Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an 18-block series of sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA that serves as a permanent public monument to achievement in the entertainment industry. More than 2,400 5-pointed terrazzo and brass stars are embedded at 6-foot intervals over a combined 1.7 miles. The stars bear the names of an eclectic mix of actors, musicians, directors, producers, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others recognized by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for their entertainment contributions. The Walk is maintained by the self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust.
According to a report by the market research firm NPO/Plog Research, the Walk attracts about 10 million visitors annually - more than Sunset Strip, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Queen Mary, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - and it has played an important role in making tourism the largest industry in Los Angeles County
Each monument consists of a coral-pink terrazzo five-point star rimmed with brass (not bronze, an oft-repeated inaccuracy) inlaid into a charcoal-colored terrazzo background. In the upper portion of the pink star field, the name of the honoree is inlaid in brass block letters. Below the inscription, in the lower half of the star field, a round inlaid brass emblem indicates the category of the honoree's contributions.
The emblems symbolize five categories within the entertainment industry:
- Classic film camera representing motion pictures
- Television set representing broadcast television
- Phonograph record representing audio recording
- Radio microphone representing broadcast radio
- Comedy/tragedy masks representing theater/live performance (added in 1984)
To date, 47% of the stars have been awarded in the motion pictures category, 24% in television, 17% in audio recording, and 10% in radio. Only 44 stars (less than 2%) have been awarded in the live performance category. (See complete list.) Twenty to thirty new stars, on average, are added to the Walk each year.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce credits E. M. Stuart, its president in the early 1950s, with the original idea for creating a Walk of Fame. According to a 1953 Chamber press release, Stuart proposed the Walk as a means to “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement in the four corners of the world.” Harry Sugarman, another Chamber member and president of the Hollywood Improvement Association, receives credit in some independent accounts. A committee was formed to flesh out the idea, and an architectural firm was retained to develop specific proposals. The exact origin of the "star" concept is not certain, but the historic Hollywood Hotel, which stood for over 50 years on Hollywood Blvd. at the site now occupied by the Hollywood and Highland complex and the Kodak Theatre, painted stars on its dining room ceiling over tables favored by its most famous celebrity patrons, and that may have served as an early inspiration. Another theory involves a popular Hollywood restaurant of the era called The Tropics, whose menu featured celebrity photos framed in gold stars.
By 1955, the basic concept and general design had been agreed upon, and plans were submitted to the Los Angeles City Council. In February 1956 a prototype was unveiled that featured a caricature of a "sample" honoree (John Wayne, by some accounts) on a brown star with blue background. However, caricatures proved technically too difficult to execute in brass with the technology available at the time; and the brown and blue motif, it is said, was nixed by C. E. Toberman, the legendary real estate developer known as "Mr. Hollywood", because the colors clashed with a new building he was erecting on Hollywood Blvd.
By March, 1956 the final design and coral-and-charcoal color scheme had been approved, and between the spring of 1956 and the fall of 1957, 1,550 honorees were selected by committees representing the four branches of the entertainment industry at that time: motion pictures, television, audio recording, and radio. The committees included some of the most prominent names in entertainment, such as Cecil B. DeMille, Samuel Goldwyn, Jesse Lasky, Walt Disney, Hal Roach, Mack Sennett and Walter Lantz.
Construction began in 1958, but two lawsuits delayed completion. The first was filed by local property owners opposed to the USD $1.25 million tax assessment levied upon them to pay for the Walk, along with new street lighting and trees; the second, by Charles Chaplin, Jr., sought damages for the exclusion of his father, whose nomination had been withdrawn due to pressure from multiple quarters (see below). In October 1959 the assessment was ruled legal and Chaplin's lawsuit was dismissed, paving the way for completion of the project.
On August 15, 1958, the Chamber and City unveiled eight stars on Hollywood Blvd. at Highland Avenue to create excitement and to demonstrate what the Walk would look like. The eight honorees included: Olive Bordon, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedwick, Ernest Torrance, and Joanne Woodward.
