At Our Next Luncheon: OCTOBER 12, 2015

What do you think of first when you see the name Tony Orlando? Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree? Tony Orlando and Dawn? They’ll both be represented by the man himself on Monday, October 12, when PPB President Alan Perris presents Tony with the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award.

No entertainer can move and excite an audience like Tony Orlando. One of America's most endearing and enduring stars, Tony and America recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of his recording of Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree.

Tony brings to the stage a warmth and exhilarating energy that electrifies an audience. From million-selling records (five number one hits), a popular television variety series, movies and Broadway (“Barnum” and “Smokey Joe's Café”) Tony Orlando has conquered every facet of show business.

Orlando, born and reared in New York City, began hitting the national charts at the age of 16 with Halfway to Paradise and Bless You as the first vocal artist to sign with Epic Records. He later routed his musical career to the nonperformance side and became one of the youngest vice-presidents for CBS Records, heading their April-Blackwood music label.

Through no plans of his own, Tony was coaxed into putting his voice on a demo record for a song titled Candida for his friends Hank Medress and Dave Appell at Bell Records. The record was released under the name of the record promotion director's daughter, Dawn.

Realizing it was probably safe to give up his successful career at CBS Records, Tony decided to jump full force into what was already a meteoric rise to the top. Along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, Tony Orlando and Dawn became an international sensation

Tony then set his sights on television, which resulted in his highly-rated weekly variety series on CBS. Breaking new ground, it was the first multi-ethnic variety show on television. Orlando, of Hispanic and Greek origins, and Hopkins and Wilson, African Americans, were an instant hit. The show, which ran for four seasons from (1974 - 1976), welcomed the biggest names in show business each week as Tony's guests, including his boyhood idols, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Lewis.

Tony Orlando remains one of America's best-loved personalities. He has been a recipient of three American Music Awards and a People's Choice Award. For outstanding achievements to the entertainment industry, Tony was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.

Since 1993, Orlando has been a resident of Branson, Missouri, where he has performed more than 2,000 shows. His current performing home in Branson is The Osmond Family Theatre. Tony has been named Branson's Entertainer and Vocalist of the Year.

Surprise Guests


Honoree: Fred Willard

One of America's most prolific comic television actors received the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award at PPB's June 19 celebrity luncheon. President Chuck Street presented the coveted award to Fred Willard following some rollicking-good humor from some of Fred's friends and colleagues on the dais.

Fred radiates a unique charm that has solidly established him as an exceptionally-talented comic character actor, first coming to prominence as the ambitious, but dimwitted sidekick, Jerry Hubbard, to Martin Mull's smarmy talk-show host, Barth Gimble, in the devastating satirical series Fernwood Tonight (1977). A master of sketch comedy, he is most heralded for his quick wit and improvisational expertise. His 100 appearances in sketches and as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno are indicative of his ability to transform any character into a unique comic portrayal.

An alumnus of the famed Second City, Fred Willard received three Emmy nominations for his recurring role on the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond as Robert Barone's father-in-law, Hank MacDougall. In 2010, he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the ABC TV series Modern Family as Phil Dunphy's father, Frank Dunphy. He has numerous voice-over credits in both TV shows and movies.

Movie fans will remember Fred for his roles in the Rob Reiner mockumentary film "This Is Spinal Tap," the Christopher Guest mockumentary films "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind," and "For Your Consideration," and also in the Will Ferrell Anchorman films.

Born and reared in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Fred is a former U.S. soldier, having graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute and the Virginia Military Institute. After his tour in the Army in 1962, Willard and pal Vic Greco formed a comedy act that was funny and successful enough to earn them an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, his first TV appearance.

For his considerable, ongoing dedication to charity works with various nonprofits, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Fred and his wife, Mary, were honored in 2010 with the Golden Star Award, and the couple also works with City of Hope, John Wayne Cancer Society, PETA and dozens more. Fred was honored by Actors and Others for Animals with the Man of The Year Award in 2008, and he received a commendation from the City of Los Angeles for "outstanding humanitarian and philanthropic work helping to further the goal of making the City of Los Angeles a better place."

Pictured Below Front Row: Doris Roberts, Peter Marshall, Honoree Fred Willard, Milt Larsen and PPB Chairman of the Board, Jeanne DeVivier Brown; Back Row: PPB President Chuck Street, Todd Sherry, Heather Olt and Steve Bluestein; Not Pictured: Sarah Purcell and Leonard Maltin (Don King photo)

Would you like to join the PPB and attend the Tony Orlando Luncheon on October 12, 2015? If you have worked in Broadcasting or in any related field for 20 years or more, please e-mail our Membership Committee with your request to join us to honor Tony Orlando. Please include your name and daytime telephone numbers.

PPB Members receive their Luncheon Notice and Reservation Form by mail before the date of each luncheon, and send in their request for table seating along with their check.

Past Honorees

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