Donna Loren was a popular actress, singer, spokesperson and fashion icon during the sixties. She was the face of Dr Pepper, starred in several teen beach party films and was a guest star on the biggest shows during that era. Who is she? How did she go from nothing to everything almost overnight?
Loren was born in Massachusetts and raised in California. She began her singing career at age five when she placed second in an amateur talent show. At the age of eight she caught her first break singing in a commercial for Meadow Gold Ice Cream. Two years later she appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club TV Show. For the next few years she continued singing and recording, hoping to make it big. She even changed her name–her birth name was Donna Zukor, but she thought Donna Loren was a bit more catchy and likeable.
While attending Venice High School in western Los Angeles, Loren was picked up by Dr Pepper at the age of 16. The popular soft drink was a hit with the older generations from advertising campaigns like Peggy Pepper and Harmon the Caveman, but Dr Pepper was now looking to attract a younger crowd. Five foot two inch Donna Loren turned out to be the answer. In 1963 Dr Pepper held a national talent search for a teenage spokesperson, which Donna Loren won, becoming the first and only Dr Pepper girl ever to sign with Dr Pepper. Donna Loren was an instant sensation with the younger demographic, and sales spiked through the 60s after she signed to the company.
Her official launch with Dr Pepper was Dick Clark’s Dr Pepper Celebrity Party. It was an unusual party because it was broadcasted live, with many popular young actors and actresses of the time like Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Dick and DeeDee, along with many others. The show attracted the younger age group that Dr Pepper was trying to reach, and turned Donna Loren into a star overnight.
Loren’s commercials for
Dr Pepper were also a success. “It’s Dr Pepper Time!” was an instant hit and since she was matched with Harmon the Caveman, the commercials were popular with all ages of Dr Pepper fans. Besides appearing on TV commercials, Loren also starred in several movies, like Muscle Beach Party with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, which also happened to be sponsored by Dr Pepper. Loren was the Dr Pepper spokesperson from 1963-1968, then retired from show business to raise a family.
Today, Loren is back to singing and recording. Since her divorce in the early eighties, Loren has appeared in several TV shows and released several albums, her most recent in 2010 called Love It Away.
The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. For more information, visit us on the web at drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.