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Terri Nunn's journey to Berlin almost got sidetracked in 'Dallas'

Published Apr. 30, 2017

Epcot has booked an impressive lineup of acts for its 2017 International Flower and Garden Festival this spring, but we're betting none of them features as much of a Disney fanatic as Terri Nunn, whose band Berlin performs April 30 and May 1. (Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 our the full interview.)

"Walt Disney is the only autograph I've asked for and gotten," Nunn said during a phone interview earlier this month. "I was 8 years old and I saw Walt Disney at Disneyland in front of It's a Small World ride. He was getting out of a car with his family and I knew it was him and I ran over and he put his hand out and I found something for him to sign. To this day, it's the only autograph I've ever asked for."

A decade letter, Nunn would join the New Wave band Berlin in Los Angeles and go on to record a slew of memorable hits in the '80s, including No More Words, The Metro and Masquerade. In 1983, she and the band performed before a half million fans at the US Festival - "one of the greatest days of my whole life," Nunn calls it. She still has the T-shirt from the event framed on a wall in her home.

"It was surreal," she recalled of the day performed she alongside David Bowie, U2 and Stevie Nicks. "It was such a sea of people, we couldn't see the end of it."

In 1986, Berlin scored their only chart-topper to date: the love theme for the Top Gun soundtrack - Take My Breath Away.

Alas, the success of that ballad - a drastic departure from the band's sound to date - contributed to Berlin's breakup in 1987. But now, 30 years later later, the band is enjoying a renaissance thanks to glowing concert reviews and a steady stream of invitations to perform on special events like The 80s Cruise and '80s in the Sand. It's even led original members John Crawford and Dave Diamond to rejoin the act. A new album is also in the works.

For Nunn, it's seemingly an unlikely second act for someone who originally pursued a career in acting. She once famously auditioned for the part of Princess Leia alongside Harrison Ford in Star Wars before landing guest spots on TV series such as Barnaby Jones and Lou Grant. An offer to join the cast of another series changed her career for good.

"It was a crossroads in my life; we all have them. A casting director of a show called Dallas happened to know me and sold me somehow to the producers of the series, which had not started yet," Nunn said. "There wasn't even an audition. They said, 'Do you want to do this role and do you want this contract and want this money?' And it was for seven years. And I was 17."

She turned down the part of Lucy (which ultimately went to Charlene Tilton) and chose music instead.

"No, not at all! I mean, I lost my agent immediately. My manager dropped me. So I had nothing. And then at least I had nothing to lose anymore," she said. "And it was literally a year later that I met John Crawford and Berlin. He needed a singer and I liked what he was doing. It just worked out."

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To this day, she says she still is in awe of those who make a living in acting.

"I have a huge respect for anyone who can act well. It's a craft. It's hard. It's emotionally exhausting," she said. "But it's not like music. Music is just fun, pleaseureable, overwhelming ... And being inside it, there's nothing like that."

IF YOU GO: Berlin at Epcot's 2017 International Flower and Garden Festival. April 30 and May 1. Show times are at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. & 8 p.m. each night. Concerts are included with regular park admission to Epcot.

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