The Hollywood Walk of Fame has stars for everyone from Guy Fieri to Zsa Zsa Gabor, and yet everyone suddenly realized this week that Carrie Fisher is not among the more than 2,600 inductees to the iconic Hollywood Boulevard feature. Which seems odd, because not only was she the female lead of what may be the most legendary blockbuster franchise of all time (not to mention a famed screenwriter and script doctor), but she was a one-of-a-kind icon who spoke out about her struggles with mental health, and whose death lead to mass grieving.
If the emo-bangs magician Criss Angel has a five-point terrazzo star on the walk, why not Fisher? After all, her parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, both have two of their own stars in separate categories.
Her absence came to wider attention this week after the West Hollywood City Council voted to approve a measure calling for the removal of President Donald Trump‘s star from the Walk. Though, it seems unlikely to happen, since it’s the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce who actually runs the Walk. That group maintains it’ll stick to its policy of never removing any of the stars under any circumstances (the stars of Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, Michael Jackson, and “Fatty” Arbuckle remain as well).
Still, Fisher’s Star Wars costar Mark Hamil not only supports the removal of Trump’s star but wants it replaced with one for Fisher instead.
Maybe it’s not that much of a surprise that Fisher doesn’t have one in the first place, while Trump does.
If the “commerce” portion of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce doesn’t clue you in, the Walk of Fame isn’t run exactly a noble charity hoping to memorialize only the best of the best. Someone has to pay for those stars, and there’s a bureaucratic process to go through first.
In fact, while technically anyone can nominate someone for the Walk (including fan clubs), the celebrity or their management has to sign off on the nomination before it goes forward. If they are selected, then they have to find someone to pony up a fee somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 to create, install, and maintain the star. Usually a movie studio, TV channel, or record label ends up paying for the star as part of the promotion for the celebrity in question’s upcoming project.
Not only that, but the celebrity has to agree to appear at the ceremony and schedule a date within two years of the approval. In other words, a celebrity really has to want it and follow through on it.
So, maybe you’re starting to understand why Trump has a star and Fisher doesn’t. One is a glory boy eager for any sort of attention and recognition, and the other seemed to be over the trappings of being famous practically since birth. Besides, so many of the brighter spots of Fisher’s latter career (before the Star Wars sequels, at least) were either in writing or performing her own writing onstage in her one-woman shows. These were not the kind of projects with big studio marketing budgets that could drop $40,000 for a star.
In speaking with the L.A. Times, Ana Martinez, a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce, alluded to the possibility that Fisher herself might not have been particularly interested in the honor.
“Also, how do we know that Carrie Fisher wanted one?” Martinez said. “We don’t know if she ever was interested. She was never submitted for a star. We have to have something in writing from the person—they have to sign off.”
Showing no interest in the honor would put her in good company. Stars like George Clooney, Denzel Washington, and Bruce Springsteen were approved to receive stars, but never actually followed through on scheduling a ceremony. Julia Roberts never signed off on her nomination either.
Still, the late actress could still find her way to the Walk. One posthumous star is awarded each year, but late celebrities can’t be considered until at least five years after death (which would be in late 2021 in Fisher’s case). Even then, the potential honoree’s family, in this case either Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd or her siblings, would have to sign off on it, procure the funding, and show up to the ceremony. So it’s still possible.
Fisher herself seemed to have a healthy attitude about such recognitions.
“Having waited my entire life to get an award for something, anything…I now get awards all the time for being mentally ill,” she once quipped. “It’s better than being bad at being insane, right? How tragic would it be to be runner-up for Bipolar Woman of the Year?”
Certainly her fans would love to see her have the honor. After her passing, devoted fans gathered around an empty star to pay their respects.