The Hollywood Walk of Fame is the 5.6 km walk along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Los Angeles, California, which brings the stars of silver screen to their knees and glance at the memento of their achievements smiling up at them from the floor. Created in 1958 as a unique and enduring homage to our favourite movie stars, the star-studded sidewalks currently feature about 2500 stars, with about 25 new ones added each year. However, the Hollywood Walk of Fame has a lot more gossip and amusing facts associated with it than Hollywood itself!
1. The star on the Wall
Perhaps this star defies the very concept of “Walk of Fame”, because this star was installed on the wall of the Kodak Theatre Entertainment complex, instead of being embedded into the sidewalk as is customarily done. It was installed in honour of the great boxing champion Muhammad Ali, after the release of the movie Ali, in 2002. He did not want his star to be stepped on by people who have no respect for him.
2. Not what it seems
Basketball legend Magic Johnson is one of the many sportsmen to be included into the “Walk of Fame”. Surprisingly, it was not because of his great live action in the basketball court, but for a popular chain of cinemas in Hollywood which he owned. It became almost sort of a joke following this event, that other sportsmen too will receive a similar honour just for owning some theatre popcorn supply chain!
3. Star Fiction
Well, not just real actors, but even some very popular of the fictional characters have been given a star too. Though the trend began with Mickey Mouse, receiving his star in 1978, other characters who have joined in the Walk include Bugs Bunny, Kermit the Frog, Donald Duck, Tinker Bell, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, Shrek, and The Simpsons. Godzilla was the first fictional monster to receive a star in 2004, for “Godzilla: Final Wars”.
4. It is easy to confuse
If I told you that I like Tom, it is actually pretty easy to get confused whether I am talking about Tom Cruise or Tom Sawyer. There are a number of stars which share not just a common surname but sometimes an exactly identical name too, though they may belong from completely different fields of entertainment. The surname “Williams” can be found on fifteen different stars, while there are two Harrison Fords, two Robin Williams and two Michael Jacksons, to name but a few!
5. All are not movie stars
If you thought that you need to be a movie star or a performer of some entertaining art, then take a look at the star of former LA Mayor Tom Bradley. Not just he, even the LAPD has a star! The crew members of the Apollo 11 space mission were also inducted into the “Walk of Fame” with a plaque at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Even corporations like the lingerie firm Victoria’s Secret or the baseball team The LA Dodgers have received theirs stars too!
6. Oops! It’s printed wrong
Just like every other field, the stars at the “Walk of Fame” have typos too. Seinfeld actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus was inducted as ‘Julia Luis Dreyfus’, Swedish film pioneer Mauritz Stiller was listed as “Maurice Diller”, while Dick Van Dyke’s surname was printed as ‘Vandyke’. There are quite a few other examples of incorrect engraving on stone. Though some of them have been eventually corrected, the legendary director of King Kong is still listed as Merian, which should actually have been “Meriam” C Cooper.
7. Can’t keep thieves out
When you talk of 300 pounds with gold on it, you necessarily need to think of the thieves. Time and again stars have been stolen from the Walk, with very few instances of successful recovery. Kirk Douglas and James Stewart’s stars were stolen in 2000, by construction workers, which were recovered in highly damaged condition. Gene Autry and Gregory Peck’s original stars have never been recovered, and eventually had to be replaced.
8. Politics is the real action
The list of star recipients extends to politicians too. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the second Governor of California who received a Star, with the first being Ronald Reagan, who happens to be the only US President who ever received this star honour. He has a large number of movie associations in his portfolio. Other politicians in the list of stars for their acting skills include George Murphy, Helen Gahagan, William Harrison Hays, and former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley.
9. The Star family
The family with the most number of stars in the Walk is that of the Barrymore’s, with seven of them laid in their honour. It includes the stars of John, his brother Lionel and their sister Ethel, Uncle Sidney Drew, John Drew, and Drew Barrymore herself. Drew’s star is placed directly in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre, as a symbol of her heritage as Hollywood Royalty.
10. All in one
While the stars are generally awarded to individuals, the largest family to have been awarded a single star is that of The Munchkins. Introduced in 1939, The Wizard of Oz is one of the most well-known Hollywood classics of all time. The single star represents all the 124 actors, which include 112 adults and 12 child actors and actresses.