The first star actually completed in its permanent location was director Stanley Kramer's, on March 28, 1960, on the easternmost end of the new Walk, near the intersection of Hollywood and Gower. The precise origin of the Joanne Woodward legend is not clear; but by at least one account, she was the first celebrity to agree to pose with her star for photographers, and therefore was singled out in popular lore as the first awardee.
The 1960s and 1970s were a period of protracted urban decay in the Hollywood area. The Walk was originally conceived, in part, to encourage redevelopment of Hollywood Blvd., but the area continued its steady decline over the course of the 1960s. While the Walk of Fame Selection Committee continued to exist, eight years passed without the addition of a single new star.
Radio personality, television producer, and Chamber member Johnny Grant is generally credited with implementing the changes that resuscitated the Walk and established it as a significant tourist attraction. In 1968 he initiated a revival of the selection process, then created and continually reinforced public awareness by staging a presentation ceremony to unveil each new star. He further stimulated publicity and encouraged international press coverage by requiring that each recipient personally appear at his or her star's public unveiling.
Grant also instituted a fee of USD $2,500 (which has increased incrementally over time to USD $25,000), payable by the person or entity nominating the recipient, to fund the Walk of Fame's upkeep and minimize further taxpayer burden. Initially, in the late '60s and early '70s, Grant later said, the neighborhood's reputation had declined so precipitously that persuading celebrities to make that commitment was a significant challenge.
From 1968 star ceremonies were held on a fairly regular basis. New stars have been added at the rate of twenty to twenty-five per year ever since.
In 1978, the Cultural Heritage Board of the City of Los Angeles designated the Hollywood Walk of Fame as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #194.
In 1984, a fifth category, “Live Theatre” was added to permit acknowledgement of contributions from the live performance branch of the entertainment industry, and a second row of stars was created on each sidewalk to alternate with the existing stars.
In 1994 the Walk of Fame was extended one block to the west on Hollywood Blvd., from Sycamore Avenue to North LaBrea Avenue (plus the short segment of Marshfield Way that connects Hollywood and La Brea), where it now ends.
Each year, an average of 200 nominations are submitted to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Walk of Fame Selection Committee. Anyone, including fans, can nominate anyone active in the field of entertainment, as long as the nominee or his or her management is in agreement with the nomination. (A letter of agreement from the nominated celebrity or representative must accompany the application.) Nominees must have a minimum of 5 years' experience in the category for which they are nominated. Posthumous nominees must be deceased at least 5 years. At a meeting each June, the committee selects approximately 20 celebrities to receive stars on the Walk of Fame during the following year. One posthumous award is given each year as well. The nominations of those not selected are "rolled over" to the following year for reconsideration; those not selected two years in a row are dropped, and must be renominated to receive further consideration. Living recipients must agree to personally attend a presentation ceremony within five years of selection. A relative of deceased recipients must attend posthumous presentations. Presentation ceremonies are open to the public.
A fee (currently USD $25,000), payable at time of selection, is collected to pay for the creation and installation of the star, as well as general maintenance of the Walk of Fame. The fee is usually paid by the nominating organization, which may be a fan club, or a film studio, record company, broadcaster, or other sponsor involved with the honoree's current or ongoing project.
The interesting facts
Gene Autry is the only honoree with stars in all five categories.
Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Roy Rogers, and Tony Martin each have stars in four categories.
Thirty people, including Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, George Burns, Ed Wynn, and Jack Benny, have stars in three categories; only five of them are women: Dinah Shore, Gale Storm, Jane Froman, Marie Wilson, and Jo Stafford.
Since 1968, all living honorees have been required to be present for their star's unveiling, and approximately 40 have declined the honor due to this condition. The only recipient to date who has failed to appear after having agreed to do so was Barbra Streisand, in 1976. Her star was unveiled anyway, near the intersection of Hollywood and North Highland. Streisand did attend, however, when her husband, James Brolin, unveiled his star in 1998, two blocks to the east.
