This “theme-park necropolis” located close to Griffith Park, is not only the final resting place of numerous Hollywood notables but is also dedicated to the preservation of American history.
Whereas the larger Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale is more focused on Renaissance art as its overall theme, the emphasis here is more on old-fashioned patriotism.
The Church of the Hills, site of numerous famous and not so famous celebrity memorials.
She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes (1908-1989). The marble tomb, marked “Davis,” also shelters her mother, Ruth, and her younger sister, Barbara. The inscription under her name reads: “She did it the hard way. “
Liberace was one of the first stars to be known by a single name (his full name was Walter Valentino Liberace).
His brother George is buried in the very same sarcophagus, along with their mother, Frances.
The voice of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Space Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, Homer Pigeon, Chilly Willy, Charlie Chicken, Wally Walrus and many more.
His future looked bright as the star of “Chico and the Man”, but he was apparently fighting inner demons. Freddie shot himself at age 23, adding to the long list of Hollywood celebrities who joined the under 30 club. RIP
Weezie is that you? Isabel Sanford was the first African-American actress to win the Emmy award for “Best Actress in a Comedy”. And before landing her role on “The Jeffersons”, she appeared opposite Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier in 1967’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”. She’s movin’ on up, to a deluxe apartment in the sky.
JC giving that look of disapproval that he does so well.
Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee (1942-2005). A teen superstar in her day, she appeared as an innocent adolescent in such hit movies as (the original) “Gidget” and two of the popular “Tammy” films, as well as several dramas such as “Imitation of Life” and “A Summer Place”. She was also married to teen heartthrob Bobby Darin.
One of the many mosaic paintings that can be found throughout the park grounds.
Michael Clarke Duncan (1957-2012). At the time of his death he was dating evil D-list reality star, Omarosa Manigault. Dead man no longer walking.
Our beloved Brad Davis (1949-1991). Star of “Midnight Express”, “Chariots of Fire” and “Roots”. Brad died in 1991 at age 41, of AIDS. Davis, who (according to his wife) was heterosexual, contracted the virus back in the 70’s earlier from a dirty heroin needle. His tragic story is told in the book “After Midnight: The Life and Death of Brad Davis” by his widow, Susan Bluestein Davis.
“You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”. Rawls was surprisingly versatile, earning Grammy nominations in the diverse categories of Pop, Jazz, R&B, and even Children’s. He sold more than 40 million records over his lifetime and over 60 albums; he won three Grammy awards, five gold albums, one platinum album, and was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Andy Gibb (1958-1988) – the youngest brother of the Bee Gees, Andy had a string of huge solo hits during the late 1970’s, which included “Shadow Dancing,” “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water,” “Everlasting Love,” and “I Just Want to Be Your Everything.” Having abused drugs and alcohol heavily in the past, he swore it off when he had his 30th birthday, but it was too late. He died of a sudden heart infection just five days later. So sad. No under 30 club for you Andy.
RIP Mr. C
I actually did a local TV segment with Jack as a child when he rolled through town promoting his new gym. My mom worked at the gym so that’s how I got my first and last big break in TV. Thanks mom!
Keaton not only starred in over 100 movies, including “The General,” “The Navigator.” and “Sherlock Jr.”, he also wrote and directed many of them.
Marty Feldman (1934-1982), perhaps best remembered as the google-eyed hunchback in Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy “Young Frankenstein”. He died of shellfish poisoning in Mexico at the age of 49, while filming a death scene for the 1983 comedy “Yellowbeard.” Perhaps he took method acting a little to far.
Stan was the slim member of that great comedy duo, “Laurel & Hardy.” Straddling the silent and talkie eras, the team gave Keaton & Chaplin a run for their money, grinding out one hilarious Hal Roach movie after another. They won an Oscar in 1932 for “The Music Box”, in which the pair tried to haul a heavy piano up a steep hill – with hilarious consequences.
Under his ownership, the Lakers became the best team in basketball, winning ten NBA championships, with superstars that included Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. He also owned the L.A. Kings, The Forum and launched the cable sports channel Prime Ticket.
