Vandals scrawled graffiti on John Lennon's sidewalk star on Hollywood's storied Walk of Fame over the weekend, prompting an urgent clean-up days before fans gather for the Beatles icon's birthday.

The unidentified graffiti artist or artists scribbled a smiley face and various messages on the star, which is next to those of his Fab Four band mates outside the Capitol Records building in downtown Hollywood.

Beatles fans are expected to hold an annual candle-lit vigil at the star on Wednesday, which would have been Lennon's 73rd birthday, so officials wanted to clean it up straightaway.

"Somebody came over the weekend -- we think it was probably late Sunday -- and graffitied the star," Peter Bermont, manager of office services at the Capitol Records building, told AFP.

"It's John's birthday on Wednesday, we want to make sure it looks nice and clean for it."

A spokeswoman for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Walk of Fame stars photographed by millions of tourists every year, said she got a Twitter message about the Lennon graffiti Sunday night.

"Capitol Records started the cleanup, as it is in front of their property, and then our star maker finished up and sealed it, and it is ready to go," spokeswoman Ana Martinez told AFP.

"Too bad this person wasn't caught and arrested," she added.