Congratulations to LAFSC’s own lifetime member, Richard Dywer, who was recently honored by the Ice Theatre of New York at a their recent Gala on October 22, 2012 at Chelsea Piers in New York City. Moira North, Founder/Director of the Ice Theatre of New York said: “We are honoring Richard Dwyer for his lifetime of inspired performances, personifying joy on ice for countless numbers of appreciative audiences. We also applaud Richard’s role as a “good will” ambassador within our diverse skating world!”
Richard was also presented with a recognition from the Guiness Book of World Records for having the longest professional career. Richard’s career in Ice Follies lasted 30 years. He performed over 12,000 times, on a 46-week tour that included 9 weekly performances (including 3 shows back-to-back on Saturdays) – about 400 a year until his retirement from Ice Follies in 1980. At age 50, he returned to skating with Ice Capades for 13 years, until 1995. He was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1993. Richard continues to skate, performing in China in 2005 and skating a duet with Brian Boitano in “A Salute to the Golden Age of Ice Skating” television special in 2010, and various other shows and special appearances around the country.
Prior to joining the Ice Follies at age 14, Richard enjoyed a successful competitive figure skating career. He won the United States National Figure Skating Championships in the Juvenile, Novice, and Junior Men’s divisions and also competed in the U.S. National Championships as a Senior against the legendary Dick Button.
1946 –– Pacific Coast Juvenile Men’s Figure Skating Champion
1948 –– United States National Novice Men’s Figure Skating Champion
1949 –– United States Junior Men’s Figure Skating Champion
1950 –– Competitior, Senior Men’s at U.S. Nationals (4th in figures, 2nd in freeskate)
Following his amateur career, when Richard Dwyer was fourteen years old, Roy Shipstad of Shipstads and Johnson Ice Follies, decided to retire from performing in the show. Roy Shipstad was looking for a young skater to take on his role of “Debonair.” At that time, ice shows followed promising young amateur skaters and looked for talent. Dwyer had just won the national junior men’s figure skating title. The Shipstads “discovered” Dwyer. They wanted to bring in a young boy who wouldn’’t be compared to Roy, but would grow up under Roy Shipstad’s guidance. The “Young Debonair” eventually became “Mr. Debonair”.
Joining Richard and participating in the Gala were other lifetime LAFSC members, Tai Babilonia, Linda Fratianne and Randy Gardner.
Truly Richard is such an inspiration to us all. He has been an unfailing supporter of our club and our skaters, has been a member of the Board of Directors, and with his gentlemanly and kind demeanor and demonstrable love of the sport of figure skating, he has inspired many of us to reach for our very best. We are indeed very fortunate to call Richard one of our own. He is truly one of a kind! Congratulations Mr. Debonaire!
Link to Richard’s Guiness Book of World Records page: