The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA, that serves as an entertainment hall of fame. Designed by Southern Californian artist Oliver Weismuller, who was hired by the city in 1953 to give Hollywood a "face lift", the Hollywood Walk of Fame represented one of a number of improvements the city undertook at the time. It is embedded with more than 2,000 five-pointed stars featuring the names of not only human celebrities but also fictional characters honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for their contributions to the entertainment industry. The Walk of Fame is maintained by the self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust. The first star, awarded on February 9, 1960, went to Joanne Woodward.
The Walk of Fame runs west on Hollywood Boulevard from Gower Avenue to La Brea Avenue and north to south on Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard. The Walk of Fame is nearly a three-and-a-half-(3 1/2)-mile (5.6km) round-trip walk. Locations of specific stars are permanent, except when occasionally relocated for nearby construction or other reasons. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is sought after as much as Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA, and Golden Globe awards. Each star consists of a pink terrazzo five-pointed star rimmed with bronze and inlaid into a charcoal square. Inside the pink star is the name of the honoree inlaid in bronze, below which is a round bronze emblem indicating the category for which the honoree received the star. The emblems are:
There are a few exceptions. Disneyland's star has an emblem of a building, and honorary mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant's star depicts the Great Seal of Hollywood. Former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley has a star depicting the seal of the city of Los Angeles. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom_lohdan/2303230119/ Also, the crew of the Apollo XI mission are named in four identical moons at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. CW network affiliate KTLA-TV (Channel 5) was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame. The picture on KTLA's star shows a satellite dish, even though KTLA is a terrestrial television station.
Nominations are submitted annually by May 31, and the Walk of Fame committee meets the following month to pick the next year's group of honorees. Star ceremonies are open to the public and formerly were led by honorary Hollywood mayor Johnny Grant prior to his death in 2008.
The Walk of Fame was created in 1958. Many honorees received multiple stars during the initial phase of installation for contributions to separate categories; however, the practice in recent decades has been to honor individuals not yet represented, with only a handful of previous honorees being awarded additional stars. In 1978, the city of Los Angeles designated the Walk of Fame as a Historic-Cultural Monument.
The Walk of Fame began with 2,500 blank stars. A total of 1,558 stars were awarded during its first sixteen months. Since then, about two stars have been added per month. By 1994, more than 2,000 of the original stars were filled, and additional stars extended the Walk west past Sycamore to La Brea Avenue, where it now ends at the Silver Four Ladies of Hollywood Gazebo (with stars honoring The Beatles and Elvis Presley).
In July 2008, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that the Walk of Fame will undergo a US$4.2-million face-lift. Seven hundred seventy-eight stars will have to be replaced because of the wear and tear that they have undergone since they were first laid down. Some of the stars have become so damaged that they are tripping hazards to tourists who traverse the walk. At the same time, Hollywood Chamber announced the Friends of Walk of Fame program will begin, with Absolut Vodka becoming the first Friend; it will be given an award on private property in front of the Kodak Theatre, as the first major contributor to the restoration process. This program is a collaboration between the Hollywood Chamber and various city entities.
Four stars have been stolen from the Walk of Fame. Those of James Stewart and Kirk Douglas, which had been removed during a construction project, were stolen from the site on Vine Street. The culprit was a contractor who was later caught with the two stars, damaged and unusable, but not until after they had been replaced. One of Gene Autry's stars was also taken from another construction project. It was later found in Iowa. On November 27, 2005, thieves sawed Gregory Peck's star out of the sidewalk near Gower; the star has been replaced as of September 2006 but the thieves have not been caught.
Surveillance cameras are being placed in the walk district to catch thieves.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce "Walk of Fame Committee" is responsible for selecting a new group of entertainers each year to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. New recipients are announced each June for the following year. In order for a person to get a star on the Walk of Fame, he or she must agree to attend a presentation ceremony within five years of selection, and a $25,000 fee must be paid to the Trust for costs such as security at the star ceremony; a 2003 FOX News story noted that the fee is often paid by sponsors such as film studios and record companies, as part of the publicity for a release with which the honoree is involved. On other occasions, the fee is paid by a fan club. Often, it is paid by the nominating person himself or herself.
See main article: List of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.