March 30, 2001: Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy reacts to the unveiling of her plaque
along the Downtown Newhall Walk of Western Stars, on the east side of
San Fernando Road near 6th Street, outside the Canyon Theatre Guild. At left is
Darcy's friend Don Robinson; at right is fellow City Council member Robert Kellar.
Inductees in 2001 included actors Linda Gray of "Dallas" fame (and a Sand Canyon resident), Herb Jeffries (the
first African American to have a starring role in Western films in the 1930s) and
Wilford Brimley (who appeared in Western films well before creating a new identity in "Cocoon") and
City Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy who, with the late Milt Diamond (longtime leader of the former Downtown Newhall
Merchants Association), founded the event 20 years earlier.
The Downtown Newhall Walk of Western Stars began in 1981 as the "Western Walk of Fame" as a means of honoring
Western film, stage, television and radio personalities who performed in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Walk grew out of a Western Celebrities Luncheon (1975-1979) / Dinner (1980)
put together by Jo Anne Darcy after she became manager of the Newhall-Saugus-Valencia (SCV) Chamber of Commerce in 1974. Darcy and the chamber eventually transformed
it into the Western Walk of Fame — which name was changed to "Walk of Western Stars" after the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce sued over the use of the trademarked "Walk
of Fame" name.
Stars were immortalized along San Fernando Road and Newhall Avenue, and later Market Street,
with bronze plaques and terrazzo tile set into the sidewalks. The induction on the street was accompanied by a gala dinner
at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. The event continued annually through 1993 and was suspended in 1994 because of leadership and copyright issues, and
because of the earthquake on Jan. 17 of that year.
Installations resumed in 2000 when Darcy was mayor of the city of Santa Clarita. The Walk was incorporated
into the city's annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival (later called Cowboy Festival) — with the blessing of the Santa Clarita Valley
Chamber of Commerce, which claimed ownership of the event (even though a separate nonprofit corporation, the Santa Clarita Valley
Walk of Western Stars Foundation, ran the event prior to 1994).
The gala dinner was moved to the posh new Hyatt Valencia Hotel and Conference Center and, starting in
2002, to the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Placerita Canyon. Various types of celebratory events (not usually including dinner) have been
organized since the Cowboy Festival moved to William S. Hart Park in 2015.
ABOUT JO ANNE DARCY.
[City of Santa Clarita 1998] —
Attended Los Angeles City College, one year. Santa Monica City College, 1½ years. University of Colorado, Long Beach College, El Camino College, UCLA, USC, CSUN, Mills College and various classes and seminars as well as UC Davis.
A resident of Santa Clarita for over 23 years, Jo Anne Darcy is widowed, with 4 children and 7 grandchildren.
- Senior Deputy to Board of Supervisors (15 years).
- Present Councilwoman (since 12/15/87). Mayor (1990 and 1994).
- Former small business owner / operator (7 years).
- Accredited / experienced Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President / Manager (7 years).
- Professional Executive Assistant to Vice President of Fortune 500 company major corporation (13 years).
- Appointed to California State Film Commission in 1989 by Governor Deukmajian, reappointed in 1993 by Governor Pete Wilson.
- Actively participated in filming activities in Acton, Agua Dulce, Newhall, Saugus, Valencia, Val Verde and Castaic since 1970.
- Chaired original film committee of Newhall-Saugus-Valencia Chamber of Commerce and Acton Chamber of Commerce from 1974-1980.
- College of the Canyons Special Task Force on Small Business (1990-1991).
- 1992 Chairperson for the Santa Clarita Valley Small Business Development Center Business Survival Committee.
- Santa Clarita Valley Regional Vocation Education Council (1982/1991).
- Elected President 1994, President Elect 1993, former Director, 1st and 2nd Vice President of Independent Cities Association Board (50 Cities) 1990/1991, Programs & Conference Committee 1991, and 1992 to present, Legislative Chairperson and 1993 Special Events Chairperson, Chairperson 1994 Winter Conference.
