A visit to Los Angeles, California, is hardly complete without a stop at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. According to the landmark’s website, the first eight stars were unveiled in 1958. Then, construction on the Walk started in 1960. The Walk of Fame concept is attributed to E.M. Stuart, and the idea might’ve blossomed out of artwork featured at The Hollywood Hotel. As KCET wrote, “[S]ome say that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was inspired by the named stars on the ceiling of the ballroom and the Walk of Fame was born.”
Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, explained the detailed Walk of Fame application process to Nicki Swift. She’s earned her “Stargirl” nickname, and as her Twitter bio states, she’s been “Handling the stars for many moons!” Celebrities must be nominated — perhaps by fans, family, record labels, friends, management — and celebrities must agree to the nomination in writing. A selection committee reviews each nominee’s official application. If a celeb is picked, the nominating party must pay a $50,000 sponsorship fee. $30,000 of this price tag goes “to the Hollywood Historic Trust, which maintains and repairs the stars on the Walk of Fame because it is not in the budget of the city of LA to do so,” Martinez said. The rest is for the actual star and the ceremony.
At the time of writing, there are over 2,600 stars on that stretch of Hollywood Boulevard. That said, there happen to be a handful of noteworthy individuals who haven’t landed on the Walk of Fame.
Debunking Walk of Fame rumors
Before we get to who isn’t on the Walk of Fame, let’s clear up some misconceptions about the landmark. For starters, Ana Martinez explained that a celebrity can’t get a star whenever the mood may strike. “[P]eople seem to think you can buy stars, and you cannot,” she stated. In addition to fitting in one of the six Hollywood Walk of Fame nomination categories, celebs must have a few other qualities to be considered. “Here’s the criteria: Longevity of five years or more in the field of entertainment, awards and nominations, and philanthropic work,” Martinez told Nicki Swift.
So, if the celebs can’t shell out cash for a star, who pays for it? Turns out, the sponsorship fee is technically the responsibility of whomever nominates the celebrity. When asked how supporters might afford the $50,000 fee, Martinez said, “So for Liza Minnelli, her fans nominated her and paid for the ceremony, and the way they did it was by having bake sales. Then they would have a home where they would show all her movies, and people would pay admission. And that’s how they raised the money.”
Dean Stockwell, meanwhile, “was very big on the environment, and so his fans did recycling,” Martinez shared. “And they made money that way … Other fans now are probably doing … GoFundMe and stuff like that, but they do fundraising.” A potential star officially gets two attempts at acceptance on one application, and if selected, two years to schedule a star ceremony.
Where is The Boss?
When the leader of the E Street Band didn’t go to his own ceremony, it threw a wrench in things, to say the least. Bruce Springsteen’s absence from Hollywood Boulevard has inspired a Walk of Fame protocol called the “Springsteen Policy.”
“Yeah, so [Springsteen] was nominated by a fan, and his management called me and said, ‘He’s not accepting the star,'” Ana Martinez explained to Nicki Swift. “No reason why, but he was just not interested, and unfortunately, he never did it. … We wanted to make sure that people who really do want it are given that chance ’cause that spot was taken by him and he didn’t want it, hence the policy.” The “Springsteen Policy” was put in place to ensure that stars will follow through on their ceremonies. A celebrity (or their management) is required to agree to the ceremony in writing if they want to participate and see their name on a star.
The Boss’ fans may never know why he skipped the star, but his quest to stay a humble rock legend may have had something to do with it. “I felt like a lot of my heroes from the past lost themselves in different ways once they had a certain amount of success,” Springsteen told NPR’s Terry Gross on “Fresh Air” in 2021. “And I was nervous about that. And I wanted to remain grounded. And living in this part of New Jersey was something that was — it was essential to who I was and continues, to this day, to be that way.”
