Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hollywood Walk of Fame

on Hollywood Boulevard: from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue,
and on Vine Street: from Yucca Street to Sunset Boulevard.

The lyrics of "Celluloid Heroes"*, a song by The Kinks, tell us:

"You can see all the stars as you walk down Hollywood Blvd... "
Well, most days you are unlikely to see any real movie stars here on the Boulevard, but if you look down at your feet, you'll see the kind "stars" Ray Davies sang about: the bronze star-plaques, embedded in pink & charcoal terrazzo squares on the world's most famous sidewalk: the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
These renowned sidewalk "stars" salute the celebrities who made Hollywood great - from the silent film stars of yesteryear to the modern action heroes of today's blockbusters. As the song says, you'll see the names of:

"...Some that you recognize,
some that you hardly even heard of;

People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame,
Some who succeeded, and some who suffered in vain..." *
These sidewalk "stars" honor not only movie actors, but radio, TV, & stage performers, directors, singers, songwriters, and other well-known show-biz personalities.
Right below the name of each celebrity on the five-pointed stars is a small, round emblem which illustrates the celebrity's category, with one of five symbols: a motion picture camera (for movie stars & directors), a television set (for those in the television industry), a phonograph record (for singers, songwriters, and recording artists), a radio microphone (for radio luminaries), and the twin theatrical masks of comedy & tragedy (for live stage performers).
The celebrity with the most "stars" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is singing-cowboy Gene Autry, who earned five different "stars," one in each of the above categories. His five stars are located at 6644, 6520, 6384, 6667, and 7000 Hollywood Boulevard,
While the limited space at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre forecourt is precious, and is reserved for true Hollywood royalty, one needn't be a superstar to earn a "star" here on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Walk started out in 1960 with over 2,500 "stars,", 948 of which were blank, and 1,558 of which were dedicated to past Hollywood greats. About 2,400 of the stars have been dedicated so far - with more being added recently to the Walk's west end. "Stars" on the Walk of Fame have been awarded to minor TV personalities, local radio deejays, animated characters, and even to two dogs: Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.
The selection process is sometimes confusing. Game show host Bob Barker has a "star." So does Pat Sajak (host of "Wheel of Fortune") and Thomas Edison (who invented motion pictures), as well as Big Bird, Pee Wee Herman and Mabel Taliaferro! Yet some major movie stars, such as Robert Redford, Mel Gibson, Jane Fonda and Clint Eastwood, still haven't been awarded "stars" on the boulevard.

And even if a celebrity is awarded a "star," the actual installation is often held up by scheduling difficulties. For instance, when
John Denver died in 1997, he still didn't have a star on the Walk of Fame, despite the fact that he had been awarded one 15 years earlier - they had been waiting for him to schedule a personal appearance...

It has become traditional for fans to place flowers on the "star" of a celebrity who has just died. Sometimes, the "star" even serves as a gathering place for concerned fans. In 1993, for instance, when Michael Jackson was accused of child molestation, fans left notes of support on Jackson's "star" in front of the Chinese Theatre. And Beatles fans gather each year at John Lennon's star to commemorate the anniversary of his death.
The Walk of Fame used to stop at Sycamore, but in 1994 it was expanded a block west to La Brea Avenue. New "stars" have been added along the sidewalk here, as have distinctive new street lights (resembling studio lights with "barn-doors"). And anchoring west end of the Walk of Fame, at the corner of Hollywood & La Brea, is a gleaming silver gazebo, topped by a spire which reads "Hollywood," and featuring sleek, life-size statues of four silver screen goddesses in evening gowns. In a nod to multiculturalism, the four actresses represented by the statues are Mae West, Dolores Del Rio, Dorothy Dandridge and Anna May Wong.

Celebs who will be getting new stars in 2012 include: For movies: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel, Scarlett Johansson, Malcolm McDowell, Pixar/Disney animation chief John Lasseter, media mogul Sumner Redstone, and (posthumously) Richard Burton.
For TV: One Day At a Time's Valerie Bertinelli, Everybody Loves Raymond's Patricia Heaton, TV's Batman - Adam West, Star Trek's Chekov - Walter Koenig, Law & Order's Mariska Hargitay,
and CSI 's Marg Helgenberger.
For recording:
Jennifer Lopez, Vince Gill, Boyz II Men, Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson), AMERICA, Pepe Aguilar, producer/musician David Foster, songwriter Hal David, and (posthumously) Barry White.  From Radio: Ellen K.

(Individual dates for the ceremonies will be announced later. See the Calendar of Events.)

Celebs  getting new stars in 2011 included, for movies: Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Bruce Dern, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Ed Harris, The Muppets, Ridley Scott and Kenny Ortega. For TV: Oprah Winfrey, Taxi 's Danny DeVito, Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey, How I Met You Mother's Neil Patrick Harris, Married with Children's Ed O’Neill, American Idol creator Simon Fuller, Cops' creator John Langley and producer John Wells. For theatre: Joe Mantegna. For recording: Melissa Etheridge, Rascal Flatts, Go-Go’s, Slash, Will i. Am, Bebe & Cece Winans, Los Tigres Del Norte, and (posthumously) Buddy Holly and Louis Prima.

