The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the most popular tourist attractions in California. The landmark is filled with over 2,700 stars and the road to getting a star can be long and expensive.
So, how much does it cost to install a star and who pays for it? Ana Martinez, longtime producer of the Walk of Fame, sat down with us for a recent interview. She said each star is made of terrazzo, with the total cost coming in at $55,000 per installation.
“The majority of that money goes to a group called the Hollywood Historic Trust and they repair and maintain the stars,” Martinez explained. “The rest of the money goes to the making of the star, the breaking up of the square, security, a plaque.”
Some of the funds are also used for the free dedication ceremonies held in front of eager fans.
Related Story: Wendy Williams Sheds Tears on Hollywood Walk of Fame Over ‘Tough Year’
Anyone can nominate a celebrity to receive a star, as long as they get the nominee’s permission in writing. But with the price tag so steep, it’s usually record labels, TV networks, and fan clubs that nominate the individuals and pay for the star installations.
Before the pandemic began, the Walk of Fame drew about 10 million visitors a year, with many people coming to Hollywood to watch the induction ceremonies.
According to Martinez, the 1998 ceremony for legendary Mexican singer Vicente Fernández drew one of the biggest crowds ever.
“I did a ceremony for him on Veterans Day, not thinking everybody in the world would be off that day,” Martinez said about Fernández’s induction. “He had the largest amount of people. It was 4,000 people, and that was for many, many years, the record holder.”
Related Story: Snoop Dogg Thanks Himself for Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
That attendance record was shattered in 2017, when the Walk of Fame unveiled a posthumous star for Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, known to fans as “The Queen of Tejano Music.”
“She had 4,500 at a nighttime ceremony,” Martinez said about the number of fans at the ceremony honoring Quintanilla-Pérez.
As for which stars draw the most visitors on a daily basis, that’s up for debate.
“Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Johnny Depp, we used to have an office there by [Depp’s] star at the Roosevelt Hotel, and I used to walk by his star to go to the parking lot. If I had $1 for every person taking a picture, I’d be rich, because they love Johnny Depp,” said Martinez.
Related Story: Hollywood Walk of Fame Shuts Down Calls to Remove Bill Cosby’s Star
This week, Ozark actress Laura Linney became the 2,727th inductee on the Walk of Fame. While that number may seem like a lot, there’s plenty of space for more stars.
“We added a second row of stars, so we’ll never run out,” said Martinez.
Once someone receives a star, it will be there forever. That includes Bill Cosby and former Apprentice host-turned-President Donald Trump, whose star has been vandalized several times.
“We don’t remove stars. They’re a part of the fabric of the history of the Walk of Fame. So we will not remove them. We will repair them when they’re damaged as we have been with Mr. Trump’s star,” Martinez told us.
Last month, the Walk of Fame announced its class of 2023. Some of the names on the list for next year include Martin Lawrence, Uma Thurman, Lenny Kravitz, late actor Paul Walker and late singer Jenni Rivera.
Upcoming star ceremonies are announced 10 days before each dedication. For details on the latest ceremonies and the locations of each star, visit walkoffame.com. You can also download the official Walk of Fame app.
Check out our interview with Ana Martinez below. It ran on LA CityView Channel 35 in Los Angeles.