SHERMAN OAKS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / July 14, 2020 / Dear Ellen K., I, as Leo Robin’s grandson, am compelled by your recent announcement and the events that have taken place over the course of 30 years to request that you redress the moral wrong committed against lyricist Leo Robin by the Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Committees (2018 – 2020). Leo Robin Music is outraged by your announcement to once again deny the installation of the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that was awarded to Leo Robin 30 years ago. The Hollywood Chamber as well as the Walk of Fame Committee continue to be morally adrift in regard to this unprecedented situation with the star awarded to Robin but not installed. And they must recognize that they bear responsibility for this on-going moral injustice and take the steps to address it.
In a Facebook live session on Thursday, June 18, you as chair of the Walk of Fame’s Selection Panel, announced the honorees from the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2021. “The Walk of Fame Selection Panel is pleased to announce 35 new honorees to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Selection Panel, made up of fellow Walk of Famers, hand-picks a group of honorees each year that represent various genres of the entertainment world,” said Ellen K. “The Panel has done an exemplary job in choosing very talented people. We can’t wait to see each and every honoree’s face as they realize that they are becoming a part of Hollywood’s history as we unveil their star on the world’s most famous walkway!”, Ellen K added.
Ellen K., you have a perfect pitch voice as the radio host on your morning radio program on KOST 103.5 FM. as well as the voice of the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards. Unexpectedly, Leo Robin Music found your voice to be discordant in your announcement of the honorees of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2021. Leo Robin Music believes that all of the honorees chosen are exemplary but does not believe, that “The Panel has done an exemplary job in choosing very talented people.” Leaving Leo Robin, over and over again, off the list of honorees to have their stars installed and “unveil(ed)…on the world’s most famous walkway!” is despicable.
The outstanding contributions Leo Robin has made to The Great American Songbook are celebrated time and again with contemporary covers by artists including regularly by those appearing on the annual list of honorees. On this year’s list, in the category of recording, jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, who performed “Hallelujah” and “If I Should Lose You,” was awarded a posthumous star. Charlie Parker, nickname Yardbird or simply Bird, recorded in 1949 his first Charlie Parker With Strings album, consisting of six songs total, all of which were standards one of which was “If I Should Lose You,” and this would become his most popular sellers. It was Yardbird’s version of this song that brought it to the attention of pianists George Shearing and Oscar Peterson and vocalists Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone. A multitude of jazz artists have also recorded this song.
In the television category, actress Marla Gibbs who sang “Easy Living,” was also awarded a star. Marla Gibbs sang “Easy Living” on her NBC sitcom, 227 episode entitled “Blues” in the style of Billie Holiday. “Easy Living” was written for the Paramount film of the same name in 1937 and was recorded that same year by Billie Holiday. It became a hit and would be forever associated with Lady Day starting her on a journey and establishing her as one of the important building blocks of American jazz music. The song has become immortalized through covers by many of the greatest jazz artists such as vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee and trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans and numerous more, and in romantic drama films such as Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County in 1995 and Todd Haynes Carol in 2015.
While Leo Robin music congratulates these performers for the honors, we are woefully reminded of the fact that the star awarded to Leo Robin in 1990 was never installed. When I called the Hollywood Chamber and spoke to Ana Martinez, Producer of the Walk Of Fame, more than three years ago on July 6, 2017, I told her about my discovery of Leo’s long-lost star. She confirmed it was true and said, “Nothing like this has ever happened before.” After I spoke with Ms. Martinez, I followed her instructions and wrote a letter addressed to the Walk of Fame Committee, of which you have been a member for the past four years. In the letter I sent to the Walk of Fame Committee on July 11, 2017, a fresh carbon copy is enclosed, I wrote, “In light of these bizarre circumstances, I…humbly request that the Walk of Fame Committee reinstate the award to Leo of the posthumous star.”
Ashley Lee from the Los Angeles Times first broke on May 23, 2019 this intriguing story, Leo Robin never got his Walk of Fame star. Now his grandson is fighting for it, about my serendipitous discovery of Leo’s long-lost star which I believe got lost because “[The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce]…made this 30-year-old mistake,” Ms. Lee quoting me. Leo Robin’s wife, Cherie Robin, and actor, Bob Hope, sponsored Leo for a star in 1988 but, sadly, Mrs. Robin passed away slightly more than one year before the letter was sent out from the Hollywood Chamber announcing that her husband had been awarded the star and so, unfortunately, it was never installed.
