It stretches for 15 blocks along Hollywood Boulevard, and three blocks of Vine Street. That’s 1.7 miles total, featuring more than 2,500 stars. The biggest names in the entertainment industry are there, of course, but also a lot of people you never heard of, unless they’re your cousins. Who could ever forget Gregory La Cava, Fred Niblo, or Marie Doro? You’re right, we all could, and have. But something made them seem as worthy of a star as Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Sidney Poitier.
Although conceived in the early 1950s, the first 1,558 stars weren’t finally ready for public view until 1961. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce administers the Walk, and it created a special committee to develop the criteria for inclusion and for selecting new honorees. Usually about 25 new stars are added each year. Stars are awarded in five categories: motion pictures, broadcast television, music, radio, and theater/live performance (added in 1984). Strangely, an individual can receive a separate star for each category, and only person has been recognized in all five – Gene Autry.
Some interesting facts:
- The most common surname is Williams, and there are 15: Andy, Billy, Billy Dee, Cindy, Earle, Esther, Guy, Hank, Joe, Kathlyn, Paul, Robin, Roger, Tex, Vanessa.
- The categories have been stretched to admit people who don’t really fit in one of the official five. Some of these include Magic Johnson, Muhammad Ali, and the Apollo XI astronauts.
- Some stars celebrate fictional characters. Among these are Mickey Mouse, Godzilla, Lassie, and The Simpsons.
The Walk of Fame is said to be viewed by 10 million visitors annually.