Hey, Camp Kids!
At Everything Summer Camp, we look far and wide to see what famous folks also turn out to be former summer campers and, so far, we’ve posted about more than 80 people! Shari Lewis was a definite must when we saw she a former camper! Her name may not be immediately recognizable to everyone, but we all know her for her adorable sock puppet character, Lamb Chop!
A professional children’s entertainer all her life—before embarking on her road to fame and fortune, she spent her summer days at Camp Louise of Airy & Louise. Located just a few miles away from each other in the Catoctin Mountains of western Maryland, Airy and Louise, each camp stretches out about 400 acres that display natural beauty along with the camps’ prided rustic facilities.
Shari was encouraged from a very young age to practice in the performing trade. Her father, who practiced as an incredibly successful magician, taught her magic tricks when she was 13. But she didn’t stop there. She also learned a bit in acrobatics, juggling, ice-skating, baton-twirling, and she learned to play piano as well as violin. It was an instructor name John W. Cooper who taught her the art of ventriloquism.
She went on to study piano and violin at New York’s High School of Music and Art and she took dance classes at the American School of Ballet. She also took acting classes with a group called Sanford Meisner in the ‘Neighborhood Playhouse’ association. After she finished high school, she registered for a classes at Barnard College, but she only stayed a year.
Instead of continuing school, she took her chance then and there to pursue a career in show business. When she was 19, she won first prize for a talent show on CBS’ ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts’. This launched her into gigs hosting a handful of children’s television series in New York.
It didn’t take long before Lamb Chop was introduced to the world on an episode of ‘Captain Kangaroo’. With a number of other characters in her stockpile, Shari was ready to debut her very own kids show—‘The Shari Lewis Show’ in 1960. It replaced ‘The Howdy Doody Show’.
She appeared in lots of other shows among the years, but she finally hit it big in the early 90’s with her Emmy-winning show ‘Lamb Chop’s Play Along’ on PBS. She passed away in the summer of 1998. The world misses Shari Lewis and the wonderful talent and hysterical antics she brought to the world of children’s entertainment. You can check out Camp Louise right here. Check out a clip of ‘The Shari Lewis Show’ below and, as always, thanks for reading!