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Palm Springs Walk of Fame (13 January 2001)

James MacArthur's Star Dedication Ceremony

On 13 January 2001, James MacArthur was honored with his own star along the Walk of Fame in Palm Springs, California. During the dedication ceremony, long-time friend Phil Altfeld was among the speakers. His remarks follow:

"I first met Jim MacArthur over twenty-five years ago while skiing in Aspen, Colorado. We became fast friends.

At the time, Hawaii Five-O was the number one rated show in the country. His face was one of the most recognizable faces in America.

I was overwhelmed at the time at how completely unpretentious he was, a trait that has accompanied him throughout his life. It's sometimes hard for me to understand why he is so unassuming. His parents were both the toast of Broadway, his mother as an actress and his father as a playwright. While growing up in his stately home on the banks of the beautiful Hudson River, his home was filled with the luminaries of the day: actors, musicians, writers, playwrights, artists, politicians, and world leaders.

I remember early in our relationship he asked me what was my favorite book during my late teen years. I told him it was Child of the Century by Ben Hecht. He then told me how Mr. Hecht, while writing and had hit a roadblock, would come to his house for dinner and would relate his writing problem to Jim's dad, who would offer help and solutions. He told me this story in the most innocent of ways without boasting or bragging. I remember thinking to myself, "Here I am telling him about my favorite book and he was there when it was born."

These are the kinds of things Jim was exposed to while growing up. While at Harvard University, Walt Disney personally convinced him to leave college and star in a Disney film. This led to a number of Disney films, which to this very day remain America's classics. Jim's films are still part of the original bricks of the Disney Empire.
He is filled with fun. He loves to laugh. He is not only a very funny guy, but thoroughly enjoys someone else's humor. He is a very literate man. He consumes great literature. He is NEVER without a book in hand.

We have traveled a good part of the world together. Our children are also friends for life. Because of their relationship, they went to college together. Jim and H.B. honored my wife Mariann and me by naming us godparents for their son Jamie.

My friend Jim MacArthur hasn't just taken a polite bite out of life. HE HAS DEVOURED IT. Let me name a few things that come to mind:

1. He has had personal relationships and friendships with the greatest actors and actresses of our day.

2. He was one of the stars of the number one rated television show in the country.

3. Through syndication of that show in over eighty countries, his face is known around the globe.

4. He's been kissed on the stage and in film by Jane Fonda, Cybill Shepherd, Carol Lynley, Stefanie Powers, Maureen O'Hara (as his mother), Rita Moreno, Peggy Lipton, Piper Laurie, Kim Hunter, Shelly Winters, Celeste Holm, Hayley Mills (her first screen kiss), and Margaret O'Brien. And that's a mouthful!

5. He has starred on Broadway.

6. He has driven from London to South Africa in a Land Rover.

7. He has skied some of the greatest mountains in the world.

8. He's fished in streams, rivers, and oceans around the world.

9. He's hiked through the Colorado Rockies.

10. He's climbed The Matterhorn.

11. He's entertained our troops in Viet Nam.

12. He's made movies in Hong Kong, Switzerland, the Philippines, Kuwait, Singapore, London, Spain, and Germany.

13. He's surfed the waves of the Pacific from Hawaii to Fiji.

14. He's golfed all over the world.

15. He's helped bring four beautiful children into the world.

16. His friendships extend around the globe.

17. He has been a frequent guest at The White House.

18. And perhaps most significant, during his single days or between engagements, he rescued many a damsel in distress.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said in The Great Gatsby: "There's no second act in American life." Not so for Jim! He's had a second, third, fourth, and a fifth!

Congratulations, Jim! This outpouring of your friends here today demonstrates how we all feel about you!"

James MacArthur

James MacArthur's Star

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