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Hollywood welcomes wax celebrities

July 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Hollywood gave visitors a sneak peek at more than 100 wax celebrity look-alikes.The wax celebrities are getting a lot of attention from local politicians and opening to great fanfare in Hollywood.

The $55 million wax museum could be a much-needed boon to a reeling local economy.

"Having a venue like this is just going to bring more tourists, spend more money, so that we can provide the critical services that we need," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "So this is a good thing."

The mayor wasn't likely to knock a museum that features a wax statue in his very own likeness. But it's the stars who really get the attention. And at Madame Tussauds, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts are more than happy hanging with the their fans.

"You can actually get up close. You can touch the figures, you can inspect them, you can take pictures with them. We encourage that whole interactivity," said Jerry Digney, Madame Tussauds Hollywood.

The cost to enter the museum is $25.

The museum spent about $300,000 to build a wax statue of Samuel L. Jackson from scratch, which means each statue features a number of eerie details.

"Most celebrities sit for their wax figure. So we get very exact, detailed measurements. And we also get dental records so that we can actually match the celebrity's teeth," said Digney.

However, some would say the accolades lie in the eyes of every look-alike. Just don't expect to win any staring contest in at Madame Tussauds.

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