Viola Davis cemented her name in the Hollywood firmament Thursday, receiving the 2,597th star — and first of 2017 — on the storied Walk of Fame.
In a heartfelt acceptance speech, the Fences and How to Get Away With Murder actress paid tribute to her late father, who died in 2006. “I wish he were here,” she said. “He would think this is pretty fantastic.”
Davis also reflected on her rough childhood in Central Falls, Rhode Island, and a poignant kindergarten photo. “Every time I look at the little girl, I always thought, ‘Oh, that’s a cute outfit but she was always hungry, she was always shy, she was always kind of in the background — but inside she had big dreams bursting. And the only thing I could think about is that saying, ‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.'”
She paused, then added, “I cannot believe my life right now.”
Davis wasn’t the only star on hand at the ceremony. Meryl Streep, her Doubt costar and fellow Walk of Fame honoree, introduced her with glowing remarks. “Viola Davis is possessed,” Streep said. “She’s possessed of a blazing, incandescent talent. She is, arguably, the most immediate, responsive artist I have ever worked with.”
Streep teased that there’s one thing Davis can’t do. “The thing Viola can’t do is be invisible,” she said. “She just can’t do it. She can’t fade away, she can’t recede, she can’t be forgettable. Viola Davis is inevitable. She is like a sure thing, and her star has been waiting here patiently for 50 years for her.”
Watch video of Davis’ ceremony above.