Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone dancing in La La Land

Suriya’s Street Art: Who Are Movie-Watchers in La La Land?

Two hours of one movie can sometimes have a bigger impact on us than two weeks of our day-to-day lives at our jobs and homes.   . . .  that art and life can have a tangible relationship, is a hopeful one for anyone who has felt that their life has been changed by an album, an old movie, a painting, or a TV show.

It’s an optimistic way of viewing the world – one that is as open to the observer as the performer.
—Anna Leszkiewicz, In Defence of La La Land

A Hollywood Landmark You May Recognize

If you’ve been to Hollywood, then you may have seen the mural “You Are The Star,” which is located on the side of a building on Wilcox Ave at Hollywood Boulevard.

Tom Suriya painted the street art in 1983 “during the run-up to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, when the city was putting on a bit more of a show for visitors” (Reeves, 2019). Suriya’s career in TV and motion picture digital effects began in 1987.

"You are the star" mural, Photo: Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress
A bicyclist passes the “You Are the Star” mural by Tom Suriya, Photo: Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress

Demonstrating its scale, photographer Carol Highsmith captured the mural as a bicyclist passed in front (Highsmith, 2013).

If you saw the award-winning movie, La La Land (Chazelle, 2016), then you may recognize Suriya’s street art as the outside of Lipton’s Restaurant.

Suriya's street art, "You are the Star" mural, as backdrop for a scene in La La Land movie
Suriya’s street art, “You are the Star” mural, as backdrop for a scene in the movie, La La Land

Okay, here’s what we have learned.

A “street art” mural was painted by Thomas Suriya in Hollywood in 1983 for the LA Olympic games. Thanks to its use in the movie, La La Land, this Hollywood landmark is now even more a tourist attraction.

Hollywood Actors That We Know You Can Name

Now, here’s where you come in.

Suriya’s street art image is shown at the top of Our Mission page.  In the  mural are some interesting movie-watchers that we are sure you will recognize. Please help us identify the actors in the painting.

If you look around on the web, a lot of people have written about this mural, and have identified some of the famous faces. We recognize some of them too, but not all. We need your help.

Using the comment form below, just add names of actors in the mural that are missing in our list. We will be forever grateful!


Chazelle, D. (2016). La La Land [Motion picture]. USA: Lionsgate.
Highsmith, C. M. (2013). A bicyclist passes the “You Are the Star” mural, painted by Tom Suriya, on a wall in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California [Image]. Library of Congress. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/item/2013631596/
Leszkiewicz, A. (2017, Feb 6). In defence of La La Land. New Statesman America. Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/film/2017/02/defence-la-la-land
Reeves, T. (2019). Filming locations for La La Land | 2016 in Los Angeles. movie-locations.com Retrieved from http://movie-locations.com/movies/l/La-La-Land.php
wanbo0104. (2015, Oct). Hollywood murals-You are the star [Image]. TripAdvisor. Retrieved from https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32655-d1724663-Reviews-Hollywood_Murals_You_Are_the_Star-Los_Angeles_California.html#photos;aggregationId=101&albumid=101&filter=7&ff=154158998
Wayne, G. (2019). The “you are the star” mural. Seeing Stars. Retrieved from https://www.seeing-stars.com/ImagePages/YouAreTheStarPhoto3.shtml
Wikipedia contributors. (2019, Apr 12). 1984 Summer olympics. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1984_Summer_Olympics&oldid=892159256
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