When Martha Reeves was selected in 2021 for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, her journey to one of the most famous destinations in showbiz was actually just beginning.
That June, the Motown singer was thrilled to learn she’d been picked for the Walk of Fame, joining the array of celebrities whose stars line the gilded sidewalks of Hollywood and Vine. Having been nominated by a former manager, Reeves was greenlighted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the popular tourist landmark.
Unbeknownst to much of the public, those iconic sidewalk stars come with a price tag — $55,000 is the going figure — to cover installation and other costs. For some recipients, the fee is covered by a related movie studio, record label or generous friend. But honorees often must launch fundraising efforts, private and public, just as Motown’s Funk Brothers did to secure their star in 2013.
Courteney Cox’s Walk of Fame star ceremonyturns into ‘Friends’ reunion with Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow
More on Motown: Soulful sounds from the South were polished for the masses in Motown
Reeves, 81, said she was assured by the former manager that funding for the star was handled. She was confident her Hollywood ceremony would take place the following year, telling the Free Press in 2021: “My wildest dreams are coming true.”
But that turned out not to be the case — and now the clock is ticking. If Reeves’ star isn’t funded by June, her two-year nomination window will expire.
And so her new manager has launched a public fundraising campaign, hoping to secure $55,000 by June and seal Reeves’ slot on the 2024 Walk of Fame calendar. Fans can donate by credit card or check, and details are available at the recently launched MarthaReeves.net.
“Martha’s former representation got in over their heads on this,” said Chris Roe, a veteran Los Angeles talent agent who signed on last summer as Reeves’ manager. “They didn’t realize how hard it would be and wasted a year of fundraising time. Now we’re down to the wire.”
Along with the crowdfunding campaign, Roe said he’s working with private benefactors and corporations to hit the $55,000 mark. If the effort is successful, donors’ names will be listed in an official printed program at the Walk of Fame ceremony. (Contributors may also request anonymity.)
Once a Walk of Fame ceremony is scheduled, Roe said, he would then solicit another round of money — upwards of $25,000 — to fund Reeves’ Hollywood reception. Roe has held Hollywood Walk of Fame fundraising campaigns for two other clients, actor Malcom McDowell (2012) and late filmmaker George A. Romero (2017).
“It doesn’t take much to make a huge impact,” he said. “Doing without three or four Starbucks coffees for a week is a pretty nice contribution. A donation of $25 goes a long way.”
The Hollywood Walk of Fame campaign comes as Reeves marks her 60th anniversary with Motown.
In 1963, the label issued the first two albums by Martha and the Vandellas — “Come and Get These Memories” and “Heat Wave” — when the trio began a run of hits that include “Heat Wave,” “Quicksand,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Jimmy Mack,” among others.
A limited-edition art print marking the group’s 60th anniversary is available for $100, with all proceeds earmarked for the Walk of Fame effort. Some of those prints will be available at an upcoming listening party hosted by Reeves, who will revisit the pair of 1963 albums.
If the Hollywood Walk of Fame fundraising succeeds, Reeves will become the latest Motown luminary with a sidewalk star, part of a roll call that includes Diana Ross (1982), Smokey Robinson (1983), Michael Jackson (1984), Marvin Gaye (1990), Stevie Wonder (1994), the Temptations (1994), Four Tops (1997) and label founder Berry Gordy (1996). In November 2019, near a cluster of Motown sidewalk stars at Sunset Boulevard and Argyle Avenue, Gordy was on hand as Hollywood officials christened the corner “Berry Gordy Square.”
Reeves’ manager said he is determined to hit the $55,000 mark and secure her spot among fellow Motown stars.
“This honor bestowed upon Martha has meant a lot,” Roe said. “That star is there for generations to come, and Motown will always be stitched into the fabric of our society. So, it’s a great accomplishment. Martha is very deserving, and I’m happy to take her across the finish line.”