Melba Moore gets star on Walk of Fame

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Wave Wire Services

HOLLYWOOD — A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Aug. 10 honoring Melba Moore for her career in live theater and live performance that has included a Tony Award and three Grammy nominations.

When she approached the podium to speak during the ceremony, Moore gave a scream of joy.

“This was never in my radar,” she said. “I never had any thoughts or dreams about being on Hollywood and Vine in pavement,” Moore said. “Seriously, it’s so amazing. I don’t really have words.”

Comedians Luenell and Katt Williams and singer-actress Freda Payne were among those joining Moore speaking at the ceremony at 1645 Vine St., near Hollywood Boulevard.

Born Oct. 29, 1945 in New York City, the daughter of big band leader Teddy Hill and singer Bonnie Davis, who had a No. 1 hit on the R&B charts with the song “Don’t Stop Now,” Moore made her Broadway debut in 1968 as part of the opening night cast of the groundbreaking musical “Hair,” initially playing Dionne, then Sheila, a role Diane Keaton also played during its initial Broadway run.

Moore received a best featured actress in a musical Tony in 1970 for her portrayal of Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins, a naive, innocent and good-hearted young woman who had been a servant in a white household and attempts to help a preacher Purlie Victorious Judson (Cleavon Little) acquire an old barn that once was used as a church in “Purlie.”

Moore’s other Broadway credits were “Timbuktu!” the musical fable based on “Kismet” that ran for six months in 1978, the comedy “Inacent Black,” which closed after 14 previews and 14 performances in 1981, and a nearly three-month stint as Fantine in “Les Misérables” in 1996, the first Black woman to play the role.

Moore received the first of her three Grammy nominations in 1971 for best new artist for her debut album “I Got Love,” losing out to the Carpenters in a field that also consisted of Elton John, Anne Murray and the Partridge Family.

Moore received a Grammy nomination in 1977 for best female R&B vocal performance for the ballad “Lean On Me.” Natalie Cole won for “Sophisticated Lady (She’s A Different Lady).”

Moore was nominated for best female rock vocal performance in 1985 for “Read My Lips.” Tina Turner won for “One Of The Living.”

Moore has released 28 albums, including 10 that made both the Billboard 200 and what were variously known as the soul, top Black albums and R&B charts.

Moore was the first solo artist to perform a non-operatic concert at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House. She also has performed at the L’Olympia Hall in Paris.

Moore and her then-husband Clifton Davis hosted the 1972 CBS summer variety series, “The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show.” She also starred in the short-lived 1986 CBS comedy “Melba.”

Moore’s other television credits include three appearances on “The Love Boat,” the 1984 CBS miniseries “Ellis Island,” four episodes of the CBS prime-time soap opera “Falcon Crest” and guest starred on “The Cosby Show.”

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