Barbara May Theresa Werle was born in Mount Vernon, NY on Oct. 6, 1928, and died Jan. 1, 2013. After graduating from Catholic high school she went on to become a professional ballroom dancer and won the acclaimed Harvest Moon Ball in the early 1950s. As part of the dance team Barbara and Mansell, she performed in Las Vegas, toured nightclubs throughout the country, and made appearances on the Ed Sullivan show before moving to Hollywood to become a successful actress. She starred in such movies as Krakatoa East of Java, Battle of the Bulge, and with Elvis Presley in Charro, and in the television series San Francisco International Airport with Lloyd Bridges. She retired to La Costa, CA, where she was soprano for the St. Elizabeth Seton Traditional Choir since 2000. She is survived by her son, John Gregory Branca; her brother, Donald; her daughter-in-law, Linda Branca; her grandchildren, Jessica, John Connor and Dylan Branca, and numerous family members including Father Paul Griesgraber and Julie Branca.
Published in The Journal News on Jan. 9, 2013.