i see this guy everyday, and always wondered if he was homeless.. now i know his backstory. great article courtesy LA TIMES
Walk of Fame polisher is the keeper of the stars
John Peterson has kept the Hollywood emblems gleaming for 14 years. With 2,412 stars, that's 110 a day and a full-time job.
John Peterson, 61, polishes about 110 stars a day along the nearly three-mile stretch of Hollywood. (John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times
By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
July 24, 2010
If anyone can restore Hollywood's luster, John Peterson figures it's him.
The one-legged man has spent 14 years polishing celebrities' stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
With 2,412 of them along nearly three miles of sidewalk, it's a full-time job.
"Chewing gum should be banned globally," says the 61-year-old, scraping a dirty clump of the stuff off actress and singer Cass Daley's star near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. "It's not recyclable, it's not biodegradable, it's not good."
Once Daley's star is gleaming, Peterson stows his bottle of Brasso metal polish and the paper towel into a plastic shopping bag. Hoisting himself up by his arms, he inches along on his knees to the next star, dragging the bag and his crutches along with him.
His next stop is 1940s-era character actor Gene Lockhart. Pulling out the towel and the polish, he swabs the movie-career emblem and sprays Windex over the star's pink terrazzo surface to remove scuff marks.
Peterson's work has given him a sidewalk-level perspective of Hollywood that few people have.
That has convinced him that the Metro Red Line subway, which some have blamed for causing the Walk of Fame's terrazzo to crack and chip, is only partly at fault.