Four-time Grammy winner Lionel Richie cemented his legacy in Hollywood Wednesday, plunging his feet and hands into a wet paving slab at the forecourt of the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.
The 68-year-old R&B singer, a former front man for Motown legends The Commodores, has sold more than 100 million records over a career spanning six decades.
“This is almost beyond the childhood dream,” Richie told AFP at the ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, a time-honored tradition launched in the 1920s.
“When I first came to this town, the Holiday Inn was back there, right behind me, and the first thing I did was ran out the room, came downstairs and put my feet in all the hands and feet on the ground. Now, my hands and feet are going into this thing, it’s almost beyond belief.”
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, fresh off his Oscars hosting duties, presented the ceremony while veteran actor Samuel L. Jackson was on hand to support Richie, who told the crowd the honor was an “out of body experience.”
Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. was born on June 20, 1949 and raised on the private, historically black Tuskegee Institute university campus in Alabama, where his family had worked for generations.
A high school tennis star, he accepted a scholarship to study at the institute but dropped out and seriously considered becoming a priest for a while.
He formed a series of bands and, while still at college in 1968, joined aspiring Motown group The Commodores, playing saxophone and singing.
He went on to write some of his most enduring songs for the group, including “Still,” “Sail On,” “Easy” and “Three Times a Lady,” which earned a 1979 American Music Award and a People’s Choice Award.