SHERMAN OAKS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / July 21, 2020 / Each year, Leo Robin Music awaits with great interest the release of the annual announcement by the Hollywood Chamber of the new class of honorees to have their stars unveiled and installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see if the star awarded to lyricist Leo Robin 30 years ago but never installed finally appears on this list. For Leo Robin, this annual ritual is known as “Pass Over.” Leo Robin Music is outraged by the Hollywood Chamber’s recent announcement to once again “Pass Over” the installation of the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that was awarded to Robin 30 years ago.
In a Facebook live session on Thursday, June 18, radio host Ellen K., who serves as the Walk of Fame’s Selection Panel Chair, announced the honorees from the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2021. “The Walk of Fame Selection Panel is pleased to announce 35 new honorees to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Selection Panel, made up of fellow Walk of Famers, hand-picks a group of honorees each year that represent various genres of the entertainment world,” said Ellen K. “The Panel has done an exemplary job in choosing very talented people. We can’t wait to see each and every honoree’s face as they realize that they are becoming a part of Hollywood’s history as we unveil their star on the world’s most famous walkway!”, Ellen K added.
The outstanding contributions Leo Robin has made to The Great American Songbook are celebrated time and again with contemporary covers by artists including regularly by those appearing on the annual list of honorees. On this year’s list, in the category of recording, jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, who performed “Hallelujah” and “If I Should Lose You,” was awarded a posthumous star. Charlie Parker, nickname Yardbird or simply Bird, recorded in 1949 his first Charlie Parker With Strings album, consisting of six songs total, all of which were standards one of which was “If I Should Lose You,” and this would become his most popular sellers. It was Yardbird’s version of this song that brought it to the attention of pianists George Shearing and Oscar Peterson and vocalists Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone. A multitude of jazz artists have also recorded this song.
In the television category, actress Marla Gibbs who sang “Easy Living,” was also awarded a star. Marla Gibbs sang “Easy Living” on her NBC sitcom, 227 episode entitled “Blues” in the style of Billie Holiday. “Easy Living” was written for the Paramount film of the same name in 1937 and was recorded that same year by Billie Holiday. It became a hit and would be forever associated with Lady Day starting her on a journey and establishing her as one of the important building blocks of American jazz music. The song has become immortalized through covers by many of the greatest jazz artists such as vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee and trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans and numerous more, and in romantic drama films such as Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County in 1995 and Todd Haynes Carol in 2015.
Charlie Parker performing “If I Should Lose You,” composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin, on his Charlie Parker With Strings album in 1949 and
Marla Gibbs singing “Easy Living,” composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin, in the style of Billie Holiday on the NBC sitcom 227 episode entitled “Blues”
While Leo Robin music congratulates these performers for the honors, we are woefully reminded of the fact that the star awarded to Leo Robin in 1990 was never installed. When Robin’s grandson called the Hollywood Chamber and spoke to Ana Martinez, Producer of the Walk Of Fame, more than three years ago on July 6, 2017, he told her about his discovery of Leo’s long-lost star. She confirmed it was true and said, “Nothing like this has ever happened before.” After the grandson spoke with Ms. Martinez, he followed her instructions and wrote a letter addressed to the Walk of Fame Committee, of which Ellen K. has been a member for the past four years. In the letter to the Walk of Fame Committee by the grandson written on July 11, 2017, he wrote, “In light of these bizarre circumstances, I…humbly request that the Walk of Fame Committee reinstate the award to Leo of the posthumous star.”
Ashley Lee from the Los Angeles Times first broke on May 23, 2019 this fascinating story, Leo Robin never got his Walk of Fame star. Now his grandson is fighting for it, about his grandson’s serendipitous discovery of Leo’s long-lost star which he believes got lost because “[The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce]…made this 30-year-old mistake,” Ms. Lee quoting him. Leo Robin’s wife, Cherie Robin, and actor, Bob Hope, sponsored Leo for a star in 1988 but, sadly, Mrs. Robin passed away slightly more than one year before the letter was sent out from the Hollywood Chamber announcing that her husband had been awarded the star and so, unfortunately, it was never installed.
