On this day in 1960, the official groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The first star to be dedicated on the historic walkway belonged to the actress Joanne Woodward, an Academy Award winner for The Three Faces of Eve (1957).
Woodward’s career began on Broadway, where she worked as an understudy to the female lead in the romantic drama Picnic in the early 1950s. It was during that production that she first met the actor Paul Newman; their marriage would become one of the most envied and enduring in Hollywood. After heading west from New York, Woodward signed a contract with 20th Century Fox. Her role in that studio’s 1957 film The Three Faces of Eve, as a woman with multiple personality disorder, earned her an Oscar for Best Actress. Her romance with Newman intensified during the filming of The Long, Hot Summer (1958) and they were married in January 1958. Two years later, Woodward earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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. From 1980 until his death in 2008, the ceremonies were presided over by the popular “mayor” of Hollywood, Johnny Grant. In addition to playing small roles in movies such as The Babe Ruth Story (1948) and White Christmas (1954), with Bing Crosby, Grant also traveled with the popular comedian Bob Hope on U.S.O. tours, performing at military bases all over the world. Grant was named to the honorary position of mayor of Hollywood by the Chamber of Commerce in 1980 and spent the next three decades as Hollywood’s leading spokesperson throughout the United States and abroad.