Danny Glover and other Hollywood stars honored and inspired by Durham's Hillside High Drama Department

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hollywood came to Hillside High School on Friday night.

Danny Glover, the actor famous for his movie roles in the "Lethal Weapon" franchise and as "Mister" in "The Color Purple," was honored by the Hillside Drama Department with a Trailblazer in the Arts Award.

Glover's appearance came as Hillside's vaunted Drama Department held its Opening Night Gala for the premiere of its fall musical, "The Color Purple."

Glover's co-star in the film version, Margaret Avery, who played Shug Avery, was also here to accept a Trailblazer Award. She told us she was inspired by the young student actors she met on campus.

"When I walked in and saw all these kids, a whole stage full of them," she described, "to see this and the beautiful faces and the array of colors and the hope and enthusiasm makes me feel young."

Antonio Fargas, perhaps best known for his role as "Huggy Bear" in the 70s crime drama TV series "Starsky & Hutch," was honored as well.

"Because I probably need these young people more than they need me. It's about sharing my strength, hope, and experience," Fargas told us backstage.

Tony-nominated actress Starletta DuPois helped lure all this Hollywood talent to Durham after learning of the dynamic talent being seasoned inside the Durham high school.

"Oh my goodness, (Hillside Drama) is one of the best in the country," DuPois said. "Well, not only are they gifted, but they have a passionate director in Wendell Tabb."

One of Tabb's former theater students at Hillside was among the guests of honor. Kevin Wilson, Hillside Class of 2007, returned to his alma mater fresh off his Oscar nomination for his short film, "My Nephew Emmett."

"I'm still on that cloud and I'm still excited about everything that's happened, and I'm proud to share my experiences with the students," Wilson said. "We need to continue to support these students and Mr. Tabb -- someone I consider to be the greatest mentor, the greatest director, and educator in the world."
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