By Julia Williams
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a popular tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors every year. Thousands of five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars bearing the names of famous actors, musicians, directors, producers and others in the entertainment industry, are embedded in the sidewalk along 15 blocks in Hollywood, California.
An average of two stars are added to the Walk every month. But would it surprise you to learn that humans aren’t the only ones with stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame? It’s true! Three amazing canines – Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart – have been honored with stars. All three dogs received their Walk of Fame star on the same day: February 8, 1960. No felines have a star as yet; despite convincing photographic evidence that Grumpy Cat received a star in 2013, it was later revealed to be a hoax.
Here’s a little bit of info about the three deserving doggies who have stars on the Walk of Fame.
Lassie was a fictional dog in a 1938 short story written by Eric Knight and published in the Saturday Evening Post. “Lassie Come Home” was a touching tale of a collie’s arduous journey to reunite with her family after they had to sell her for money. The story was so popular that it was expanded into a novel and immediately became a bestseller.
In 1943, MGM Studios released the first Lassie movie, starring Roddy McDowall, Elizabeth Taylor and a canine actor named Pal in the role of Lassie. There have been 11 Lassie films, all starring direct descendants of Pal. The Emmy winning Lassie TV series began in 1954 and ran for 19 seasons. You can read more about Lassie in our article, How Lassie Became One of the World’s Most Popular Dogs.
Rin Tin Tin
In 1918 during World War 1, a tiny German Shepherd puppy was rescued from a French battlefield by Lee Duncan, a corporal in the United States Army. Duncan named the pup Rinty and once back in the states, trained the dog for work in silent films.
Rin Tin Tin began his movie career in 1922 and got his big break in the 1923 silent film “Man From Hell’s River.” The movie was a huge success, and Rin Tin Tin is credited with saving the Warner Brothers studio from bankruptcy. Rin Tin Tin went on to star in 26 more films and is said to be responsible for greatly increasing the popularity of the German Shepherd breed. You can learn more about this beloved dog in The True Story of Rin Tin Tin.
Before Rin Tin Tin burst onto the film scene, there was Etzel von Oeringen, aka Strongheart. Prior to beginning his career as a canine actor, the male German Shepherd dog was trained in Berlin as a police dog and served in the German Red Cross. Through a twist of fate, Etzel found himself living in the United States with a famous film director, Laurence Trimble.
Strongheart’s first starring role was in “Silent Call,” a 1921 outdoor adventure film that made him an instant star. He went on to make five more films and was beloved by the public. You can read all about this courageous and talented dog in our article, Strongheart, the First Canine Action Hero.
There are some animated animals with Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well. These include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Snoopy, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Winnie the Pooh, Godzilla, Kermit the Frog and Big Bird. The Muppets also have a group star.
Checking out all the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a very “touristy” thing to do, but it’s also really fun. I’m happy that some very cool canines have gotten stars. However, I also think it’s high time that a cat got one, too…don’t you? Which cat would you like to see get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
Read more articles by Julia Williams