For more than two decades Barbara managed the music empire she built as Roy Orbison’s manager, keeping his legacy alive. Most recently, Barbara was exceedingly proud of the acclaimed box set she produced with Roy Kelton Orbison, Jr, titled “Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock and Roll” (Sony Legacy 2008). This 4-CD package marked the first all-inclusive body of Roy’s work from his earliest recordings to the Traveling Wilbury’s debut album, “Mystery Girl” (Virgin) and his last live performance. Throughout this time period, Barbara also became a respected businesswoman in her own right, developing a diverse music industry empire in Nashville, Tennessee. Barbara’s Still Working Music publishing company has consistently represented some of the industry’s most successful songwriters and was recently awarded BMI’S 2010 Song of the Year for Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.”
In 2009, Barbara was able to fulfill a lifelong dream with the creation of her own fragrance, Pretty Woman Perfume. She was intimately involved with every step of the development from the blend of scents and the classic design of the bottle to the international marketing sales and promotion of the perfume.
Born Barbara Anne Marie Wellhöner Jakobs in Bielefeld, Germany, Barbara was just 17 when she met Roy Orbison (32) at a nightclub in Leeds, England in 1968. Despite the “British Invasion,” American rocker, Orbison, was topping the charts in the UK as well as the U.S. with such smash hits as “Pretty Woman,” “Running Scared,” and “Crying.” Roy and Barbara married a year later in Henderson, Tennessee. They raised their three sons in Nashville and Malibu, California.
Barbara passed away of pancreatic cancer on December 6, 2011 – 23 years to the day of Roy’s passing. Orbison Productions is now carried on by her sons Wesley, Roy Jr., and Alex.