Under the Challenge Label, Loren released several more songs, showcasing a vocal depth and strength characteristic of a performer much older in a series of enticing recordings including the popular I'm in Love with the Ticket Taker at the Bijou Movie, I'm Gonna Be Alright (both 1962), the love ballad If You Loved Me… (Really Loved Me), Dream World, and the upbeat Johnny's Got Something (all 1963). In 1963, Loren was chosen by drink manufacturer Dr Pepper as the (to date, only) "Dr Pepper Girl" to promote the drink to a younger demographic. National exposure via radio, print and personal appearance followed, as well as a place on the well-remembered 1963 Caravan of Stars Tour. She subsequently stayed with the company until 1967.
In 1963 she debuted in the American-International Pictures "Beach Party" movie series in Muscle Beach Party, subsequently appearing in four more of the films (which all provided her with the chance to perform vocally). During this time Loren joined Capitol in 1964, releasing during her tenure there (among others) the melancholic Blowing Out the Candles, Just a Little Girl (both 1964), Smokey Joe's (1965), and the impressive, more adult compositions Call Me (1965) and I Believe (1966). Like her earlier work with Challenge, Loren's recordings presented an extremely refined and developed voice (exemplified in Call Me and I Believe), coupled with the expertise of a production team including producer Dave Axelrod and arranger/conductor H. B. Barnum, responsible for the exceptional music. Loren also showed herself as a singer of versatile and range. It was at Capitol that the performer released an album in association with the "Beach Party" series, Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), which included her well-known It Only Hurts When I Cry.
During 1964 Loren was signed to regularly appear on the television series Shindig! Loren was part of a small group of regular performers on the series, which consisted of live performances by various individual singers and groups. In 1965, the Hollywood Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild presented Loren with a "Debbie", an annual award given to up-and-coming performers. It was around this time that she also diversified into more acting-oriented programming, including a seven-part Dr. Kildare and Batman (which, ironically, replaced Shindig in its timeslot in 1966). She subsequently co-starred in The Milton Berle Show (1966-67), the last incarnation of the legendary performer's variety series. During this active period, Loren wrote monthly columns for Movie Life Magazine ("Let's Talk it Over" and "Donna Loren's Young Hollywood"). In 1967, Loren joined the Reprise Label, releasing Let's Pretend, Once Before I Die (both songs in English-language and Italian versions) and the exceptional showcases As Long as I'm Holding You and It's Such a Shame.
In 1968 Loren filmed the pilot for what was to be her first starring vehicle in a television series: Two for Penny (screened as an episode of The Danny Thomas Hour, with Danny Thomas and Aaron Spelling behind the project. However, it was at this point in her career that Loren unexpectedly decided to leave show business to raise a family (the pilot was subsequently shown as a special). Her decision was, perhaps, surprising given her growing fame. Despite this, Loren did not record again until 1982, debuting as a producer (on her Royalty Records label) with Sedona and Simply Loving You, both of which she composed for her first release in fifteen years. Subsequently, she released Wishin' and Hopin' and Somewhere Down the Road (1984, Warner Bros.) Wishin' and Hopin' was particularly linked to Loren's earlier career - it was the song Loren debuted on Shindig with some twenty years earlier and was this time produced by Jimmy Bowen (her old producer at Crest and Reprise).
Throughout her career, Loren designed and created much of her performing wardrobe. This led to some exposure of her designs in the 1960's. In 1998 Loren again entered the public eye, with the presentation of a couture collection that she had begun designing in 1997. In March 1999, Loren opened a by-appointment boutique in Waimea, Hawaii, Hawaii (Loren had moved to this state in the mid 1990's). The success of this venture eventually led to the opening of the three ADASA Designer Boutiques on the island of Oahu in Hawaii as well as a robust online fashion business; the business was closed in 2007. After the turn of the millenium, Loren's sixties career began enjoying a resurgence, first with the release of the CD The Very Best of Donna Loren/Beach Blanket Bingo (2001, Collectable), as well as being featured in a number of books including Swingin' Chicks of the 60's (2000, Cedco Inc). A new CD showcasing her work in the 80's with the legendary James Burton and his "Elvis Band" was released in 2009 entitled MAGIC - The 80's Collection and she is recording again as of 2009. You can see a re-make of her signature It Only Hurts When I Cry on YouTube. Donna's website: www.DonnaLoren.net
Written by Adam Gerace. Many thanks to Donna Loren and Jered Cargman for access to their archives, which proved invaluable in preparing this biography. Moreover, their unwavering assistance, generosity, and friendship are much appreciated.