Ever want to know more about one of America’s most famous tourist attractions? We knew you did because…who doesn’t? So we brought you this article on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You’re welcome.
So for those of you out there who have been living under a rock and still have questions like “Where is the Hollywood Walk of Fame?”, “Where is the star walk in Hollywood” and “What state is Hollywood in?” – we are here to help. It’s okay – you’re not alone. Okay, actually, you just may very well be. Regardless, we have brought you fun and interesting facts for your reading pleasure regarding one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.
Most of you are already familiar where the Hollywood Walk of Fame is – Los Angeles, California. But, whether you already know or not, if you plan on visiting LA anytime in the near future, you can rest assured that you’ll leave this page with a lot more insight on the specifics of the location.
Where are the Hollywood Stars?
Well, you can find the stars all up and down Hollywood Boulevard. It is 4.5 miles in total to be exact from Hillhurst Avenue to Laurel Canyon Boulevard, but The Walk will pretty much be the only portion of that you will actually care about.
The stars are specifically located on about fifteen blocks of the boulevard and have recently been expanded to include portions of Vine Street as well. These stars are permanent public monuments and in the event you ever want to attend one of the glitzy ceremonies – you’re in luck. This is because the website publicizes the heck out of them ahead of time giving you plenty of wiggle room to organize your groupie group and get packing.
When did the Hollywood Walk of Fame start?
Well, long, long ago my dear friend. Way back to the olden days of 1953 to be exact. In fact, a fun tip is that the individual who is credited with starting the Walk of Fame was a Mr. E. M. Stuart. Stuart was President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and they were looking for a way to help revitalize the location and continue to generate attraction to it.
The marketing strategy obviously paid off and with the help of several others over the decades it has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the United States. Not only is The Walk of Fame itself a huge tourist destination, but the christening of newly minted stars in highly publicized ceremonies are also extremely buzz-worthy.
As of to date, the location hosts about twenty-four ceremonies over the course of a year which comes out to about two per month.
When the Walk was being constructed, it is said that the idea came from a ceiling in one of the dining areas of the famous Hollywood Hotel. At that point in time, it was known for having a number of stars with celebrities names printed on them. Once the concept was thought out – a firm by the name of Luckman and Periera was responsible for undertaking the task of implementing the project.
While the process was being undertaken, a committee was set up to be in charge of selecting the various individuals for consideration for the prestigious honor. Four of them were established in the categories of motion picture, recording, television, and radio. Originally there was no category for live performances. This was created with the onset Johnny Grant as Chair of the Chamber of Commerce.
There were highly prestigious individuals selected for the role of the Selection Committee. Individuals such as Walt Disney, Hal Roach, Walter Lantz and Samuel Goldwyn, to name a few, were designated. Once the process began, it was a bit of a snowball effect. They say initially, as many as around 150 submissions were sent in for candidates and filed per week.
Once The Walk of Fame project was fully assessed for construction, the end number rang in at the tune of around $1.25 million. Keep in mind that currency was valued much differently back then than it is today, so this number was contextually much larger than it seems – roughly $10.6 million today.
Then came the special day. August 15, 1985. This was the date when the City first introduced the initial eight stars on Hollywood Boulevard. They did this as a bit of a publicity stunt for the purpose of generating buzz around the event and serving as a sort of test-run. The honorees included Burt Lancaster, Joanne Woodward, and Edward Sedgwick to name a few.
However, the construction didn’t move on as smoothly as initially anticipated. There were legal disputes filed which held it up for quite some time. The first one was originated by the property owners in the area and the second one is actually quite ironic.
As you are most likely already aware of, the selection of names for the Walk of Fame has long been rife with controversy. One of the most controversial initial omissions was of Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin, whose name is now on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (I mean really, how did they mess that one up initially) had a son by the same name. It was Charlie Chaplin, Jr. who filed the second complaint for the committee having omitted his father in the original selection process. In this complaint, he sought $400,000 in damages, a case which was later dismissed by the judge presiding over the hearing. Eventually, construction plans forged on and Charlie’s papa got his infamous star. However, Chaplin’s son passed away before he could see his hard work pay off. Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter, Susan Maree Chaplin, attended though.
The very first official celebrity to be set on the Walk was Stanley Kramer on March 28, 1960, to be exact. The Walk was originally set to accommodate about 2,518 celebrity names but the city soon ran into the problem of having to expand. On February 1, 1994 (Hollywood’s birthday anniversary), the Walk of Fame was extended one block to the west from Sycamore to LaBrea on Hollywood Blvd.
How do celebrities get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
As mentioned above, the process has been criticized but so far, it’s working. A celebrity must first be nominated for a star by a 3rd party – yes, even a fan can do it if he/she is willing to formally submit the form to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The committee, which is made up of a chairman and five committee members, vote for approval. Once approved for a star the celebrity must agree to it first, then pay up $30,000. Yes, celebrities pay for their star. It covers the actual making of the star as well as the event and memorabilia they are sent home with.
Most recently rapper turned director turned business mogul Ice Cube was honored with his star on the Walk of Fame along with actress Keri Russell of the cult classic TV show Felicity and most recently The Americans. As of this article, next up is Criss Angel, the famed magician/illusionist.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the very few free attractions still left, which could be why even though it’s not at the top of the ‘most visited’ list, it attracts millions of visitors every year. Many claim it’s a tourist trap – in some ways that may be true – but as a resident of Los Angeles who always brings visitors to The Walk of Fame, I can say with confidence that it’s worth a stroll.