In August of 2007, the funeral of talk show host and media mogel Merv Griffin was held at Good Shepherd. Mourners included Arnold Schwarzenegger, former first lady Nancy Reagan, Dick Van Dyke, Alex Trebek (host of "Jeopardy", which Merv created), and Pat Sajak & Vanna White (hosts of "Wheel of Fortune", which was also a Merv Griffin creation).
One of the earliest was that of "The Sheik" himself, Rudolph Valentino, whose 1926 funeral brought out crowds of fans who lined the streets around the church, as well as celebrities of the day such as Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Harold Lloyd, William S. Hart, Jesse Lasky and Pola Negri.
On May 20, 1998, the funeral of the legendary Frank Sinatra was held at Good Shepherd. Stars in attendance included Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Robert Wagner, Jack Lemmon, Sidney Poitier, Jack Nicholson, Nancy Reagan, Jerry Lewis, Wayne Newton, Johnny Carson, Milton Berle, Bruce Springsteen, Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minnelli, Bob Dylan, Tom Selleck, Tony Bennett, Shirley MacLaine, Robert Stack, Mia Farrow, Bob Newhart, Don Rickles, Sophia Loren, Diahann Carroll, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Joey Bishop, Tony Danza, Quincy Jones, Dom DeLuise, Tim Conway, Cuba Gooding Jr., Anthony Quinn, Tony Curtis, Jack Paar, Angie Dickinson, Paul Anka, Ben Vereen, Ed McMahon, Red Buttons, Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue, Suzanne Pleshette, Dionne Warwick, Suzanne Somers, James Darren and, of course, Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra Jr. Over a thousand Sinatra fans lined the streets outside the church during the funeral, and gave Frank Sinatra one final round of applause as his flower-draped coffin was carried out of the church. Overhead, a skywriting plane flying created a giant heart in the sky.
(Ironically, Frank Sinatra
had attended Gary Cooper's funeral at this same church, almost to the day
of his own, some 37 years before.)
1991 funeral of Danny
drew a large crowd of celebrities to the Good Shepherd, including former
U.S. Presidents Gerald
as well as Loretta Young,
Mary Tyler Moore, Phil Donahue, Bob Hope,
Milton Berle, Carl Reiner, Joey Bishop
and Martha Raye.
The funeral for "Green Acres" star Eva Gabor was held at Good Shepherd in 1995 (where Merv Griffin and Nancy Reagan sat together).
And in September
of 1998, they held the funeral of actress
here, who played Bob Newhart's wife Joanna
on the "Newhart" show.
Other celebrity funerals here include those of actress Rita Hayworth (1987), Gary Cooper (1961), William Frawley, director Vincente Minnelli (husband of Judy Garland and father of Liza Minnelli; 1986), legendary director Alfred Hitchcock (in 1980), and Brazilian bombshell Carmen Miranda (1955).
A rosary was said at the church for singer/actress Rosemary Clooney (who appeared with Bing Crosby in the holiday classic "White Christmas"). In attendance was her nephew, George Clooney, Kathryn Crosby, Frank Sinatra Jr., Brian Wilson, Natalie Cole, Diahann Carroll and Rosemarie. (Her funeral was later held at St. Patrick's, in her hometown of Maysville, KY.)
Misha Barton (who played 'Marissa Cooper' on "The O.C.") attended services there just after New Year's of 2008, following her arrest for DUI, as did Paris Hilton's parents (when she was in jail).
Like many Roman Catholic churches, the Good Shepherd is open to visitors during the day, so feel free to step inside and take a look around, say a prayer, or even light a candle; no one will accost you.
(Don't confuse the Church of the Good Shepherd with the nearby All Saints church. Both churches have tile roofs, but the Good Shepherd is the one on the west side of the cactus garden; it features two tall steeples and a statue out front of Christ holding a lamb.)
Getting there: The church is located at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Bedford Drive. From Rodeo Drive, just go north to Santa Monica Boulevard, turn left (southwest), and go two blocks. The Good Shepherd will be on your right (northwest) side (just west of the cactus garden).
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