In the wake of the release of this story last year by The Times, Leo Robin Music was appalled to learn what happened 30 years ago. Ms. Lee reported, “The envelope was returned to its sender and has since remained in the Chamber of Commerce’s records.” She also tweeted, “at first I didn’t believe that Leo Robin’s star had really slipped through the cracks” with a photo of that acceptance letter and the envelope stamped “RETURN TO SENDER.” Ms. Lee explained the Chamber’s view, “A mistake it was not, noted (Ana) Martinez to The Times. Back in 1989, before the ease of email and cell phones, honorees were not as repeatedly and actively pursued to secure their star as they are today. That means no follow-up letters and no calls to co-signers, even if Robin’s application was co-signed by (Bob) Hope, who has four stars on the Walk.”
The Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Committee have exercised wanton disregard of its own rules for the star awarded to Robin but never installed. Throughout the past sixty years, the Chamber has successfully kept track of 2,690 honorees and has seen to it that each and every one of them received a star and had it successfully installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with their name on it — except for Robin. At this point, one can’t help but conclude that Robin, his sponsors, his family and the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee, itself, have been treated unjustly by the Hollywood Chamber and the Walk Of Fame Committee chaired by you.
The Hollywood Chamber along with the Walk of Fame Committee have mislaid their moral compass. What happened after I spoke to the Hollywood Chamber over the past three years – where it obstructed installation by ignoring emails from me for a whole year and failing to honor its promise for the Walk of Fame Committee to consider my request for the star to be placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and toying with me – is just plain wrong. What happened 30 years ago – when the acceptance letter was returned to sender and there was no follow-up letters and no calls to notify co-sponsor Bob Hope – is wrong as wrong can be. The 1990 Walk of Fame Committee awarded a star to a deserved honoree and then the Hollywood Chamber and subsequent Walk of Fame Committees would take it back. These actions over the years that resulted in the failure to install the star awarded to Robin are manifest of a moral wrong.
Ellen K., I urge you, as the chair, to find the moral compass that guides the Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Committee and set a new course. Right now, in contradiction to its mission, the Hollywood Chamber is not doing justice to the award to Robin. Instead we are witness to the moral injustice of Leo’s long-lost star and the Hollywood Chamber’s refusal to honor their commitment to Robin’s memory. I want to reaffirm my deepest level of commitment to achieving that all of you – the Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Committee – uphold the strictest moral authority in fulfilling your commitment. This is your moral imperative.
It is high time for the Hollywood Chamber and the 2020 Walk of Fame Committee to preserve their integrity and honor the decision of the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee and its obligation to put Leo’s long-lost star in its rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It would be a wonderful tribute for the celebration of a legend who made great contributions to the music and motion picture industries and whose enduring lyrics have become part of the fabric of our culture. Leo’s beloved wife Cherie Robin and actor Bob Hope sponsored Leo for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and their wishes after all these years would finally be realized. For almost a century, Leo Robin’s music has made the most celebrated stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame beam even brighter. Leo Robin belongs in this constellation and his star shall shine as bright as any.
I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy. As difficult as these extraordinary times are, I am hopeful about the power of music to inspire action, to heal and lift us up, and to liberate our minds and hearts. I remember Bob Hope in his eulogy of my beloved grandfather on January 2, 1985, when he said, “His lyrics struck such a positive note…such hopeful themes…The feelings of joy he conveyed will lift hearts for generations to come. And if you don’t believe that, just hum the lyrics of “Beyond the Blue Horizon” a few times. I guarantee you’ll never have to visit an analyst.” Be inspired with this sample, “Blue horizon Waits a beautiful day Goodbye to things that bore me Joy is waiting for me.”
In Leo Robin’s lyrics from Gulliver’s Travels -1939,
“Faithful Forever,” Leo Robin Music
cc: copy sent FedEx overnight to Ellen K.
For more information, visit the official website of Leo Robin at http://leorobin.com/
Scott D. Ora
President – Leo Robin Music
Leo Robin (@LeoRobinMusic) / Twitter
SOURCE: Leo Robin Music
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