It was a pleasure talking with Ana Martinez, the Vice President of Media Relations for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the producer of the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies. Ana Martinez certainly had very humble beginnings in the movie capitol of the world. Her initial goal was to become a teacher but somehow she switched majors and decided to go into public relations instead. Her formal introduction into the entertainment industry began when she was hired as an intern at KNBC in Burbank but found out within a few months how fickle the business really is: she was laid off.
From Channel 4, she went to Channel 2, as a page at CBS. When that job ended, she looked around and found a wonderful and obviously, long term home at 7021 Hollywood Blvd, right in the heart of downtown Hollywood itself. That address, of course, is where the Chamber of Commerce resides and where Ana would work her way up from receptionist to publicist to Vice President of Media Relations and producer of the Nationally famous and live streamed Walk of Fame events.
She remembers her first ceremony; Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. She also remembers that Kermit the Frog was one of her favorites because he was so entertaining and human like, and Sophia Loren was a standout for being so unpretentious and gracious. Ana has worked with hundreds of famous actors, musicians and other talented people in her role as the “Queen of the Walk of Fame.” Johnny Grant, her predecessor and previous boss, bestowed that appellation on her over 27 years ago.
Ana says that the Chamber puts on about two Walk of Fame events every month. She has, however, put on three and sometimes four in one month. And that’s a great deal of work because each ceremony takes about two weeks to fully prepare for. Publicity has to be planned, written and distributed, the actual star has to be manufactured and installed on the sidewalk and security, etc has to be fully implemented.
Most of the ceremonies have gone quite smoothly, with a few minor exceptions. People sometimes faint because they become dehydrated or they didn’t eat before the event and too many people might show up unexpectedly. That was the case with Vicente Fernandez, the famous mariachi singer, when he received his star. Over 4,000 fans showed up because the event was scheduled on Veteran’s Day, which, of course meant that many people weren’t working that day –so why not show up to see Vicente get his star. Ultimately, it worked out and even though the fans were enthusiastic, everyone went home with a smile.
Wreaths are placed on celebrity’s stars who have just passed on. Michael Jackson got a wreath placed on his star the same day as Farrah Fawcett. And Ana makes sure that a wreath is placed on Patrick Swayze’s star every year, because it sits right in front of her office.
People Ana would love to see get stars on the Walk of Fame: Clint Eastwood was selected years ago but has shown no interest at all, even though they’ve been after him about it. Ana is saving a space for him in front of the legendary Chinese theatre at 6801 Hollywood Blvd, just in case.
George Clooney was also selected but hasn’t come forward, and Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated by a studio, but they have yet to turn in the required paperwork. Ana, among many others who follow the movies found it odd that Julia Roberts has yet to be nominated. Once again, the fickleness of the business or maybe people are just busy? Who knows? We do know that there are over 2,500 stars on the Walk of Fame and the first one was laid on March 28, 1960.
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