Jackie Wilson to Receive Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Rock and Roll singer Jackie Wilson waves as he leaves New York’s Roosevelt Hospital with his mother Elizabeth Lee, left, and his then-wife Friea Wilson on March 18, 1961.
Photo: AP

No more “lonely teardrops!” Fans of Jackie Wilson have something to celebrate, as the man known as “Mr. Excitement” is getting a star on the coveted Hollywood Walk of Fame!

“The late, great Jackie Wilson is one of the most important and influential recording artists of his generation!” Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, said in a statement announcing the honor. “He is a man who broke barriers and inspired many young singers.”

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Born June 9, 1934, Wilson was known for his eccentric dance moves, captivating singing voice and his work, which spanned across genres such as doo-wop, R&B, soul and rock ‘n’ roll. He reached commercial success appearing on mainstream shows like Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show. Barack Obama incorporated Wilson’s hit, “Higher & Higher” into his 2008 presidential campaign. Wilson died on January 21, 1984 after suffering a heart attack. He was 49 years old.

Wilson will receive the 2,672nd star. The ceremony emcee will be Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Rana Ghadban. Berry Gordy Jr., Marshall Thompson (of the Chi-Lites) and Smokey Robinson are scheduled to attend the ceremony as guest speakers.

Unfortunately, Wilson’s widow, Harlean Harris Wilson, died on Saturday at the age of 81, less than two weeks before she was scheduled to accept her late husband’s honor at the Hollywood Walk of Fame dedication ceremony.

“Though we are deeply saddened that Harlean will not be with us physically to accept Jackie’s star on September 4, we are certain that she will be there with Jackie in spirit,” Paul Tarnopol of Brunswick Records, Jackie Wilson’s record label, said in a statement via Variety. “Harlean Wilson was a beautiful woman inside and out who lived her life with tremendous grace and dignity and was loved by us all.”

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“I’m so elated for him, so ecstatic about my husband getting this star,” Mrs. Wilson said of her husband in a recent interview. “That title Mr. Excitement wasn’t just given to him; he worked for it.” She remembered her husband as “very vibrant, very effervescent, generous to a fault. He loved to sing and he loved life.”

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The ceremony will take place Wednesday, September 4 at 11:30 a.m. PT at 7057 Hollywood Blvd. near Sycamore Street, or watch via livestream at walkoffame.com. 

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.