MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been 30 years since “Purple Rain” graced movie screens in theaters across the country.

The film launched Minnesota’s own Prince into the national spotlight, and introduced the world to his co-star Apollonia Kotero.

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Apollonia is in the Twin Cities for the first time since “Purple Rain” was filmed.

“Driving in yesterday at night we drove by First Avenue. I started getting verklempt,” Apollonia said. “You know I just was stunned. I just looked at it and I was like ‘There it is,’ you know. It’s the iconic venue.”

For the first time in 30 years, she’s back in the city where it all began to support Bobby Z’s annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life.

“He almost lost his life three years ago, and he’s alive!” Apollonia said.

Since his recovery, Bobby Z started an organization called My Purple Heart. He works with the American Heart Association to spread a message of living heart healthy.

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“I had my first checkup. I checked my ticker, and by coincidence it happened to be on the day that Bobby announced the event,” she said.

Apollonia says learning that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. prompted her to use the magic that made “Purple Rain” timeless to help others live longer.

“Whether you have heart disease in your family or not, I really believe it is something we all have to do before it’s too late,” she said.

Apollonia will join Dr. Fink, The Sounds of Blackness, “St. Paul” Peterson, Slug and other friends of Bobby Z’s on stage at First Avenue Saturday.

I heard them in rehearsals, and you don’t want to miss it. The Red Carpet begins at 6 p.m.

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Reg Chapman