Octavia Spencer feels the love at Walk of Fame event as Will Ferrell shuts down heckler

Octavia Spencer attends the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony for Octavia Spencer, Dec. 08, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Octavia Spencer attends her Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony on Thursday. (David Livingston / Getty Images)

Octavia Spencer was tearing up from the get-go Thursday at her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, where genuine love for the actor was in the air at a level rarely seen at such events.

With friend Allison Janney and "Spirited" co-star Will Ferrell set to speak — and attendees including actors Viola Davis, Julius Tennon and Mekhi Pfifer and director Tate Taylor — Spencer dabbed at her eyes even before she was invited to the stage. Even the suited presence of Auburn University's mascot, Aubie the tiger, couldn't keep her weepies at bay.

Later, when Spencer took the mic, she would explain that she was "trying to keep it together because I know I haven't taken all of my pictures yet, and I want my makeup to be pretty."

She would definitely succeed in that effort, as photos taken later Thursday prove.

A woman in a black dress smiles while speaking at a podium
Octavia Spencer speaks during Thursday's ceremony. (David Livingston / Getty Images)

There was one awkward hiccup along the way, however.

As Ferrell began speaking about Spencer's new star in front of Hollywood Ballet, compared with his own star's location — "all the way down in East L.A. in front of the Kaiser Permanente," he said — a man on the street began loudly heckling the event, declaring among other things that it was "celebrating rich people."

The "Anchorman" star flew into action to protect his pal's special moment.

"Not on Octavia's day!," he shouted as Spencer tried to shoo the man along. "Keep it moving. Keep it moving. The wax museum's down there. That thing is wide open."

Ferrell followed up several times as the man kept hollering.

"He's got powerful lungs. He's using his diaphragm," the comic said as members of the audience broke out in laughter. "Louder, please. They can't hear you in Alhambra," he added later.

Then, as he prepared to step down after lauding Spencer as "literally the best and no one is more deserving of this star," he ad-libbed: "Is that guy up next? Is he supposed to speak? Sweatpants weirdo, is he up here?

"Should I just go tackle him?"

A man and a woman speak at a podium
Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer address the heckler at her Walk of Fame ceremony Thursday. (David Livingston / Getty Images)

Fortunately the next speaker was actually Janney, a friend of Spencer's since 1998. "I'm so glad that gentleman has gone," she said quietly as she took the stage.

Janney told a story about meeting the woman who would later win the 2012 supporting actress Oscar. Janney was at a party where, in another room, Spencer was laughing loudly as she told friends about being cast in her "28th role as a nurse with two lines," apparently a step up from being cast as a bus driver who didn't make it out of the movie alive. Janney had to see who the person was.

"Anyone who could have a sense of humor about the struggles of trying to make it in Hollywood had to be part of my life, and, of course, I wanted to work with her," Janney said. The two would go on to do "The Help" together.

Spencer, who graduated from Auburn, remembered driving out to L.A. from Montgomery, Ala., 26 years ago in a 10-year-old car with $3,000, her suitcase, a 40-inch tube television and her dreams.

"It took me a minute to absorb the profundity of this moment," the "Hidden Figures" star said after accepting a certificate from the city of Los Angeles marking her star ceremony. "The culmination of my dreams realized, hard work rewarded after a fair but healthy amount of failure and rejection."

Before thanking everybody from her mother to her "Truth Be Told" family to her stylists — "who have always had me looking snatched" — Spencer noted that what she didn't know when she drove from Alabama "was how the people I would soon meet would become my L.A. family. My tribe. Those with whom I would commiserate when I didn't get the job or celebrate when I did."

She also thanked her sisters especially for "never panicking when I called to borrow money for rent."

Folks can see Spencer's shiny new star at 6623 Hollywood Blvd., between Cherokee and Whitley avenues.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.