BarBara Luna was born in Manhattan and virtually grew up on Broadway. Rodgers & Hammerstein cast her in the Broadway hit musical “South Pacific” to create the role of Ezio Pinza’s daughter, Ngana, which was spoken and sung (Dites-Moi) entirely in French. When she outgrew her sarong, Luna, as she prefers to be called, was cast again by Rodgers & Hammerstein to appear in “The King & I” as one of the Siamese children. By the time the show was closing, she had advanced to “swing girl” of the company. With only several months left before graduating high school and not wanting to go on tour with the show, Luna decided to audition for the understudy role of Lotus Blossom in “Teahouse of the August Moon”. Not only was she hired, eight months later, Luna was given the starring role in the first national touring company for three years.
This role was spoken entirely in Japanese! While she was appearing with “Teahouse” in Los Angeles, Luna was discovered by director Mervyn Leroy to portray the blind girl, Camille, and love interest to Frank Sinatra in “The Devil at 4 O’clock” also starring Spencer Tracy. This led to other films, such as “Firecreek” with James Stewart & Henry Fonda. Working under the direction of Stanley Kramer in “Ship of Fools” with International legends, Vivian Leigh, Simone Signoret, Oskar Werner, and Lee Marvin, was not only challenging but, one of the highlights in Luna’s career. Portraying “Cat”, queen bee of the prison in “The Concrete Jungle”, which is now considered a cult film, was an even greater challenge, after all, how often does one get to portray a drug pushing lesbian killer?
Irwin Allen’s “Five Weeks in a Balloon”, starring Red Buttons, Fabian and Barbara Eden gave Luna another chance to work with several other film legends; Peter Lorre, Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Herbert Marshall. Her versatile and timeless look, along with her talent, has afforded Luna the opportunity to have a lengthy television career as well. Luna feels honored to be so well remembered for her portrayal of Marlena Moreau in the all-time classic episode, “Mirror Mirror” from the original “Star Trek” series. She has guest starred on nearly five hundred television shows. Some of her favorites are: Walt Disney’s “Zorro”, “The Big Valley”, “Hawaii Five-O”, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” and “The Outer Limits”.
Luna continued to keep one foot on Broadway. In between film commitments, she appeared in five companies of “West Side Story” in the role of Anita, including a revival at Lincoln Center in New York City. Her last Broadway show was “A Chorus Line” in the role of Diana Morales, she sang the beautiful Marvin Hamlish tune, “What I Did For Love”. This inspired the multi-talented Luna to meet “Hairspray” Tony award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman to prepare a nightclub act for her… and that they did; “An Evening with BarBara Luna”. In a New York review, after her first engagement, it read: “Ms. Luna can take the Cabaret scene by storm”. This review was noticed by agent Lee Solomon of the William Morris office. He called, and booked Luna to open for Bill Cosby at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills and Caesars Palace in Atlantic City.
While Luna was singing at Freddies in NYC, she was offered the world of Soap Opera. After a six month stint of creating the role of Anna Ryder on “Search for Tomorrow”, she was then offered a two year contract to portray Maria Roberts on” One Life to Live”. This character very quickly became notorious and extremely popular as “The Bitch everyone loved to hate.” After leaving “One Life to Live”, Luna wanted to travel. Happily she co-hosted “The Alpen Tour”, a television special for the Travel Channel sponsored by TWA airlines. This was filmed throughout Europe. Luna says, “Ask and you shall receive”! Upon her return to Los Angeles, Luna performed her club act to sell-out crowds at Tom Rolla’s Gardenia Cabaret and the Cine-grill at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.
After taking a ten-year sabbatical, Aaron Spelling hired Luna for the role of Sydney Jacobs, a jewelry fence on “Sunset Beach”. Luna then made her first trip to the Philippines to film a movie for Showtime called “Noriega: God’s Favorite” starring Bob Hoskins. She laughs about this because her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor! However, it was worth the trip, working with Mr. Hoskins was a treat. This past year, Luna performed at Arci’s Supper Club on Park Avenue in NYC. Hosting the Ms. Roanoke Beauty Pageant for the last three years has been a great experience. Having been a protégé of Richard Rodgers, Luna was thrilled when she was asked to perform at Town Hall for his 100th Anniversary celebration, also in NYC.
BarBara Luna feels since she has been given so much, it is important to give her time, talent and support to charitable causes whenever needed. Luna is a member of “The Thalians”, a charity foundation at Cedars Sinai Hospital. Traveling around the world to attend Star Trek conventions and meeting the fans has been very informative, heart-warming, rewarding and loads of fun… for this she is grateful. Luna is an avid sports fan, loves playing golf, tennis and dancing on roller skates.
We’re very happy to have BarBara join us this year!