Hollywood’s Walk of Fame is one of Tinseltown’s favorite tourist attractions, with thousands of stars embedded in concrete honoring some of the movie industry’s most famous celebrities, everyone from Clark Gable to Mickey Mouse – and now, the Chevrolet Suburban, the first car to ever get its own star.
That really should be no surprise considering that the familiar Chevy SUV has had one of the longest and most active careers in Hollywood history, logging an estimated 1,750 appearances in films and TV shows over the past 67 years.
“For six decades the Chevrolet Suburban has been Hollywood’s longest-working actor,” said Rana Ghadban, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which chooses whom to honor with a Walk star. The big SUV, he added “is a well-established industry mainstay (that now will) join an illustrious group of actors and characters that are forever known as Hollywood legends.”
The Suburban began its cinematic career back in 1952, according to General Motors and has gone on to appears in at least one TV series every year since 1956, as well as a minimum one film annually since 1960. The list of credits includes films like “The Brave One,” “Ulee’s Gold” and the various “Transformer” flcks where it was accompanied by other Chevy products such as the Camaro. The big SUV even has come to life in animated form, as a character in Pixar’s “Cars” series.
(Can this electric SUV challenge the likes of the Chevy Suburban?)
While the Suburban usually falls back on a supporting role, it appeared in 30 films that have been nominated for Academy Awards over the decades.
According to Dennis McCarthy, a well-respected Hollywood picture car coordinator, there are two reasons why the Suburban has landed such an enduring position in Hollywood. “First, it’s one of the most versatile vehicles in the business, able to fit with any type of character. Second, it can help instantly give a scene added importance. When a convoy of black Suburbans appears on screen, you know that’s not the time to leave your seat to buy popcorn.”
The Suburban may be popular with Hollywood, but it’s just as hot with motorists in a U.S. new car market increasingly gone crazy for utility vehicles of every possible configuration.
The big SUV was already a mature product by the time it landed its first role on the Silver Screen, making its first appearance as a Chevrolet in 1934 as a 1935 model-year entry. In fact, the “Suburban” name had previously been used by several other automakers, Chevy initially dubbing it the Suburban Carryall for several years.
(Here’s one film where the Cars were the stars.)
The latest, eleventh-generation Suburban debuted in 2015 but, with competition heating up in the market, Chevrolet will preview an all-new version of the truck later this month.
Tim Kozub, who oversees design work for both the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, says the bigger truck’s screen persona was a factor in developing the Gen-12 model.
“This is a great example of how life and art influence each other,” said Kozub. “The popularity of Suburban and Tahoe in film was first inspired by the real-life roles they played in the military, in law enforcement and family trips around the world. Today, their role in Hollywood inspired the design of the all-new models, as we integrated the sense of capability, action, and importance associated with Suburban and Tahoe on screen.”
(Mercedes turned to film legend Arnold Schwarzenegger to help debut its latest G-Class SUV.)
Should you be looking for the Suburban’s new star, you’ll find it at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering what it takes to land the honor, pretty much anyone can make a nomination as long as the “celebrity or his/her management is in agreement with the nomination. If there is no letter of agreement included from the celebrity or his/her representative, the committee will not accept the application,” the Walk of Fame’s official website explains.
That may sound easy but, among the 300 applications typically submitted each year, only 34 have been selected in 2019. Of course, there is one more catch. The celebrity, their family or other representatives have to come up with $50,000 to cover expenses. That apparently wasn’t much of a problem for Chevrolet considering the base price for one of the big SUVs is $45,290.