Thanksgiving is a terrific time to let the people in your life know that you appreciate them. Of course that means Thanksgiving is everyday for my wonderful husband Frank, plus my mother Mary Lou, and my sister Mary Lou. They are my heroes for all they do and all they’ve been through.
My Tolucan Times family is also appreciated more then they can imagine, especially Sarah and Mardi Rustam. They are shining stars in our neighborhood and entertainment community.
There are a lot people we work with who are special. Some are famous, and others work behind the scenes. One prince of a fellow who has been a joy to know is publicist Harlan Boll. If Harlan is handling an event, or setting up an interview, you can bet things are going to run smoothly and there will be a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere.
That was the spirit in the dining room at the Sportsmen’s Lodge last month for the annual Southern California Motion Picture Council (SCMPC) awards event. The place was filled with Hollywood legends and sweet celebrities, but they weren’t the ones being honored. Instead the stars gathered to pay tribute to Harlan Boll, and all gushed their praises for him.
Standing out from the crowd, the extraordinary gentleman is always recognizable wearing his cowboy hat at the classiest affairs. Boll received the SCMPC’s Golden Halo Award and actor Randal Malone skillfully emceed the event.
Carol Channing, Harlan’s client and dear friend, was recognized along with her husband Harry Kullijian, for all their efforts to support the arts in public schools. And Bryan Reesman, an unforgettable munchkin from The Wizard of Oz, grabbed the spotlight too, performing the “Lollipop Guild” song.
Tippi Hedren presented Harlan his award, while all his famous clients and fans cheered. There was Esther Williams (Neptune’s Daughter), Margaret O’Brian (Meet Me in St. Louis), Dee Wallace (ET), Donna Mills (Knots Landing), Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati), Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart), Romi Dames (Hannah Montana), Rip Taylor, Bruce Vilanch, and George Chakiris (Oscar winner for West Side Story), and The Supremes’ legendary Motown singer Mary Wilson.
Some of Harlan’s friends couldn’t be there for good reasons. Florence Henderson was still competing on Dancing with the Stars. Rose Marie (The Dick Van Dyke Show) had a broken hip. Only doctors orders could keep her from attending. And Alison Arngrim (Little House on the Prairie) had a gig in Paris.
Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless) was there and did a great job extolling Harlan’s accomplishments. In addition to being a great press agent Boll’s been a performer, public speaker, author, and has traveled as an honorary ambassador of arts and culture to the Peoples Republic of China. He has produced and directed projects, including the recently Emmy nominated PSA’s for the Channing-Killijian Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Smithsonian Institutes’ tribute to the Legendary Ladies of Stage & Screen.
Enlisting help from industry personalities, he has helped raise awareness for important issues and causes. Boll currently sits on committees and advisory boards for various charities including The Actors Fund, The Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve, the Channing-Kullijian Foundation for the Arts, and the National Association to Protect Children. So it was fitting that he was honored by the SCMPC organization, founded in 1936 to promote the best in entertainment.
“I had initially thought this was a humanitarian award, and got concerned when I realized it was a Lifetime Achievement honor,” Harlan humbly said. “As I looked over the achievements they listed in my profile, I thought of all the people it took to accomplish them. So the award is for all the people who have been along for the ride. Never has an acknowledgment of efforts by so many, been represented by so few — myself.”
Surrounded by his famous friends for at group picture after the honor was bestowed, Harlan just beamed, “I am so thankful.”