"Nothing will Rain on My Parade!"
Emmy winning actress Susan Lucci received her terrazzo testimonial -- her very own star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame -- on January 28, 2005 at 11:30 AM. The ceremony coincided with ABC’s All My Children’s 35th anniversary. Lucci also celebrates her 35th anniversary on the popular daytime drama this year.
Soapdom was notified of the event by the head of ABC Daytime publicity. Arrangements were made for me to cover it personally, but on the day, it was pouring rain in Hollywood. I called the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to see if the event was still to occur. “Oh yes,” they assured me. So, I packed up the cameras and the only pocket umbrella I own – which happens to be a memento from the NBC soap, Passions, and headed to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Luckily, the rain subsided and I secretly hoped the sky would not open again, as I really didn’t want to use the Passions umbrella at an All My Children event. LOL
The ceremony took place in front of the Kodak Theatre at the new Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex. I walked through the mall to get to the required press location, and just happened to see Walt Willey (Jackson) having a cup of coffee in one of the trendy coffee shops nearby. Hum, I thought. The media alert stated that Lucci, AMC show creator, Agnes Nixon, Bob Iger (head honcho at Disney, I am talking “the man”) along with Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant and President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Leron Gubler, were to attend. So, what was Walt Willey doing there?
Little did I know. Many of Lucci’s past and current cast members were on hand to lend their support. Along with Walt Willey (who sported some very blond locks), Eden Riegel (Bianca), James Mitchell (Palmer), David Canary (Adam/Stuart) and Ray MacDonald (Joe, who arrived a tad late) couldn’t have been more delighted for Lucci. Speaking of Tad, Michael E. Knight was there, as was former co-star, Y&R’s Peter Bergman (Jack) and Passion’s Liza Huber (Gwen), Lucci’s daughter, who also arrived a bit on the late side and immediately embraced her mom. The two stood arm in arm as Johnny Grant began the ceremony. Phew, I thought upon seeing Liza. Now my Passions umbrella would not be that out of line! Lucci’s husband, Helmut Huber and son Andreas were likewise by her side on this monumental day, as were the usual suspects from ABC corporate, like Brian Frons, along with Soapnet's General Manager, Deborah Blackwell.
The first thing she did upon taking to the podium to accept the honor, was to thank her family. She held back a tear as she expressed her gratitude for their standing behind her throughout her career. It was so sweet to see Liza Huber capture her mom on digital camera from the sidelines. And Lucci was absolutely stunning in a shimmering silver dress with matching coat.
Hundreds of dedicated Lucci fans came out in the rain to be a part of this historic occasion. When one called out, “Susan, I love you,” she turned, smiled, gave her famous hair flip and said, “I love you, too! Thank you so much!” There were likewise hundreds of media outlets on hand.
Johnny Grant couldn’t help but comment that we were all so concerned about the rain, but “it was really God’s way of returning all of the tears that have been shed by watching daytime soaps. You got them back today,” Grant said. “That was His way of participating in Susan’s ceremony.” Grant then declared January 28, 2005 “Susan Lucci Day” in Hollywood.
Luckily, the rain held off for most of the festivities, but just as Lucci commented that she was not about to let anything “rain on her parade,” the rain came down. As we all scurried to open umbrellas, she posed for photos with her family and co-stars. “There hasn’t been one raindrop that I’ve felt today,” she enthused. “It’s a sun shinny day here in Hollywood. Thank you for this incredible honor!”
Agnes Nixon commented that Lucci was one of the most talented actors of the day, being a great comedian as well as being able to play drama and pathos. Nixon said that Lucci never ceased to surprise her each day. Bob Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company shared a very personal story. His first job with ABC was as a stage supervisor on All My Children over 30 years ago. Lucci was already a big star by then he said, and that he’s been honored to have known her all these years.
President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Leron Gubler shared that Lucci’s star was number 2,276 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and that she joins only four other daytime actors to have this distinguished honor: the late Ruth Warrick (Phoebe, AMC), the late Anna Lee (Lila, GH), Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R) and the late John Baradino (Dr. Steve Hardy, GH).