In the wake of the release of this story last year by The Times, Leo Robin Music was appalled to learn what happened 30 years ago. Ms. Lee reported, “The envelope was returned to its sender and has since remained in the Chamber of Commerce’s records.” She also tweeted, “at first I didn’t believe that Leo Robin’s star had really slipped through the cracks” with a photo of that acceptance letter and the envelope stamped “RETURN TO SENDER.” Ms. Lee explained the Chamber’s view, “A mistake it was not, noted (Ana) Martinez to The Times. Back in 1989, before the ease of email and cell phones, honorees were not as repeatedly and actively pursued to secure their star as they are today. That means no follow-up letters and no calls to co-signers, even if Robin’s application was co-signed by (Bob) Hope, who has four stars on the Walk.”
Ellen K. has a perfect pitch voice on her morning radio program on KOST 103.5 FM. as well as the voice of the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards. The recent announcement by Ellen K. would be tantamount to announcing a winner at the Academy Awards or the Grammy Awards and then not giving the winner an Oscar or a Grammy. Can one imagine if multi-Oscar winner Robert De Niro winning for Best Actor the Oscar in 1980 for the film Raging Bull, which used a few songs with lyrics by Robin including “Prisoner of Love” performed by Perry Como (1946), “Prisoner of Love” performed by Russ Columbo (1934) and “Bye, Bye Baby” performed by Marilyn Monroe (1953) but not being given the Oscar to take home or multi-Grammy winner Tony Bennett winning the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance in 1997 for his album Here’s to the Ladies, which theme of the album was songs made famous by female singers and included “My Ideal” with lyrics by Robin to pay tribute to Margaret Whiting for performing her theme song but not being given the Grammy to take home. The “Pass Over” of Robin by the Hollywood Chamber and Walk of Fame Committee on the list of honorees to have their stars installed and unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is despicable.
Meanwhile, in contradiction to its mission, the Hollywood Chamber is not doing justice to the award to Robin. Instead we are witness to the “Pass Over” of the installation of Leo’s long-lost star and the Chamber’s refusal to honor their commitment to Robin’s memory. What happened after the grandson spoke to the Hollywood Chamber over the past three years — where it obstructed installation by ignoring emails from the grandson for a whole year and failing to honor its promise for the Walk of Fame Committee to consider his request for the star to be placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and toying with him — manifests itself as “Passover” of the installation of Leo’s long-lost star. What happened 30 years ago — when the acceptance letter was returned to sender and there was no follow-up letters and no calls to notify co-sponsor Bob Hope — manifests itself as “Passover” of the installation of Robin’s star.
Throughout the past sixty years, the Hollywood Chamber has successfully kept track of 2,690 honorees and has seen to it that each and every one of them received a star and had it successfully installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with their name on it – except for the “Pass Over” of Robin. Unfortunately, one can’t help but conclude that Robin has been treated unjustly by the Hollywood Chamber. Upon the passing of Johnny Grant on January 9, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, “Angelenos will always remember Johnny as the heart of Hollywood Boulevard, the dignified guardian of its gilded prestige and the human shine behind every one of its stars…” Johnny Grant, who was Chairman of the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee and signed the acceptance letter addressed to Mrs. Robin, must be looking down abominably at the Hollywood Chamber’s unjust treatment of Robin and spurning the decision by the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee to award a star to Leo Robin.
The award of the star would be a bittersweet moment for the family of Robin. It’s unfortunate that the original sponsors — Robin’s wife Mrs. Robin and actor Bob Hope — are not here today to accept the honors and that generations of Leo’s family who were here when the award was offered — the grandson’s parents and Leo’s wonderful four sisters and brother, all who adored him — are no longer around. In contrast, the honorees from the class of 2020 will enjoy instant gratification with the soon installing and unveiling of their star, a special occasion that the family and friends of Robin lost forever.
Further, while the honorees from the class of 1990 along with their families and friends celebrate their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame each anniversary, the family and friends of Leo Robin have been unable to celebrate without the installation of the star and since the discovery of the star three years ago, the Robin’s family must endure their annual ritual known as “Pass Over.” It’s time for the Hollywood Chamber to respect the decision made by the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee and honor its obligation to put Leo’s long-lost star in its rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
For more information, visit the official website of Leo Robin at http://leorobin.com/.
Scott D. Ora
President – Leo Robin Music
Leo Robin (@LeoRobinMusic) / Twitter
SOURCE: Leo Robin Music
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