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Tony Award-Winning Baltimore Native André De Shields Gets Key To The City

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore native André De Shields was presented with a Key to the City Monday morning, two months after winning his first Tony Award.

Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young's office presented De Shields the award at a ceremony at City Hall Monday morning.

"Thank you for carrying me all these many years. Thank you for not letting those who want to detract from us bring us down. We still stand tall," De Shields said.

Baltimore Native André De Shields Takes Home First Tony Award

The 73-year-old actor, director and choreographer won his first Tony award in June after nearly 50 years in the entertainment industry. He was named the "Best Featured Actor in a Musical" for his work in Hadestown and raked in 14 total nominations.

André De Shields
André De Shields. Credit: WJZ photojournalist Darryl Mitchell

One of 11 children, the actor, singer and choreographer grew up in Sandtown Winchester before graduating from Baltimore City College in 1964.

De Shields said his start dates back to Royal Theater watching Vincent Minnelli shows in the 1950s.

"Everybody knows there's a small voice that lives here in our gut. If you ever quiet the distraction, we could hear it talk to us because it doesn't shout. It speaks quietly and it tells us only the truth. In that moment, sitting in the Royal Theater, and John Bubbles was doing his dance, that voice said, 'Andre, that's what you're gonna do,'" De Shields said.

That voice propelled him all the way to New York this June at the Tony Awards, echoing out once again the place that made him Andre De Shields.

"Baltimore, Maryland, are you in the house?" He called out his city during his acceptance speech.

Celebrating 50 years in entertainment history, De Shields stressed the key to earn what he's accomplished is to always be yourself because there is nobody like you- nor will there ever be again.

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