'A Star Without a Star' is the untold story of Juanita Moore's legacy

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Wednesday, December 28, 2022
'A Star Without a Star' is the untold story of Juanita Moore's legacy
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Juanita Moore is finally set to get her own star on the walk of fame over a decade after her death in 2010.

WEST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- An injustice is set to be corrected along the Hollywood Walk of Fame after a documentary shed light on one influential star's lack of recognition.

Juanita Moore is finally set to get her own star on the walk of fame over a decade after her death in 2014.

Before her long life ended at the age of 99, Moore paved the way for other Black performers in Hollywood, but as a new documentary makes clear, Moore never got the recognition she so richly deserved.

She earned an Oscar for 1959's "Imitation of Life" for playing a Black housekeeper whose daughter passes for white.

She made over 70 movies, yet her name is unfamiliar to so many.

"Her legacy was she persevered," her grandson, Kirk Kelleykahn said. "She kept going. She never stopped."

He calls the movie he made about her "A Star Without A Star," because the folks in charge refused to give her a posthumous star until his documentary pressured them to include his grandmother.

"I'm glad that she will be getting one, and I'm glad that we did persevere with the film," Kelleykahn said. "But I think it should've been much sooner."

The obstacles Kelleykahn faced getting her this honor mirrored her own fight in the 1950s.

"These were different times," the late Sidney Poitier says in the new documentary. "You had to behave in a certain stereotypical way in order to find a job, to get a job, and hold a job so it was slow going."

After Moore was nominated for playing a maid, she made a decision.

"I didn't want to carry the trays anymore," Moore says in an interview in the documentary.

Moore refused to play such parts any longer, and was out of work for over a year.

"It was horrible," Kelleykahn said. "What it says about Hollywood is that they wouldn't break the stereotype. You have an Oscar nomination and, 'OK we're just going to keep you as a maid.'"

Moore went back to playing domestic roles, but still managed to break through in parts like the nun she played in "The Singing Nun."

A younger performer, T'keyah Crystal Keymah appears in the documentary calling Moore, "one of the people that not only look like me, but made me proud to look like me." "

A Star Without A Star" calls Moore, "a pioneer in a time and place where this was not allowed."

The film is playing for a brief run at Cinema Village in Manhattan starting Friday, December 30th.