Celebs selected to get new stars in 2010 included, for movies: Russell Crowe, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, John Cusack, Colin Firth, Mark Wahlberg, director James Cameron, producer Gale Ann Hurd, and music composers Alan Menken and Randy Newman. For TV: Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jon Cryer of Two & a Half Men, Law & Order's Sam Waterston, Mission: Impossible's Peter Graves, sportscaster Chris Berman, political comic Bill Maher, and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. For recording: the Beatles' Ringo Starr, the late Roy Orbison, ZZ Top, Van Morrison, Bryan Adams, The Funk Brothers, Alan Jackson, Chaka Khan, and Marco Antonio Solis. And for live performances: singer Andrea Bocelli, and Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte.
Celebs getting new stars in 2009 included, for movies: Cameron Diaz, Robert Downey Jr., Leslie Caron, Hugh Jackman, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, William H. Macy, Charles Durning, and director Tim Burton, plus the Disney animated character Tinkerbell.; for TV, Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman, Full House's John Stamos, CSI's William Petersen, The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick, sitcom writer/producer Chuck Lorre, and Survivor producer Mark Burnett; for recording: Kenny "Baby Face" Edmonds, Shakira, Rush, The Miracles, The Village People, jazz saxophonist Dave Koz, and Universal Music CEO Doug Morris; and from radio, Bill Handel and Harry Shearer.
Celebs getting new stars in 2008 included: for movies: Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett, Tim Robbins, Stan Lee (Marvel Comics creator), The Westmores of Hollywood (makeup legends), and The Munchkins (from "The Wizard of Oz");  for TV: Brian Keith ("Family Affair"), Susan St. James ("McMillan & Wife"), Howie Mandel ("Deal or No Deal"), soap star Kate Linder ("The Young and the Restless”), Sherwood Schwartz (creator of "Gillian’s Island" & "The Brady Bunch"), Vince McMahon (WWE wrestling promoter) and newsman Bill Geist; for music: George Harrison (The Beatles), Christina Aguilera, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brooks & Dunn, and Ricky Martin, and for live theatre: Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked", "Godspell").
The list of celebs getting stars in 2007 included: for movies: Matt Damon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Caine, Jamie Foxx, John Goodman, director Robert Altman and producer Lauren Shuler Donner; for TV: Kiefer Sutherland, Barbara Walters, Erik Estrada, Jerry Stiller, and "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf; for musical recording: Mariah Carey, Sean "Diddy" Combs, The Doors, Crystal Gayle, Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, and Shania Twain; for radio: sportscaster Stu Nahan and rock disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer; for live theatre/performance: Lily Tomlin and composer Tim Rice.
The list of celebs getting stars in 2006 included: for movies: Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Nathan Lane, and Steve Martin.  For TV: Ray Romano, Vanna White, Judge Judy, sportscaster Jim Hill, producer/writer David Milch and journalist/host Robert Osborne. For musical recording: Motley Crue, Isaac Hayes, Alejandro Fernandez and record producer Lou Adler. Shecky Greene and Magic Castle founders Milt & Bill Larsen. For radio: DJ Wink Martindale, talk show host Dan Avey, and DJ's Mark & Kim. And posthumous stars will be awarded to: actor Jack Cassidy and ABC founder Leonard Goldenson.
The list of celebs getting new stars in 2005 included, for movies: Tim Allen, Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Donald Duck, Kevin Kline, Julianne Moore, Patricia Neal, Dennis Quaid and Ben Stiller. For TV: Tom Brokaw, Wayne Rogers, David Hyde Pierce, James Doohan, Susan Lucci, Roger Ebert, Al Michaels and Soupy Sales. For musical recording: Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, The Righteous Brothers, Emilio Estefan, Al Green and Herb Jeffries. For live theatre/performance: Theodore Bikel, Linda Hopkins and Fred Travalena. For radio: Jim Ladd and Bob Miller. And posthumous stars will be awarded to: Redd Foxx, Freddie Prinze, Stella Adler and David O. Selznik.
(I don't know the exact dates of all of these upcoming unveiling ceremonies; the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce only announces the details of each event about one week before it takes place. Also, although most of the recipients will choose a date in the next year, they actually have five years to decide when they will receive their star. Check my Calendar of Events for the next upcoming ceremony.)

 Click here to find out how you can see your favorite Hollywood celebrity receive his (or her) own star - in person -
on the Walk of Fame.

 Click here to see a list of the addresses
of many of the sidewalk "stars"
on the Walk of Fame.

Getting there: The Hollywood Walk of Fame's star-studded sidewalks stretch for 18 blocks (east-west) along both sides of Hollywood Boulevard, from Gower Street (on the east) to La Brea Avenue (on the west). The Walk of Fame also runs for three blocks (north-south) along Vine Street, beginning at Sunset Boulevard (on the south), crossing Hollywood Boulevard, up to Yucca Street (on the north).

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