Administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the attraction gets about 10 million visitors per year. The inaugural class of 8 plaques included Joanne Woodward (wife of Paul Newman), Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick, Ernest Torrence, Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, and Preston Foster, though the first permanent star belonged to director Stanley Kramer, placed March 28, 1960. Actors, producers, directors, musicians and others involved with the entertainment business are eligible for enshrinement on the sidewalk, and the first 2 years (1960-1961) saw 1500 stars placed.
Other special people have been enshrined as well, including astronauts that went to the moon, certain businesses such as Victoria’s Secret, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Dodgers, all under the banner of “Special Stars and Friends.”
The man credited with the idea for creating a Walk of Fame, was E. M. Stuart, who served in 1953 as the volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In that year, according to a Chamber press release he proposed the Walk as a means to “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement in the four corners of the world.” He appointed a committee to begin fleshing out the idea and the architectural firm of Periera and Luckman was employed to develop some specific proposals. Where the original idea came from is not certain; however, the ceiling of the dining room of the historic Hollywood Hotel once had stars painted on the ceiling with the names of celebrities and that may have been a precursor of the idea to place stars in the sidewalks.
The groundbreaking ceremony on February 8, 1960 featured actresses Linda Darnell and Gigi Perreau, as well as veteran actors Francis X. Bushman and Charles Coburn, using shovels to scoop up the dirt.
Although the area near the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine had been a central point for the fledgling movie industry prior to World War II, the area’s glamour had long since faded by the time producer Stanley Kramer’s star became the first actually set into the sidewalk on March 28, 1960.
The original plans called for 1,529 of the biggest stars of film, stage, radio, television and music to eventually be immortalized in the concrete using brass set in salmon-colored terrazzo stars surrounded by black backgrounds.
As of July 2013, there were more than 2,400 stars on the walk, representing 2,200 individuals or organizations. In addition, about 500 stars on the walk are currently blank, essentially acting as placeholders for future honorees.
According to projects.latimes.com & walkoffame.com