Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars


Part III
(formerly "Hollywood Memorial Park")
6000 Santa Monica Boulevard,
Hollywood, CA. / (213) 469-1181



[This is page 3 of a six-page article. Click here to go to page one.]

(Click here to see a clickable map of the grounds.)

Continue east on Maple Avenue inside the park , and you will reach the park's second mausoleum, "The Hollywood Cathedral Mausoleum," located south of the lake.

(Click here to see a detailed map of this mausoleum.)


Here, tucked away in a rear corner inside the mausoleum, you'll discover the surprisingly modest crypt of superstar Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) (#1205).

When you enter the mausoleum, walk to the back and turn left (east) into the last of the three side-hallways. Walk to the end of this side-hallway, and turn right (south) into a short corridor. Walk to the end of this corridor, and you will find Valentino's crypt on the left (east) side.

The smoldering star of such silent films as "The Sheik" and "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Valentino was once the greatest star in Hollywood, and the movies' first male sex symbol. Women throughout the country worshiped him, and when he died suddenly in 1926, at the age of 31, tens of thousands waited in line to glimpse his coffin. His popularity insured the success of neighboring Paramount Studios.

So it is astonishing to realize that Rudolph Valentino is hidden away in a small crypt, virtually indistinguishable from the many others that line these white walls.

There were originally plans to build Valentino a giant memorial, but they never materialized, and he remains in the small "temporary " crypt. But he was never forgotten. The mysterious "Woman in Black" brought flowers to this modest crypt each year on August 23, the anniversary of her movie idol's death. (She is buried here too, out by the lake.)

Just inside the front door of the mausoleum, you can see the large white statues of the Twelve Apostles which would have appeared in this monument. (These statues were seen in an episode of the TV show "Charmed" - the funeral service for Pru was held in the mausoleum's lobby.)

  (Here is a clip of Valentino in his most famous role, as the Sheik.)





Right across the corridor from Valentino is the crypt (#1224) of actor Peter Finch (1916-1977).

He won an Oscar as Best Actor for his performance as the crazed TV news anchor in the 1976 movie "Network," who was

"Mad as hell and not going to take it any more!"

    (Here's a clip of that famous scene.)


(Click here to see a detailed map of this mausoleum.)





As you exit Valentino's corridor, look at the glass case on the end of the corridor. There, you'll find the remains of actor David White (1916-1990).

If you watched "Bewitched" on TV, you'll remember Darren's boss 'Larry Tate' (AKA 'Mr. Tate'), the advertising executive who sucked up to clients and was always pressing Darren to come up with a new advertising slogan. That was David White. Outside of "Bewitched", he tended to be stereotyped as a gruff businessman or shady politician, such as his role in the 1960 classic "The Apartment". In the 1977 TV version of "Spider-Man", he played Peter Parker's boss, J. Jonah Jameson.

(Here is a clip of him in "Bewitched".)

White was cremated, and the glass case contains not only his remains, but photos of him, a list of his screen credits, and a bronze bust or life-mask.

His real-life son, Jonathan White, was killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Photos of Jonathan take up half of this glass case.


[Laura Elliott, the actress who played 'Louise Tate' on "Bewitched", died in 2006 and is buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood.]




And in the very same glass columbarium case, directly below 'Larry Tate' of "Bewitched", is none other than 'Lt. Gil Hanley' of "Combat!"

Actor Rick Jason (1923-2000) starred in the popular war series from 1962 to 1967, alongside Vic Morrow (who is buried at Hillside cemetery), and was a familiar face on numerous TV shows during the '70s and 80's.

Alas, both stars died tragically.  Vic Morrow was beheaded by the blade of a crashing helicopter during the filming of "Twilight Zone: the Movie", and Rick Jason committed suicide (he shot himself) at age 77.

Inside the small glass case, you'll see a photo of Rick with his hunting rifle, a pair of baby shoes, the white urn containing his ashes, and mementos of his interest in fine wines.





Now, from Mr. White's glass case in the east-west hallway, walk back west. Just after you pass the main entrance (north-south) hallway, look on the wall to your right (south.)

Here, just six spaces in from the entrance hallway, and two spaces up from the bottom, is the grave of the man who was the center of one of Hollywood's biggest (and earliest) murder scandals: William Desmond Taylor (1872-1922).

A noted director and actor of his day , someone shot Mr. Taylor in his home, and the subsequent police investigation focused on some of Hollywood's biggest stars of the time, including silent screen actresses Mabel Normand and Mary Miles Minter. They never did find the killer. His funeral was attended by every notable in Hollywood.





While still on the west side of this mausoleum, continue westward down this same hallway, until you pass two hallways on the left, and a group of small niches/crypts on the left hand (south) side, just past the second hallway.

Look on the bottom row. Here, you'll find the earthly remains of Peter Lorre (1904-1964) (niche 5. T.1 Corr C), who played the sinister little man in such movies as "Casablanca," "M" and "The Maltese Falcon."

He and some friends once stole the dead body of John Barrymore from the funeral home and propped it up in his favorite easy chair, as a surprise for Errol Flynn.

As for Peter Lorre himself, after death he was cremated.

