Seeing Stars: Hollywood Award Ceremonies
If you're hoping to spot a movie star on Hollywood Boulevard, most days you'll definitely be in for a disappointment. But there is one way to guarantee seeing a celebrity in the flesh, right on the Boulevard.
Every month, the world-famous Hollywood
Walk of Fame unveils new "stars" in their illustrious
sidewalk. And we're talking about the bronze and terrazzo stars embedded in the sidewalk here.
With many stars left to fill on the Walk of Fame, there are new stars being dedicated all the time. And best of all, the celebrity receiving the honor must appear in person at the "star unveiling ceremony."
The public is free to crowd around the star while the famous sidewalk plaque is unveiled and a flock of reporters shoot photos of the big event. As a spectator, if you show up early enough, you can literally be just a few feet away from the celeb getting his star that day.
And you never know just who you'll see at one of these ceremonies. Often, the celebrity being honored is joined by his or her celebrity friends and co-workers, who show up at the ceremony to wish them well.
For instance, when Cameron Diaz got her star in 2009, she was joined by Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Lucy Liu. (Tom had co-starred with Cameron in 'Vanilla Sky', and Lucy had co-starred with her in "Charlie's Angels".)
When Bruce Willis got his star in October of 2006, he was joined by Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Sylvester Stallone, Don Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton. How's that for a supporting cast?
Granted, that's not the norm. But it's not that unusual to see other celebrities show up, in addition to the honoree. When Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane (of "The Producers") got their stars in early 2006, Mel Brooks showed up, as well as Matthew's wife, Sarah Jessica Parker.
When Anthony Hopkins got his star, Jodi Foster (his co-star in "Silence of the Lambs") & Salma Hayek both came to congratulate him.
When Magic Johnson got
his star, Johnny Depp,
Arsenio Hall and Samuel L. Jackson
all showed up. When Kelsey Grammar got
his star, his "Frasier" co-stars David
Hyde Pierce ('Niles') and Jane Leeves
('Daphne'), both were at his side. Whoopi Goldberg
showed up for the unveiling of Wesley Snipe's star. And both Jane Seymour
and Glenn Close attended Christopher Reeves'
When actor Kevin Spacey got his star on the Walk of Fame in 1999, fellow actors Jack Lemmon and Edward Norton were there to wish him well. When James Brolin got his star on the sidewalk in 1998, recent bride Barbra Streisand was by his side.
The unveiling ceremony of even a relatively minor star can be an occasion for spotting big names.
For instance, in 2000, when songwriter Carole Bayer Sager got her star, her friend Elizabeth Taylor joined the sidewalk scene, as did Dustin Hoffman and playwright Neil Simon. When the comic team of Stiller & Meara got their star in 2007, son Ben Stiller showed up to wish his parents well, as did Seinfeld's Jason Alexander (since Jerry Stiller played Jason's dad on the show).
attended when Stephanie Powers
got her star. Clint Black, Lisa Hartman
and James Garner all turned out
for singer Mac Davis's ceremony. And
when Annette Funicello received
her honor, long-time co-star Frankie Avalon
turned up, as well as Mickey Mouse
(representing the Disney studio). When Marion Ross
got her star, fellow "Happy Days" alumni 'Fonzie,'
'Potsie', 'Joanie" and 'Mr. C' were all present (as was producer Garry
For instance, in June of 1998, songwriters George & Ira Gershwin received a star on the Walk of Fame. Since George Gershwin died in 1937 (and Ira in 1983), you might assume that their posthumous sidewalk installation would be a quiet affair. Guess again. Both Jack Lemmon and Angie Dickinson showed up. Lemmon was a major Gershwin fan, and Angie, it seems, used to play poker with Ira and his wife every Saturday for 35 years.
And when John Belushi got his star in 2004, some 22 years after his death, his Saturday Night Live friends Chevy Chase and John Ackroyd showed up, as did brother Jim Belushi, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen and Tom Arnold.
So you never know exactly who will turn up at these events.
Those so honored range from minor TV celebrities to Hollywood superstars. These "star unveiling" ceremonies provide a perfect opportunity for you to see actual stars in person on the Boulevard.
But I can guess what you're thinking: "How do I know when these unveiling ceremonies are going to take place or what star is going to be there?"
Well, that's easy:
Most unveiling ceremonies take place on weekdays, at 11:30 AM. Show up early for the best viewing spots near the new "star." - and remember: the bigger the star, the bigger the crowd!
Such ceremonies occur at the rate of at least once a month. (They often coincide with the opening of a star's new motion picture or, in the case of singers, the release of their new music CD.)
The list of the new year's inductees is usually announced in advance in July or early August of each year, and is available at that time on the Hollywood Hotline.
To clear up one myth: no, you can't just buy
a star on the Walk of Fame. That rumor started because they do, in
fact, charge a $30,000 fee for the maintenance of the sidewalk star,
which must be paid before the star is dedicated. But the money
is secondary - the recipient must meet a certain level of fame & accomplishment
before a star will be awarded. Each year, the Walk of Fame
committee receives 200 to 300 applications, but they give out less than 30 stars
per year. Simply paying the fee alone will not buy a spot on the
That $30,000 is petty cash to the big studios that usually put up the money (and who get a lot of free publicity in return), but raising the cash can be a challenge for small fan groups trying to get a star for their favorite celebrity.
You could have seen any or all of these stars in
person on the Boulevard by simply checking my Calendar of Events in advance.
If you're lucky, your favorite movie or TV
star may be getting his or her star soon on the Walk of Fame,
and you'll get the chance to watch!
(To nominate your favorite celebrity for a star on the Walk of Fame, send a S.A.S.E. to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, 7018 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA. 90028).
For a complete roster of all the stars on the Walk
of Fame and their addresses, the L.A. Times has a great little site detailing all the stars and their locations: http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/list
Phone: (323) 469-8311 (Hollywood Chamber of Commerce).
there: The Hollywood Walk of Fame
stretches for 17 blocks (east-west) along both sides of Hollywood Boulevard,
from Gower Street (on the east) to Sycamore Avenue (on the west), as well
as along three blocks (north-south) of Vine Street, beginning at Sunset
Boulevard (on the south), crossing Hollywood Boulevard, up to Yucca Street
(on the north). / From the Hollywood (101) Freeway take either the
Hollywood Boulevard exit or the Sunset Boulevard exit, then head east one
half mile to Vine Street.
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