George Clooney has yet to fit it into his schedule
There are certainly cases where celebs are selected but don’t make things official right away with the Hollywood Walk of Fame. George Clooney is a prime example. With his iconic film and television career, it’s no surprise that he has already been nominated.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Producer Ana Martinez has “been chasing George Clooney’s publicist for years,” she told Nicki Swift, noting that she’s tried to set a date for the ceremony, but nothing is set at the time of writing. Martinez thinks the “Ocean’s 11” star could have a scheduling issue, but there’s no way to know “why they don’t set it up right away.”
Fans might hold out hope that George Clooney will take a break from his Lake Como abode for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Speaking of that spectacular manse, it sounds like spending time there with his family is about as fulfilling as it gets. Chatting with Hoda Kotb about fatherhood on Today, he said, “(It’s given me) a sense of belonging and a sense of home and unconditional love — all the things that you were hoping you could get from a really good career and a dog. You realize that this is a lot more than that.” In addition to raising kids and leading a wildly successful movie career, George founded a nonprofit with wife Amal Clooney. In July 2021, the actor’s biggest fans could enter to win an Italian hangout with the Clooneys to benefit the Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Dame Judi Dench belongs on the Walk of Fame
Spectators might be surprised to discover that a number of decorated actors are without a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As for Dame Judi Dench? Ana Martinez told Nicki Swift that her name hasn’t been etched into Hollywood Boulevard because no one has thrown her hat in the ring. “She’s never been nominated,” Martinez revealed. “And she deserves it. We have Helen Mirren, we have Emma Thompson; those two ladies are in front of a British pub called the Pig ‘N Whistle. I like to put my Brits in front of the pub, so it’s kind of fun.” Dame Judi Dench should take her rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
While Dench has yet to get a Hollywood Walk of Fame star nomination, she has received more than a few trophies over the course of her illustrious career. She has been up for a whopping seven Oscars, taking home the hardware for her work in “Shakespeare in Love.” Dench has also been a winner at the BAFTAs, the Tony Awards, and the Olivier Awards. Oh, and she’s broken multiple Guinness World Records, including Most Laurence Olivier awards won by an individual.
Ana Martinez suggests that fans reach out to a celebrity’s management in pursuit of Hollywood Walk of Fame nominations. Devotees of Dame Judi Dench, take note.
'Movie star' doesn't impress Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington has been nominated and selected for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but he does not have a star. Ana Martinez said of Washington, “He was selected many, many years ago and never set a date. I don’t know why.” Honorees for the Walk of Fame currently have “two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before they expire,” according to the official Hollywood Walk of Fame website.
There’s no way of knowing why he didn’t make his ceremony a priority, but the “Flight” actor told Oprah Winfrey how he feels about being a celebrity: “Titles have nothing to do with me. That’s not who I am. It’s like the term ‘movie star’: What does that mean? It’s just a label they give you until they replace it with another one: ‘has-been.’ I don’t claim either. … I love my work, but acting is what I do; it’s not my identity.” Inspired by James Earl Jones in “Oedipus the King,” a young Washington was ready for Broadway, and he had a background in theater. “It was never my master plan to go to Hollywood,” he said to Winfrey.
The actor is clearly unfazed by stardom. Denzel Washington could have eventually decided to eschew the honor of a Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, or perhaps it simply didn’t fit in with his schedule.
Prince was 'just not ready' for the Walk of Fame
The story of Prince and the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a heartbreaking one; Prince could have been a contender but decided against it. Ana Martinez told Nicki Swift that a Hollywood Walk of Fame committee member who knew Prince once said, “Hey, I’m going to Minnesota…what if I ask Prince if he wants to be nominated?” The thought of Prince on the Hollywood Walk of Fame must have been an exciting prospect, so long as the artist wanted the honor. The committee member called Martinez to say, “Ana, he’s not interested. He says he’s just not ready.”
Martinez understands why fans would be upset not seeing the “Purple Rain” rocker on a star. “Isn’t that sad? And then he passed away right after that, which is so sad. … People got upset, and somebody drew Prince’s image on a star, which is fine,” she said. “We let them grieve; we let them have their time with, you know, the image, and of course we had to clean it up later…that was it.”
