Disney Characters on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Disney
Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street are more than the inspiration for the name of Disney’s Hollywood & Vine, your favorite character meal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s a seminal location for movie lovers, too. In Hollywood, California, 18 blocks on these two streets are highlighted by stars made of terrazzo and brass.
These are the internationally renowned stars that comprise the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You may not know it, but many of the performers honored here aren’t even real people! Here are the seven Disney characters and one group honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The instant you heard fictional characters could receive the honorific, you knew Mickey Mouse would be one of them, right? After all, he’s the proverbial mouse who started it all. The early sketches of him grew into a media empire with a current market cap valuation of roughly $170 billion. Hollywood couldn’t rightfully have a “Walk of Fame” without such an iconic character, could they?
One of the unsung parts of Steamboat Willie is that Minnie Mouse has a role to play, too. In other words, she’s been a member of the Disney family as long as her main squeeze, Mickey. Another fun trivia item is that Walt Disney initially voiced Mickey and Minnie back in 1928. By 1929, he’d ceded Minnie’s part to Marjorie Ralston, who was replaced by Michelle Garner, who became the first regular voice for the character. Garner portrayed Minnie Mouse for the body of the 1930s.
Minnie Mouse was the 2,627th star on the Walk of Fame. For reasons passing understanding, she had to wait 40 years longer than Mickey. He received his star in 1978, while she somehow didn’t get one until 2018. That’s inexplicable to me.
Whenever I think of my father, my memories inevitably include his uncanny Donald Duck impression. The voice always stuck with me, and I’m apparently not the only one. Walt Disney claimed that he created the character based solely on a voice he heard Clarence Nash do. The famous voice actor recited Mary Had a Little Lamb in a silly way, and the rest was Disney history.
Not coincidentally, Nash would voice the character so long that he earned the nickname of Ducky. Touchingly, he brought life to Donald Duck up until his death in 1985. For more than half a century, Clarence Nash was Donald Duck.
By the way, this character’s introduction solved a crisis situation for Walt Disney. Once children fell in love with Mickey Mouse, Uncle Walt could no longer show his protagonist misbehaving. Donald Duck became the mischievous character who was born under a bad moon. It wasn’t a coincidence, either. Donald Duck’s misfortune stems from his birthday, Friday the 13th. Yes, everything bad that happens to him is because of astrology. You’re going to have to apologize to your friend who sells zodiac jewelry on Etsy.
Donald was in-duck-ted (sorry) in 2004. According to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Donald Duck is 26 years less important than Mickey Mouse but 14 years better than Minnie Mouse. Don’t worry. You’re about to feel better about the situation!
In the pecking order of famous Disney characters, Snow White is unquestionably in the top tier. While Mickey Mouse and friends starred in a series of animated shorts, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first full-length animated film ever. It’s received a metric ton of awards and honors over the years.
The National Film Registry has placed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the vault to preserve for future generations, while the American Film Institute has selected it as one of the 100 Greatest American Films. They’ve also declared it the Greatest American Animated Movie Ever.
Give the lofty status of Snow White, the only real surprise is that she had to wait until 1987 to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On the plus side, she beat Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck by many years.
MickeyBlog will publish an article one day soon that discusses the importance of Peter Pan to Walt Disney. When Walt and his brother, Roy, were kids, they happened to watch a play starring Maude Adams, arguably the most famous actress of her era. The experience had a profound impact on the boys, who later recreated Peter Pan’s flight scene during a school play.
The question was never ‘if’ but ‘when’ Disney would create a Peter Pan movie. The answer was 1953, and the film became one of the most beloved of the early Disney movie library. Oddly, Peter Pan has yet to receive a spot on the Walk of Fame despite his impact on Walt Disney as a creator. Tinker Bell, however, became the 2,418th celebrity recognized as worthy of a star. This award occurred in 2010. Yes, Tinker Bell got a star eight years before Minnie Mouse. Yes, this annoys me.
Winnie the Pooh
Pooh Bear is somewhat of an awkward conversation for Disney fans. Don’t get me wrong. Everyone loves the character. How could they not? Winnie the Pooh is one of the purest, kindest characters in the history of animation.
The uncomfortable part of the discussion is that Disney has engaged in combative court proceedings with the estate of Pooh’s chief illustrator, Stephen Slesinger. In 1961, the company licensed film rights for all of the residents of Hundred Acre Woods from A.A. Milne. Slesinger had different rights based on his illustrations, ones that legal experts believe are more valuable. Slesinger actually beat Disney in court, which has forced Disney to alter the appearance of Christopher Robin based on these court proceedings.
But hey! As a Disney lover, you don’t care about any of that, do you? All that matters to you is that Pooh gets his honey, Eeyore sounds forlorn, and Tigger bounces. Well, the Hollywood Walk of Fame agrees with you. Despite all of the awkward legal battles taking place at the time – and it happened right in the middle of them – officials honored Winnie the Pooh with a star on the Walk of Fame in 2006. Tigger remains sadly underappreciated, though.
The Muppets and Kermit the Frog
I’m technically discussing two Walk of Fame stars at once here. It leads to a great question, too. Who do you think is more famous, Kermit the Frog individually or The Muppets as a whole?
The Hollywood Walk of Fame committee came up with a surprising answer. They enshrined Kermit the Frog alone back in 2002. To be fair, Kermit does have a top 25 single and Academy Award nomination on his resume.
“Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie hit the charts back in 1979 and was a Best Song nominee at The 1980 Academy Awards, ultimately losing to something called “It Goes Like It Goes,” which is apparently a Jennifer Warnes song from Norma Rae. That one REALLY needs a do-over vote.
Ten years later, the rest of The Muppets like Gonzo and Animal earned a star on the Walk of Fame. I presume Miss Piggy was insufferable that week…well, more so. In the process, Kermit became the rare double-star recipient on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Even Mickey Mouse can’t claim that!
In a future article, we’ll discuss some of your favorite Disney celebrities, actual human beings who have earned a spot on Hollywood Walk of Fame.