The Hollywood Walk of Fame: Interesting Things to Know

Updated on October 29, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various things, including celebrities and entertainment.

Not all celebrities get a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame no matter how talented they are. It is an honor when they do get one. However, it is a long and tedious process that a lot of people have no idea about.

Here are answers to questions the public has asked about the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Origin of the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The idea for the Hollywood Walk of Fame came about in 1953 as a Chamber of Commerce marketing strategy. The Chamber’s volunteer president E. M. Stuart came up with a way to get people to see the names of famous people even if they never got to meet them in person. The idea was to promote tourism for the community.

The proposal was presented to the Los Angeles City Council in 1956. It took another seven years before construction began on the walkway.

To show the public what the marketing tactic would look like, a sneak peek of eight well-known stars were unveiled temporarily on August 15, 1958. Today, there are more than 2,600 permanent stars of famous people along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

More than 10 million people visit Los Angeles' most famous tourist attraction every year just to see the names of celebrities on the sidewalk.

Permanent Monument for Entertainers

The stars on the walkway are permanent public statutes for the achievement in certain entertainment categories. At first, there were only four categories for inductees. They were Motion Pictures, Television, Recording and Music, and Radio. In 1984, Theatre/Live Performance was added. Nominees are actors, actresses, directors, producers, musicians, and fictional characters.

Kanye West once complained because his wife doesn't have a star. A spokesperson for the Chamber said Kim Kardashian West doesn't qualify to be on the Walk of Fame because there is no category for reality personalities.

Most of the stars are in the motion picture category comprising 47 percent. Television is next with 25 percent, followed by music with 17 percent and radio with 10 percent. Live performance has less than 2 percent.

After live performance was added in 2002, Muhammad Ali received a star. The iconic boxer refused to allow it to be put on the street for people to walk on his name. Therefore, his star is the only one installed on the wall at the Dolby Theatre, according to The Guardian.

First Star

After delays, construction on the Hollywood Walk of Fame officially began on February 8, 1960. The very first star to be laid was a star for Stanley Kramer on March 28, 1960. He was the director of The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Fictional Characters

Mickey Mouse was the first fictional character to get a star in 1978. Minnie Mouse was last and the 17th fictional character to receive one on January 22, 2018.

Others include all of the well-known Disney and Sesame Street characters.

Celebrities With More Than One Star

Celebrities are allowed to have more than one star. However, the same process and cost exist for multiple stars. Several people have stars in more than one category. More than 30 people have stars in three categories.

Legendary entertainer Gene Autry is the only celebrity to have a star in all five categories.

Placement of the Stars

The placement of the stars is not random. Stars of the most legendary celebrities are found in front of TCL Chinese Theatre. Those of Oscar-winners are usually placed near the Dolby Theatre where they received their annual Academy Awards.

Even though the Chamber of Commerce has the final say, some honorees have requested the location of their stars because of various reasons. Carol Burnett wanted hers near the theatre where she was fired from when she was an usher.

Application Process

It takes more than just talent to get a star on the Walk of Fame. Each year, more than 200 nominations are received. Not all celebrities are accepted when they first apply. Sometimes, it takes several nominations before approval. In the meantime, some people give up on the process. Only about 30 of them are accepted and approved.

The nomination process is very extensive and expensive. That's why some celebrities would rather not deal with it. Even though anyone, including a fan, can nominate a celebrity, the celebrity must submit a letter agreeing to all of the conditions. It is not as easy as getting an Emmy, Oscar or other trophies and awards.

Other than agreeing to pay $40,000, the celebrity must have worked in the category for at least five years and made significant contributions. If selected, the person must agree to attend the dedication ceremony that must be scheduled within two years after being accepted.

After the Walk of Fame Committee has made its selections, the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce must approve the star. Then the names are submitted to the City of Los Angeles’ Board of Public Works Department for a final approval.

Posthumous nominations can be submitted only after a person has been dead for a minimum of five years.

Cost and Maintenance

The star doesn't come cheap. There is $40,000 fee that is either paid by the celebrity or a sponsor. The cost is for designing the star that is made of terrazzo and brass, installing it, and helping to maintain it. The celebrity or sponsor is responsible for the payment to the Hollywood Historic Trust of the Chamber of Commerce so the space can be maintained.

Money is raised to help with maintenance through Friends of the Walk of Fame program. The Hollywood Historic Trust also funds some of the repairs. The Hollywood Entertainment District pays a private company to keep the walkway clean.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen share the same star.
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen share the same star.

Families

Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, and Laura Dern received their stars at the same time. That was the first time three people from one family were honored on the same day. The one ceremony was part of the Walk of Fame's 50th Anniversary celebration.

The Barrymore family has six stars, the highest number for one family. One star belongs to John, Ethel, John Drew, and Drew. Lionel Barrymore has two.

In 2004, twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were only 18-year-old when they became the youngest to be honored. Their joint star is the only one shared by twins. The joint star shared by the largest group belongs to the Munchkins. The estimated 122 adults and 12 children are from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

Politicians

Several politicians have stars, but they received them before they were involved in politics. They include Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Reagan also has one for being Governor of California like Arnold Schwarzenegger. One senator and two representatives of the US also have stars.

Removal of Stars

Stars are removed for several reasons. There have been typos with misspelled names. All but three of them have been removed, corrected and replaced. Some stars were replaced after they were stolen.

People deface stars when there is a scandal about the celebrity. They also request the monument to be removed. Many people requested the one of Bill Cosby to be removed even before he was found guilty and again after he went to prison. A spokesperson for the Chamber of Commerce said it would not remove the permanent monument because it was installed in 1977 before the former comedian was disgraced.

Besides, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added, it is considered part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and will not be removed.

Over the years, requests for the removal of many other stars have been received by the Chamber because of the bad behavior of the owners. Stars of President Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey, Elvis Presley, and Joan Crawford have been requested by the public to be removed, according to LA Weekly.

Stars on the Walk of Fame become impromptu memorials, vigil sites and anniversary remembrances.

Michael Jackson's star used as a vigil two weeks after his death in 2009
Michael Jackson's star used as a vigil two weeks after his death in 2009

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      12 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Dianna, Thanks for reading my actor and commenting on the information about the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      12 months ago

      I found your article interesting and I've learned quite a few facts about the placement of the stars. You would never imagine the stars actually have to pay for them!

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      12 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Hi Tim,

      On social media, someone asked if people paid for their own stars. Since I had do research, I used the opportunity to write an article about it.

      I found it interesting that Muhammed Ali's star is on the wall instead of on the walkway like the others.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      12 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Margaret,

      This was an interesting article. I enjoyed it. I am glad Kermit the Frog has a star; he's really cool, and Kermit also has a color named after him. Not much controversy with the frog.

      I learned a lot about the Hollywood Walk of Fame thanks to your well written article.

      As always,

      You make your writing worth the visit, Margaret.

      Have a great weekend.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Erudite Scholar profile image

      Jeff Zod 

      12 months ago from Nairobi

      You are welcome, Margaret. It is interesting to note that some fictional characters have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      12 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Jeff, for reading my article about the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    • Erudite Scholar profile image

      Jeff Zod 

      12 months ago from Nairobi

      This is a very interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

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