Paying Your Respects to the Great Hollywood Celebrities

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Have you ever wondered where the actors and actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age are now? If so then read on. Many of the most famous names in Hollywood remain in Los Angeles to this day. But you won’t find them at the A-lister parties nor even hiding behind an electrified fence in a sprawling Beverly Hills mansion. Where you will find them are at some addresses that may be familiar to you (or then again perhaps not).

Perhaps the largest concentration of Hollywood’s Golden Age talent lies (no pun intended) at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. This cemetery, once known as Hollywood Memorial Park, was founded in 1899. Early in the 20th century when the movie industry made the move from New York to Los Angeles Hollywood Forever became the place for the film stars of the day to be laid to rest. In the late 1920s it became a tourist attraction much as driving past the star’s homes is today. It is the final resting place of Rudolph Valentino, Fay Wray, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. among many others. Today you’ll find Hollywood Forever is still a favorite final resting place for the Hollywood elite. You can find Joey and Dee Dee Ramone as well as Estelle Getty there. Also, you may have seen Hollywood Forever in recent episodes of Dirty Sexy Money and Californication. Find more stars at Hollywood Forever.

In the 1940s Hollywood Memorial Park started a period of decline that would last 50 years and end in bankruptcy in 1996 and a sale price of a mere $375,000. During this time the Hollywood movers and shakers started being laid to rest in a new cemetery; Forest Lawn in Glendale. This is not to be confused with Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills which is also home to some has a large number of film and TV stars. Forest Lawn Glendale is the permanent address for George Burns and Gracie Allen, Walt Disney (no he is not frozen), Sammy Davis Jr. and a slew of others both recent and not so recent. Forest Lawn Glendale is among the lushest and beautiful cemeteries I have visited. In addition to the stars you can find there you can also see an amazing recreation of Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper made of stained glass; its breath taking. Find more stars at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Perhaps the most visited gravesite in the world is that of Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn is interred at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial park in Los Angeles. Joining Marilyn at Westwood are many other celebrities including Natalie Wood, Merv Griffin, Jack Lemmon, Rodney Dangerfield, Natalie Wood, and many others. This cemetery is tiny and difficult to find but it has the most celebrities per square foot of any cemetery on the planet. It is rumored to be the future resting place of Hugh Hefner and Elizabeth Taylor (her parents are there). Find more stars at Westwood.

Once again, as in the 20’s, the final resting places of the stars are a tourist destination. This is true in a commercial sense as well as just personal pilgrimages. There is a whole culture of people that find and visit the grave sites of famous persons. These people call themselves Grave Hunters. However, the name does not lend an accurate representation of what these people do or what they are about. Most of these people (and I have met a good many of them) are very respectful of the stars that they seek. Most of them are interested in finding the gravesites both as a way to pay their respects and sometimes as a challenge because it’s not always easy. Take for instance Sammy Davis Jr. Sammy’s gravesite is behind locked doors at Forest Lawn Glendale and as such is not easy to find for the casual grave hunter. Even more difficult to find is W.C. Fields. His niche is in the Great Mausoleum also at Forest Lawn Glendale; it is in a section with video surveillance cameras and in a section where you must be buzzed in by the attendant. These are some of the more challenging grave hunting destinations.

If wondering around looking for the stars at these (and other) cemeteries doesn’t appeal to you then you may also find audio tours and guided tours available. I started grave hunting on a semi-regular basis shortly after a friend (who is a Disney fanatic) and I went to visit the grave site of Walt Disney at Forest Lawn Glendale. Since I am a fan of Walt Disney it was an interesting and moving experience. Also, since it isn’t too far away I decided to find out who else was buried there. So began my adventure in grave hunting.


Source by Catherine Olen

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