Before she played the mysteriously mute inmate Norma Romano on the hit series "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix 2013-), Annie Golden had an enduring career on stage and screen spanning almost 35 years - starting with her first performance in cult movie musical "Hair" (1979).
Golden was born in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn on October 19, 1951. As the youngest of six children, she strived to standout by singing in the church and school choirs. Despite the nuns' discouragement in Catholic school to pursue more viable career options, Golden still yearned for the stage. She worked as a secretary to pay the bills until she hooked up with guitarist Artie LaMonica and formed the punk rock band The Shirts in 1971. Golden credits her powerful pipes to her days in the late '70s with the Shirts headlining the legendary New York City rock club CBGB's. While performing at the club, Golden caught the attention of Milos Forman, the director of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) who was looking to cast his film adaptation of the Broadway musical "Hair." Golden had actually been a part of the 1977 revival of the Broadway show, but it was her performance as the wide-eyed Jeannie Ryan that spurred her screen career.
Throughout her career, Golden split her time between the stage and screen, taking on featured parts in "Miami Vice" (NBC 1984-89) and "Cheers" (NBC 1982-1993) while also racking up her Playbill credits on Broadway in "Leader of the Pack" (1985), "The Full Monty" (2000-2002), "Assassins" (1990, 2003) and "Xanadu" (2008). Golden juggled her stage credits with bit parts in film and television, making guest appearances in "Law and Order" (NBC 1990-2010) and the film "I Love You Phillip Morris" (2009), starring Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey.
Despite her decades-long vocal training, Golden's largest television role yet required her to say nothing at all. As the silent sidekick of Red, the Russian inmate who runs the kitchen in "Orange is the New Black," Norma surprised the cast and viewers with her larger than life vocals during her performance of "Amazing Grace" during the season finale. A staple of the Broadway community, Golden continued to perform in various productions and signed on to appear in season two of the Emmy-nominated Netflix series.