HOLLYWOOD — The Hollywood Walk of Fame started the year with a virtual ceremony Feb. 12, honoring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw three days after the release of a newly restored version of the 1970 romantic drama “Love Story” on Blu-ray. It was the first star ceremony since Aug. 14, 2020, when actor Anthony Anderson received a star in the first-ever virtual Walk of Fame ceremony.
Live Walk of Fame ceremonies were suspended March 3, 2020.
The first outdoor ceremony was held July 9 with the long-awaited unveiling of the star honoring former “American Idol” executive producer and “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator Nigel Lythgoe.
Lythgoe was scheduled to receive his star April 1, 2020, but the ceremony was postponed because of the ban on gatherings instituted in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It was rescheduled for Nov. 5, but postponed again.
By the end of the year, 14 more ceremonies were held inducting celebrities into the Walk of Fame, which now totals 2,700 stars.
In April, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the walk, announced that for the first time in nearly four decades, there’s a new category available to increase the pool of potential honorees. A “sports entertainment” category was added to honor individual sports entertainers “who have made significant contributions to the world of entertainment.”
The category is only open to individuals, not teams or sports-affiliated groups, according to the chamber.
Sports entertainment joins the other Walk of Fame categories — motion pictures, television, radio, recording and live theater/live performance.
“The evolution of the sports entertainment market, which now accounts for a major segment of the overall entertainment industry landscape, makes it a perfect fit for recognition on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Chamber President and CEO Rana Ghadban said. “We feel that sports entertainers deserve the spotlight on the sidewalk and we’re certain that this decision will be very well received by their fans.”
Criteria for receiving a Walk of Fame star in all categories include “professional achievement, longevity of five or more years in the nominee’s category, and contributions to the community.”
Also receiving stars on the Walk of Fame in 2021 were costume designer Ruth Carter, television personality Kathie Lee Gifford, actor Jimmy Smits, actress Marla Gibbs, actor Terry Crews, singer-songwriter Don McLean, radio host Karl “Big Boy” Alexander, R&B singing group the Chi-Lites, Spanish singing star Alejandro Sanz, actor Daniel Craig, television executive Peter Roth, entertainment media mogul Byron Allen, Latin singer Ana Gabriel, singer-songwriter Missy Elliott and actress Salma Hayek also received stars during the year.