Legendary singer Johnny Mathis was presented Wednesday with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Los Angeles City Council to begin the city’s African American Heritage Month celebration.
Mathis’ career dates back to the 1950s and he has tallied 50 songs on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart — one of only five artists ever to do so. He is best known for hits such as “Chances Are,” “Misty” and “It’s Not For Me to Say.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared before the council to present the award and introduce Mathis.
“There have been so many ways in which you have touched our lives, from those quiet moments to those sad moments, to those celebratory moments, when what you say has touched our hearts and our souls and moved us forward,” Garcetti said.
Mathis grew up in Texas but has lived in Los Angeles for decades. In 2015, the home he had lived in for 56 years in the Hollywood Hills was severely damaged by a fire.
Accepting the award, Mathis said, “I have never been so flattered in my life. This is quite a wonderful experience for me to see how the workings of our city government go. It’s given me great, great insight into the hard work that goes into things that people like me take for granted.”
“What I do comes from my dad,” he said. “I loved my dad. My dad was the best guy. He raised seven children — my mom and my dad — on domestic wages. He never knew quite where his next job was going to be. He was a singer. My brothers and sisters never listened, but I did.”
The council also recognized Los Angles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. and Los Angeles Police Commission President Matthew Johnson with “Hall of Fame” honors.
—City News Service