Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars can be found here in this tiny hidden cemetery tucked behind the towering high-rises that line busy Wilshire Boulevard.
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 a drive way leading into a parking garage off Glendon Avenue.
It’s 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.
Bob Crane (1928-1978) was murdered back in 1978 in Scottsdale, Arizona. His controversial private life and his unsolved murder, were dramatized in the 2002 movie “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.”
Walter Matthau (1920-2000). Often playing a crotchety sort, Walter was wonderfully paired with Jack Lemmon for “The Odd Couple,” and again, almost 30 years later, for “Grumpy Old Men.” He was the cantankerous ‘Mr. Wilson’ in 1993’s “Dennis the Menace,” the reluctant coach in “The Bad News Bears,” an aging vaudeville comic feuding with partner George Burns in “The Sunshine Boys,” and the grouchy ‘Horace Vandergelder ‘ to Barbra Streisand’s ‘Dolly Levi’ in “Hello Dolly.”
Just pulling out dead people, nothing to see here. Actually these are all empty and are awaiting the ashes of whomever pays to have them stuffed into them.
Unidentified blonde (I liked her picture).
Brian Keith (1921-1997), best known today for his role as the gruff-but-lovable ‘Uncle Bill’ on the popular 60’s TV sitcom “Family Affair,”. He is buried above his daughter, Daisy Keith, an actress who appeared with her father in the short-lived TV series, “Heartland,” back in 1989. Daisy killed herself in May of 1997. Brian Keith, suffering from lung cancer & emphysema, shot himself at his Malibu home one month later. Sad yet sweet..?
Janet Leigh (1927-2004). Although she appeared in many films, Janet will always be remembered as the woman stabbed to death by crazy Norman Bates in the famous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” – one of the most iconic scenes in the history of Hollywood.
Carroll O’Connor (1924-2001), TV’s “Archie Bunker” on the smash hit sitcom “All in the Family.” Carroll died of a heart attack in June of 2001. Also buried here is Carroll’s adopted son, Hugh O’Connor (1962-1995), who played ‘Lt. Lonnie Jamison’ on his father’s show (“In the Heat of the Night”). Unfortunately, plagued by drug problems, the young man shot himself in 1995.
Marilyn Monroe’s funeral service was held here inside the Westwood Memorial Cemetery Chapel on August 8, 1962.
Marilyn Monroe’s foster sister, is laid to rest just outside the chapel.
Billy Wilder directed, produced and/or wrote such classics as “Some Like It Hot”, “The Seven Year Itch”, “The Apartment”, “The Fortune Cookie”, “Kiss Me Stupid” and “Sunset Blvd.. He was nominated for an Academy Award over 20 times, and won seven Oscars – for “Sunset Blvd.,” “The Lost Weekend” and “The Apartment.” His headstone bears the punchline from his best-known film, “Some Like It Hot”.
Peter Falk was best known as the rumpled raincoat-wearing Lieutenant Columbo. He was nominated for two Academy Awards, for “Murder Inc.” and “Pocketful of Miracles”.
You can thank them for Hamburger Hamlet…or not.
“There Goes The Neighborhood.”
“I Will Not Be Right Back After This Message.
Beach Boy Carl Wilson (1946-1998) (brother of Brian Wilson). He passed away at the age of 51 of lung cancer.
Minnie Riperton (1947-1979), who died tragically in 1979 of cancer (at age 31). The lyrics to her hit song, “Lovin’ You” (1975), are inscribed on her headstone. She’s also the mother of Maya Rudolph of SNL fame.
Dean Martin (1917-1995)
Located in a section called “In the Sanctuary of Peace”, are the parents of actress Elizabeth Taylor, Francis Taylor (an art dealer) and Sara Taylor (an actress of the stage). The Taylors were Americans from Kansas, living in England when Sara gave birth to Elizabeth. They returned to the States seven years later, in 1939 when they saw the war coming. They settled in Beverly Hills, where Francis opened an art gallery and Sara attended to her daughter’s budding acting career. By 1943, young Elizabeth had been signed to a contract with MGM. Sara lived to the ripe old age of 99. A few rows above them, in the same Sanctuary of Peace, you’ll find Dean Martin’s parents. Angela & Gaetano Crocetti.
Frank Sinatra Lover
Yes, that Sidney Sheldon.
Heather O’Rourke (1975-1988), aka ‘Carol Anne’, the little girl who was famous for the line “They’re here!.”
Truman Capote (1924-1984), the sophisticated wit who gave us the sparkling “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the chilling “In Cold Blood.”
Mel Torme (1925-1999) the 1940’s crooner known as “The Velvet Fog.” (a title he hated), Mel went on to embrace an improvisational jazz style in his later years, winning Grammy Awards as Best Male Jazz Vocalist in the ’80’s.
Superagent Irving “Swifty” Lazar (1907-1993), the man who helped put the restaurant Spago on the map with his annual, post-Oscars party, which Swifty threw each year at Puck’s bistro. His party was the place to be on Oscar night – until his death ended the tradition.
A dead rat in between the graves of Swifty Lazar and Heather O’Rourke. Hmmm.
Hungarian-born actress Eva Gabor (1921-1995) (Zsa Zsa’s sister), who starred as Eddie Albert’s ditzy, city-loving wife, Lisa Douglas, stuck out in Hooterville on the popular TV sitcom “Green Acres.”
Don Knotts (1924-2006) aka ‘Mr. Furley’. In 2010, his original small marker was replaced with a large, distinctive bronze plaque bearing the likenesses of Don’s characters: Barney Fife, Mr. Limpet, the Reluctant Astronaut, etc.
Bettie Page (1923-2008), the queen of 1950’s pin-ups.
Westwood Memorial Park may be small but it’s bursting at the seams with dead celebrities.
Natalie Wood (1938-1981) 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.