A celebrity knows they’ve made it in show business when they receive a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, being successful in the professional arts does not always guarantee a spot, and some of the biggest celebrities in the world have been overlooked. So how does a star get, well, a star? Here is a behind the scenes look at the process.
Beginning as a beautification project for the city of Hollywood in 1958, the Walk of Fame honors artists in the motion picture, theatre, radio, television and music industry. The Walk of Fame began with 2,500 blank stars made of coral and charcoal terrazzo and brass, and lines the streets of Hollywood Boulevard between Gower and LaBrea, and Vine Street between Sunset Boulevard and Yucca Street.
As celebrities were inducted, the blank stars became engraved with the artist’s name and industry of talent. Since 1958, approximately 25 celebrities are inducted every year, and over 10 million visitors are estimated to visit the Walk of Fame annually.
Industry professionals who can receive a Hollywood star include actors, directors, producers, musicians and musical groups, fictional characters, and other professionals such as screenwriters and famed makeup artists. Each star includes a brass symbol for one of five categories: a movie camera for the motion picture industry, a record for the music industry, a microphone for radio and broadcast, a television for TV broadcast, and theatre masks for the theatre professionals.
Most people might believe that a celebrity can make a few great movies (or records), and that a Hollywood star is shortly to follow. However, there is quite a detailed process before an artist’s name is set in stone.
For starters, an artist must have worked professionally in his or her field for at least five years, has a record of achievement through awards, professional nominations, or box-office revenue (usually this one), is an active member of the Hollywood community, and takes part in charitable events and activities. Also, the nominee must agree to attend the induction ceremony.
Although it may seem like celebrities who receive Hollywood stars are a part of an inside operation run and judged by studio executives, this is not true. Which celebrity does and does not get a star is largely based on the voting public.
Every year, celebrity nominations are received by the Walk of Fame Committee, which is a division of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, by voters like you. Anyone can fill out a very simple nomination form on the Walk of Fame website (www.walkoffame.com). The Walk of Fame Committee then selects the nominees for the year, usually between 20-25. All nominees must also be approved by the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works and the Los Angeles City Council.
Note: Anyone can nominate a celebrity for a Hollywood star, but make sure you are serious and financially capable. A $30,000 sponsorship fee must be payable by the person or entity whose nominee is selected for induction. This fee is used for Walk of Fame maintenance and other associated costs.
Walk of Fame Facts
* One posthumous award is presented each year. However, a posthumous nomination has a five year waiting period.
* An application for induction is valid for two years, and a celebrity has five years to schedule his or her ceremony if he or she has been chosen for induction.
* Celebrities can get more than one Hollywood star. Country legend Gene Autry has five stars on the Walk of Fame, which outnumbers any other celebrity.
* Famous celebrities who have yet to receive a Hollywood star include Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and Mel Gibson (he probably won’t be nominated anytime soon).
* The largest group of artists represented by a single star is 122 adults and 12 children known as the Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. The Muppets, The Simpsons and Mickey Mouse have stars, too.