Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars


1218 Glendon Avenue,
Westwood, CA. / (310) 474-1579


Pierce Bros Westwood Village Memorial Park is hidden behind the towering high-rises that line busy Wilshire Boulevard; you could easily drive right past the park without even realizing it was there. Yet at this tiny cemetery near UCLA, you will find the final resting places of some of the most famous stars in Hollywood, including Marilyn Monroe, Donna Reed, Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Roy Orbison, Carroll O'Connor, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Don Knotts, Eddie Albert, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, George C. Scott, Burt Lancaster, Eve Arden, Carl Wilson, Eva Gabor and Truman Capote.

If you had to choose only one Hollywood cemetery to visit, Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park would be your best bet. It is a small, intimate park, where the stars' graves are fairly easily located (unlike the massive Forest Lawns), yet there are numerous major celebrities buried here.

It is also noted as the final resting place of many of Hollywood's young actresses who died tragically before their time.

Popular with the show biz crowd (especially since Marilyn was buried here), Pierce Brothers is tucked away on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, and its almost impossible to find without specific directions. It can't be reached from either the north, south or east sides - the only entrance is on the west side, from Glendon Avenue.

Ironically, this final resting place for Hollywood stars is located just a few steps away from the popular Avco movie theatre complex on Wilshire Boulevard. Movie-goers at the Avco wait patiently in long lines to see the newest summer blockbusters on the silver screen, most unaware that they are only a few yards away from some of the most famous stars in the history of Hollywood.

The Westwood Village Memorial Park is a very small, quiet, well-kept cemetery, with a single circular road which allows visitors to drive directly into the park. This road circles a grassy oval lawn where most of the stars are buried. To the south side of this grassy oval are offices; the northern and eastern borders of the park are lined by walls of outdoor crypts. (Refer to the map for exact locations.)

Since it's a small park, it's much easier to find a grave here than in a larger cemetery such as one of the Forest Lawns. But even so, you'd be surprised just how long you can wander around trying to locate a particular name if you don't know where to look.

Look around you here on any given day, and you'll see people doing just that - wandering about, heads down, trying to spot that one particular star's marker. Fortunately, you've come to the right website. I've put in the long hours needed to track down the stars for you. Here, you'll find a map of the park I've drawn up for you, as well as detailed directions to most of the stars' graves.

The grave of one of the most famous people buried at Westwood is also probably the easiest grave to find here: that of actress Natalie Wood (1938-1981). It is located just a bit northwest of the center of the main lawn, three or four rows south of a large tree. You can spot it easily enough, since several sizable flower pots and planters rest on and around the grave. People also tend to leave coins on her marker.

Natalie Wood, was the star of "Rebel Without a Cause,." "West Side Story," "Miracle on 34th Street," "Splendor in the Grass" and "Marjorie Morningstar.." She was twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Natalie also has her footprints immortalized outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. She accidentally drowned in 1981 at age 43, at Catalina Island, off the yacht owned by her husband, Robert Wagner.

[Click on the small markers to see an enlarged image.]



Just one row down (south) from Natalie Wood's grave, and about three or four spaces the right (east), you'll find the grave of Col. Hogan himself of TV's "Hogan's Heroes," Bob Crane (1928-1978). He was murdered back in 1978 in Scottsdale, Arizona. His controversial private life and that unsolved murder, were dramatized in a 2002 movie called "Auto-Focus".

Originally buried out at Oakwood in the Valley, Bob was moved to Westwood in 1999. His grave was unmarked until 2003, but it now has a beautful marker, black & white stone, with photos of Bob and his wife, Sigrid Valdis, the blonde actress who played Col. Klink's secretary 'Hilda' on "Hogan's Heroes". The two were married on the set of the TV show back in 1970. The marker reads "Hogan and Hilda - Together Forever."

In the center of the marker is a tall, black ceramic vase which makes it easy to spot the grave from a distance.






Three rows below (south of) Natalie Wood's grave, and about three spaces to the left (west) is the grave of actor Eddie Albert (1906-2005).

Eddie is probably best remembered today as 'Oliver Wendell Douglas' on the popular TV sitcom "Green Acres". In the show, New York lawyer 'Oliver' decided he wanted to be a gentleman farmer, and dragged his spoiled wife, 'Lisa' (played by Eva Gabor), out to a ramshackle farm in the boondocks of Hooterville. (And who could forget his neighbor, 'Arnold' the pig?)

Created by the same team that gave us "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Petticoat Junction", the hit sitcom was a clever spin on the old "Egg & I" plot - it ran for seven years (1965-1971).

Earlier in his career, Eddie had been a trapeze performer and later a Broadway actor. In the movies, he was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Gregory Peck's friend in 1953's "Roman Holiday". (His son is actor Edward Albert.)

It's not well known, but Eddie was a war hero during WW2, a Navy man who was awarded the Bronze Star for for finding & rescuing wounded Marines who'd been abandoned on a beach - under heavy fire.

A feisty environmentalist, some say the date for Earth Day (April 22) was chosen because it was Eddie's birthday. Eddie lived to the ripe age of 99. He out-lived his younger TV wife, Eva Gabor (who is also buried here at Pierce Bros) by 10 years.


(Click here to see a map of the park)


Also a few spaces to the left (west) of Natalie Wood are the graves of famed producer Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), and his wife.

Zanuck began his career writing scripts for Rin Tin Tin as an employee for Warners, and ended up as the second most powerful man at the studio; in 1933, Zanuck left Warners and founded his own studio: 20th Century Fox.



On the lawn to the west (left) of Daryl Zanuck, immediately to the left of a white bench, is the grave of Cornel Wilde (1915-1989).This romantic leading man got his big break playing Chopin in "A Song To Remember" in 1945, and went on to star in such movies as "Forever Amber," "Leave Her to Heaven," "The Greatest Show on Earth," and "The Naked Prey."




Actor Richard Conte (1910-1975) is buried here too, just to the right of Natalie Wood (with a question mark next to the date on his unusual marker, as well as pyramids at the corners). You may remember him as 'Barzini' in "The Godfather," or for his role in "A Bell For Adano."




Go a few rows south of Natalie Wood (and a little to the west) and you'll find the modest grave of actress Donna Reed (1921-1986). Donna won an Oscar in 1955 for her supporting role in "From Here to Eternity," and is famous as Jimmy Stewart's wife, Mary, in the 1946 Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." But she may be best known as Donna Stone on her long-running TV sitcom, "The Donna Reed Show," and more recently as Miss Ellie on "Dallas."



A few yards to the right (east) of Donna Reed is a cluster of small square markers. Go to the second cluster of markers, (south of the white wall between the first two sanctuaries, four rows down from the north curb). Along the east edge of this cluster, you'll find the small, square bronze marker of Richard Basehart (1914-1984), probably best remembered for his role as Admiral Nelson in the 60's TV sci-fi series "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea."



Just to the left (west) of Donna Reed, in the same row of graves, is famed songwriter Sammy Cahn (1913-1993), who wrote the lyrics to such memorable songs as "Love and Marriage," "High Hopes," and "It's Magic."


(Also buried at Pierce Bros. is Oscar-winning composer Harry Warren.)






We've only just begun...

             

 Click here to go to page 2 and continue the tour of Westwood Village Memorial.
where you'll discover the graves of Roy Orbison, Marilyn Monroe,
Truman Capote, Dean Martin, and many others.

Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6





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