Candee Kennedy has seen plenty of stars.
During the last 12 years, the part-time tour bus driver has witnessed the unveiling of the 1,720th, the 1,842nd and the 1,951st stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame--those honoring Barry Manilow, Natalie Wood and Dean Stockwell, respectively.
But on Friday morning, as she waited to catch a glimpse of No. 1,966, Roseanne Arnold, Kennedy said this time was special. Arnold is much more than a celebrity, Kennedy said: She's a role model.
"I have three girls and I'm trying to raise them the way she does," said Kennedy, 45, referring to Arnold's fictional working-class family on her top-rated comedy show, "Roseanne." On television, Kennedy said, Arnold tells it like it is.
And in real life?
"She's in an enviable position. She has power and money, and she isn't afraid to use it," Kennedy said admiringly. "People put her down for it. But I think it's great."
Kennedy was among 200 fans, tourists and passersby who gathered in front of the Hollywood Wax Museum to see the gum-chewing, wisecracking comedian.
This was a woman, they explained, who had the guts to screech an off-key--and in the end, off-color--rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" at a San Diego Padres game in 1990. This was the woman who had bared her backside at another baseball game, "mooning" a crowd of thousands. This, said many who waited, cameras ready, was a woman to admire.
"I think she's a down-to-earth person," said Patti Salatino, 35, a Newport Beach accountant who had taken the day off and driven through rush-hour traffic to see Arnold. "I've liked her since the beginning--her 'domestic goddess' stuff. I could really relate to her."
Beatrice Ibarra, 52, felt the same way. In Los Angeles to visit her sons, she had already called home to San Antonio to let her friends know she was bringing home videotape of Arnold.
"She speaks what she feels," Ibarra said. "She has opened a lot of women's lives--women aren't as afraid to speak up."
Anyone hoping to hear a little of Arnold's signature snideness, however, was out of luck. Taking the podium after Johnny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood, proclaimed Sept. 25 as "Roseanne Arnold Day," Arnold told the crowd that she had dreamed of becoming a star since she was 3 years old.
"This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened in my career," she said. "I'm so psyched. It's awesome."
Then, she knelt daintily on a red carpet taped to the sidewalk and unveiled the bronze and terrazzo star, located between stars honoring ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and bandleader Sammy Kaye.
Walk of Fame officials said they had wanted to put Arnold's star in front of a tattoo shop, since Arnold has made no secret of her penchant for body paint (when she flashed her backside in the Oakland Coliseum, it was reportedly emblazoned with the name of her husband, Tom). But all the sidewalks in front of tattoo establishments already had stars.
Ana Martinez-Holler, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said she thought the wax museum, which houses a life-size model of Arnold, was the next best location.
Terri and Morris Olsen, an X-ray technician and an automatic transmission repairman from Janesville, Wis., said it looked pretty good to them.
During a previous vacation in Los Angeles, the Olsens had tried unsuccessfully to see the unveiling of John Lennon's star. Although they are regular "Roseanne" viewers, they admitted that they had simply stumbled onto the reception but were thrilled to have done so.
"Just seeing her on the street wouldn't be the same," Morris Olsen said. "This star will be here forever. People won't forget (her) when they walk down the road in 10 years."
Terri Olsen added: "We got to see her on her happiest day."