On This Day: Rock and Roll Pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis Awarded Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989

by Keeli Parkey
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Jerry Lee Lewis, an important figure in the history of rock and roll, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this day (June 13) in 1989.

Known by the nickname “The Killer,” Lewis was instrumental in helping to define the rock and roll genre. He was also known for his work in the country music genre. Sitting behind his piano, he definitely could rock out like few before him – and few after.

Lewis was 54 years old during his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony 32 years ago, according to UPI. He was joined by his wife Kerrie, and also his son, Jerry Lee Jr., at the event. Also joining in was actor Dennis Quaid. The actor played Lewis in the film “Great Balls of Fire,” which was released in 1989. There were also approximately 200 fans of the rock and roll star in attendance. His star was the 1,992nd on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

According to an official with the organization, Jerry Lee Lewis was a “timeless performer.”

“His music catalyzed rock and roll and has proven timeless as he continues to astonish audiences worldwide with his showmanship,” said Johnny Grant. Grant was the honorary mayor of Hollywood and chairman of the Walk of Fame committee at the time of the 1989 ceremony.

Unsurprisingly, Lewis was very appreciative to get his Hollywood star.

“On behalf of God Almighty, I would like to say this is a great honor,” he said. “I think this is a great pleasure. (I’m) happy to be here in Hollywood. I look forward to another 33 years in the business.”

Family of Jerry Lee Lewis Opposed Him Playing Rock and Roll

Had his family had their way, Jerry Lee Lewis never would have become “The Killer” and the music icon he is. The Louisiana native’s parents, who were devoutly religious, believed rock and roll was a sin and it was “hell music.”

Fortunately, Lewis prevailed. He went on to give us such hits as “Whole Lotta Shakin'” as well as “Great Balls of Fire.” He had a comeback in the 1980s thanks to his performance of the theme song for the film, “Middle Age Crazy.” His version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was also popular.

In addition to his music, Jerry Lee Lewis became famous for his personal life. Probably the most famous of the public events in his personal life was when he decided to marry his cousin, Myra Gale Brown. Brown was only 13 years old at the time. It was after he married Brown that he began to work more in country music, according to his Walk of Fame biography.

His wife, Kerrie, was his sixth. Sadly, two of his wives passed away due to accidents. So did two of his sons. He and his seventh wife, Judith, renewed their vows earlier this year.

In addition to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lewis has been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1986. Rolling Stone listed him among the publication’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004. He was listed as number 24.

Watch Jerry Lee Lewis, who is now 85 years old, perform his hit song, “Great Balls of Fire,” during the 1950s below.

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