*Celebrities, friends and family of the legendary Dick Gregory showed to the historical Ricardo Montalban Theater earlier this month to honor the comedian and civil rights activists for a life time of work. His service recognized by his peers and fans nation wide has proved worthy of induction onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The red carpet positioned outside, in front of the theater along Vine Street was studded with star comedians and entertainers who came to pay tribute to a wise elder who’s shared his accumulated wisdom from civil rights experiences and observations trickling down to dietary and health advise. One after the other they spoke of thoughtful sayings that Gregory gave them along the way.
“It’s a blessing that we still have these brothers and sisters around so that they can give us the first hand knowledge of [civil rights occurrences during that era,] ‘Selma’ actor, Omar Dorsey.
Comedian Chris Tucker hosted the event and told jokes and communicated with Gregory from the Montalban stage. The 82-year-old legend, still spry and good looking is an example of the benefits of healthy living. “He must be doing something right, Tucker said. Look at him.”
It took $30,000 to secure Gregory’s star onto the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Thanks to radio show host and activist Joe Madison. After years of applying and the final success, he took to the radio and raised the money in two weeks. As a result Dick Gregory’s is the 2, 542nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to Madison. Gregory’s star is in the category of live theatre/performance. He was inducted February 2, 2015 one day before the all star toast.
“I’m glad I get to hang around him. The guys got a lot of wisdom. He’s been doing this forever and I’m honored to be a part of anything that he’s doing… Yesterday he gave me a lecture it was the coolest thing ever. I was like I’m getting a lecture by Dick Gregory. That was like awesome,” ‘Selma’ actor, Keith Standfield said.
As to what he thought about the activist finally getting a star he said, “I think it’s awesome. He’s always been a star in my mind. So this is just validation for those who don’t know.”
A host of comedians got up to speak and perform sets in tribute that night for Gregory, including Luenell, Ron G, Yvonne Stickney, Flex Alexander, Michael Colyar, John Sally, Tommy Davidson, Terry Hodges and Rob Schneider. The respect and admiration for their elder, Gregory was apparent. It was clear that each was proud to attend and honor the legend.
“There’s no greater source of happiness than giving yourself to other people,” said Lamman Rucker, speaking of something that Gregory shared with him that stuck.
And for decades that’s what Gregory did. Give of himself even at the risk of putting his life on the line and sacrificing earnings in order to ‘stand for something.’ Still funny, when Gregory spoke he maintained the attention of the audience. A majority of the 970 seats of the theater were full. And the audience was quiet while the legend entertained except for earned bursts of laughter in response to his quips.
As to what he thought about finally getting his star, Gregory said: “It’s good because it means a cult is breaking down. It didn’t take me so long because I deserved it after so long. I been done deserved it. But in America when you’re a bad boy that’s the price you pay. When I was in the civil rights movement, I could’ve been killed. So I don’t have no problem waiting this long for a star.”
He wore an off white suit and sat in a director’s type chair still strong and effective. He delivered his response to the tribute and also lines of comedy and he made the room rumble with laughter.
It could be thought that the elder passed the baton when he brought his 13-year-old grandson up to the stage with him and announced that ‘My grandson will speak for the family.’ Later his daughter sang, too.
The toast proved an event to remember and is now billed as an historical occurrence. The all star tribute and toast benefits the Dick Gregory Foundation.
Watch EURweb’s exclusive red carpet interviews below. Stay tuned through to the end for an up close with Dick Gregory.
Watch Dick Gregory pass the baton to his grandson. Plus, stay tuned as Dick Gregory returns and takes the mic.
Dick Greogory’s All Star Tribute and Toast Photo Gallery
Photo and video credit: Billie Jordan