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Published On: Mon, Feb 9th, 2015

This Day in History: The first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame goes to Joanne Woodward

On this day in 1960, the official groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The first star rumored to be dedicated on the historic walkway belonged to the actress Joanne Woodward, an Academy Award winner for The Three Faces of Eve (1957).

Legend or myth?

Hwof_joanne_woodward

Joanne Woodward’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame photo/ Richardw via wikimedia commons

According to wiki: “A popular (but untrue) bit of Hollywood lore is that Woodward was the first celebrity to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fact, the original 1,550 stars were created and installed as a unit in 1960; no one star was officially “first.” The first star actually completed was director Stanley Kramer’s. The origin of this legend is not known with certainty; but according to Johnny Grant, the long-time Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Woodward was the first celebrity to agree to pose with her star for photographers, and therefore was singled out in the collective public imagination as the first awardee.”

Unlike today, there were no formal ceremonies and “Woodward’s name was one of eight drawn at random from the original 1,558 and inscribed on eight “display” stars that were built while litigation was still holding up permanent construction...They were installed temporarily on the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in August 1958 to generate publicity and demonstrate how the Walk would eventually look. The other seven names were Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louise Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick, and Ernest Torrence.”

After the official groundbreaking on the now-famous walk, construction continued for the next 16 months, and by the time it was over more than 1,500 actors, musicians and filmmakers had received stars.

Today, the Walk of Fame lines both sides of Hollywood Boulevard from Gower to La Brea, and both sides of Vine Street, from Yucca to Sunset. Woodward’s star is located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce manages the walkway, which became an official landmark in 1978.

New stars are added at a regular rate; by 1994 the total numbered more than 2,000.

 

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Dan says:

    March 29, 1960

    Los Angeles Times

    KRAMER FIRST NAME PUT IN WALK OF FAME

    Producer Stanley Kramer became the first Hollywood celebrity yesterday to have his name immortalized in the “Walk of Fame” sidewalk which borders the world-famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine, as part of the movie city’s beautification campaign.

    Other celebrities whose names are to be inscribed in the first section of the sidewalk under construction are Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Allan Jones and Audrey Meadows. A total of 1,529 Hollywood personalities will be so honored as their names inscribed in the coral-colored stars are set into the charcoal-colored sidewalk.

    The “Walk of Fame” will extend along both sides of Hollywood Blvd. from Gower St. to Sycamore Ave., a little more than a mile, and along Vine St. from Sunset Blvd. to Yucca St., somewhat less than a half a mile. Completion date for the project will be Nov. 15.

  2. Dan says:

    First of all, the official groundbreaking for the Hollywood Walk of Fame was a day earlier, February 8, 1960

    However, there as a ceremony for the Walk about a year-and-a-half earlier (August 1958) in which Joanne Woodward was recognized with seven others, selected by a random draw from a group of more than 1,500 Hollywood notables. They were recognized together, i.e. none was designated as the first although contemporary reports state Preston Foster’s was the first star physically placed.

    The first star recognized on the new Walk, the permanent walk initiated with the 1960 groundbreaking was producer-director Preston Foster.

    February 8, 1960

    Los Angeles Times

    Hollywood Gets Start on Its ‘Walk of Fame’

    A dream that Hollywood boosters have cherished for seven years – sometimes agonizinly – finally began coming true yesterday when ground was broken for the “Walk of Fame” along Hollywood Blvd.

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