The Hollywood Walk of Fame comprises more than 2,500 five-pointed terazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California. The stars are permanent public monuments to achievement in the entertainment industry, bearing the names of a mix of actors, musicians, directors, producers, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others. The Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and maintained by the self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust. It is a popular tourist destination, with a reported 10 million visitors in 2003.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce credits E. M. Stuart, its volunteer president in 1953, with the original idea for creating a Walk of Fame. Stuart reportedly 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." Harry Sugarman, another Chamber member and president of the Hollywood Improvement Association, receives credit in an independent account. A committee was formed to flesh out the idea, and an architectural firm was retained to develop specific proposals. By 1955 the basic concept and general design had been agreed upon, and plans were submitted to the Los Angeles City Council.
Multiple accounts exist for the origin of the star concept. According to one, the historic Hollywood Hotel—which stood for more than 50 years on Hollywood Boulevard at the site now occupied by the Hollywood and Highland complexand the Dolby (formerly Kodak) Theater—painted stars on its dining room ceiling over tables favored by its most famous celebrity patrons, and that may have served as an early inspiration. By another account the stars were "inspired ... by Sugarman's [Tropics Restaurant] drinks menu, which featured celebrity photos framed in gold stars."
In February 1956 a prototype was unveiled featuring a caricatureof an example honoree (John Wayne, by some accounts) inside a blue star on a brown background. However, caricatures proved too expensive and difficult to execute in brass with the technology available at the time; and the brown and blue motif was rejected by Charles E. Toberman, the legendary real estate developer known as "Mr. Hollywood", because the colors clashed with a new building he was erecting on Hollywood Boulevard.