Category Archives: Hollywood Legends and Memories

DAVID DUCHOVNY HONORED WITH STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

Hollywood, Calif. – The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored actor David Duchovny  with the 2,572nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, January 25.  The star in the category of Television was dedicated at 6508 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the FOX Theatre.
Hollywood Chamber to Honor David Duchovny with Walk of Fame Star

Helping Emcee and Hollywood Chamber President/CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star was “X-Files” creator/director/executive producer Chris Carter and comedian Garry Shandling. “Fans were thrilled that their favorite actor David Duchovny was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“He is beloved by audiences worldwide for his television and film work,” stated Ana Martinez, Producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

Born and raised in New York City, Duchovny attended Princeton University where he played one season as shooting guard on the school’s basketball team. He received his Master’s Degree in English Literature from Yale and was on the road to earning his Ph.D. when he caught the acting bug.

Subsequently, Duchovny emerged to become one of the most highly acclaimed actors in Hollywood. The star of 20th Century Fox Television’s international monster hit  “The X-Files,” he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, he was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his highly acclaimed and some say risqué appearances on “The Larry Sanders Show.” In January 1997, he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He has been nominated for a total of three Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild and a TV Critic’s Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. The press and the public both agree that Duchovny brings a fierce intellect, a quiet intensity and an acerbic wit to his roles on both the small screen and the silver screen.

Fans were happy to know that thirteen years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of “The X-Files” returned  with a thrilling, six-episode event series from creator/executive producer Chris Carter, with stars Duchovny and Gillian Anderson re-inhabiting their roles as iconic FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.  This marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

The two-Night Season Premiere aired Sunday, January 24 and Monday, January 25 and the series will air in its Monday 8 PM timeslot.

Since “The X-Files” debuted, millions and millions of self-proclaimed “X-Philes” spent their Sunday nights wide-eyed in anticipation as their hero, the brilliant and sullen FBI agent Fox Mulder, explored cases deemed unbelievable or unsolvable by the Bureau. Duchovny’s remarkable performance on   “The X-Files” earned him the title of “Zeitgeist Icon” by Laura Jacobs in The New Republic, and “the first Internet sex symbol with hair” by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times.

Duchovny added the role of director to his already extensive list of accomplishments when he wrote, directed and starred in three critically acclaimed episodes of “The X-Files,” titled “The Unnatural,” which starred Jessie Martin; and “Hollywood A.D.”, starring Garry Shandling and actress Tea Leoni, and “William”. Other directing credits include the Fox hit series “Bones,” as well as, six episodes of “Californication.”

Duchovny’s passion for renegade films has brought him critical acclaim for his performances in the feature films “Kalifornia,” in which he co-starred opposite Brad Pitt; “The Rapture,” the controversial film directed by Michael Tolkin in which Duchovny starred opposite Mimi Rogers; and “Julia Has Two Lovers,” in which he turned in a much heralded performance as a telephone hustler. Duchovny played Roland “Rollie” Totheroh, Charlie Chaplin’s longtime confidante and cameraman in the Sir Richard Attenborough directed  “Chaplin,” which starred Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role; and starred in the smash hit “Beethoven,” opposite Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt. Feature credits include the Dreamworks action-comedy “Evolution,” opposite Julianne Moore and directed by Ivan Reitman, the MGM romantic-comedy “Return To Me,” opposite Minnie Driver, directed by Bonnie Hunt. “The X-Files” movie, and “Playing God,” with Timothy Hutton and Angelina Jolie. David went on to appear in a hilariously funny cameo in Ben Stiller’s film “Zoolander.”

David is still recognized for his role as Dennis/Denise Bryson, the transvestite detective in David Lynch’s breakthrough television series “Twin Peaks.”  Duchovny also spent four seasons as the impassioned narrator of Zalman King’s erotic anthology series Red Shoe Diaries,” which began as a feature length telefilm for Showtime.

In 2002, he starred in the Miramax ensemble comedy “Full Frontal,” for director Steven Soderbergh, co-starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney. David made brief returns to television, first appearing in good friend Bonnie Hunt’s show “Life With Bonnie,” in which he guest starred as over-the-top weatherman Johnny Volcano, for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2003. Following that, he made a memorable appearance on “Sex And The City,” as an ex-flame of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw character.

He made his feature directorial debut in 2005 with “House Of D” which he also wrote and appeared in. The film, which starred Robin Williams and Anton Yelchin, vividly captured the spirit of youth in all its joy and heartbreak.

