By Campbell Morin
Boston University News Service
CAMBRIDGE — Jennifer Coolidge led a parade through Harvard Square celebrating her as Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year for 2023 on Feb. 4th.
The Hasty Pudding Institute, a Harvard University theater group, has been giving out its “Pudding Pot” award to women since 1951. Coolidge joins several notable winners, including Meryl Streep in 1980, Julia Roberts in 1997 and Viola Davis in 2021.
Before Coolidge’s arrival on a navy Bentley convertible, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals group played songs reminiscent of Coolidge’s most memorable roles. These included “The Best Day” from “Legally Blonde” and “The White Lotus” theme song – a performance that won her a Golden Globe and an Emmy.
Kimberly Garner-Parker, who has lived in Cambridge for 20 years and has never been to the Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year parade, decided to go that morning after hearing Coolidge was the woman being honored.
“Her time is finally here; this is her recognition for years of hard work in Hollywood playing the funny characters who often don’t get recognized,” said Garner-Parker.
The parade was led by the Harvard cheerleaders and followed by aspiring actors from the Hasty Pudding Theatrical group, in costume for opening night. Coolidge attended the performance of “Cosmic Relief” which was held Saturday night after the celebratory roast and award ceremony at Farkas Hall.
Despite the modest amount of advertisements for the parade and the frigid temperatures, Coolidge, adorned in a cheetah print fur coat and pink fluffy hat, reached for her fans, touching hands and greeting them in the midst of the mass.
“It was super cool to touch her hand, and I felt super honored. It was so worth waiting in the cold for 40 minutes to see her. This feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience!” said Katherine Lee, a freshman at Harvard University.
Coolidge, a Boston native herself, will next be appearing as a psychic medium in the Netflix movie “We Have a Ghost” with Anthony Mackie, coming out on Feb. 24.
“It is an absolute dream for us to honor Jennifer Coolidge as our Woman of the Year on the heels of her recent accolades for ‘The White Lotus,’” said Sarah Mann Hasty Pudding’s producer, “We know our Pudding Pot will look phenomenal alongside her new Golden Globe, and we swear we won’t whisk her away to a palazzo in Palermo!”