On Monday, Dom DeLuise, the great great actor, passed away. When the news broadcasts started to cover this, one segment showed fans placing flowers and other rememberances at Dom's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And this got me curious...how did this iconic Hollywood symbol get started?
So I did some investigating. Back in 1953, the city was looking to give itself a facelift. The hired the artist, Oliver Weismuller to lead this effort. Within a few months he had his concept and by 1958 the first 8 stars had been dedicated and 2,000+ more were waiting to bear the name of the next "famous" person. I realized, that, yes, the "walk of Fame" is a work of art - and I would wager not many think of it that way. This piece was, and is, meant to symbolize a tribute to those who made Hollywood carry the aura of the "Land of Dreams".
Its funny, when I began my investigation I thought "oh it will surely be hard to find out who is 'responsible' for this" and while that answer was easy, and while every citation for Mr. Weismuller recognizes him as a "famous artist" there is little I could find about the man himself. And so, while I do not know if he is alive or dead today, I would still like to recognize him. He created a truly innovative piece of art that is intimately accessible to the masses. Further, his work continues to provide opportunity to celebrate others. Sometimes it is at the dedication of a new star (fyi, Robert Downey Jr. gets his this year, woo hoo!) and sometimes it is just at providing fans a way to remember those we have lost, such as Mr. DeLuise.
Mr. Weismuller, you've created what has become one of the truly great American landmarks, in my opinion. And thank you for giving us another way to recognize and remember others.
2 weeks ago