Other feature credits include “Trust The Man,” “The TV Set,” “Things We Lost In The Fire,” “The Secret,” “The X-Files: I Want To Believe,” and “The Joneses.”

Duchovny ventured onto the stage starring off Broadway in Neil LaBute’s play “The Break Of Noon” in which he reunited with his “X-Files: I Want To Believe” co-star Amanda Peet.

Next, he worked on the independent features “Goats” opposite Vera Farmiga, Ty Burrell, Graham Phillips and Dakota Johnson; “Phantom” opposite Ed Harris and the independent feature “Louder Than Words” opposite Hope Davis and Timothy Hutton.

His other long-running series “Californication” ended its 7-year run in Summer of 2015 for Showtime. Hank Moody marked another seminal character portrayed by Duchovny that has made it’s its way into our pop culture lexicon, and for whose portrayal he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy series.

Duchovny recently released his first studio album for ThinkSay Records which is being distributed by Caroline, and is available for download on iTunes.

His first novel Holy Cow was released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in February 2015 and hit The New York Times® Best Sellers list. Hisnext book called Bucky Fu##ing Dent will be published on April 5th.

Earlier this year he was seen in the Tomorrow Studios /NBC series “Aquarius,” which he executive produced and in which he stars. The complete series was released on premiere day on NBC.com, the NBC app and VOD.  He is currently shooting the 2nd Season of “Aquarius” for NBC.

Duchovny supports several charities including his recent hosting of “Red Nose Charity Day” to raise money for impoverished children in the U.S.

Story by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

 

 

HOLLYWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND WALK OF FAMER DAVE KOZ ANNOUNCE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME HONOREES FOR CLASS OF 2016

Hollywood, Calif.A new group of entertainment professionals in Motion Pictures, Television, Live Theatre, Radio and Recording have been selected to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, These honorees were chosen from among hundreds of nominations to the committee at a meeting held back in June and ratified by the Hollywood Chamber’s Board of Directors.  Musician and Walk of Famer Dave Koz announced the new honorees alongside Leron Gubler, President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Maureen Schultz, Chair of the Walk of Fame Selection Committee. The new selections were revealed to the world via live stream exclusively on the official website www.walkoffame.com.

“The Walk of Fame Selection Committee is excited to announce our newest honorees to the Walk of Fame. After much deliberation, we feel that we have selected a great group of talent for this coveted award. Fans from around the world will be thrilled to hear that their favorite celebrities will be honored on our world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame,” stated Schultz. “We look forward to welcoming these great talents to our Walk of Fame family.”

The Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2016 are:

In the category of MOTION PICTURES:
Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Ashley Judd, Michael Keaton, Kurt Russell, Quentin Tarantino, and Toshiro Mifune (posthumous)

In the category of TELEVISION:
Barbara Bain, Kathy Bates, Roma Downey, David Duchovny, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, Debra Messing, Tracy Morgan, Gary Sinise, and William S. Paley (posthumous)

In the category of RECORDING:
Shirley Caesar, LL Cool J, Cyndi Lauper, Adam Levine, Bruno Mars, Joseph B. ‘Joe’ Smith, Itzhak Perlman, ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot (posthumous)

In the category of RADIO: Ralph Lawler

In the category of LIVE THEATRE/LIVE PERFORMANCE:
Angélica María, Harvey Fierstein, and Kevin Hart

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and its Walk of Fame Selection Committee congratulate all the honorees. Dates have not been scheduled for these star ceremonies. Recipients have two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before they expire. Upcoming star ceremonies are normally announced ten days prior to dedication on the official website www.walkoffame.com.

LL COOL J
TO BE HONORED WITH
STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

WHO:        Honoree: LL COOL J

Emcee:      Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
Guest speakers: Queen Latifah and Sean “Diddy” Combs

WHAT:      Dedication of the 2,571st star on the Walk of Fame
                   in the category of Recording

WHERE:    6901 Hollywood Boulevard 
                   in front of the Hard Rock Cafe

WHEN:      Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. PST

Event will be live-streamed exclusively on www.walkoffame.com

Hollywood Chamber to Honor LL Cool J with Walk of Fame Star

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that LL COOL J will be honored with the 2,571st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 21, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. PST. The star in the category of Recording will be dedicated at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Hollywood’s Hard Rock Cafe. “LL COOL J is one of the most popular recording artists. He has a huge following and we are proud to honor him on the Walk of Fame.” stated Ana Martinez, Producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

Helping Emcee and Hollywood Chamber President/CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star will be Queen Latifah and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

LL COOL J is an entertainment icon who has found great success crossing into multiple mediums. A two-time Grammy® Award winner, recording artist, talented actor, NAACP Image Award winner, entrepreneur and philanthropist, LL continues to display his wide range of talents with every project.

