Johnny Grant. Date Unknown.
 
Johnny Grant on Wikipedia
Johnny Grant on the Internet Movie Database
archived Johnny Grant website: www.johnnygrant.com
 
 
 
 
Johnny Grant
Forecourt Ceremony held on Tuesday, May 13, 1997
(replaced on Monday, July 9, 2007)
 
Born: May 9, 1923, in Goldsboro, North Carolina
Age at the time of the ceremony: 74
Died: January 9, 2008, in Hollywood, California, age 84
 
Johnny Grant was known to millions around the world as "The Honorary Mayor of Hollywood" who officiated at countless ceremonies honoring figures in Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and also for his being master of ceremonies at many premieres and Forecourt ceremonies. For his birthday in 1997, he got to do his footprint himself.

Grant made his radio debut in 1939 at the age of 16, at the local radio station in his native Goldsboro, North Carolina. Just 18, Grant made an impression covering for radio the trial of Tom Melvin, who was found guilty of the murder of Irby Holmes, in January, 1941. When Melvin, a preacher, was refused allowance to preach to the court after his conviction, he wrote it down on paper, and Grant read it on the air.

Grant joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, running a daily radio program for service people from New York City. After the war, he remained in the Big City, joining radio station WINS as a reporter.

Moving to the Los Angeles area in 1949, Grant first worked as a disc jockey on KGIL, and from 1951 through 1959 for KMPC, both stations being popular music stations in L.A. While in Tinseltown, played a reporter in The Babe Ruth Story (released in September, 1948) with William Bendix, was an Ed Sullivan-style television show host in White Christmas (released in October, 1954) with Bing Crosby, played an M.C. in The Girl Can't Help It (released in December, 1956) with Jayne Mansfield, played a disc jockey in The Great Man (released in December, 1956) with José Ferrer, played himself in Rock, Pretty Baby! (released in December, 1956) with Sal Mineo, and played a reporter in Beau James (released in June, 1957) with Bob Hope.

From the early days of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce's Hollywood Walk of Fame, Johnny Grant has been an active supporter of the project. Grant, along with Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, was instrumental in the restoration of the Hollywood Sign, first completed in 1978. Restioration of the sign is an ongoing affair.

Taking the reins as the "Honorary Mayor of Hollywood" from game show host Monty Hall in 1980, Grant presided over 500 Walk of Fame ceremonies. The Hollywood Chamber "granted" Grant the mayor's title for the rest of his life. Promoting Hollywood now became his number one priority, while continuing to be a supporter of the USO by encouraging Hollywood celebs to visit injured service people, being a General in the California State Military Reserve, and being a member of the California National Guard.

Grant also was involved with the Los Angeles City Fire Commission, the Burbank Police Commission, and the Los Angeles City Cultural Heritage Commission (which designated the Chinese Theatre a Cultural Heritage Landmark on June 5, 1968).

Grant has appeared on many television shows, including doing guest spots on 77 Sunset Strip aired over ABC in May, 1959; co-starring with Carroll Baker, Vikki Carr and Cyd Charisse on The Bob Hope Show aired over NBC in September, 1968; arriving with Nancy Sinatra on China Beach aired over ABC in June, 1988; and was in a pilot for an unsold show called Action with Peter Mohr, aired over the Fox network in September, 1999.

In addition to producing the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, Grant directed the coverage of the 70th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade aired over KTLA in November, 2001, and was an interview subject in the documentary Hollywood at Your Feet: The Story of the Chinese Theatre Footprints aired over AMC in 2002. He was also interviewed for the documentary Confessions of a Superhero (released in March, 2007), criticizing the celebrity impersonators on Hollywood Boulevard.

By 2007, Grant's block had begun to show signs of damage; he asked Mann Theatres if it could be replaced, and so it was done in a small ceremony on Monday, July 9, 2007, right after the stars of the Harry Potter films did theirs. Johnny had misspelled his name on the original block; he repeated the mistake and gave the block its original date: May 13, 1997.

Grant lived for years and years in a suite on the 14th floor of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. On January 9, 2008, after lunching with a friend from the Hollywood Chamber, Grant complained of "feeling lousy," went up to his room, and was found later in the evening unconscious. Paramedics were called, but they were too late; he was pronnounced dead of natural causes. Grant was 84 years old.
 
 
Caption TK
Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Johnny Grant Forecourt ceremony, Tuesday, May 13, 1997. Grant demonstates that, after doing the cement imprinting, no one comes out clean.
 
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