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The Hollywood walk of fame is a destination for travelers and dreamers around the globe. The famous stretch of sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard symbolizes the American dream of fame and glamor, as it is marked with some of the most successful actors, filmmakers, musicians and celebrities in history. As a symbol of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, it is inextricably tied to the tourist industry as well, as fans from far and wide travel to see one of Hollywood’s biggest attractions that represent their favorite films and television shows.
The idea for the walk first originated from a local artist from Southern California, Oliver Weissmuller, who was hired to help renovate Hollywood and make it more attractive to visitors and natives alike. It was designed in 1958 and construction began in 1960, when it officially opened. The walk itself stretches 18 blocks – about 1.3 miles from east to west on Hollywood Boulevard and 0.4 miles from north to south on the cross street of Vine – which makes for a fun and easy twenty-minute stroll while tourists stop to take photos with their hands touching their favorite celebrity’s star.
It extends to right outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, one of the most lavish cinemas in motion picture history, where the young hand prints and signatures of the Harry Potter cast can be seen along with classic movie stars, such as Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable and Julie Andrews. Stars have to pay a hefty fee of $25,000 to accept their nomination from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, after which they get to bring home a placard with their name on it and a replica of their star. Some of the most famous stars are Tom Hanks, Winona Ryder, Michael Jackson, Reese Witherspoon, Johnny Depp, Elvis Presley, Drew Barrymore and Marilyn Monroe.
The first permanent star ever to grace the sidewalks was director Stanley Kramer’s, although film actress Joanne Woodward was awarded hers with a ceremony first. The most recent star added was in honor of singer-songwriter and performer, Usher Raymond IV, known mainly as just Usher. The only star to ever be considered for removal is Donald Trump’s. The one star that is not actually placed on the sidewalk of the Walk of Fame, but instead set on the wall of the Kodak Theater ,belongs to American boxer and heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali. Ali requested that his star not be located on the sidewalk because as a champion, he did not want his star to be walked all over. Ronald Reagan also has a star on the Walk of Fame, not merely because he was President of the United States, but also because of his early career as an actor and union leader in Hollywood, which led him to becoming Governor of California.
The next star to be added to the Walk of Fame will be in honor of actress Kathy Bates, who played American heiress Molly Brown in Titanic. It will be added on September 20th, 2016, and will be the 2,589th star in total.