Celebrating 30 years since he first burst onto the scene, LL COOL J continues his vibrant, trailblazing career. LL COOL J began in the nascent, burgeoning rap and hip hop scene of the 80s, which developed into the musical and cultural phenomenon that is today’s hip hop. All the while, LL COOL J has remained a musical and cultural force, a living icon and a significant, relevant artist still churning out the hits.

First introduced to the world in 1984 as a Def Jam Records flagship artist, LL is the first rap artist to amass ten consecutive platinum-plus selling albums, in addition to 2004’s “THE DEFINITION” and 2006’s “TODD SMITH” which both went Gold.  The multi-platinum artist and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee is currently tied for third place for mostBillboard chart debuts by a rapper. In 2008, LL released his critically acclaimed album “EXIT 13,” his appropriately titled 13th and last album for the only label he has called home – Def Jam Recordings. USA Today put it best when they said, “He may be hitting the Exit, but he is not easing up on the gas.” Continuing his musical expedition three decades after he first released music, LL most recently released his critically-acclaimed 14th studio album, “AUTHENTIC.”With this album, the multi-platinum artist returned to the studio and kicked the volume up to create a powerful album that came from his true passion for music and would speak to his fans. LL scored his 13th Top-10 Album on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart with AUTHENTIC.

As an actor, LL COOL J has successfully transitioned to one of the consistently highest rated shows on television. He currently stars in the CBS hit primetime drama series, “NCIS: LOS ANGELES,” which is in its seventh season. Lauded as one of the most successful show launches ever, and sold into syndication after only seven episodes, his performance on the show has garnered him a NAACP Image Award four years in a row, from 2011 to 2014, for his role of ‘Special Agent Sam Hanna.’ The show is licensed in more than 200 territories around the world and translated or dubbed into dozens of languages. He previously won an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Male Artist” in 2003 and hosted the show in 2007.

Previously, LL had a dramatic and critically acclaimed performance on the second season premiere of FOX’s hit drama “House.” He also guest starred on the NBC comedy “30 Rock” in a memorable performance as hip hop mogul ‘Ridiculous’.

LL can currently be seen hosting and producing the Jimmy Fallon-executive produced new show Lip Sync Battle on Spike TV, which premiered in April 2015 as Spike TV’s most-watched original program ever. The series was renewed for a second season just weeks after its premiere and returned on January 7, 2016.

LL has hosted the GRAMMY® Awards for the past four years in a row, for which he has earned rave reviews. He returns as the host of the 2016 Awards on February 15, 2016 on CBS and has also hosted and produced the GRAMMY® Nominations Concert Live Special for the past seven years and has also been a presenter at the Emmy®, Golden Globe®, and SAG Awards.

Over the years, LL has appeared in more than 30 films and starred opposite acclaimed actors such as Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell in Sony Pictures blockbuster “S.W.A.T.;” Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz in Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday;” and Gabrielle Union in Focus Features’ “Deliver Us from Eva.” Other film credits include “Rollerball,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Kingdom Come,” “In Too Deep,” “Toys,” “Slow Burn” with Ray Liotta and “Eddison” with Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. He also received a Blockbuster Award for best comedic performance as the ‘Chef’ in Renny Harlin’s blockbuster action film “Deep Blue Sea.” He also starred in Paramount Pictures’ “Last Holiday,” opposite Queen Latifah, which was lauded by fans and critics alike and proved to be a box office draw. He was most recently seen starring opposite Academy Award®-winner Robert De Niro in “Grudge Match.”

LL has always been an avid philanthropist involved in numerous causes including literacy for kids as well as music and arts programs in schools. Celebrating its 12th Anniversary this year, his charity “Jump & Ball” – which takes place every August in his hometown of Queens, New York – aims to give back to his local community by offering a five-week athletic and team building program dedicated to bringing wholesome fun to young people.