- Chairperson, City of Santa Clarita Entrepreneurial Library Council 1995.
- Santa Clarita Valley Special Task Force on Library enhancement 1989-1991.
- Founding Officer of the Friends of the Libraries of SCV in 1978.
- Member C.H.I.S.S., Consumer Housing Information Services for Seniors (1989-1990).
- Elected Director Santa Clarita Redevelopment Agency, 1991, reelected 1992-1995.
- Appointed Santa Clara River Plan Task Force 1993, Tri-Cities Liaison Group 1993 and Ventura council of Governments Sub-Region Delegate 1993 to present.
- Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee Member (1991-1995).
- CCCA appointed to committee from 1991-1993.
- Elected to City of Santa Clarita Public Finance Authority. Treasurer and Director 1991-1995.
- League of California Cities Traffic Reduction and Free Flow Interagency Committees Growth Management & Regional Issue Committee 1992-1993.
- Director of L.A. County Sanitation Board District 32 & 26, 1998-1991 and 1994-1995.
- Founder / Officer /Member of many organizations representing business, environmental, transportation, educational, philanthropic and community issues. Experienced President / Chairperson, administrator, delegate and member of numerous councils, associations and committees in county, state and local government.
- Co-chaired and is Executive Director of the Western Walk of Fame and Newhall Walk of Western Stars, 1981 - present.
- Member of California Country Music Association, 1985 - present.
- Zonta Club of SCV (International Women's Organization) Founding Officer, Past President, member 1978 - present.
- Founding Member SCV Zonta Club Kids program 1993.
- 1991 Chairperson Status of Women Committee, Zonta International.
- Founding Honorary Director SCV Mobile Dental Clinic Association (1993-1994).
- SCV Historical Society Founding Member, Secretary 1988-1989, member since 1985.
- Association to Aid Victims of Domestic Violence, Founding Member.
- Santa Clarita Valley American Heart Association Celebrity Waiter and Past President 1991.
- Chairperson Santa Clarita Valley Benefit Wine Auction 1991-1993, benefiting SCV Senior Center's Meals on Wheels Program.
- Appointed Director of SCV Arts Council from 1993-1995.
- SCV Professional Referrals Organization (PROS), 1993.
- Honorary Member Kiwanis Club of Newhall-Saugus and Santa Clarita Valley (1995).
In the past 25 years Jo Anne Darcy has worked with over 30 community groups and service organizations covering a gamut of issues from Area on Aging, Environmental, Planning, Infrastructure, Water Conservation, Filming, Business, Strategic Planning, Transportation, Legislation, Economic Development, Child Care, Youth Programs, Senior Citizen's Affairs, Housing and Vocation Education for students and Women and Family Values Commission.
- "Woman of the Year" award from the SCV Chamber of Commerce in 1984.
- "Outstanding Woman" award from the Soroptomists in 1986.
- "Founder's Award" from Zonta Club of SCV in 1986.
- First woman to receive "Citizen of the Year Award" in 1990 from Santa Clarita Elks Lodge.
- "Appreciation Award" from Newhall Rotary for community service.
- "Founder's Service Award" from Western Walk of Fame and SCV Walk of Western Stars in 1990.
- American Heart Association Continuing Service Award in 1991.
- "Appreciation Award" for earthquake services to Crescent Valley Mobile home Park in 1994.
- Honoree of Sterling Who's Who Executive Edition for City Leadership in 1994.
- "Woman of the Year" award from I-ADARP in 1994.
- "Appreciation Award" from American Legion Newhall-Saugus Post 507 (1994).
- Award of Merit from American Legion (1994).
- Award from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Trauma Center Support Group (1994).
- Honorary Elk of the Year (1994).
- Community Partnership / Business Partnership award for dedication to youth at risk.
- Outstanding "Woman of the Year" for SCV Senior Center and Committee on Aging.
- "1995 Independent Cities Association of California President's Achievement Award."
Jo Anne Darcy has received many other awards and certificates for outstanding service to the community over the past 23 years.