The Hollywood Walk of Fame has long been a symbol of American celebrity status. Over 2,600 coral colored stars cover Hollywood Boulevard, each containing the name of a different famous person. You might have heard this particular tourist attraction mentioned in the news recently after someone vandalized the star for Donald Trump with a pickax. His star, like the others, was added after undergoing a lengthy nomination process. But how do you get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the first place?
How Do You Get a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
In order to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you have to first be nominated by either friends, family or fans. Your accomplishments also must fall into one of five categories: motion pictures, television, recording/music, broadcast radio and live theater/performance. You can’t just dabble in these departments either. You must be considered a monument within your particular industry. Last but not least, there’s a fee of $40,000. This includes payment for the star itself as well as the cost of upkeep for the Walk.
Once nominated, you have to officially accept and guarantee that you will be at the unveiling. This rule was implemented after Bruce Springsteen famously missed his ceremony, and because of this, his star was never included.
Where Did the Idea for the Walk Come From?
The idea for the Walk of Fame was conceived in 1953 by a man named E.M. Stuart who, at the time, was the volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. He wanted to come up with a way to draw more people towards Hollywood Boulevard, and away from the suburbs of Beverly Hills. In that year, he proposed the Walk as a means to “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement in the four corners of the world.”
By 1955, the first plans were submitted to the Los Angeles city council. It was decided that the Walk of Fame would feature coral-colored terrazzo stars, set against charcoal backgrounds. Each star would feature a celebrity’s name, as well as an emblem for the category they received it in.
Charlie Chaplin Jr. Stalled Construction With a Lawsuit
The construction of the Walk of Fame began in 1958, but was stalled by two separate lawsuits. The first was from local property owners, who were opposed to the collective $1.25 million tax needed for new street lighting. The second was from Charlie Chaplin Jr., who sought $400,000 in damages after his father was excluded from the Walk. Charlie Chaplin was initially supposed to be one of the original 500 stars included in the Walk of Fame, but his nomination was rescinded among allegations that he was involved in white slavery. Both cases were dismissed, and construction for the Walk continued. Chaplin did finally get a star, by the way, in 1972.
The Walk of Fame Inadvertently Created the Grammy Awards
The official groundbreaking for the Walk of Fame was February 8th, 1960. The committee implemented 1,588 stars before taking an 8 year long break to come with more strict criteria for the nomination process. During this time, they realized that there were many people within the music industry who would never meet the qualifications for the music category. This is what prompted the creation of the Recording Academy, and subsequently the Grammy Awards.
Stars for Donald Trump and Bill Crosby in Question
The Walk of Fame has been brought up in the news lately due to increased vandalism of the star for Donald Trump. Since he was elected president, the star has had many modifications, including, but not limited to; a tiny wall built around it representing the proposed wall between the US and Mexico, paint splatters, destruction by sledgehammer, a coating of political stickers, a gold toilet placed at the head of the star, gay pride stickers, and most recently, it was wrecked to bits with a pickax. A barricade was placed around the star in September, 2018, and the West Hollywood council voted to have it removed. The council has not previously asked for a star to be removed, and the vote is more symbolic than anything. It’s likely the star will remain in place.
After the allegations against Bill Cosby surfaced, many called for his star to be removed as well. The council stated that actions in his personal life did not discredit his professional success, and for that reason, the star would remain. “Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” the Chamber said in a statement. “Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk.”
10 Fun Facts About the Walk of Fame
- Muhammad Ali has the only star that cannot be walked over. He had it placed on a wall because he said he didn’t want his name to be stepped on by people who didn’t respect him.
- In 1978, Mickey Mouse was the first fictional character to be nominated. Since then, other fictional characters, such as Shrek, Godzilla, Snow White, The Simpsons, Snoopy, Winnie-the-Pooh and others, have been included.
- You’re able to earn stars in multiple categories, and Gene Autry is the only person to have a star in all five.
- Some stars have been stolen from the Walk, like Gregory Peck’s, whose star has never been found.
- There’s a time capsule buried under the Walk of Fame which will be opened in 2060.
- There have been typos on stars, like for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose star said “Julia Luis-Dreyfus.” She was able to keep the incorrect star as a souvenir.
- Steve Irwin was awarded a star posthumously, and his family decided to honor him by bringing an Anaconda to the ceremony.
- Kim Kardashian will likely never receive a star, because Reality Television is not included in the star criteria.
- Some celebrities, like Julia Roberts, have been nominated for a star but declined.
- The star tiles were originally meant to include caricatures of the nominee, but it was decided that it would be too expensive.