Actress Jean Smart receives Walk of Fame star

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HOLLYWOOD — A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled April 25 honoring actress Jean Smart for a career in which she has received 11 Emmy nominations for her work on nine series, winning four times.

The actress best known for “Designing Women” but who currently stars in the HBO comedy “Hacks” was joined by actor and longtime friend Joe Mantegna and “Hacks” co-star Hannah Einbinder for the ceremony in front of the El Centro Apartments and Bungalows at 6150 Hollywood Blvd.

“Thank you to the Walk of Fame Committee for this iconic Hollywood tradition [and] honor,” Smart said. “I’m so flattered and so honored.”

Later, in an interview, Smart said, “I’m still kind’ve blown away, … I’ll have to come to Hollywood more often and walk down this street!”

And, she added, “It’s a thrill — I mean, my God, it’s a permanent thing in the street.”

Both Mantegna and Einbinder spoke at the ceremony as well — with both noting Smart’s generosity.

“This day, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce does itself proud by bestowing this well-deserved star to Jean Smart,” Mantegna said. “But as you can imagine, there’s a story behind every one of the hundreds of stars that populate these streets.”

Mantegna became emotional when he added, “Yes, Jean has earned this star for her accomplishments as an actress. But the story behind the star is that she is equally deserving to be honored for who she has been as a beloved wife to my dearest friend, a fantastic mother to two wonderful children and a loving, generous and compassionate friend to all of us who know and love her. And I won’t apologize for being Italian and shedding a few tears.”

For her part, Einbinder said, “Jean has taken such extensive care of me and everyone she holds dear, it’s just who she is. She is generous and accommodating and patient and level-headed. … That is precisely why she is so marvelous.

“Her humor comes from the light within her soul, not the darkness,” Einbinder said. “It comes not from her ego but from her desire to make others feel good. I can’t tell you how rare that is.”

The ceremony comes 17 days before the May 12 second-season premiere of “Hacks,” for which Smart won an outstanding lead actress in a comedy series Emmy in September for her portrayal of legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance — who forms a dark mentorship with an entitled, outcast 25-year-old writer (Einbinder).

The Emmy made Smart the second actor to win an Emmy in the comedy lead, supporting and guest actress categories, joining Betty White.

Smart also was nominated for an outstanding supporting actress in a limited or anthology series or movie in 2021 for her role as Helen Fahey, the mother of police detective Marianne “Mare” Sheehan (Kate Winslet) in “Mare of Eastown,” but lost to castmate Julianne Nicholson.

Smart won her first Emmy in 2000 for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for portraying Frasier Crane’s unrequited high school crush on “Frasier.” She won her second Emmy the following year reprising the role.

Smart won a best supporting actress in a comedy Emmy in 2008 for playing the mother of the title character (Christina Applegate) in “Samantha Who?”

Smart received outstanding supporting actress in a drama series and outstanding guest actress in a drama series Emmy nominations in 2006 and 2007 for her portrayal of first lady Martha Logan on the Fox counter-terrorism drama “24.”

Smart received outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie Emmy nominations in 2016 for “Fargo” and 2020 for “Watchmen” and outstanding guest actress in a drama series nominations in 2001 and 2012 for her appearances on “The District” and “Harry’s Law.”

Smart’s other honors include a best actress in a play Tony Award nomination in 2001 for “The Man Who Came to Dinner” and a best spoken word album Grammy nomination in 2015 for the audio book adaptation of the 1969 historical fiction novel, “Patience and Sarah.”

 

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