The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of those iconic must-sees for anyone visiting Hollywood.
Who hasn’t seen either in person or in the movies those bright pink stars against the grey background on the sidewalk that stretches on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street?
These stars are permanent tributes to those in the entertainment business. Certainly a number of actors, musicians, directors and producers are among the stars, as well as a few fictional characters such as Kermit, the Frog. (oh, please…you thought he was real?)
The Walk of Fame also has found its way into several novels of crime fiction. Michael Connelly used Frank Sinatra’s star as a meeting place in his Angels Flight.
Authors also are represented among these stars with Raymond Chandler, above, slated to receive his spot in 2015, along with actors Will Ferrell, Julianna Margulies, and Daniel Radcliffe.
Chandler will join an exclusive club of authors with stars on this walk that include Ray Bradbury, Dr. Seuss, Adela Rogers St. Johns, and Ogden Nash.
It’s about time that Chandler was honored. His private detective Philip Marlowe remains one of the touchstones of the genre, and influenced generations of mystery writers, including Michael Connelly.
And Marlowe was not stranger to Hollywood. The character appeared in several film adaptations of Chandler’s work, as well as radio adaptations.
Actors who portrayed the private detective include Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet, 1944); Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep, 1946); Robert Montgomery (Lady in the Lake, 1947); James Gardner (Marlowe, 1969, which was an adaptation of The Little Sister); Elliott Gould (The Long Goodbye, 1973); and Robert Mitchum (Farewell My Lovely, 1975, and The Big Sleep, 1978).
Chandler never adapted any of his novels to the screen, but he became a fixture in Hollywood.
Chandler worked with directors and screenwriters on adapting other novelists’ works. These screenplays include James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, which he co-wrote with Billy Wilder and which was nominated for an Oscar, and Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train on which he collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock.
Chandler’s only original screenplay that actually was made into a film was The Blue Dahlia (1946). According to biographies, including one on producer John Houseman, Chandler hadn’t written an ending. Chandler agreed to finish the script, but insisted he could only do it drunk. That must have been some powerful drink because The Blue Dahlia brought Chandler’s second Oscar nod for screenplay.
Chandler did have one small role in a film, so small it was uncredited.
And this makes for a great Jeopardy! question:
Which noir novelist is seen sitting outside Keyes’ office in Double Indemnity?
Answer: Who is Raymond Chandler.
You have to look quick to spot Chandler in that scene, but Chandler’s Walk of Fame star will be easy to spot.
As for future crime fiction authors who should also have a Walk of Fame star—I nominate Michael Connelly
and Robert Crais