 

Musings on the life of beloved comic icon, Joan Rivers

By Margie Anne Clark

Words cannot express the sadness at the untimely death of Joan Rivers, she will be greatly missed. She’d probably be joking about it, but sadly there are few if any comics left that could say it as dead on and funny as she could.

Joan Rivers fan, Margie Anne Clark, talking with the comic icon at her book singing of Diary of a Mad Diva at Barnes and Noble the Grove Los Angeles in the summer of 2014.
Margie Anne Clark getting ready for a fan picture while talking with the legendary Joan Rivers at the comic icon’s book signing of ‘Diary of a Mad Diva’ at Barnes and Noble Bookseller at the Grove Los Angeles on July 10, 2014.  The event attracted throngs of fans, young and old alike.

She was a force of nature – smart, witty, intelligent, always making such clever connections in her jokes and it’s sad that she had to go out this way when she was in such good health and at the top of her game. But maybe she would have had it no other way …. Her ‘Fashion Police’ attracted a multi-generational audience. She was loved by young and old alike. She was too young to go, she was one of a kind. She was a Joan Ranger in the truest sense that no matter how old you are, you can always work and bring good to the world. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to meet her, she was so great to her fans at her book signings. She said it best: “What pleasure you feel when you’ve kept people happy for an hour and a half. They’ve forgotten their troubles. It’s great. There’s nothing like it in the world. When everybody’s laughing, it’s a party.” – Miss you tons Joan Rivers! This Joan Ranger salutes you! 

Disney’s ‘Lion King’ returns to the Los Angeles at the Pantages in Hollywood, circle of life continues in time for the holidays.

News from the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood

The Los Angeles –  return of Disney’s THE LION KING opened Friday at at the Hollywood Pantages for a limited eight-week engagement through January 12, 2014.  Hollywood Pantages General Manager Martin Wiviott says “The Circle of Life is once again complete as THE LION KING returns to its Los Angeles home.  From its initial debut here in 2000 until now, the excitement and enthusiasm for this spectacular stage production hasn’t diminished, but has instead grown by leaps (of the gazelles) and bounds.  All of us here at the Hollywood Pantages look forward to a holiday season full of good cheer and great theatre.  Welcome home, Lion King!”

Individual tickets for THE LION KING may be purchased online at www.HollywoodPantages.com or www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 1-800-982-2787.  Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Hollywood Pantages Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets.  The Hollywood Pantages is located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, just east of Vine Street, and the box office opens daily at 10am except for holidays.  Groups of 15 or more may inquire about pricing and availability by visiting www.PantagesGroups.com or calling 1-866-755-3075.  Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

 The Holiday Performance Schedule is as follows: November 29 – December 1, 2013: Friday at 2pm & 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm and Sunday at 1pm.  December 23, 2013 – January 5, 2014: Monday & Thursday at 7:30pm,Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 2pm and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm.

Photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy Pantages Theatre

THE LION KING began as a 1994 animated feature-length film developed and produced by the Walt Disney Company.  The story, a coming of age parable set among animals indigenous to its setting, the African savanna, tells the tale of Simba, the lion cub who rises to be the King of the jungle.

The production features Patrick R. Brown as “Scar”, L. Steven Taylor as “Mufasa”, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as “Rafiki”, Nick Cordileone as “Timon”, Andrew Gorell as “Zazu”, Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa”, Jelani Remy as “Simba”, Nia Holloway as “Nala”, Keith Bennett as “Banzai”, Rashada Dawan as “Shenzi” andRobbie Swift as “Ed.”

The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between Jordan A. Hall and Nathaniel Logan McIntyre, and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Nya Cymone Carter and Zyasia Jadea Page.

The North American touring productions of THE LION KING have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers and grossed over $1 billion to date.  Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its Los Angeles return at Hollywood Pantages.

ABOUT THE LION KING

In its 17th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant; it is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 21 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 104 years.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years.  Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, in Tokyo and on tour in Japan, in London’s West End and on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg, Madrid and Sao Paolo.  To date, THE LION KING has played 98 cities in 17 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

 

Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the stage production of THE LION KING has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the two highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.

The award-winning musical will celebrate a new milestone in December 2013 when it returns to Australia, making it the tenth concurrent worldwide production ofTHE LION KING, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history.

THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony® Awards:  Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical.  THE LION KING has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success.  The first woman to win a Tony® Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show in Las Vegas, Madrid and the UK tour and just completed casting the Brazilian production in Sao Paolo.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from “Rhythm of the Pride Lands,” an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer.  The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”

The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.  Other members of the creative team include:  Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

THE LION KING has a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes, including intermission, and is recommended for ages 6 and up.  (Please note that all persons entering the theatre, regardless of age, must have a ticket.)

