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‘Moma Cass’ receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame


A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled this week honoring the late singer “Moma” Cass Elliot, fulfilling a longtime quest by the daughter of the member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame pop group, The Mamas & the Papas.

Bandmate Michelle Phillips and John Sebastian, an original member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rock band Lovin’ Spoonful, were scheduled to speak at the Monday ceremony at 7065 Hollywood Blvd. between La Brea and Sycamore avenues.

Elliot’s daughter Owen Elliot-Kugell, and the singer’s sister, singer-turned-attorney Leah Kunkel, accepted the star on behalf of the family.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame’s selection committee approved Elliot-Kugell’s application for a star for her mother in 2015. She had not been previously nominated, according to Ana Martinez, producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The star is the 2,735th since the completion of the Walk of Fame in 1961 with the first 1,558 stars.

Born Ellen Naomi Cohen on Sept. 19, 1941, in Baltimore, Elliot initially sought a career in theater, including auditioning for the role of Miss Marmelstein in the 1962 Broadway musical, “I Can Get It For You Wholesale,” according to the biography on her website, The role went to an actress with no previous Broadway experience–Barbra Streisand.

In 1963, Elliot, Tim Rose and John Brown formed a folk trio initially known as the Triumvirate, later known as The Big 3, who recorded two albums and appeared on “The Tonight Show” and the variety shows “Hootenanny” and “The Danny Kaye Show.”

The group would become Cass Elliot and The Big 3, which included singer Denny Doherty, and later The Mugwumps, who released a single for Warner Bros. Records.

In mid-1965, Elliot joined Doherty, Phillips and her husband John, who had been performing as the New Journeymen, to form The Mamas & the Papas.

The group’s first album “If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears,” was released on Feb. 28, 1966. The album included “Monday, Monday,” which brought the group its only four Grammy nominations, and a win for best contemporary rock ‘n’ roll group performance. Their other hits included “California Dreamin,”’ “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Creeque Alley” and “Dedicated to the One I Love.”

Elliot died of a heart attack on July 29, 1974, at age 32 following a series of sold-out performances at the London Palladium.