Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JACK PIERCE AND THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME: WHAT IS AND WHAT SHOULD BE


A sight monster fans may never see (Hollywood Star art by John Navroth).

JACK PIERCE DENIED STAR ON HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME

By Doug Brown

The news, while not unexpected, was very disappointing.  I read my friend’s email several times to let to let it sink in:

“Because I am a member of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, I was at a meeting where the 2014 Stars for the Walk of Fame were announced.  Unfortunately, Jack’s name was not announced.”

“Jack” is Jack Pierce, creator of some of the greatest make-up jobs ever seen in cinema:  the Mummy, Wolf-Man, Frankenstein’s monster, and many others.  Pierce is well-known among horror film fans and professional make-up and special effects artists, but not among the average film or TV viewer, let alone the general public.

The next day, I read the list of people who were awarded Stars on the Walk:  a rapper, a talk-show host, several well-known actors, a faded rock star, several “hot, young” entertainers.  Not one person on the list has a body of work to compare with Jack Pierce’s in importance, duration, or influence.  Admittedly, I may be on the wrong side of age 40 to judge the artistic merits or influence of Tupac Shakur and Katy Perry, but I do think the Walk of Fame should honor more than those who will surely become just passing fads of the day.  I cannot argue with the choice of Sally Field, Jessica Lange (KING KONG), or even Liam Neeson.  I think Matthew McConaughey’s output is a bit thin to be recognized this way.

It has been said that the Hollywood Chamber limits the number of posthumous honorees, preferring to have ceremonies with living stars to ensure crowds of adoring fans and tourists will attend.  As Scott Essman told me at the recent Cinema Makeup School Jack Pierce Gallery dedication, a Walk of Fame ceremony with actors dressed in Universal Studios monster costumes with people like Rick Baker in attendance wouldn’t be too shabby.  I would be willing to bet that monster film fandom, and perhaps film fandom in general, would show up in force for such an event.

Scott Essman deserves our thanks for his valiant effort in circulating the petitions, securing the funding, and submitting the application for Jack Pierce to be awarded a star.

VARIETY is one of the original entertainment industry news publications.  I checked its web site this morning to monitor the comments on the Chamber’s announcement.  The vast majority of the 59 posted comments dealt with Rick Springfield “finally” receiving a star.  One person questioned why Busby Berkeley, creator of great musical films, is not represented on the Walk.  I cannot argue with that, but I added a comment regarding Mr. Pierce and his contributions to cinema history.

We should all keep fighting for Jack Pierce to be awarded a Star on the Walk of Fame.


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