The Southern California Motion Picture Council (SCMPC) proudly presented their 2012 Golden Halo Award to actress, singer and humanitarian, Ms. Barbara Van Orden. The Golden Halo is the SCMPC’s highest award. A partial list of past honorees includes Bette Davis, James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Doris Day and Charlton Heston. Among those in attendance for the 2012 honor were Rose Marie, Elenore Donahue, George Chakiris, Kate Linder and more. Like Dolly Gallagher Levi, in Jerry Herman’s hit “Hello Dolly!”, Ms. Van Orden rejoined the human race after a devastating accident that resulted in 18 surgeries and years of rehabilitation to be welcomed back by audiences and critics alike in her touring cabaret show.
Ms. Van Orden was crossing the street, when she was hit by a car that resulted in 12 breaks in her right leg, five breaks in the left, internal bleeding, crushed back, broken ribs, a fractured disc in her neck and a three inch gash in her skull. A career as spokes model for such brands as Leggs, Clairol, London Fog, Breck, Maybelline, Maidenform, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, Neutrogena, 7up, Wells Fargo, Christian Dior, Ford, American Express, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Proctor & Gamble, among others, came to an abrupt end. Prior to the accident Ms. Van Orden had a recurring role in television’s Welcome Back Kotter and many TV films and series episodes to her resume. In between films and series, Barbara opened for many Vegas headliners. While in Vegas opening for Shecky Green, Frank Sinatra came to the show. After the show, she was thrilled when he asked her if she would open for him in the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York. In fact, Ms. Van Orden is featured heavily in Patty Farmer’s new book, “The Persian Room Presents,” which includes anecdotes about her performances at the famous NY hot spot and opening for Frank Sinatra.
In addition, Ms. Van Orden has the distinction of having been the only woman to headline in every Playboy Club. Despite a 20+ battle with heath and legal battles with workman’s comp, Ms. Van Orden not only survived, but thrived in an industry that is often unkind to those who are out of the spotlight. For her spirit and courage, the SCMPC decided to honor Ms. Van Orden.
Tribute Reel Link: http://youtu.be/g4fgfVbFDSk
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Written By: Tommy Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: The legendary Bill Dow
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