Along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California, is the The Walk of Fame. It was established in 1958 and attracts more visitors, about ten million annually—than other LA area attractions such as the Sunset Strip, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Queen Mary in Long Beach, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As of November 8, 2012, the Walk included 2,484 stars, spaced at 6-foot intervals. Each star consists of a coral-pink terrazzo with five-points, trimmed in brass (not bronze), inlaid into a charcoal-colored terrazzo background. In the upper portion of he pink star field, the name of the honoree is inlaid in brass block letters. Below the inscription, in the lower half of the star field, a round inlaid brass emblem indicates the category of the honoree’s contributions. The emblems symbolize five categories within the entertainment industry:
– Classic film camera, representing motion pictures;
– Television receiver, representing broadcast television;
– Phonograph record, representing audio recording or music;
– Radio microphone, representing broadcast radio;
– Comedy/tragedy masks, representing theater/live performance (added in 1984).
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce maintains The Walk. They, or the Hollywood Historic Trust, grant “special stars” unique to the honoree. They are not part of the Walk of Fame; instead, they are located nearby on private property. These “Friends of the Walk of Fame” monuments vary from the trademark “star” shape, in that they are charcoal terrazzo squares, rimmed by miniature pink terrazzo stars displaying the five standard category emblems, along with the sponsor’s corporate logo, with the sponsor’s name and contribution in inlaid brass block lettering. Examples include the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) star emblem, a replica of a police badge indicating the LAPD’s Hollywood Division, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, displaying the team’s logo.
Then there are the uniquely shaped monument for the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, consisting of four identical, circular “moons” bearing the names of the three astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr.), the date of the first moon landing (“7/20/69”), and the words “Apollo XI” set in each of the four corners at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The “moons” are silver and dark gray terrazzo circles rimmed in brass on a square pink terrazzo background, with the television emblem inlaid at the “twelve o’clock” position on the circles.
The original selection committees chose to recognize some entertainers’ contributions in multiple categories with multiple stars. Gene Autry is the only honoree with stars in all five categories. Bob Hope, Mickey Rooney, Roy Rogers, and Tony Martin each have stars in four categories—Rooney has three of his own and a fourth with his wife, Jan, while Rogers also has three of his own, and a fourth with his band, The Sons of the Pioneers. Thirty-three people, including Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Gale Storm, Danny Kaye, and Jack Benny, have stars in three categories.
Seven recording artists have two stars in the same category, for distinct achievements: Michael Jackson, as a soloist and as a member of The Jackson 5; Diana Ross, as a member of The Supremes and for her solo work; Smokey Robinson, as a solo artist and as a member of The Miracles; and John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney as individual performers and as members of The Beatles. Cher forfeited her opportunity to join this exclusive club by declining to schedule the mandatory personal appearance when she was selected in 1983. She did, however, attend the unveiling of the Sonny & Cher star in 1998, as a tribute to her recently deceased ex-husband, Sonny Bono.
The only two fictional characters to have two stars are Kermit the Frog and Big Bird, each with an individual star and one with The Muppets.
George Eastman is the only honoree with two stars in the same category for the same achievement—the invention of roll film.