationed overseas.
Kerr married his precious Burdee in a double-wedding ceremony in Reno, Nevada, when Horace, Sr., married his third wife, Lorraine. Burdee passed away in 2001. The couple had three daughters, Scottie, Lauren and Heather, whom they loved with their whole hearts. After Burdee passed away, Kerr moved back to Horace Heidt Estates, where they had many friends, and lived here until his passing. Kerr’s brother, Bill and sister Jean Case, grandchildren Alison and Michaela, nieces and nephews, sons-in-law and thousands of friends will miss him and his humor immensely. Dick loved you all so very much! He wanted others to have a chance for healing, so he left his body to U. S. C. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. His memorial service has been scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. at Horace Heidt Estates, 14155 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks, in the Aloha Room. Parking will need to be on the street. For information, call (818) 817-0881.