Breaking Glass

Palm Springs Women in Film & TV annual Broken Glass Awards honors women whose work shines as much it shatters limitations. Beverly D’Angelo, one of this year’s honorees, talks about ambition and staying true to the craft.

GREG ARCHER Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

Beverly D'Angelo, who starred in National Lampoon's Vacation films with Chevy Chase, will be honored by Palm Springs Women in Film & TV on Nov. 5.

The biggest star of the last decade may not be a person. It’s the proverbial glass ceiling. Women, in particular, have been busting through it — big time — lately and no matter what side of the fence you sit on politically, the general consensus is that America may be going through the most unprecedented amalgamation of ideas, ideals, and a fight for justice that trumps anything society has experienced in nearly a half-century.

Palm Springs Women in Film & TV sees this all too clearly, too. Ten years ago, it gave birth to the Broken Glass Awards (BGA’s) to honor women who have, as the group puts it, “broken through the glass ceiling” in film, television, the arts, and philanthropy. Those valiant efforts are key because they also paved the way for other creatives to follow similar suit.

Four or five women — successful pioneers in the industry — are honored annually at the awards luncheon/fundraiser. This year’s event, which takes place Nov. 5 in Rancho Mirage, is complete with red carpet fervor, and resilient women whose work and personas provoke thought and inspire courage.

Actress Sharon Stone, entertainer Kaye Ballard, author Sue Cameron, non-profit founder Selby Dunham, and actress Elizabeth McLaughlin are among honorees as is Beverly D’Angelo. The well-known actress is known for her down-to-earth theater roles, notably turns in Coal Miner’s Daughter and the National Lampoon’s Vacation films, and standout performances in TV outings, such as Entourage, Mom, Shooter, and the Netflix hit Insatiable.

“When Michael Childers called me and said, Palm Springs Women in Film & TV wants to honor you, I said, ‘But why?’” D’Angelo says with a chuckle. “To tell you the truth, I’m that kind of person who goes: ‘What makes me worthy of that?’ I thought about it a lot. I don’t have an Oscar or an Emmy, but I do know this: I lived my life and my truth, and my North Star has always been love.

“As basic as it sounds, I have always thought to be around the people that I love and do the things that I love. So this is such a deep honor.”

The term “glass ceiling” has certainly become part of the vernacular, especially as it relates to women, fair pay, and equal opportunity.

D’Angelo’s career trajectory seems to stem around a few simple yet key golden rules: Following her gut feeling and remaining true to the creative work.

“I always regarded the ambition and the fame, in and of itself, as being impure,” she says. “It’s something that denigrates the subject matter. It’s hard for me. I’m not a red carpet dweller, not a reality show speaker. I don’t look for that. Isn’t that weird? I always look for some way to make a kind of throughline in film from something that got within me.”

“We get hopeful when women speak out. It’s big for any woman to come out and say, ‘there was a time when I felt powerless.’ And then become empowered because she spoke up.”Beverly D'Angelo


In conversation, the subject matter gracefully shifts to women’s rights and the #metoo movement, in general.

“It is an extraordinary time for women,” D’Angelo notes. “I talk to men about what’s going on and say, ‘women are finding their voice, and sometimes when you find your voice, it comes out really loud.’ What I see now is that women are voicing their experiences in a way that they never could. It was typically disregarded. You couldn’t even have the conversation. So this is the opening up about conversation that women want to have.

“We get hopeful when women speak out. It’s big for any woman to come out and say, ‘there was a time when I felt powerless.’ And then become empowered because she spoke up.

As for what D’Angelo loves about acting and performing, she’s candid.

“I love the lift off … where you can soar,” she muses. “When you get in that zone and you’re just in that manifesting place and let yourself go, it’s so much fun. It’s about that flow – breathing in and then breathing out that creative expression. It’s just great.”

Beverly D’Angelo receives the 2018 Broken Glass Award at the Palm Springs Women in Film & TV luncheon at 11 a.m. Nov. 5 at Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. For more ticket information, email or call 760-238-0306.