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January 05, 2017 05:58 PM

Viola Davis is the first celebrity to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017, but all she could think about while accepting the honor was her late father.

“I wish he were here,” Davis, 51, said while accepting the honor on Thursday. “He died in 2006 and, um, he would think this is pretty fantastic.”

The Suicide Squad star’s husband, actor Julius Tennon, 63, and her daughter Genesis were in attendance, along with legendary actress Meryl Streep, who spoke at the ceremony.

Davis also reflected on her difficult upbringing in Central Falls, R.I., saying, “The only picture I have of myself as a kid in kindergarten is with a little … sucker and an expression that’s not really a smile, not really a frown, just something.”

She continued, “But every time I look at the little girl, I always thought, ‘Oh, that’s a cute outfit.’ But she was always hungry, she was always shy, she was always kind of in the background, but inside she had big dreams bursting. And the only thing I could think about is that saying, ‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.”

After thanking her family and Streep for their support, Davis said, “I cannot believe my life right now,” adding, “All I can say is, ‘God has blessed my life in abundance.'”

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