(Here is a clip of Lorre in "The Maltese Falcon".)





Nearby is a man whose name you may not recognize: Harvey Wilcox (1832-1891). But you'll recognize the city he founded. It was a sleepy little farm town in Mr. Wilcox's day, and what is now Hollywood Blvd was part of a fig orchard he purchased in 1886. A real estate speculator, he bought up land around the orchard and subdivided it into streets lined with pepper trees. On Feb. 1, 1887, Wilcox filed a map of his future town. He called it "Hollywood".

Legend has it that he got the name "Hollywood" from his young wife, who got it while talking to a woman she met on a train ride back east. That woman's summer home near Chicago was named Hollywood. Mrs. Wilcox (buried here next to her husband) liked the name, and suggested it to Mr. Wilcox. After his death, Daeida Wilcox continued to build Hollywood, donating land for the city hall and several churches.

If you drive around the city today, you will notice that a main street is named Wilcox in their honor. (It's three blocks west of Vine Street).

From Peter Lorre's niche, just walk back east to the second southern hallway (on your right), the first one to the west of the main entrance hallway. Their crypts are located on the east wall, near the rear of this corridor. (see map)




Also interred in this mausoleum is Eleanor Powell (1912-1982), the dancer who starred in a series of M-G-M musicals in the late 1930's and 1940's, and who left her footprints outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. She was billed as "the world's greatest tap dancer.." One example of her work is "Broadway Melody of 1936," in which she co-starred with Fred Astaire.

She was married to actor Glenn Ford.

You can find her ashes in a bronze book-shaped container, behind glass on the southeast side of the central hallway - niche 432 T.3 Foyer E/W. (see map)


                          (Here is a clip of her more than holding her own with Fred Astaire.)





Just outside, to the west side of this mausoleum, is the grand marble tomb of actor Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939), an elaborate marble memorial which includes a sunken garden, and a reflecting pool filled with water lilies - it's second in grandeur only to the Al Jolson monument at Hillside Cemetery. It's a fitting tribute to one of Hollywood's earliest superstars.

(Fairbanks' ex-wife, Mary Pickford, is buried at Forest Lawn Glendale, with an equally grand monument.)

Famed for his athletic stunts, Fairbanks was Hollywood's first action hero, starring in such early swashbuckling epics as "Robin Hood" (1923), "Thief of Bagdad" (1924), "Mark of Zorro" (1920), and "The Iron Mask" (1929). Pickford and Fairbanks lived like royalty at their home, "Pickfair," the center of early Hollywood social life. (The first mayor of Beverly Hills, actor Will Rogers, used to joke that his main duty as mayor was to point out the location of Pickfair to tourists.)


In May of 2000, almost 61 years after the death of Douglas Fairbanks, his son, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (1909-2000) was laid to rest next to his father in the same tomb. While he never quite reached the level of stardom achieved by his father, 'Young Doug' starred in dozens of films, often portraying swashbuckling heroes like his father, in films such as "Gunga Din" (1939), "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1937) and "Sinbad the Sailor" (1947). Also like his father, he was married to a popular actress, Joan Crawford. But unlike his dad, he lived to the ripe old age of 90.

But Doug Jr. was a hero off the screen as well, when he enlisted in the Navy during WW2. Spearheading a group known as the "Beach Jumpers," Fairbanks became the first American officer to command a British flotilla of raiding craft during a commando operation in World War II. For his part in the amphibious assault on Southern France, Lieutenant Commander Fairbanks was awarded the U.S. Navy Legion of Merit with bronze V (for valor), The Italian War Cross for Military Valor, the French Legion d'Honneur and the Croix de Guerre with Palm, and the British Distinguished Service Cross. He was also awarded the American Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross.

   (Here is a clip of him (and Ronald Colman) from "The Prisoner of Zenda".)




TotoJust to the left of the Fairbanks memorial, between it and Valentino's mausoleum, if you look for it, you'll see a brown dirt path, leading back south, along the west edge of the mausoleum.

On a patch of grass just to the left of this path (just south of the street out front), you'll see the bronze statue of a small dog.  This is Toto, Dorothy's beloved dog from the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz".

Toto & JudyToto (whose real name was 'Terry') was a Scottish Cairn Terrier, who went on to appear in more than a dozen films.

Toto isn't actually buried here.  His original grave was destroyed by freeway construction.  So, in 2011, Hollywood Forever has honored him with this little monument. The words on the pedestal read "There's No Place Like Home."

(You can see Toto in action in this clip from "The Wizard of Oz".)



Woody hermanIf you follow that same dirt path to the south, you'll come to a white crypt, against the wall, next to a small flight of steps.

It's hard to read the white print on its marble walls, but this is the final resting place of one of the most popular bandleaders of the Big Band Era of the '30s & '40s: Woody Herman (1913-1987).

Woody's band was known as the "Thundering Herd".  Woody played clarinet and sang as well.

                                         Here's a 1939 clip of Woody and his band.





And now it's on to the lake, and some of the biggest stars in Hollywood...

             

Click here to continue the tour of Hollywood Forever

[This is page 3 of a six-page article. Click here to go to page one.]

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