Tag Archives: Mickey Rooney

Remembering Johnny Grant, Hollywood’s beloved Honorary Mayor

The last time I saw Johnny: Hollywood’s Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Summer of 2007. Photo by Margie Anne Clark

By Margie Anne Clark

Hollywood, Calif. – Born May 9, 1923, Hollywood’s Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant is perhaps best remembered as one of Hollywood’s most enthusiastic supporters for more than 50 years. On Jan. 9, 2012, Hollywood marked the fourth anniversary of Grant’s passing with a wreath on his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

His legacy of service lives on and the honorary mayor remains one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons. With his signature deep radio voice and affable charm,  Grant arrived in Tinseltown as a young man during Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1940s.

“I was inspired by Mickey Rooney and the boys when I came out to Hollywood as a G.I.,” Grant told me in 2003 on his 80th birthday. “I knew I was never going to live anywhere else but here,” Grant reminisced.

Always hands on with all of his projects, Grant went on to serve as Chairman of the USO Selection Committee and the Hollywood Historic Trust. He not only created what was to become part of Hollywood’s history, but had been a long-time supporter for preserving Cinema City’s past. To that end, Grant was appointed to a four-year term on the City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Heritage Commission.

When spectacular Hollywood special events were presented, more often than not Johnny Grant could be found at the helm.  He served as chairman and executive producer of the Hollywood Centennial Celebration, orchestrating Hollywood’s year-long 100th birthday extravaganza. He added his special charm and touch to many a Hollywood Christmas Parade, helping to direct festivities and recruiting stars. During the 2004 parade, he brought me on board as a volunteer and I observed Hollywood’s honorary mayor at work driving himself on his speedy golf cart making sure everything would be on cue.

“You carefully pick your projects and give them all you’ve got,” Grant told me. “I think you’ve got to enjoy what you do, and I certainly do.”

His dedication to the USO was legendary. In service to his country, Grant holds the record for having appeared in 56 USO shows – more than anyone in Hollywood history. Grant embraced the USO from the very start when he made his first appearance in 1950 at the encouragement of his good friend Bob Hope, who marked his  his 100th birthday back on May 29, 2003.  Grant toured with Hope on numerous USO tours. Of his iconic colleague Grant said, “Bob always saw the positive side of things.”

During Hope’s 100th birthday celebration Grant reminisced, “That ski nose was more than just a prop and he could sniff out more information on the goings-on at camp upon first arriving. He always hit it right on the nose.”

Of his last USO tour to Guantánamo Bay in 2007, Grant remained a dedicated as ever. He toured the facility flanked by an entourage of beautiful Victoria Secret models – his quick sense of humor ever in place. “It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it,” Grant said.

In the last days of his life, the legendary luminary of the stars reflected, “I was born to live in Hollywood.”  He later was noted as saying; “If I died tomorrow, I know I had one of the best lives anyone could ever imagine…”

Thank you Johnny, for living your life to the fullest. Hollywood salutes you!

 

Margie Anne Clark is a Los Angeles based writer. She can be reached at  margie@losangeleslifeandstyle.com 

 

 

 

 

HOLLYWOOD’S WALK OF FAME CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY AMID A ‘CONSTELLATION OF STARS’: GALA, TIME CAPSULE WRAPS YEAR LONG CELEBRATION

By Margie Anne Clark

Hollywood, Calif. – Hollywood luminaries lit up Tinseltown Wednesday during an evening that celebrated the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s 50th anniversary – culminating a year long celebration of Hollywood’s legacy as the Entertainment Capitol of the world.

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Mickey Rooney and his wife Jan address a crowd of fans during the Hollywood Chamber’s 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood and Highland. Photo by Margie Anne Clark/Los Angeles Life and Style

Memories of the storied Hollywood Boulevard were brought vividly to life by stars whose careers spanned the Golden Era of Hollywood. Mickey Rooney and his wife Jan address a crowd of fans during the Hollywood Chamber’s 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at Hollywood and Highland. Photo by Margie Anne Clark Among the celebrity guest speakers was Mickey Rooney, an iconic actor with more than 350 film credits to his name, and four stars along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Mickey Rooney and his wife Jan salute guests after being introduced to the crowd during the festivities inside the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom. Photo by Margie Anne Clark/Los Angeles Life and Style

Rooney, a World War II veteran, flanked by his wife Jan at the podium, lauded the Hollywood community for its outstanding achievements in film and television, while giving a nod to U.S. veterans and soldiers. Rooney and his wife salute guests after being introduced to the crowd during the festivities inside the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom. Photo by Margie Anne Clark

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Mark Steines introduces Hollywood’s iconic celebrities. Photo by Margie Anne Clark/Los Angeles Life and Style
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Barbara Eden and David Hasselhoff were among the luminaries who attended the gala. Photos by Margie Anne Clark /Los Angeles Life and Style

Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart touched on her 30 year career during the cocktail portion of the evening after being introduced by her ET co-host Mark Steines. Mary Hart, host of Entertainment Tonight addresses guests. Photo by Margie Anne Clark Mark Steines introduces Hollywood’s iconic celebrities. Photo by Margie Anne Clark Barbara Eden and David Hasselhoff were among the luminaries who attended the gala. Photos by Margie Anne Clark Image and video hosting by TinyPic Throughout the evening, celebrities and dignitaries alike, bestowed praise upon Hollywood’s honorary Mayor, the late great and one and only, Johnny Grant, whose work and enthusiasm for all that is Hollwyood was instrumental in the creation of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The evening of dining, entertainment and celebration recognized all Walk of Fame Star honorees and raised funds for the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the Walk of Fame. The Chamber honored all those who have received stars on the Walk of Fame and invited all who had received their stars to participate this historic event which included the unveiling of a plaque beneath which lies a time capsule which is slated to be opened in the year 2060. A sumptuous fare of dinner was provided by Wolf Gang Puck. Presenting Sponsor for the event was Loreal Paris and the media sponsor of the evening was Entertainment Tonight. http://www.loreal.com/dispatch.aspx? http://www.etonline.com/ http://www.hollywoodchamber.net/ http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/