Carole Lombard and Kristin Chenoweth may be separated by several decades, and that Kristin is renowned for her singing and Carole had to be prodded into vocalizing (only in "Swing High, Swing Low," at the insistence of director Mitchell Leisen, did Lombard actually sing on screen rather than be dubbed). But both portrayed tempestuous diva Lily Garland -- Carole in the 1934 film "Twentieth Century," Kristin in the recently-completed Broadway revival of the '70s musical "On The Twentieth Century," following in the footsteps of Madeline Kahn.
But as of today, Lombard and Chenoweth have something else in common: Both have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I attended the ceremony this morning, and it was, as you might guess, plenty of fun. It was the "first" Walk of Fame ceremony I've been to since moving west. (Why do I use quotation marks? When I visited Los Angeles in September 1996, I saw an ersatz ceremony, complete with honorary Hollywood mayor Johnny Grant, as part of a TV series filming starring Jack Carter.)
The Walk of Fame normally attempts to place a performer's star in an appropriate place, either close to someone they worked with or were married to (Betty White and Allen Ludden's stars face each other, as they should) or near where they performed. Kristin's star, in the theatrical category, is between the Pantages Theater and the famed Frolic Room on Hollywood Boulevard (it's across from the Hollywood/Vine Metrorail station).
Several guests were on hand to welcome the 4-foot-11 dynamo to the fold, including Carol Burnett, who said if she were doing her series today, Kristin would be part of every episode. (Remember, Burnett began in musical theater and had considerable success on Broadway before becoming a TV icon. Later this year, she'll get a life achievement award from SAG-AFTRA.)
I took a few photos, and although my vantage point wasn't the best, a few turned out OK:
This was the first time I'd ever "met" Chenoweth, and she's every bit as advertised -- a delightful sprite whose enthusiasm is contagious and genuine. (Oh, and in the third of the four photos above, she's flanked by her parents, who came from their native Oklahoma for the ceremony.) Chenoweth is the 22nd Oklahoman to earn a star, joining the likes of Kay Francis, Glenda Farrell, James Garner and of course Will Rogers, and her star is the 2,555th on the Walk of Fame.
All in all, one heckuva birthday present. And next Friday, Kristin -- whose persona is sweet and light (think Glinda the Good Witch in "Wicked") -- gets a chance to go bad when she plays Maleficent in the Disney Channel TV movie "Descendants."
Playbill magazine has honored Chenoweth's birthday by compiling an array of her performances over the years. Find them at http://playbill.com/news/article/celebrating-kristin-chenoweths-birthday-with-our-favorite-performances-from-wicked-and-beyond-354287.