’High School Musical’ Director-Choreographer Kenny Ortega Receives Walk of Fame Star

The ceremony was held nine days before the premiere of "Descendants 3," which Ortega directed and choreographed

Kenny Ortega Honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

What to Know

  • Kenny Ortega is best known for directing and choreographing the three "High School Musical" movies
  • Ortega choreographed "Dirty Dancing"
  • Ortega also choreographed "Pretty in Pink"

A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Wednesday honoring Kenny Ortega, best known for directing and choreographing the three "High School Musical" movies.

Jennifer Grey, Kathy Najimy and Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, joined Ortega in speaking in the late-morning ceremony next to the Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

"This has been one of the most surreal experiences of my life, and my life is surreal," Ortega said during the ceremony.

He praised the location of his star by the Pantages Theatre, saying, "I get to have my name live under the lights of this glorious marquee."

Ortega choreographed "Dirty Dancing," which co-starred Grey. Najimy appeared in two films Ortega directed, "Hocus Pocus" and "A Change of Heart," and the first "Descendants" made-for-television movie.

The ceremony was held nine days before the premiere of "Descendants 3," which Ortega directed and choreographed, on Disney Channel.

Ortega received outstanding choreography Emmys for the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony and "High School Musical" and for outstanding directing for a variety, music or comedy program for the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Ortega won a Directors Guild of America Award for outstanding directing of children's programming for "High School Musical."

Ortega began his career in the mid-1970s by choreographing stage shows for the San Francisco-based rock band The Tubes. The first movie he choreographed was the 1980 musical "Xanadu."

Ortega also choreographed such films as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "St. Elmo's Fire" and "Pretty in Pink." 

He dedicated much of his speech to praise Cameron Boyce, the "Descendants" actor who died earlier this month at age 20. Boyce's father, Victor, and sister Maya attended the ceremony.

"His all-too-brief appearance in this life inspired me beyond words, and many of us here and generations of kids and families all over this world," Ortega said. "His extraordinary talent and loving heart will be remembered through his foundation. The foundation is called the Cameron Boyce Foundation and has been set up by his family to remember Cameron by continuing his pursuit to make positive change in the world.

"Cameron said we can't take it with us, so it's about what you leave. With this, I promise Cameron that I will carry this goodness with me in all the days of my life," he said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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