Six recording artists have two stars in the same category for distinct achievements: Michael Jackson
, as a soloist and as a member of The Jackson Five; Diana Ross, as a member of The Supremes and for solo work; Smokey Robinson, first as a solo artist and later as a member of The Miracles; and John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, as individuals and as members of The Beatles. Paul McCartney's nomination for an individual star, in 1993, lapsed because a personal appearance was never scheduled. He has since been renominated, and will receive his second star "when a date can be arranged for him to unveil it." Cher also forfeited her opportunity to join this exclusive club by declining to schedule the required personal appearance when she was selected in 1983, however, attend the unveiling of the Sonny & Cher star in 1998, as a tribute to her recently deceased ex-husband, Sonny Bono.
There are two pairs of stars bearing identical names but representing different people. Two Harrison Ford stars honor the silent film actor (at 6665 Hollywood Blvd), and the present-day actor (in front of the Kodak Theatre at 6801 Hollywood Blvd). There are also two Michael Jackson stars: one for the legendary singer/dancer/songwriter (at 6811 Hollywood Blvd), and the other for the radio personality (at 1597 Vine Street). When the singer/songwriter Jackson died, in 2009, fans mistakenly began leaving flowers, candles, and other tributes at the Vine Street star. Upon learning of this, the radio host Jackson wrote on his web site, "I am willingly loan[ing] it to him and, if it would bring him back, he can have it."
Charlie Chaplin is the only celebrity to be selected twice for the same star on the Walk. He was unanimously voted into the initial group of 500 in 1956, but the Selection Committee ultimately excluded him, ostensibly due to questions regarding his morals (he had been charged with violating the Mann Act - and exonerated - during the "White Slavery" hysteria of the 1940s) but more likely due to his left-leaning political views. The rebuke prompted an unsuccessful lawsuit by his son, Charles Chaplin, Jr. His star was finally added to the Walk in 1972, the same year he received his Academy Award; but even then, 16 years later, the Chamber of Commerce received angry letters from across the country protesting its decision to include him.
In 1978, in honor of his 50th anniversary, Mickey Mouse became the first animated character to receive a star. Other animated recipients are Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Snow White, Winnie-the-Pooh, Shrek, Rugrats, and the Simpsons.
Four of the stars, which weigh about 300 pounds (136 kg) each, have been stolen from the Walk of Fame.
The largest group of individuals represented by a single star is the estimated 122 adults and 12 children collectively known as the Munchkins, from the landmark 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz.
The most favourite our star -
Hollywood Walk Of Fame:
Star on the Hollywood Blvd. - The Jacksons
In recognition of their contribution to music, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honour The Jacksons (including Jermaine) with a Star on Hollywood Boulevard’s “Walk Of Fame”.
Adress: 1500 Vine Street
More than 2000 adoring fans of the famous Jacksons--Jackie, Tito, Marlon, Michael and Randy--turned out to witness the talented brothers receive their star at the famed corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood.
The crush of screaming, shoving admirers was so great that bodyguards, in order to prevent injury, had to whisk the singers away before they could be photographed with the stars.
The "stars" bearing the names of show business celebrities are placed in the Hollwood Walk of Fame by the Hollwood Chamber of Commerce.
Following the ceremony, the Jackson clan gathered for a dinner party at Chasen's Restaurant.
In attendance were proud parents, Katherine and Joseph Jackson, and grandmother, Mrs. Crystale Jackson, Maureen Jackson-Brown with 2-year-old daughter Yashi, and sister LaToya and Janet Jackson.
Also on hand were Enid, Dee-Dee and Carole Jackson, the wives of Jackie, Tito and Marlon, respectively, as well as singer-composer Barry White and wife Glodean, television producer Dick Clark and wife, Carrie. Clark received a plaque from the Jacksons thanking him for his support of their careers.