On 9th February 1960, the official ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From an initial list of over 1500 names, the first eight celebrities were chosen at random to be dedicated on the historic walkway at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard. The first names were, U.S actresses Joanne Woodward, Olive Borden, Louise Fazenda; U.S actors Burt Lancaster, Preston Foster, Edward Sedgwick; English actor Ronald Colman and Scottish actor Ernest Torrence. Of these, Joanne Woodward was the first to pose with her star plaque for photographers.
The creation of this historic walkway was later to inspire me. Following the refurbishment and re-launch of Wembley Arena in 2006, I arranged for Madonna to formally open the Arena’s new frontage with the unveiling of the artist’s hand casts plaque. This was successfully achieved by undertaking a round trip of 7000 miles just a fortnight before to arrange the casting of Madonna’s hands, backstage at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Madonna was the first of a dozen star celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie, to be honoured with hand cast plaques within the new appropriately named frontage ‘Square of Fame’
Following success of the above, I formed a working business partnership to produce celebrity hand plaques.
In 1997 a dozen of the world’s top musicians came together for Music for Montserrat, a concert to raise funds for the Caribbean island of Montserrat following a major volcanic eruption that year which left the island completely devastated. All the musicians taking part had a connection with the island having once recorded at the island’s famous AIR Studios. The concert was arranged and produced by Sir George Martin and all proceeds of the show and DVD recording were used for the relief and to fund the future building of a new cultural centre gifted to the islanders. In 2010, Castaway Celebrity Castings produced the hand casts of the musicians for public display within the Centre, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, Phil Collins, Mark Knopfler, Jools Holland, Midge Ure, Sting, Ray Cooper and Sir George Martin.
In July 2011, I arranged the hand castings of Take That at Wembley Stadium to celebrate the five singers record breaking eight sell-out shows and 650,000 admissions. Five individual bronze hand plaques of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Robbie Williams were produced for future public display. In June 2013, the hands of Brandon Flowers, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer, aka The Killers, were cast to celebrate their first Wembley Stadium concert.
Over 60 Celebrities hands have now been cast since Madonna’s hand castings in 2006, a long way behind Hollywood Boulevard as since 1960 there are now over 2500 names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.