Click here for Greater Long Island newsletters. Click here to download our iPhone app.
If we told you Long Islanders Eddie Murphy, Alec Baldwin or Susan Lucci had a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, you’d likely yawn, shrug your shoulders or say something the likes of “No sh–, Sherlock.”
Of course, they do.
Still, there are a handful of local celebrities on the walk whose presence may surprise you.
Below are five Long Islanders we think you’d be interested to know did indeed have enough star power to join the Walk of Fame. With a couple of them, it may even be possible that you didn’t know they had Long Island roots.
Sewanhaka High School product Telly Savalas is best known for playing the title role in the 1970s crime drama “Kojak.” NYPD Detective Lt. Theo Kojak was as cool as they come, snuffing out crime cases while twirling a lollipop in his mouth and playfully uttering his tagline, “Who loves you, baby?”
Iconically bald, Savalas’ Hollywood career stretched over 40 years. Acting on film and television, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Feto Gomez in “Birdman of Alcatraz.” His other movies included “The Young Savages,” “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Battle of the Bulge,” “The Scalphunters,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “Pretty Maids All in a Row.” In the “Dirty Dozen” in 1967, he starred alongside fellow Long Islander and NFL great Jim Brown.
Born in Garden City, Savalas graduated from high school in 1940. After graduation, he worked briefly as a lifeguard, and then was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941. He served during World War II, from 1941-1943.
Savalas was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame in 1983.
Glen Cove native Ashanti enjoyed her Walk of Fame ceremony in 2022, joined by friends, others artists and her mother Tina Douglas. The singer’s proud mom brought along the souvenir Hollywood star she bought for Ashanti two decades prior, in anticipation of her success.
Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas scored sudden stardom in 2002 with her first three singles landing in the top 10 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart.
The Glen Cove High School graduate was the first female artist to hold the top two positions on the chart simultaneously with “Foolish” and “What’s Luv?” at numbers one and two, respectively. Ashanti and Ja Rule’s “Always on Time” also was a No. 1 hit in 2002.
Ashanti, 42, has been an R&B diva ever since, recording six albums and acting on television and the big screen.
Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo)
Most famous for his three-decade run as the title character in children’s television program “Captain Kangaroo,” Bob Keeshan was born in Lynbrook and called Babylon Village home during much of his TV career.
Keeshan would catch a 4:20 a.m. Long Island Rail Road train in order to get to CBS studios in New York in time to record the show, according to his obituary in The New York Times in 2004.
Captain Kangaroo became an icon to millions of children — and their parents — across several generations between 1955-1984. In all, he recorded more than 9,000 episodes, serving up kindness in his bobbed wig and walrus mustache.
Keeshan also played the original Clarabell the Clown on the “Howdy Doody” kids TV program. “Howdy Doody” was the antithesis of the vibe Keeshan later created on his own program. As the warm and patient Captain Kangaroo, Keeshan established a less rambunctious alternative to noisier children’s TV.
Even while harnessing fame as an early television giant, Keeshan was active in the Long Island community, serving on West Islip’s Board of Education from 1953-1958 when he was a resident of the school district. A U.S. Marine Corps reservist, Keeshan died in 2004 and is buried in Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in Babylon.
He received his Walk of Fame star in 1976.
British-American rock star Billy Idol is the most recent celebrity with Long Island roots to gain a star on the Walk of Fame, having been honored in January. The “Rebel Yell” singer who became a pioneering MTV star and achieved international acclaim in the 1980s spent some of his formative years living in a home on Conklin Avenue in Patchogue and attending grade school locally.
Idol, 67, was born in England (as William Michael Albert Broad), but his folks moved to the United States when he was 3. The Broads briefly lived in a Rockville Centre apartment, before Idol’s dad became a sales manager at Blue Point Laundry and the family settled in Patchogue for several years, according to Idol’s 2014 autobiography “Dancing With Myself.”
Interestingly enough, Idol recalled in his book that he enjoyed watching Captain Kangaroo during his days in Patchogue. The Idols moved back to England before Billy Idol had turned 10. In 2020, he returned to Patchogue to visit his childhood home.
Known for his lip-curling sneer and fist-pumping spirit, Idol has sold 40 million albums worldwide, recording nine top 40 singles in the United States and 10 in the United Kingdom, including “Dancing With Myself,“ “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell,” “Mony Mony,” “Eyes Without A Face,” “Flesh For Fantasy,” and “Cradle Of Love.”
With his jolly voice and youthful vitality, Guttenberg took Hollywood by storm in 1980s, emerging as a Big Screen favorite with starring roles in “Three Men and a Baby,” two “Cocoon” movies and four “Police Academy” flicks, among tons of other feature films. We fondly remember when Guttenberg played U.S. Men’s Hockey goalie Jim Craig in the 1981 television movie “Miracle on Ice” about the 1980 Olympic champions.
While Guttenberg, 64, spent some of his early childhood growing up in Flushing, Queens, his family moved to North Massapequa before he was 10 and he graduated from Plainedge High School in 1976. Among the several jobs he took on as a teenager was cleaning horse stables at Bethpage State Park, according to an interview he gave in January.
According to his IMBD profile, Guttenberg tied Gene Hackman for appearing in the most films in The Screen Actors Guild from 1980-1990.
Guttenberg received his star on the Walk of Fame during a ceremony in 2011.