Fans also commandeered a Walk of Fame star for Carrie Fisher after her 2016 death (per Variety). Fisher was selected posthumously for the 2022 Hollywood Walk of Fame class. Martinez said that “people were fuming” when the actor did not have a star, and some will ask now, “What took so long?” Carrie Fisher went through a posthumous waiting period of five years, a policy which has recently been reduced to two years.
Madonna chose another honor in Great Britain
Madonna’s music career is certainly worthy of Hollywood’s honors. She’s won a bounty of awards in her multiple decades as an entertainer, including seven Grammys. The Queen of Pop once was within reach of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, too. So, why wouldn’t Madge want her name on a lucky star? Well, Ana Martinez told Nicki Swift that “Madonna was selected many years ago, and she set a date and then postponed it.”
The “Hung Up” singer’s busy life could have gotten in the way of her plans to be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On the other hand, maybe she decided she was satisfied without the honor of a star.
Even if Madonna can’t make it to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she agreed to another celebrity festivity across the pond. In 2006, the singer unveiled her handprints, cast in bronze, on the Square of Fame at Wembley Park (via BBC News). Madonna officially commenced the English tradition with her plaque and will always be the first celeb at the Square of Fame. According to BBC News, Madonna was feeling “like an honorary Brit” after the unveiling.
Star Wars creator George Lucas is without a star
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is full of actors and musicians, but brilliant filmmakers and creators have also lined the boulevard. The Los Angeles Times published a helpful guide of film directors whose names have graced stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Surprisingly, George Lucas’ name is not listed among D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Victor Fleming, Alfred Hitchcock, and others. It’s hard to believe that the creator of “Star Wars” and co-creator of “Indiana Jones” isn’t included. Even the Hollywood Walk of Fame Producer, Ana Martinez, doesn’t always know why celebrities don’t care to join the starry ranks. She has heard that Lucas is not interested in having a star, though.
Lucas must not be averse to the tradition itself, since he showed up to pay tribute to none other than Luke Skywalker. A proud George Lucas spoke publicly at Mark Hamill’s star ceremony in 2018 (via MaximoTV) and characterized the experience for himself and Hamill as “getting toward the end of the road. We’re talking about the beginning of the road and this is sort of capping the whole experience in between.” After noting that Hamill is “young enough” to keep making movies, he indicated that he’d hung up his own hat — or should we say X-wing pilot helmet? “I’m out of the game,” the filmmaker said.
Demi Lovato is not too young for a star
Demi Lovato has not yet been nominated for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but neither have fellow Disney alums Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. The three superstar celebs rose to prominence in the 2000s and are undeniably powerhouses in the entertainment industry today. After starring in iconic Disney Channel programs and singing unforgettable teen anthems, they’ve matured and built empires of their own.
In addition to a successful career in music and television, the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer is the subject of an eye-opening documentary about their struggles with addiction, “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil.” The Grammy-nominated artist and podcast host has overcome a great deal in their life. Lovato’s “ultimate mission” with their podcast “4D with Demi Lovato” “is to have conversations that elevate humanity into the next dimension,” they shared on Audacy Check In.
With all they’ve accomplished, hasn’t Lovato been on the scene long enough to be considered for the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Definitely. Ana Martinez said of Lovato, Cyrus, and Gomez, “I’m sure the younger generation would love to see them, and we would be so happy to consider them, so yeah, they should be nominated. They’ve been around a long time… As young as they are, they’ve been performing since they were super young.” Lovato doesn’t have a star yet, but their handprints have been outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater since 2012, per MTV News.
Jay-Z and Queen Bey's stars belong together
At the time of this writing, Jay-Z has not made his mark on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is a 2021 Inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017. NPR reported that Jay-Z was the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s first inducted rapper.