Prices are subject to change without notice.

 

For more information on THE LION KING, please visit www.LionKing.com.

 

For tickets or more information about the Los Angeles engagement of Disney’s THE LION KING, please visit the Hollywood Pantages’ official website,www.HollywoodPantages.com.

 

 

 

 

 

LISTINGS INFORMATION

 

Dates:                                       NOVEMBER 20, 2013 – JANUARY 12, 2014

                                               

Theatre:                                    HOLLYWOOD PANTAGES
                  6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

 

Performance Schedule:            Tuesday - Thursday at 7:30pm

                  Friday at 8pm

Saturday at 2pm & 8pm

Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm

Weekday Matinees at 1pm on 11/27 & 1/8/14

 

Holiday Performances: November 29 – December 1, 2013

                  Friday at 2pm & 8pm

                  Saturday at 2pm & 8pm

                  Sunday at 1pm

 

                  December 23, 2013 – January 5, 2014

                  Monday & Thursday at 7:30pm

                  Friday & Saturday at 8pm

                  Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 2pm

                  Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm

 

Running Time:                         2 Hours and 40 Minutes including Intermission

 

Parental Advisory:                    Recommended for Ages 6 and Up

All persons entering the theatre, regardless of age, must have a ticket

 

Tickets:                                    Online:              HollywoodPantages.com or Ticketmaster.com

Phone:              1-800-982-2787

In Person:         Pantages Box Office (opens daily at 10am) and all Ticketmaster Outlets

Ticket prices subject to change without notice

Description:  Experience the phenomenon of Disney’s THE LION KING. Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by award-winning director Julie Taymor, whose visual images for this show you’ll remember forever. Thrill to the pulsating rhythms of the African Pridelands and an unforgettable score including Elton John and Tim Rice’s Oscar®-winning song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life.”  Good Morning America calls it “The most exciting, most inventive, most moving theater that has ever come to Broadway!” Let your imagination run wild at the Tony Award®-winning Broadway sensationNewsweek calls “a landmark event in entertainment.”

LATE KING OF SWING LOUIS PRIMA HONORED ON HOLLYWOOD’S WALK OF FAME’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY STREET FESTIVAL

LATE KING OF SWING LOUIS PRIMA HONORED ON HOLLYWOOD’S WALK OF FAME’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY STREET FESTIVAL - JULY 26, 2010

By Margie Anne Clark
Hollywood, Calif. – Louis Prima must have been smiling in heaven as his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Sunday, on what would have been the iconic King of Swing’s 100th birthday.

Set amidst the bustling backdrop of the Ricardo Montalban Theater on Hollywood and Vine, the unabashed spirit of Prima shook the pavement as the late jazz singer’s son, Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses – and the lovely Sarah Spiegel dazzled the crowd with such familiar ballads as “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “Buona Sera, Zooma-Zooma,” “Jump,Jive And Wail.” Prima’s children, Louis Prima Jr. and Lena Prima accepted the Star on behalf of their legendary father.

The late Prima’s centennial star unveiling coincided with the day-long “Walk the Walk” Community Festival in Hollywood Honoring the Hollywood Walk Of Fame’s 50th Anniversary.

Louis Prima remains one of the greatest contributors to popular music and a powerful entertainment influence during the past eight decades.

Pictured above, Louis Prima Jr. poses by his father’s star and trumpet on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star unveiling was held in conjunction with the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s 50th anniversary and in commemoration of what would have been Louis Prima’s 100th birthday.  (Photo by Margie Anne Clark, Los Angeles Life and Style/City Life Communications.)

A new era of music began when Louis left his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana and launched his recording career in 1933 in Chicago with upbeat renditions of Dinah and Chinatown. He defined the early Swing Era in New York and Hollywood with his New Orleans Gang and had an incredible output of recordings and appearances in films and on stage between 1934-39.

The Prima recordings of It’s The Rhythm In Me, Lazy River, and his own immortal composition Sing, Sing, Sing (also a Benny Goodman hit) had legions of fans swing dancing from The Famous Door on 52nd Street in New York to the hottest spots in Hollywood. The swing trend escalated and grew thanks to Prima’s driving force. His music skyrocketed in popularity, eventually surpassing the sales of the number one band at the time, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Louis and his twenty-two piece orchestra scored a tremendous hit in 1944 with a million-seller entitled Angelina.

