Star Gazing in Palm Springs
By Kathleen Bennett
The best place to star gaze is in downtown Palm Springs where you will find 353 individuals who have received the Golden Palm Star placed right on the sidewalks by the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. A historical landmark, the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was founded in 1992 by Gerhardt Frenzel who honored the first stars on February 26, 1992 to Earle C. Strebe, William Powell, Ruby Keeler, Charlie Farrell and Ralph Bellamy. To receive a star honorees must have by their presence in the area, contributed to the charm, worldwide prominence and name recognition of Greater Palm Springs. They must have lived in the Greater Palm Springs area, owned real estate, leased or rented for periods of considerable regularity. Show business honorees must have made an impact worldwide in the area of show business. The categories that are honored on the Walk of Fame are not only show business professionals they include these additional categories; Literary, Pioneers/Civic Leaders, Humanitarians, Sports and Military.
Stars are located on the sidewalks of Palm Canyon Drive, Tahquitz Canyon Way and Museum Drive. The inscriptions on the stars are relevant to the honoree’s field of achievement: Show Business – Stage/Radio/Film/TV; Literary – Author, Playwright, Composer; Pioneers/Civic: Mayor, Civic Personality, Community Leader, Distinguished Tribal Personality; Humanitarians – Recipients are those who provide contributions to charitable causes and by their altruistic deeds achieved exulted recognition within the community; Military – Congressional Medal awardees only; Sports – Athletics in various sports fields.
Touring the stars is easy – the Walk of Stars Audio Tour Guide can be purchased at the Palm Springs Chamber or at the Visitor Center. The Palm Springs Historical Society provides guided tours and those tours include the Walk of Stars or you can walk the streets and see all 353 stars on your own. One of the more popular stars in downtown Palm Springs is the iconic Marilyn Monroe. If you happen to visit the Marilyn statue in downtown Palm Springs you will find Marilyn’s star directly across the street (Tahquitz Canyon Way) on the corner in front of Starbucks. Another popular is none other than The King himself Elvis Presley whose star is located on Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon on the east side of the street across from Marilyn’s star.
The organization has honored many local celebrities over the years including Kaye Ballard, Trini Lopez, Lindsay Wagner, Monty Hall, Jerry Vale, Jack Jones, Michael Dante, Adam West, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Mickey Rooney, Ruta Lee, Carol Channing to name a few. We must mention our wonderful humanitarians Harold Matzner, Barbara Keller, Jim Casey, Annette Bloch, Jackie Lee Houston and many others who have been honored. President Gerald Ford and President Richard Nixon stars are located on Museum Drive by the Palm Springs Art Museum. Even Cheeta the Chimp and Rascal the world’s ugliest dog have a star!!! In 2013 star dedications are being planned for KC and The Sunshine Band, Gavin MacLeod, Debbie Gibson, Peter Marshall, Jane Wyman and Esther Williams.
The Walk of Stars Adopt a Star program is one way to become involved. Stars can be adopted for $275 and you receive a plaque with the stars name and address of where the star is located embellished on the plaque and admission to one of our star events. The adoption is valid for one year and the fees raised are used to maintain and clean the stars.
President, Robert Alexander proudly states “Our Walk of Stars Board of Directors helps promote Greater Palm Springs, we enhance its appeal as a tourist destination and we educate the community about its past.” The Board of Directors provides scholarships to students in the arts and entertainment field and in January we made a $5,000 donation to the Palm Springs High School Spirit Band for their trip to march in the Inauguration Parade in Washington DC.
A local board of directors administers the business aspects of Palm Springs Walk of Stars, a 501 C-3 Tax Exempt Foundation, at no cost to the City of Palm Springs. Palm Springs Walk of Stars president, Robert Alexander, is also the president of The Motion Picture Hall of Fame Foundation, which manages Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Information on how to nominate a star, the criteria, fees and forms can be found on our website at www.palmspringswalkofstars.com or call the Walk of Stars office at (760) 416-5811 for additional information.