Wednesday, June 15, 2022

A Special Afternoon in Hollywood

I remember reading online once that "just about anyone can get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; if you've got the money, you can get one." That isn't true, and I know from firsthand experience. It's actually a complicated process, and certain very specific criteria have to be met. There's a formal proposal you have to make (stating why you believe you meet those criteria); there's a committee that gets together and considers your proposal; and if you are chosen, there are fees that need to be paid (for example, there needs to be crowd control, security for the celebrity or celebrities, etc). Then, you have to choose a date and plan the logistics. Bottom line: it can take months... or even years, and no, it's not just a matter of paying someone some money. 

I sincerely believed that Rush deserved a star on the Walk of Fame. I also believed they met the criteria: they had millions of fans, a long career, and numerous achievements in the music industry.  And, to be honest, I was frustrated at the disrespect the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was showing the band. No matter how hard I tried to persuade the judges at the Rock Hall, there was a group of them who had never liked Rush's music, and who refused to take them seriously. I knew this was as annoying to the fans as it was to me, and so it was, in 2007, that I decided to champion Rush for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

It would take three years and a lot of hard work before it finally happened. I had some wonderful folks working with me, especially Kevin and Keith Purdy, two brothers from St. Louis who were devoted Rush fans; and there were also a number of other folks who helped-- we were determined to get this done, because in our view, no rock band deserved a star more than Rush. So, we created the proposal, working with amazing folks in Rush's management (including the legendary Pegi Cecconi), and we kept on gathering momentum until things finally came together. And at 11:30 AM, on June 25, 2010, Rush was awarded their much-deserved star.

I was both surprised and flattered when Pegi asked if I'd come up and give a short speech as part of that ceremony. It was one of the proudest moments of my life, and if you want a copy of my speech, I still have it. I meant every word I said, and when I finished, Alex and Geddy seemed very moved by it. As I spoke, I looked out at the large crowd who came to share that special day. Neil wasn't there, nor did we expect him to be (he was there in spirit, of course), but his wife and daughter were, as were Geddy's family, and many other friends and relatives. It was Neil's friend Craig who took this photo of me and the guys standing by the star (below). I still remember what a sense of gratification I felt, knowing I had played a part in honoring this amazing band.         

And here we are in 2022, twelve years later, and it is as emotional for me now as it was then. Yesterday, I reached out to Kevin Purdy to ask for his recollections. Like me, he remains amazed and impressed by how many fans showed up, and gratified to have fought for this project until it reached its very successful conclusion. And I know for a fact that even now, people come from long distances to see that star, to get a photo taken, and to feel that sense of pride in being a part of the world-wide community of Rush fans.  It was a very special day, and one I doubt I will ever forget. And if you were there too, you know exactly what I mean.   


  1. It was a very special day, indeed. I was one of those fans in the crowd that day. Honoring Rush with a Star was well deserved.
    It also gave us a place to grieve Neil and be close to other fans that came to pay their respects
    I made friends that day with fellow fans that I still keep in touch with to this day... and as recent as last Monday, when I'm in Hollywood, I visit the star!
    Thank you Donna

  2. Thank YOU Donna for being a champion for RUSH for all these years. You listened to your gut that told you to drop the needle on ‘Working Man’ and the rest, as we say-is history. But yet, I hope we have learned from history in that some is not to be repeated, for example the RRHoF dissing Alex, Geddy and Neil for way to many years, songs, concerts and whatever else they had to let go of in the pursuit of passion. Thank you, Donna for being the voice of so many of us that believe in the power of RUSH’s music, the dedication they have to their fans from all over the world, and a drive to see Alex, Geddy and God Bless his soul, our professor, Neil—forever indoctrinated as the BEST: to be able to show our respect, admiration and yes, love to The Holy Trinity from Toronto.
    With much respect, Cheryl Haggard, Star, Idaho

  3. Who loves ya', Donna? Every single Rush fan, that's who!!!

  4. Thank you Donna, for all you have done for Rush!

  5. Without Donna, playing that first vinyl back in 1974, there sadly would have never been a group called Rush that made it! Thank you Donna! Your the best!

  6. Thank you for everything you've done for the Rush community! I was always amazed at the criticism and neglect the band received from critics and the rock Hall of Fame. I have always defended them and can't thank you enough for being the their champion!!