Fans may also want to know where they can find Beyoncé’s star on the Walk of Fame. While she doesn’t have a star all to herself, she was honored with a group star for Destiny’s Child in a 2006 ceremony. Beyoncé and Jay-Z are renowned Grammy Award winners — Jay-Z is the most decorated rapper in the award show’s history, and Beyoncé has an impressive 28 gramophones. She also has the most Grammy nominations of any female artist thus far.
Ana Martinez told Nicki Swift that she has spoken with Beyoncé’s PR rep and has also hinted at a double star for Beyoncé and Jay-Z, noting that she tries “to place families together” on the Walk of Fame. Nothing has come to fruition, but this Hollywood power couple could someday shine side by side on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Swifties should nominate Taylor Swift for the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Swifties surely know that Taylor Swift isn’t on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — yet. When asked about Swift’s absence, Ana Martinez gave Nicki Swift the scoop: “Oh, I’ve been chasing her around. I’d love to see her nominated. Sometimes we can approach their offices, their management, and give them a little hint. ‘It’s nomination time. It would be great to have her nominated.'”
It seems that for some famous folk, timing is everything as far as the Walk of Fame is concerned. The “Willow” singer has a lot on her plate as she rerecords her first six studio albums. Fans are well aware that Scooter Braun owned her masters as part of her deal with the Big Machine Records label, but then went on to sell the masters to Shamrock Holdings. Regarding this move, Time wrote, “Anyone who hits play on an old version of Swift’s early songs right now will still pay into the bank of Braun.” With that, Swift began recreating a ton of music.
She started with “Fearless: Taylor’s Version” in 2021 and shared on Instagram that “Red” will be the next re-release. Where might that leave the Hollywood Walk of Fame? It would be fantastic to see Swift celebrate her work with a star ceremony. It could happen, but as Ana Martinez has said, there are “no guarantees” with these celebs.
Rita Wilson nominated Julia Roberts for the Walk of Fame
The wait may soon be over for a Julia Roberts star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: The actor was selected for the Motion Pictures category of the 2020 class. At the time of writing, Roberts needs to schedule her ceremony for a date that fits her calendar. In the past, she didn’t want a star, but things might be different now that she’s gone through the nomination and selection process. And interestingly enough, she was nominated by another public figure. “[Roberts] went to speak for her friend, Rita Wilson, at her ceremony,” Ana Martinez recalled to Nicki Swift. “And she walks in, and Rita says to me, ‘Why doesn’t Julia have a star? And I said, ‘Well, because she’s never been nominated, and apparently she’s not interested.'”
Wilson told Martinez, “I would like to nominate her.” Wilson completed the nomination, her candidate was selected, “and Julia was excited about it,” Martinez shared. The Hollywood Walk of Fame Producer used to field questions about Roberts with a theory: “Maybe when she has kids, that’ll change. Because that is their legacy to see their mother on this historic walk of fame.” Now that Roberts is a mom of three, the stars seem to be aligning. Martinez can now happily say, “I was right.” Perhaps the star ceremony could line up with a new project or a film anniversary for Julia Roberts.
Philanthropy might be more important to Brad Pitt
No, Brad Pitt has never been nominated for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but Ana Martinez has a plausible theory as to why the actor might not be in pursuit of the honor in the first place.
Martinez told Nicki Swift, “Actually, somebody brought it up. One of the studios wanted to nominate him, and unfortunately they never got a response. And I never thought when they were married that Angelina or Brad would be interested.”
Martinez also noted that Pitt and ex-wife Angelina Jolie are involved in charitable work. A lot of charitable work: According to Look to the Stars, Pitt has supported at least 42 different organizations. “I don’t know the people…I think they’d rather use it for the funding for something else,” Martinez added. It’s a great point — Brad Pitt’s philanthropic endeavors might deter him from allowing anyone to spend a sponsorship fee on a square on Hollywood Boulevard. It would still be exciting to see the longtime film icon on a star someday.
