HOLLYWOOD — Philadelphia shoe-salesman-turned-comedian Kevin Hart received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Oct. 10, four days before the release of his stand-up comedy film, “Kevin Hart: What Now?”
Hart, who described himself as an “emotional basket case,” fought to retain his composure while thanking his wife, friends and others who attended the ceremony.
“I made it halfway before I started to break, so this is where it’s going to start to break down a little bit,” he joked as he wiped his eyes.
Joining Hart at the ceremony at 7013 Hollywood Blvd., next to DSW Shoes, were Ice Cube, who co-starred with Hart in “Ride Along” and “Ride Along 2”; Will Packer, who produced six of Hart’s films, and Tim Story, who directed Hart in “Ride Along,” “Ride Along 2,” “Think Like a Man,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “Kevin Hart: What Now?”
Actress Halle Berry also attended the event.
Hart also praised his fans, saying, “I don’t get here without you and without your support.”
“I am a representation of what you have made me,” he said. “I love you all. Thank you so much, today is an honor.”
Hart quit his job as a shoe salesman to embark on a career as a comedian following an acclaimed performance at an amateur night at a Philadelphia comedy club. He went on to perform in such venues as the Boston Comedy Club, Caroline’s on Broadway, Stand Up NY and Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store.
Hart’s first performance at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal led to his movie career. His first film role was as a rookie thief who is part of a crew of thieves who do small-time jobs in the 2002 urban crime comedy “Paper Soldiers.”
Hart’s other movie credits include “Scary Movie 3,” “Scary Movie 4,” “Soul Plane,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Little Fockers,” “Death at a Funeral,” “Fool’s Gold,” “The Wedding Ringer” and “Get Hard.”
In addition to “Ride Along 2,” Hart was also in two other films released earlier this year, co-starring with Dwayne Johnson in the action comedy “Central Intelligence,” and supplying the voice of Snowball, a white rabbit, in the animated comedy “The Secret Life of Pets.”
Hart also stars in, co-created and produces the BET reality television parody “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” He is also part of the cast of the untitled sequel to “Jumanji,” set for release on July 28, 2017.
Three days before Hart’s star ceremony, the so-called Godfather of Black Music, Clarence Avant also was honored with a star of the Walk of Fame, honoring a career of more than 50 years in the music business.
Joining Avant in the late-morning ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard Oct. 7 were Oscar winner Jamie Foxx; producer and musician Quincy Jones; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Bill Withers, best known for recording “Lean on Me”; and music producers Jimmy Jam Harris and Terry Lewis.
Avant’s star is next to the one honoring Harris and Lewis, who he worked with for many years.
“We are thrilled to add Clarence Avant to the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the Walk of Fame. “He has been an inspiration to many musical performers and has added so much to the history of American music.”
Gubler called the turnout of Walk of Fame honorees for the ceremony the largest he could remember.
Avant was born in 1931 in Greensboro, N.C., and dropped out of high school when he was 16 years old.
Avant’s career in the music industry began in the late 1950s as the manager of Teddy P’s Lounge in Newark, New Jersey, representing blues artist Little Willie John, a frequent act at the lounge.
Avant would manage a slew of other artists, launch several record labels, promote Michael Jackson’s “Bad” tour and serve as the chairman of the board of Motown Records.