Lucci thanked everyone at the Hollywood Chamber for the incredible honor. She thanked all the fans and media for being here with her. “How thrilled I am to receive this honor in the presence of my husband, Helmut Huber, and our two children, Liza and Andreas,” she said as she choked back the tears. “They have lived this life with me every day to bring me to this place, and I am so grateful to them. I am so thankful to my friends, both personal and professional, who have traveled so far to be with me here today. I love you and I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you’re here. I must thank Agnes Nixon from the bottom of my heart for being here today, and also for seeing in me possibilities way back when. What a collaboration. What a joy. What a treasure you are in my life, Agnes. Thank you so much.”
Lucci continued to thank several others, like Disney’s Bob Iger . She said she was honored to be in such illustrious company -- Marilyn Monroe, Eva Gardner and others.
Then it was time to unveil the star. Johnny Grant guided her to the sidewalk and her star was revealed. “Ladies and gentleman,” began Grant. “We proudly welcome to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Miss Susan Lucci!”
As fans, co-workers, family and friends acknowledged the announcement with thunderous applause, Lucci clasped her heart, emotions welling as she saw it for the first time.
“Oh my goodness,” she said as she reached down to touch her star of honor, Agnes Nixon, Helmut Huber, Andreas, Liza and Ray MacDonald (Joe, AMC) by her side. Walt Willey (Jack, AMC), Eden Riegel (Bianca, AMC) and Michael E. Knight (Tad, AMC) also soon joined her as she continued to marvel at this “benchmark of her career,” as she called it.
Johnny Grant then said: “Susan, you know we would love to have you here every day, but we know that your's is a busy schedule. But we don’t want you to forget us. So, I would like to present you with this plaque.” The plaque was a framed miniature of her star. “That’s wonderful,” she exclaimed. “Thank you!”
Lucci has arguably become the most famous face in daytime television history. She has held audiences spellbound as “the woman you love to hate,” Erica Kane. In 1999, all of America stood and cheered when she won the Emmy Award for Best Actress. It was a historic moment not only for her but also for all of television. She continues to be nominated and awarded industry honors for her talent, a testament to her dedication to the craft and her passion for her work.
Last year VH-1 named her one of their “200 Top Icons of All Time.” The producers felt that her work as an overall performer had become timeless; any new endeavor would continue to add dimension to her already multi-faceted and award-winning career. Her artistic excellence allowed her the opportunity to expand luminous careers in theater cabaret and the Broadway stage. In 1999, she debuted starring as Annie Oakley in the revival of “Annie Get Your Gun.” She currently tours the country doing concerts with Regis Philbin.
Acting and singing are only two of Lucci’s many passions. She has become a successful entrepreneur, designing handbags, jewelry, clothing, hair care, and perfume for the Home Shopping Network. She has a successful beauty line called Youthful Essence and debuted her lingerie line in 2004.
Besides her busy schedule, Lucci is involved in many philanthropic causes such as Little Flowers Children’s Services of New York. She served as the March of Dimes National Ambassador in 2000 and as a celebrity spokesperson for the Academic Medicine Development Company and The New York Cancer Project. She was presented with the Linda Dano Heart Share Award for her commitment to children in 2003.
Lucci has been honored by the City of New York by being presented with a “Key to the City” by former Mayor Giuliani. She also received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and joined the 1,000 Broadway legends as her caricature became immortalized on the walls of New York’s Sardi’s Restaurant. She has been named one of E! Entertainment’s “The Top Entertainers of the Year” as well as one of Barbara Walter’s “Ten Most Fascinating People.” Her “Lifetime Intimate Portrait” aired on the Lifetime cable network in May 2003 and she recently hosted the “White House Christmas Special” for A&E. She was also a recent recipient of a MUSE Award from the New York Women in Film and Television for Lifetime Achievement. Lucci’s accomplishments and contributions to the world of television and the performing arts have truly made her an icon to millions.
Soapdom congratulates Susan Lucci on being the 5th ever daytime actor to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are sponsored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the Hollywood Historic Trust.
To visit Susan Lucci's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, go to 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in front of Hollywood & Highland. Sponsorship fee of $15,000 was paid by ABC Television.
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