Tuesday, June 8, 2010

1960s Icon Donna Loren Talks with the Cafe about Mickey Mouse, the Beach Party movies, Shindig, and More!

Beloved by fans of the Beach Party movies, actress-singer Donna Loren has lent her lovely voice and natural appeal to a variety of films, TV series, magazine columns, and commercials. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit down for a chat at the Cafe.

Café: You were pretty much a veteran performer by the age of 8, having appeared professionally on stage and on television's acclaimed Playhouse 90. You also appeared as a guest on The Mickey Mouse Club. How did that come about?

Donna Loren: I auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. They wanted me to become a Mouseketeer but my Dad, who called the shots, said: “She’s a solo.” I was chosen to be a guest artist on their “Friday Talent Roundup” when they gave me my ears!

Café: Being selected as the first (and only) Dr Pepper Girl had to be a career-changer. What were your official duties other than appearing in TV commercials and print ads?

Donna: My position with Dr Pepper was their spokesperson. I traveled extensively for them promoting their product.

Café: How did you come to be cast in Muscle Beach Party and end up doing a duet on "Muscle Bustle" with Dick Dale and the Del-Tones?

Donna: Dr Pepper had a product placement in the film. Currently, I am writing my autobiography with more details about this subject.

Café: You had solos in Bikini Beach, Pajama Party, and Beach Blanket Bingo. In fact, "It Only Hurts When I Cry" (my personal fave) and "Among the Young" rank with the best songs in the whole Beach Party series. Who determined which songs you performed and what was your favorite among your numbers?

Donna: Music director Al Simms and the song writers Guy Hemric and J. Styner picked my songs. “Among the Young” from Pajama Party was the most fun because of the arrangement and tempo changes.

Café: How did you get along with the cast of the Beach Party movies?

Donna: I love singing, so singing in a movie was really great. Everyone on set treated me like royalty.

Café: What do you remember best about your four Beach Party movies?

Donna: Actually, there were five in all. Sergeant Deadhead was never as popular, but had a great cast. The cast of each movie was so diverse. Everyone from silent film star Buster Keaton to Little Stevie Wonder made for an exciting time. My favorite part was always being on the beaches in Malibu.

Café: What led to your gig as a regular on the TV variety series Shindig? Thanks to YouTube, some of your performances can still be enjoyed, such as your cover of "Goldfinger" and your duet with Bobby Sherman on "Casting My Spell on You." Who else did you duet with?

Donna: Another audition lead to my role on Shindig. Mostly, Bobby Sherman and I were paired up, but once I did a duet with Bobby Hatfield.

Café: What were some of the songs you enjoyed singing on Shindig?

Donna: #1 would be “Wishin’ and Hopin’” because that was my first show for Shindig. I also really enjoy singing "Shakin’ All Over," even to this day.

Café: You appeared opposite Davy Jones on The Monkees. You were The Joker's moll, Susie, on Batman. You appeared with Jim Nabors on Gomer Pyle, USMC. You were a popular guest star on TV in the mid-1960s! Who did you enjoy working with during that period?

Donna: I think Dick Clark was my favorite. We worked closely for Dr Pepper.

Café: In addition to your acting and singing, you also found time to write two monthly columns for Movie Life Magazine. What kind of advice did you dispense in your advice column "Let's Talk It Over"?

Donna: Gossip is gossip, even teenage talk in the 60's. Sometimes, a word of truth would slip in from my interviews with my ghostwriters.

Café: Although you retired from show business to raise a family in 1968, it seems as though you've never stopped working. You designed your own line of clothes, recorded and produced songs such as "Somewhere Down in the Road" in 1984, and just released a new CD called "Love It Away." Plus, you sell memorabilia on your web site http://donnaloren.net/ and have a blog that's quite logically titled Let's Talk It Over (http://donnaloren.net/latestnews/). That's quite a career! What keeps you going?

Donna: Thank you, Rick, for asking. I love connecting with people and enjoying life which is why I SING.


  1. Absolutely wonderful, informative interview with a terrific singer/actress/all-around performer. As suggested in the final question, Donna never seemed to stop working. She's a lovely singer, and her bright, beautiful smile makes me want to drink Dr Pepper. Great pictures, too! Thanks to a topnotch interview at the Café.

  2. Donna's singing was always a highlight of the best Beach Party movies. Fun to learn she is still performing and enjoyed the web links.

  3. Great interview, Rick. Didn't know much about her before reading this, but she surely had an interesting career.

  4. Rick, you are amazing. How did you arrange this? It's quite a coup for the Cafe to have an interview. Makes me feel good to be a member. Thanks for this fun conversation. She sounds like she had a lot of fun with the Beach Party movies and singing. And the updated picture of her shows her to be pretty as ever.

  5. Wow, Donna Loren looks as amazing now as she did in the 1960's! I enjoyed finding out what she was up to and to learn she was still making music.

  6. She is STILL a knockout!

  7. Rick, I'm so thrilled that Donna Loren, stopped by the "Cafe" for a chat..

  8. I don't think many people appreciated Shindig! when it was. In retrospect there were some great performances. I remember Donna Loren on the show and always enjoyed her singing.

  9. This was a very intersting interview, Rick. I don't remember much of Donna Loren and am so glad I got to know her better thanks to this post, Rick. She is a muti talented person and very beautiful. I will certainly be checking out the Beach Party movies and hey, my husband will be watching with me when he sees Donna's photos!

  10. Rick, this is such a fun interview! I truly enjoyed most of the Beach Party movies and the strong and sure singing of Donna Loren was part of the reason why. It was fun to hear about her work with Bobby Sherman who I thought was pretty cute when I was a young teen.

    Ms. Loren, thank you for sharing some time with us at the Cafe! We are delighted to hear you are doing well. May you continue to be blessed in all that you do.