A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame will be unveiled Friday honoring Jenifer Lewis for a television career in which she has appeared in more than 400 episodes, including being part of the casts of “black-ish” and “Strong Medicine.”
Debbie Allen and composer Marc Shaiman are set to join Lewis in speaking at the 11:30 a.m. ceremony at 6284 Hollywood Blvd., adjacent to the W Hollywood Hotel. Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said she placed the star near the star of one of Lewis’ favorite actresses, Katharine Hepburn.
Allen directed Lewis in seven episodes of the 1987-93 NBC comedy “A Different World” and the 2020 Netflix musical, “Christmas on the Square.” They were also castmates in the 1991 NBC pilot “Sunday in Paris.”
Shaiman composed the score for the 1992 film comedy “Sister Act” and its 1993 sequel, “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” which Lewis appeared in, and was the music supervisor for the 1988 comedy-drama “Beaches,” starring Bette Midler, and the first film Lewis was credited for appearing in. (She had an uncredited role in “Red Heat,” the buddy cop action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which was released earlier in 1988.)
Shaiman composed the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the long-running musical “Hairspray,” which Lewis appeared in on Broadway.
The star is the 2,726th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the first 1,558 stars.
The ceremony will be streamed on the Walk of Fame’s website, www.walkoffame.com.
Lewis scheduled the ceremony for July 15, because in the 1999 Lifetime mockumentary “Jackie’s Back!” where Lewis portrayed the fictional 1960s/70s R&B diva Jackie Washington, July 15 was Jackie Washington Day in Kinloch, Missouri, both the hometown of the character and Lewis’ birthplace.
Lewis received outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series Image Award nominations in 2021 and 2022 for her portrayal of grandmother Ruby Johnson on “black-ish” and joined her castmates in receiving Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series in 2016 and 2017.
Lewis also received Image Award nominations for outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture in 1995 for her portrayal of Tina Turner’s mother in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and 1997 for the mother of the title character portrayed by Whitney Houston in “The Preacher’s Wife,” and in 2012 for outstanding actress in a television movie, miniseries or dramatic special for Lifetime’s anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives, “Five.”
Lewis portrays shopping channel CEO Patricia Cochran on the Showtime comedy “I Love That for You,” which premiered in May. Her other television credits include a recurring role as an aunt of Will Smith’s character on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and guest-starring roles on “Friends,” “Touched by an Angel” and “Boston Legal.”
Lewis’ other film credits include “Cast Away,” “Think Like a Man” and “Dead Presidents.” She has provided voices for “Cars,” its sequels “Cars 2” and “Cars 3” and “The Princess and the Frog.”
Lewis made her Broadway debut in the 1978 revue featuring the music of jazz/swing composer Eubie Blake, “Eubie.” Lewis then accepted a position as a Harlette, a backup singer for Midler, which led to her first television appearances on Midler’s HBO specials and as a singer in “Beaches.”
Lewis’ other Broadway credits are the 1979-80 musical based on “A Christmas Carol,” “Comin’ Uptown” and the 1982 revue, “Rock ‘N Roll! The First 5,000 Years.”