EXPIRED: 05/07/10 – Babz Chula, 64, was born Barbara Zuckerman in suburban Boston and grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Jamaica, New York. So it’s interesting that such an East Coast girl would land as far West as Vancouver and call it home. But she did and it was.
Her early years were difficult because of the death of her father, Larry Zuckerman, who as a stock car driver, was killed in a racing accident. Her mother, Abby, a 24 year old booking agent, moved the family to Los Angeles where there was the promise of more work in the entertainment biz.
Chula gravitated towards acting and singing, and won a scholarship to the California Institute of the Arts. After graduating she returned to New York where she tried to carve out a career as a folk singer. But the West Coast lured her back and she eventually settled in British Columbia where Hollywood found they could make television and movies for less money.
Chula found a career here. She earned the 2001 Canadian Gemini Award for Best Actress in a Continuing Series for CBC’s These Arms of Mine. Known as the West Coast’s “Indie Film Queen”, her collaborations with Director Bruce Sweeney in Dirty, Live Bait and Last Wedding earned her accolades from international film festivals, including the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival. She also won a Canadian Leo Award for her performance in the short film Love Charm. Other feature films include The Date, North of Pittsburgh, Run, In Search of the Last Good Man, American Boyfriends, Immediate Family, Cousins, The Accused, Runaway and My American Cousin. She was a series regular on the television series Madison and The Commish and is the voice of many familiar cartoon characters.
Chula also received the Artistic Achievement Award by the Vancouver Women in Film Society in 1995.
In 2008, a group of actors and artists in Vancouver created the Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society which raised money for Chula’s cancer treatment.
She passed surrounded by friends, family and fans.