Viola Davis finally got her star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actress was honored on Thursday January 5th with the first Walk of Fame star to be issued in 2017.
Davis planned to treat the event nonchalantly and deliver a straightforward speech but that quickly changed when she hit the podium. The actress delivered an emotional speech that mentioned her late father. “I was going to treat this like every other day. I wasn’t going to cry or anything. The only thing I could think about is my dad,” she told the gathered crowd. “I wish he were here.” Her father died in 2006.
Davis then reflected on her upbringing in Rhode Island saying, “The only picture I have of myself as a kid in kindergarten is with a little … sucker and an expression that’s not really a smile, not really a frown, just something. But every time I look at the little girl, I always thought, ‘Oh, that’s a cute outfit but she was always hungry, she was always shy, she was always kind of in the background, but inside she had big dreams bursting. And the only thing I could think about is that saying, ‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly’.”
Longtime friend of Davis, Oscar winner Meryl Streep (the two starred in Doubt together), also spoke at the presentation. “Viola Davis is possessed of a blazing, incandescent talent and she is the most generous, present person I know. The thing Viola can’t do is be invisible. She just can’t do it. She can’t fade away; she can’t recede; she can’t be forgettable. Viola Davis is inevitable. She is like a sure thing, and her star has been waiting here patiently for 50 years for her.”
Viola Davis later returned the compliment, saying “I cannot believe my life right now that Meryl Streep spoke at my Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony with my handsome husband and a beautiful daughter.”
The actress has an impressive resume that includes an Emmy Award for “How to Get Away with Murder,” which returns for its third season Jan. 19. She also has a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the screen adaptation of Fences, which is playing in theaters now.
“In the moment, it hit me,” Davis said. “So many moments since I turned 50 … it’s doing the work, and as a result of the work, my life is coming to fruition.”
Watch her full speech here:
Congratulations to Viola! Let’s hope the next 50 years are just as fruitful for her.