And the environment might matter more to Leonardo DiCaprio
And what about Brad Pitt’s buddy, Leonardo DiCaprio? Well, he hasn’t been nominated for a star, either. Ana Martinez told Nicki Swift she “met with a gentleman from DreamWorks” and “even walked the boulevard to see, if he were to be selected, where could we put him, and they never nominated him, so I don’t know what happened.” All the pieces can be in place for a star to stake their claim, but a nomination is still required.
Nobody followed through on a potential star for DiCaprio. “Maybe he wasn’t interested, maybe it wasn’t his time. I don’t know, but we never got an application for him,” Martinez explained.
The star’s IMDb boasts of a prolific acting and producing career, but he also devotes his time to other passions. A quick look at DiCaprio’s Twitter shows that he remains committed to his cause of environmentalism — he wants to protect Gray wolves, help coral reefs recover, and stop the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. The Hollywood Walk of Fame nomination that never was is mystifying, but Leonardo DiCaprio has several projects occupying his time at present.
Why didn't Whitney Houston have a star years ago?
As sole executor of Whitney Houston’s estate, Pat Houston gave The New York Times a reason why her sister-in-law was not included in the Hollywood Walk of Fame: “she didn’t want people walking on her name.” Even if the “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” singer did not want the star, her fans were hopeful.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Producer Ana Martinez talked with Nicki Swift about Whitney Houston’s absence from the boulevard. “So Whitney sadly passed away, and of course we get the call, ‘When are you placing the flowers, where’s the star?'” Martinez said. “And unfortunately she never set a date, so the star was never placed. They have to be there (unless it’s posthumous) in order to have the star in the ground.”
Martinez continued, “So she never set a date, and people were so upset about that, too, so we’re hoping maybe someday the family will accept it, and have us set a date with them … [W]e would have to reinstate it by having the chair revote it. But it’s been years now, it’s so sad.” The Hollywood Walk of Fame recently updated their waiting period for posthumous applicants: Those who are deceased cannot be nominated or selected until two years after their death. Whitney Houston has never been a posthumous candidate, and it would be up to her family to allow a star someday.
Richard Gere stands up for what he believes in
Ana Martinez told Nicki Swift that Richard Gere has “never been nominated” for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Though he’s an A-lister who has appeared in major hits like “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Pretty Woman,” and “Chicago,” his place in Tinsel Town isn’t what it once was.
Gere is an ally of Tibet and the Dalai Lama, and he even used his platform as an Oscars presenter in 1993 to advocate for Tibetan independence from China. Before giving away the Oscar as he was instructed, Gere spoke about the “horrendous, horrendous human rights situation … in China, not only towards their own people, but to Tibet as well.” The actor also boycotted the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he was “banned for life from China” (per The Hollywood Reporter). Though he is entitled to his own political alliances, his stance apparently doesn’t gel with the financial relationship between Hollywood and China, so he’s been left out of certain projects. Gere was reportedly barred from presenting Academy Awards after ’93, but the Academy press office explained to GQ, “We don’t ban presenters … There’s no such thing as a ban.”
Ban or no ban, Richard Gere lost work and stayed away from the Academy spotlight for a time. “I didn’t have to put on a tuxedo again,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was fine with that.” Perhaps he’s fine with not putting on a tux for the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Al Pacino knows what it's like to see his work on display
Al Pacino was previously selected for the Walk of Fame but did not schedule his ceremony, according to Ana Martinez. Pacino isn’t the only one to be selected and never scheduled, but it’s so strange to think of “The Godfather” star not being on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Pacino said something rather telling about his 2018 New York City retrospective, Pacino’s Way, which displayed a range of his acting and directorial work. “I feel very good about it. As a matter of fact, I felt the best I think I’ve ever felt about anything that was being done for me. Because when I saw what they did,” he said to Interview, “I saw myself.” Maybe nothing can top that amazing feeling.
Martinez reminded Nicki Swift that the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a tourist attraction which is “bringing business to the community.” Pacino would garner a wide audience of fans if he were to have a star ceremony. There’s no way to know what he thinks about the whole thing (unless you ask him), but the Award-winning performer is a star with or without the tile.
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