Steve Nash, kd lang among new Walk of Fame inductees
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, June 3, 2008 3:32PM EDT
TORONTO - NBA star Steve Nash, comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, singer kd lang, model Daria Werbowy and filmmaker James Cameron are among the latest inductees to Canada's Walk of Fame.
But of all the stars set to be recognized for their impressive contributions to the worlds of sports, entertainment and the arts, the Walk of Fame's founding director said one star had far and away the most nominations for this year's honour -- Frances Bay.
The 90-year-old actress is affectionately known as "Hollywood's Grandma'' for her string of old lady characters.
"We received a signed petition of over 10,000 names for Frances Bay, including personal letters from Adam Sandler and Jerry Seinfeld and David Lynch and Henry Winkler, Monty Hall among many others, all making a very compelling case for Frances and they were right,'' Peter Soumalias said.
The Winnipeg performer didn't start acting until age 60, but has racked up an impressive resume that includes film and TV roles in "Happy Gilmore,'' "Seinfeld,'' "ER'', "Road to Avonlea'' and "Hannah Montana.''
"Corner Gas'' star Brent Butt helped announced the lineup Tuesday and said he was particularly excited to see comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall among the inductees.
The funnyman said he used to be the warm-up act when the Kids' taped their eponymous sketch comedy show for CBC-TV in the mid-'90s.
"It was a sweet gig, it was easy money,'' Butt said of the stint.
"Because everybody was so jazzed about seeing the Kids in the Hall. There were rabid Kids in the Hall fans and one of the Kids would come out and introduce you as being a friend of theirs, so everybody liked you -- they wanted you to like them.
"Normally, you know, when you're a young comic, 99 per cent of the shows you're just dodging ashtrays, people hate your guts. And this was the one gig where, `Oh, people are excited that I'm here!' ''
Also set to attend this year's ceremonies are rocker Bryan Adams and actor Michael J. Fox, who were both previously named to the Walk, but couldn't attend the induction festivities.
Adams was an inaugural inductee in 1998, a year that Soumalias notes hardly attracted anyone to the then-little-known gala. Fox was inducted in 2000, but didn't learn of the honour until after the gala because Walk of Fame organizers had such a hard time notifying him.
"In the early years we got a lot of `Who? What? Why?'' Soumalias said of the Walk's early days, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
In 2003, organizers announced 13 inductees thinking "five or six would show up''.
"But all 13 of them came,'' Soumalias said. "Which was wonderful in some respects but we didn't budget for 13. So it became a challenge for us.''
He said the event's stature has grown considerably since then, with more than 40 per cent of this year's nominations coming from countries other than Canada.
To qualify, candidates must have been born in Canada or spent their formative or creative years here and must have a body of work recognized for its impact on Canada's cultural heritage.
Fans can lobby on behalf of their favourite athlete or artist, but the final decision is made by Walk of Fame organizers.
Previous inductees include Alanis Morissette, Paul Anka, Jim Carrey, Shania Twain, William Hutt and Wayne Gretzky.
To date, 107 Canadians have been honoured.
The new list of inductees will be celebrated during a gala on Sept. 6 in Toronto.