Actress Jenifer Lewis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday for a television career in which she has appeared in more than 400 episodes.
via: Daily News
The plaque sits next to late silver screen legend Katharine Hepburn, who remains one of her all time favorite actresses.
“They originally offered to place me next to a rapper and I hung up the phone on them,” the 65-year-old showbiz veteran joked to the Daily News. “It is apropos and very fitting that I am next to Katharine Hepburn. She was a rebel and she was before her time. I am totally honored, it’s amazing.”
Lewis also asked that the event take place on July 15, known as “Jackie Washington Day” to the cult-like fanbase of her TV film “Jackie’s Back.”
That 1999 mockumentary was the first lead role for the former Broadway performer and New York City cabaret star. In the star-studded slapstick comedy, she portrayed a washed-up child star on the comeback trail.
“I planned that like a b—- and was happy to do so,” Lewis said when asked whether the timing of the star unveiling event was coincidental.
“I’m glad I didn’t get this before now because I wouldn’t feel as deserving,” she said of the honor. “You know somebody said to me once, ‘You’ve never worked a day in your life,’ and I was like, ‘Whaaaat?’ But they were right, I’ve never worked, I have played in my life and showed up. I’m an entertainer, that’s what I am. People who call me an actress, they can call me whatever they want but what I am is an entertainer above all.”
During Friday’s event, Lewis wore a flowing key lime-colored outfit and dished out thank-yous and funny memories.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a cultural treasure,” she said from the podium. “People from all over the world come to see the stars. I did. It was the first place I came to when I came to Los Angeles. … So here I am, a little colored girl from a small town called Kinloch, Mo., and I will be etched in stone.”
Debbie Allen, the six-time Emmy Award winning choreographer and director, spoke on behalf of her longtime friend, calling her a “dear sister.”
“Jenifer Lewis, is and has always been a star,” she said in her remarks, adding “things happen in their own time.
“And things happen the way they’re supposed to be. And this moment right now is a great moment for all of us to share with Jennifer, that she is joining the ranks, and her name leaves an indelible mark for time, generations.”
The “Fame” star reunited with Lewis for the 2020 Netflix movie “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” after directing her in the 1990s NBC sitcom “A Different World.”
Other close friends, including composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman and “Saturday Night Live” alum Vanessa Bayer were also on hand for the festivities. Singer Brandy and former “Amen” star Roz Ryan joined Lewis in singing a impromptu rendition of “In These Streets,” — their viral hit.
“The Mother of Black Hollywood” — as Lewis is known thanks to many of the parts she’s played, and is the title of her 2017 best-selling memoir — closed out her speech with a spirited acapella version of the jazz staple “Here’s to Life” before members of the audience took out yellow fans and sang “Yield, Yield, Yield,” from “Jackie’s Back.”
“It was honest,” she said of the enduring legacy of the film. “It was funny as hell, we spoke to what life in show business truly is.”
Watch the full ceremony below.