Hollywood Walk of Fame

Established in 1958, the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California comprises over 2,600 terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. This popular tourist destination, receiving well over 10 million visitors annually, serves as a public monument to achievements within five categories in the entertainment industry, including:

  • Motion pictures, represented by a classic film camera (47%)
  • Broadcast television, represented by a television receiver (24%)
  • Audio recording or music, represented by a phonograph record (17%)
  • Broadcast radio, represented by a radio microphone (10%)
  • Theatre/live performance, represented by comedy/tragedy masks (2%)

Initially, 1,558 honorees were selected by committees representing the four major branches of the entertainment industry at that time (motion pictures, television, audio recording, and radio). The fifth category (theatre/live performance) was added later in 1984. Committee members included Cecil B. DeMille, Samuel Goldwyn, Walt Disney, Hal Roach, and Walter Lantz, among others.

Here are some other interesting pieces of trivia regarding the Walk:

  • Seven recording artists have two stars in the same category for distinct achievements, one for solo work and the other as a member of a group. These include: Michael Jackson (originally of The Jackson 5); Diana Ross (originally of The Supremes); Smokey Robinson (originally of The Miracles); and John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney (originally of The Beatles).
  • Charlie Chaplin is the only honoree to be selected twice for the same star (due to questions raised regarding his morals, having been charged with violating the Mann Act during the 1940s, though he was later exonerated).
  • Following sexual assault allegations involving certain honorees, such as Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, and reality TV star & current U.S. President Donald Trump, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has stated that it is not planning to remove the stars of Walk of Famers because of alleged misconduct, claiming that once a star has been added, it is considered a part of its historic fabric. This decision, however, has not stopped repeated vandalism.
  • The largest collection of stars honoring one family are those of the Barrymore family, which has seven, including: John Barrymore; Lionel Barrymore (John’s brother, who has two); Ethel Barrymore (John’s sister); Sidney Drew (John’s uncle); John Drew Barrymore (John’s son); and Drew Barrymore (John’s grand-daughter).
  • Muhammad Ali’s star was granted only after it was decided that boxing can be a form of “live performance”. It is the only star mounted vertically, since Ali requested that his name not be walked upon.
  • Sixteen stars (as of Feb 2019) are identified with a one-word stage name, including: Houdini, Liberace, P!nk, Roseanne, Shakira, Sting, and Usher.
  • The largest group represented by a single star are the Munchkins from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (comprised of an estimated 122 adults and 12 children).
  • Two novelists, namely Sidney Sheldon and Ray Bradbury, whose books or stories have been turned into movies and/or TV programs, have stars on the Walk.
  • Ten inventors have stars, including George Eastman (the only honoree with two stars in the same category for the same achievement, namely roll film), Thomas Edison (for the first true film projector), and Ray Dolby (co-developer of the VCR and inventor of the Dolby noise reduction system). Lesser known is Lee de Forest, who invented both the vacuum tube, which made radio and TV possible, and Phonofilm, which also made sound movies possible!
  • Hedy Lamarr, the popular star of Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949), was also the co-inventor (along with the composer George Antheil) of a frequency-hopping radio guidance system which served as a precursor of our current Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth technology!
  • In honor of his 50th anniversary in 1978, Mickey Mouse became the first animated character to receive a star. Since then, other animated recipients have included: Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, Snow White, Tinker Bell, Winnie the Pooh, Shrek, The Simpsons, The Rugrats, and Snoopy.

Some of the honorees were awarded multiple stars in order to recognize their contributions in multiple categories. Gene Autry is the only honoree with stars in all five categories! Four others, including Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Roy Rogers, and Tony Martin, have four stars each, while 33 others, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Jack Benny, have stars in three categories.

  • Visited: c. 1978

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