When the idea of the 2013 Gabby Awards was being discussed more than two years in advance, we kept trying to come up with ways to make our guests have that “real Hollywood experience” without being cliche or reductive.
We thought of making fake Oscar statuettes with people’s names on them (blah) and even creating our own “walk of fame” along the sidewalk (double blah) with all of our supporters’ names.
Then the thought came during a team meeting. Why don’t we honor Olympia Dukakis, the grand dame of Greek America and legendary actor– with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and invite all of our Gabby Awards guests to be a part of the ceremony? Great idea– and from idea to implementation, it was a two-year journey.
We began with research. How does one get a star? What qualifies them for one? What was the process? We found all of this out on the website of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce– the official agency that gives the prestigious stars.
We quickly found out that it was a difficult process– both to get selected (dozens of nominees annually and only a few are selected) as well as once selected, to actually schedule the Star Ceremony the exact day we wanted it– the day before the Gabby Awards.
Overall, the entire process was shepherded along the way by the Greek America Foundation team in a masterful, caring way– just what Olympia Dukakis deserved.
The end result: We made history. (This won’t be the first time you will hear me say this about the Gabby Awards weekend, and mean it)
The Greek America Foundation was the official nominator of Olympia’s star. It was presented to her– ironically enough, directly outside the Pantages Theater (another great Greek icon on Hollywood Boulevard) with thousands of people experiencing it live and online.
Indeed, it was a fitting tribute to one of the great citizens of this nation and to a woman who deserves our honor and praise.
Axia! Olympia. Axia! Worthy indeed.
Watch a portion of the ceremony here.