He topped the charts throughout the Big Band Era with Majestic, Hit, RCA, and Robin Hood label recordings of Robin Hood, I’ll Walk Alone, Josephina, Please No Squeeza Da Banana, Baciagaloop, Felicia No Capicia, Civilization, Oh Babe, and many others.

The King of Swing made entertainment history during this time, breaking all house attendance records wherever he performed across the nation.

During the golden age of jazz, Prima composed A Sunday Kind of Love in 1946, and the song became a hit during four decades and six different musical genres including Swing, Doo-Wop, Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, and Country! The song would appear on the charts for many other prominent artists who also recorded this Prima standard.

With his musical comedic flair, Prima was one of the founding fathers of the Las Vegas entertainment scene. He downsized his big band in 1954, and created a small group that he named The Witnesses. Prima’s shuffle beat, combined with New Orleans Jazz, was a predecessor to what became the Rock & Roll sound of the 1950s.

The string of hits on Capitol Records that followed included ‘Just a Gigolo,/I Ain’t Got Nobody, ‘Buona Sera, Zooma-Zooma, Jump,Jive, And Wail, When You’re Smiling,’ and many others. Louis was also awarded the first Grammy award in the Vocal Group category for his knockout rendition of ‘That Old Black Magic’ with Keely Smith and Sam Butera & The Witnesses in 1958.

In 1963, he fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams: Prima Magnagroove Records, his own recording studio and record company. He would record for his Prima Label from 1963 through 1975.

During his five decade career, Louis Prima recorded almost one thousand individual recordings released on 26 different labels.

Louis provided the voice of King Louie in the award-winning Disney production of The Jungle Book in 1966.The film was nominated for an Oscar, and Louis received a gold album for the soundtrack recording.

Louis Prima continued to break attendance records at The Sahara Hotel, The Sands Hotel, The Hilton and Tropicana Hotels in Las Vegas, Harrah’s Reno and Lake Tahoe, The Copacabana in New York, and prominent venues throughout the country during the 1960s and 1970s.

He also appeared constantly on every mainstream television show including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Joey Bishop Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Dean Martin Show, The David Frost Show, and many others. His final musical projects were uncompleted score and dialogue sessions for the Disney film The Rescuers.

The diagnosis of a benign brain tumor in late 1975 promptly halted his very active recording and performance schedules. The surgery that followed would send Louis into a semi-comatose state until his death in 1978.

His legend and music live on in full force. Louis’ award winning composition Sing, Sing, Sing was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1982. ASCAP posthumously awarded Louis their prestigious Songwriter’s Award for A Sunday Kind Of Love in 1989. Artists as diverse as David Lee Roth, Reba McEntire and Brian Setzer would bring Prima’s music to the top of the charts in the 80s and 90s.

In 1998 The Gap stores brought Louis to the attention of a new generation with their television commercial featuring a song that Louis wrote and recorded entitled ‘Jump, Jive an’ Wail.’

Popular modern performers such as Jessica Simpson, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Royal Crown Revue and many others have constantly covered Louis’ music.

His ground-breaking Capitol album, The Wildest, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. The Louis Prima Capitol Collectors Series compilation CD was certified gold by the RIAA and his Live From Las Vegas CD landed on the Billboard Top Jazz Album chart in 2005.

The Louis Prima Centennial Celebration is underway throughout the year of 2010 for the millions of Prima fans at special events spanning the globe, on radio stations around the world, and online.

This landmark year also brings several special honors recognizing Louis Prima for his many entertainment contributions along with his music featured in the 2010 Olympics, in several major motion pictures, television shows, commercials and video games!

Special commemorative editions of the classic and exclusive Prima Label recordings by Louis Prima now available on remastered compact discs at www.LouisPrima.com. Louis Prima, Jr. and Lena Prima continue to perpetuate their father’s grand tradition of exhilarating live performances, thrilling standing-room-only audiences from coast to coast.

For more information about Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses visit:http://louisprimajr.com/review/late-king-of-swing-louis-prima-honored-on-hollywoods-walk-of-fame/
For information on the “Walk the Walk” festival and other 50th Anniversary celebrations visit www.WalkofFame50.com.

http://louisprimajr.com/review/late-king-of-swing-louis-prima-honored-on-hollywoods-walk-of-fame/