After a four-decade career spanning television, movies and theater, Jenifer Lewis has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Debbie Allen and composer Marc Shaiman helped Lewis unveil the star on Friday, July 15, at 6284 Hollywood Blvd., near the W Hollywood Hotel.
Allen directed Lewis in several episodes of the NBC comedy A Different World and the 2020 Netflix musical, Christmas on the Square. Shaiman composed the score for the 1992 film Sister Act (1992) and the sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), in which Lewis had roles.
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Dressed in a yellow blouse and matching slacks, Lewis led the crowd in song and thanked fans for “loving and supporting” her throughout the years.
“I am honored to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” she said. The actress, singer and activist got emotional as she discussed the importance of addressing mental health issues.
“When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, somehow I found the strength and the courage to say three of the most powerful words in the English language, ‘I need help.’ So I went and got it,” she said.
Lewis, 65, was born in Missouri. After college, she moved to New York City. In 1978, she made her Broadway debut with a small role in “Eubie,” the musical based on the work of Eubie Blake.
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Her star is in the television category and Lewis has appeared in more than 400 episodes of various TV series. She’s had roles on Black-ish and Strong Medicine. Lewis currently co-stars on the Showtime comedy I Love That for You, which premiered in May. Her other television credits include a recurring role as an aunt to Will Smith’s character on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and guest roles on Friends, Touched by an Angel and Boston Legal.
She played Tina Turner’s mother in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993) and mother of the character portrayed by Whitney Houston in The Preacher’s Wife (1996). Some of other film credits include Cast Away, Think Like a Man and Dead Presidents.
She has also been honored for charity work by The Human Rights Campaign, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, The Coalition for At-Risk Youth, The Urban League, The EWOC Foundation: Exceptional Women of Color, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.