A Brief History
On February 8, 1960, the Hollywood Walk of Fame was officially opened with the placement of the first 8 brass and terrazzo stars in the famous sidewalk. The Walk of Fame would almost immediately become a tourist favorite and a treasured honor to have one’s name placed in the sidewalk at Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. in Hollywood, California.
Administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the attraction gets about 10 million visitors per year. Now having over 2500 stars (no, we are not going to list them!), the inaugural class of 8 plaques included Joanne Woodward (wife of Paul Newman), Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick, Ernest Torrence, Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, and Preston Foster, though the first permanent star belonged to director Stanley Kramer, placed March 28, 1960. Actors, producers, directors, musicians and others involved with the entertainment business are eligible for enshrinement on the sidewalk, and the first 2 years (1960-1961) saw 1500 stars placed. The 5 official categories include:
Classic film camera representing motion pictures
Television receiver representing broadcast television
Phonograph record representing audio recording or music
Radio microphone representing broadcast radio
Comedy/tragedy masks representing theatre/live performance (added in 1984)
Other special people have been enshrined as well, including astronauts that went to the moon, certain businesses such as Victoria’s Secret, the Los Angeles Police Department (smart, very smart move!), the Los Angeles Dodgers, all under the banner of “Special Stars and Friends.” Some stars (people) have more than one star (plaque in the cement) for inclusion in more than one category. (Note: Only Gene Autry has stars in all five categories.) A few stars have 2 stars within the same category for separate special achievements. The most common last name of enshrined stars? Williams! A total of 14 stars are identified by only one name (eg, Houdini). The first animated character enshrined was Mickey Mouse (1978), and other fictional “stars” have likewise been honored, as well as their animators. Even puppets and puppeteers can be found on The Walk of Fame.
After a drought of 8 years, more stars began to be emplaced in the cement, starting with Richard D. Zanuck (producer) in 1968, to where there are now around 2600 stars. With so many stars, and so many years, mistakes, damage, refurbishment and the like has taken place, with at least 3 stars still bearing misspelled names!
Want to be honored with a Hollywood Star? You need to be nominated to the committee selected by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, of which about 200 such nominations are made per year. About 20 people (or whatever) are selected for enshrinement each year. Requirements include at least 5 years in the entertainment industry and for deceased nominees, at least 5 years has to have passed since their death. Some notable stars have never been included, either because of their own refusal or for other reasons. These include Clint Eastwood, George Clooney, John Denver and Julia Roberts. An appearance at the unveiling of each star is mandatory for those enshrined.
Question for students (and subscribers): Who are your favorite stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Who is not so honored that deserves to be? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see link below for a list of stars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stars_on_the_Hollywood_Walk_of_Fame
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Taty2007 of Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.