Vanessa Williams receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presented Vanessa Williams with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Thursday at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, Calif.

The event, co-sponsored by Variety and the Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building, honored Williams and unveiled her portrait to mark the occasion. Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, explained that the luncheon was created in 2000 to “recognize celebrities who’ve made a difference in Hollywood.” Steve Allen, the original host of “The Tonight Show,” was the first to be honored at the event.

“I ended up doing musical theater in high school and some theater in college and Broadway was the tangible goal for me,” Williams said as she accepted her award. “Hollywood was never on the radar because it was one of those things that was unattainable.”

She said how she went on to exceed her expectations by singing at the Oscars in 1996 and getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010 and much more throughout her career spanning over 30 years. Williams said, “Even though I feel like an outsider because this is all a dream, the fact that I can look at my life and see my achievements and know that Hollywood was such an integral part of what made me me and what’s helped my career, I thank you.”

Prior to Williams’s acceptance speech, Steven Gaydos, vice president and executive editor at Variety, introduced a video highlighting the success Williams has had in film, television, music, and theater. The montage included scenes from “The Pick-Up Artist,” “Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives,” and her singing the Oscar-winning song “Colors of the Wind” and from Disney’s “Pocahontas.”

In addition to giving Williams her award and portrait, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce also ushered in its new 2018-2019 chair, Donelle Dadigan, and swore in new directors and officers.

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Vanessa Williams poses at The 7th Annual #KnockOutHeartDisease Campaign Launch at Burlington Union Square on February 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Jillian Hervey and Vanessa Williams team up with WomenHeart for the fight against heart disease in women at Burlington Union Square on February 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Vanessa Williams with cast during the final performance curtain call for the New York City Center Encores! at 25 production of 'Hey, Look Me Over!' on February 11, 2018 at the City Center Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Vanessa Williams attends the final performance after party for the New York City Center Encores! at 25 production of 'Hey, Look Me Over!' on February 11, 2018 at the City Center Theatre in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Vanessa Williams poses backstage during the Pamela Roland New York Fashion Show at Pier 59 on February 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 08: Vanessa Williams attends the Global Gift Gala on day three of the 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Versace Hotel on December 8, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 06: Vanessa Williams attends the Opening Night Gala of the 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on December 6, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for DIFF,)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: Vanessa Williams attends the 'Right Before I Go' Benefit performance at Town Hall on December 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: Vanessa Williams arrives at the Gershwin Prize Honoree's Tribute Concert at DAR Constitution Hall on November 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Vanessa L. Williams attends 'Torch Song' Off-Broadway Opening Night - Party at Copacabana on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Vanessa Williams attends the National Geographic Encounter Blue Carpet VIP Preview Celebration on October 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Vanessa Williams is seen attending Christian Siriano during New York Fashion Week wearing Christian Siriano on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Vanessa Williams attends the Christian Siriano collection during the September 2017 New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Pier 59 on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: (L-R) Vanessa Williams, Christian Siriano, Gina Gershon and Patricia Clarkson pose backstage for the Christian Siriano fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Pier 59 on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'The Long Goodbye' - Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club. 'Modern Family' premieres WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images) SARAH HYLAND, VANESSA WILLIAMS
OCEAN CITY, NJ - JUNE 25: Vanessa Williams performs in concert at the Ocean City Music Pier on June 25, 2017 in Ocean City, New Jersey. (Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured (l-r): Vanessa Williams and Star Jones -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Vanessa Williams attends 2017 Education Through Music Children's Benefit Gala on June 12, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: Actress Vanessa Williams of 'Daytime Divas' attends the NASDAQ opening bell at NASDAQ on June 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08: Actress and singer Vanessa Williams attends the Pamella Roland Resort 2018 Presentation at Bvlgari on June 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Randy Brooke/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Former co-host of 'The View' Star Jones with Vanessa Williams and a performance from the cast of the Tony� nominated Broadway musical 'Come From Away' airs Friday, June 2, 2017 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABc via Getty Images) STAR JONES, JOY BEHAR, SUNNY HOSTIN, VANESSA WILLIAMS, SARA HAINES
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01: Executive producer Star Jones (L) and actress Vanessa Williams attend the 'Daytime Diva's' New York Screening at the Whitby Hotel on June 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 31: Actors Vanessa Williams onstage during Build Presents Vanessa Williams, Star Jones, Chloe Bridges, Camille Guaty & Fiona Gubelmann Discussing 'Daytime Divas' at Build Studio on May 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 31: Vanessa Williams attends the Build Series to discuss the new VH1 show 'Daytime Divas' at Build Studio on May 31, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Actress/Singer Vanessa Williams attends the New York City Ballet 2017 Spring Gala at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on May 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 28: Singer and actress Vanessa Williams performs at PBS' 2017 National Memorial Day Concert at U.S. Capitol, West Lawn on May 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)
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