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Oz gets Walk of Fame star as rival says he's too 'Hollywood'

This Dec. 4, 2019 file photo shows Dr. Mehmet Oz at the 14th annual L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Gala in New York. Oz, joins the Republican field of possible candidates aiming to capture Pennsylvania's open U.S. Senate seat in next year's election.
Evan Agostini
This Dec. 4, 2019 file photo shows Dr. Mehmet Oz at the 14th annual L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Gala in New York.

Mehmet Oz, the celebrity heart surgeon who recently ended his daytime TV “Dr. Oz Show” to run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, will be honored Friday with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — just as he is being attacked 2,000 miles away in a rival's TV ad saying he's too “Hollywood.”

The star underscores how successful Oz was before he gave up his TV show to run for public office in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests.

That same career, however, is being used against him by rivals who are picking apart his TV shows and his past as a self-styled wellness and anti-obesity advocate to fuel doubt about his conservative credentials as a Republican.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce lauds Oz as having won 10 Daytime Emmy Awards and authoring New York Times bestsellers on wellness. The show launched in 2009, after Oz rocketed to fame as a regular guest on Oprah Winfrey's show. It aired its last episode Jan. 14, barely seven weeks after Oz announced his candidacy.

The chamber of commerce retains a $50,000 sponsorship fee for celebrities who are nominated and selected for a star, though that price is subject to change. The Walk of Fame website says the money is used to create and install the star, as well as maintain the Walk of Fame.

In 2020, Oz posted on Facebook about the star, saying “I’m getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! ... See you in LA!”

Oz was a longtime resident of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, before running for Senate in Pennsylvania, saying he is now renting a home owned by his in-laws in the suburban Philadelphia town of Bryn Athyn.

As rivals try to raise doubts about his true political leanings, they are pointing to his show's 2019 episode on “red flag laws” opposed by gun-rights advocates and his advocacy of former President Barack Obama's health care law, known as “Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act.

Red flag laws generally allow authorities to disarm people who are believed to be a danger to themselves or others. On the show, Oz suggested that he might support the idea of such laws, saying that the matter of a caller “being anonymous is, for me, vital.”

In 2010, Oz appeared in an ad sponsored by the California Endowment touting the health care law, calling it a “historic opportunity” to “make health care better for millions of Californians, to make health care better and more affordable for you.”

At another point, in 2016, he was quoted as calling Obamacare a “very brave effort to include more Americans in the health care system,” but one whose effectiveness was blunted by political compromises.

A TV ad being aired statewide by a Republican primary rival's super PAC warns “Oz might be right for Hollywood, but he’s wrong for Pennsylvania.” Another calls him a “Hollywood liberal.”

The super PAC supports former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who along with Oz is one of three wealthy and well-connected transplants from other states running for the swing-state seat being vacated by two-term Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

In a statement, Oz's campaign did not address criticism of him being too “Hollywood” for Pennsylvania. Instead, it repeated the theme of his campaign that he is a free-thinking health expert who helps people, even if it means fighting the medical establishment.

“Dr. Oz’s Emmy-Award-winning health show about empowering people to take control of their own health resonates with Pennsylvanians,” the campaign said.

Then it echoed its attacks on McCormick that it is airing on TV, attempting to paint McCormick as soft on China because of his former hedge fund’s portfolio that catered to Chinese investors investing in China.

Updated: February 11, 2022 at 2:44 PM EST
Adds details about Oz, background on rival's attacks, comment by campaign.