Holly Robinson Peete received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday, honored for a career that has included being a cast member of “21 Jump Street” and “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” and appearing in 15 Hallmark movies.
“Being immortalized on Hollywood Boulevard is so exciting,” Robinson Peete told City News Service ahead of Tuesday’s ceremonies. “It’s a permanent tribute to a four-decades-plus career in TV. Legacy stuff!”
Robinson Peete’s career began in earnest when she appeared in the 1979 made-for-television movie “Dummy,” which starred LeVar Burton — who, along with longtime friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, spoke during Tuesday’s ceremony at 6623 Hollywood Blvd., between Cherokee and Whitley avenues.
The star is the 2,725th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the first 1,558 stars.
Robinson Peete dedicated the star to her mother, Dolores Robinson, her manager for 30 years, who was also on hand Tuesday, and who she singled out during her remarks.
“Her vision and her decision to do a page-one rewrite of her life and her audacity to dream of something bigger for her and her children,” made Robinson Peete’s career possible, the actress said.
“After a tough divorce, she threw us in a station wagon and drove us cross-country from Philly to LA … I was nine. … We didn’t have two nickels to rub together, but none of that deterred her.
“None of this happens without your courage to that leap of faith in 1974,” she added, gesturing toward her mother.
She also thanked her late uncle, the actor Cleavon Little, who allowed the family to stay at his Malibu house while the elder Robinson found her footing in the family’s new city and set off on her management career.
Robinson Peete began her comments by bringing out a piece of paper with scripted remarks and joked, “In the immortal words of my dear departed uncle Cleavon, ‘Excuse me while I whip this out,”‘ a line Little uttered in Mel Brooks’ racy comedy “Blazing Saddles.”
“I’m just feeling extremely grateful and thanking God that I have the chance to arrive at this moment in my life,” she added.
She also thanked her husband, former NFL and USC quarterback Rodney Peete, and her children.
“Rodney Peete, my quarterback, I just thank you so much for being such a committed life partner for 29 years since we first met,” she said. “You have always encouraged me to soar in whatever I do … and let’s just keep getting better and loving each other and keep making it happen.”
Robinson Peete received her star three days after DesignCare 2022, the gala benefiting the HollyRod Foundation which she founded with her husband, to raise awareness and provide resources to families that have a loved one who has received an autism or Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
Burton, who was the elder Robinson’s first management client, said, “Holly, we’ve known each other a long time, I mean, since you were a kid — and you were destined to have a life that was lived among the movers and shakers of this world. You have been exposed to celebrities like Flip Wilson and Cleavon Little, and politicians like Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown; singers (like) Linda Ronstadt — you have met everybody, Holly.
“I love you, congratulations to you, you deserve this, you’ve earned it.”
Johnson — who introduced Robinson Peete to Rodney Peete, commented on the actress’ charitable work as well as her show businesses successes.
“God has just blessed you so much, and what impact you’ve made to the world,” the former Laker star said. “You’ve been an amazing actress, but also a mother, daughter — and to see what you and your mother have built, this incredible brand, and all the movies.
“’21 Jump Street’ was one of my favorites, and ‘Hanging with Mr. Cooper’ was one of my favorites, but you as a woman is what I love — your heart, and what you’ve done for autism, for all those wonderful people you’ve touched and saved their lives.”
He also lauded her as a pioneer.
“I know what it means to be a Black woman,” Johnson said. “You’ve represented so many women — because of your success, they knew that they could have success on TV and in films. And so that is amazing in itself. You’re a trailblazer in so many different ways.”
Born Sept. 18, 1964, in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Mount Airy, Robinson Peete said she decided to become an actor “as soon as I stepped foot” on the set of “Sesame Street” when she was 5 years old. Robinson Peete’s late father, Matt Robinson, was the initial actor to portray high school science teacher Gordon Robinson on the long-running Public Broadcasting Service educational children’s television series.
“I did a scene with my dad and Big Bird where I blew my one line,” Robinson Peete recalled. “The line was ‘Hi Gordon.’ But I kept saying ‘Hi Daddy.”‘
When asked what was her favorite project, Robinson Peete initially deferred during her interview with CNS, saying, “They are like my children, I can’t chose,” but then said, “I suppose ’21 Jump Street’ is probably my most emotional project. It catapulted my career. I absolutely adored the character of Officer Judy Hoffs. I cried so hard when the show ended. I didn’t want to say goodbye to her.”
A year after the Fox police procedural ended its five-season run in 1991, Robinson Peete was cast in the ABC comedy “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” which ran five seasons through 1997.
Robinson Peete also starred in the romantic comedy “For Your Love,” which ran for eight episodes on NBC in 1998, was canceled, then picked up by The WB, running until 2002. Her other television credits include the 2003-04 WB comedy “Like Family,” the 2005-06 UPN comedy “Love, Inc.” and recurring roles on the CBS comedy “Mike & Molly” and the NBC drama “Chicago Fire.”
Robinson Peete was a host for the first season of the CBS afternoon talk show, “The Talk.”
Robinson Peete began her association with Hallmark in 2015 portraying newspaper editor Yvette Collins in “Angel of Christmas.” She has starred as Seattle-based, TV chef Billie Blessings in six installments of “Morning Show Mysteries” on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Robinson Peete’s next Hallmark project is “The Road Ahead,” portraying a famous actress who team up with a wilderness expert (Kaylee Bryant) to drive cross country and help each other face their past mistakes through support and unconditional love. It is set to air this summer on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.