Wave Wire Services
HOLLYWOOD — The first outdoor Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony since March 3, 2020, was held July 9 with the long-awaited unveiling of the star honoring former “American Idol” executive producer and “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator Nigel Lythgoe.
Lythgoe was approved to receive the star in 2019. It had been scheduled to be unveiled in April 1, 2020, but the ceremony was postponed because of the ban on gatherings instituted in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It was rescheduled for Nov. 5, but postponed again.
The ceremony coincided with Lythgoe’s 72nd birthday.
“What a birthday present,” Lythgoe said at the late-morning ceremony outside the W Hollywood Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. “It’s just incredible. It’s something you could never ever have dreamed of.”
Lythgoe was preceded in speaking by his friend Priscilla Presley and his sons Kris and Simon, who both have been producers of “So You Think You Can Dance” while Simon was also a producer of “American Idol.”
Born in Lancashire in northwest England, Lythgoe and his family moved to Liverpool, where he began tap dancing when he was 11 years old. He is the only person to dance in, choreograph, direct and produce the Royal Variety Performance for Queen Elizabeth II. He has worked with such stars as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Cyd Charisse, Chita Rivera, Shirley Bassey and the Muppets.
As president of 19 Television, he developed and produced “Pop Idol,” a singing competition created by the founder of 19 Television’s parent company Simon Fuller, which aired on England’s ITV network from 2001-03. It spawned versions around the world, including “American Idol,” which Lythgoe produced from 2002-08 and 2011-13.
Lythgoe and Fuller created “So You Think You Can Dance,” which ran on Fox from 2005-19 and was a judge on the series throughout its run.
Lythgoe was awarded an Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 for his work in education, charity and the arts. He received the International Emmy Founders Award from the New York-based International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2011.
Lythgoe created BritWeek, an annual series of events celebrating British and American collaboration in film, television, music, art fashion, design, business, sports and philanthropy, and National Dance Day, which by congressional resolution designates the last Saturday in September to promote dance as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.
Lythgoe co-founded the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase access to dance in underprivileged communities.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the star ceremonies, required proof of vaccination for the coronavirus to attend the ceremony. There was more space than usual separating the invited guests, thus reducing the number of people present.
A sanitizing area was created in an attempt to protect Lythgoe and guests from contracting the virus, Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, told City News Service