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What is the Walk of Fame?

Judy Royal
Pat Hingle

Legendary stage and screen actor Pat Hingle (left) and his son Bill gaze upon the newly placed star on Wilmington's Walk of Fame.

The 16-member Celebrate Wilmington! volunteer committee started the Walk of Fame to recognize locals who have attained national acclaim. Since 1997, the group has honored 14 people with their own squares on the sidewalk at The Cotton Exchange, 321 N Front St, Wilmington [Map this].

The nominee must have been born or spent formative or creative years in the Cape Fear region, be nationally recognized; and their accomplishments must have had a national impact on our cultural heritage.

Reading the list below, you might wonder why one notable name is absent. So why isn’t Michael Jordan on the Walk?

“He doesn’t want to be,” said committee member Nancy Hanks Burnett.

Jordan and his family have been approached by Celebrate Wilmington! but haven’t responded, she said.

A list of honorees:

1997: Roman Gabriel, NFL quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles

1997: Minnie Evans, visual artist who painted vibrant ‘outsider’ works inspired by her dreams and visions

1998: Hugh Morton, internationally recognized photographer and preservationist of the North Carolina Battleship and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

1998: Henry Bacon, architect of the Confederate Memorial at Third and Market streets in Wilmington, as well as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

1999: Frank Capra, Jr., film producer and president of Screen Gems Studios

1999: Caterina Jarboro, opera singer who has performed in many of the world’s great opera houses, including those in Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, Madrid and Moscow

2000: Robert C. Ruark, Jr., journalist and author of ‘Something of Value,’ ‘Poor No More,’ ‘Uhuru’ and ‘The Honey Badger’

2000: Althea Gibson, tennis champion and the first black woman to be voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in 1957. (She won the honor again in 1958.)

2001: David Brinkley, one of the first television journalists and a pioneer of broadcast news

2001: Charlie Daniels, Grammy-winning country music singer/ songwriter whose hits include ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and ‘The South’s Gonna Do It Again’

2002: Percy Heath, who served more than 40 years as the double bass player for the Modern Jazz Quartet and served as a Tuskegee Airman

2002: Claude Howell, artist who explored coastal themes and started the art department at Wilmington College, now the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

2003: Isaac B. Grainger, international bank president who served as president and chairman of the joint rules committee of the U.S. Golf Association

2004: Sonny Jurgensen, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins

2005: Don Payne, veteran writer for The Simpsons and feature films, including My Super Ex-Girlfriend; graduated from New Hanover High School in 1982.

2006: Meadowlark Lemon, Harlem Globetrotters legend; moved to Wilmington in 1938 when he was about 6 years old.

2007: Jim Goodnight, CEO of the business softward giant SAS; Wilmington native and graduate of New Hanover High School.

2008: Pat Hingle, noted film and stage actor; resettled in Carolina Beach after filming “Maximum Overdrive” here.

2009: Fred Eshelman, founder of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc. (PPD) of Wilmington.

2010: Champion McDowell “Champ” Davis, longtime president of the Atlantic Coast Line railroad and philanthropist.

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2 Responses to “ What is the Walk of Fame?”

  1. On August 5, 2009 at 10:43 am Col.John E. Craig, US Army Ret. wrote:

    How to honor Wilmington military leaders?

    Maj. General Reginal Clemmons. He and wife Sylvia grew up in Wilmington, graduated A & T with me and joined the Army. He lives in Warrenton, Va. Check out his biography for his list of accomplishments.

    I am a retired Colonel from the Army and my daughter, Joyce, is a Major in the Army.

    Sure that there are others.

  2. On August 24, 2010 at 9:20 am Robert Lewis wrote:

    Visit the Celebrate Wilmington website for more info http://www.celebratewilmington.org

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