One of the newest celebrities to join Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills is Paul Walker.
This was by far the most decorated celebrity grave of the day.
Fast & Furious 3
He made dozens of movies – playing roles that ranged from a convict in “The Birdman of Alcatraz” to Pontius Pilate in “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – but the bald actor was most famous for his TV role as police detective “Kojak.” His large marker on the lawn reads “Telly Aristotle Savalas” and contains a quote from his philosopher namesake.
Bob Kane, the comic book artist who created the superhero Batman for DC Comics (back in 1939, a year after the birth of Superman). His creation, of course, was not only a huge success in the comic book field, but also spawned a “Batman” TV show in the 60’s, and a number of popular “Batman” movies over the years.
Just before his death, John was starring in the hit sitcom, “8 Simple Rules…”, where he played a protective father with two sexy daughters. He’ll always be Jack Tripper to me.
At 162 feet long and 28 feet high, Birth of Liberty is the largest historical mosaic in the United States. It is composed of ten million pieces of Venetian glass and depicts twenty-five scenes from early America, from 1619-1787.
The Lincoln Terrace features a 16-foot bronze statue of the 16th president by Augustus St. Gaudens, flanked by a panoramic mosaic depicting key scenes from Lincoln’s life.
Scatman Crothers (1910-1986) is probably best remembered for his role as ‘Louie’ on the popular 60’s sitcom “Chico & the Man”. But he also had memorable supporting roles in “The Shining,” and as ‘Mingo’ in “Roots.” I would of loved to have met him.
David Carradine (1936-2009), best known as the star of the TV series “Kung Fu”. On June 4, 2009, David Carradine was found dead in his room at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Hotel in central Bangkok, Thailand. A police official said that Carradine was found hanging by a rope naked in the room’s closet, causing immediate speculation that his death was suicide. However, reported evidence suggested that his death was the result of autoerotic asphyxiation. Two autopsies were conducted and concluded that the death was not a suicide. The cause of death became widely accepted as “accidental asphyxiation”. On the first anniversary of his death, Carradine’s widow, Annie, announced that she had filed a lawsuit for wrongful death against the company that produced the film that Carradine was working on at the time of his death. The lawsuit claimed that the company failed to provide assistance to the actor that had been agreed upon in his contract. “The suit alleges, the assistant left him behind for dinner on the night before the actor was found dead. The assistant and other film staffers apparently could not reach Carradine, and decided to leave without him. Carradine called the assistant an hour later but was told the group was across town and he would have to make his own arrangements that evening.” Annie Carradine reached a settlement with MK2 Productions in August 2011. She was reported to be receiving about $400,000 from the company for Carradine’s death. Also, in June 2010, Marina Anderson, Carradine’s fourth ex-wife, published David Carradine: The Eye of My Tornado, a book that discusses intimate details of their marriage. She also claimed publicly that she had conducted her own investigation of his death, and concluded that he was murdered. Close friend, Guthrie Thomas, stated upon hearing that suicide was the cause of Carradine’s death, “No one ties both of their hands behind their back previous to taking one’s own life. There had to be a second individual on the scene.” Thomas also is convinced that this tragedy appeared more like murder.
My namesake minus the ‘e’ of course. He sold over 100 million records, including hit recordings of “Back in the Saddle Again,” “South of the Border” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” (which Gene wrote himself after riding in the Hollywood Christmas Parade). His recording of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” alone has sold over 30 million copies. He is the only person with five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Jesus Christ). Later, his investments made him a multimillionaire who owned KTLA Studios in Hollywood, as well as the California Angels baseball team (now called the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Before his death, at a healthy 91, Gene established the Autry Museum of Western Heritage.
To the north of Gene Autry’s grave is a curiosity of sorts: a grave marker for a living celebrity! Who? Game show host Bob Barker, long-time star of “The Price Is Right.” The grave is empty – Bob is alive & well- but the marker is there and waiting – right next to the grave of Bob’s late wife.