A Tribute To Hollywood’s Legends

I love cemeteries.  I know that may sound a little morbid but I love the beauty of graveyards, the history, the unusual quotes on some grave markers and the way families choose to commemorate their loved ones.

When visiting LA, everyone who shares my passion heads to Forest Lawn – that’s the huge cemetery  in the Hollywood Hills where everyone from Michael Jackson to Lucille Ball to Bette Davis to Brittany Murphy are buried.  But that’s not the only resting place of big name celebrities.  Today I discovered a true gem – The Westwood Cemetery.  It’s certainly not as well-known as Forest Lawn.  It’s in the village of Westwood (right next to Hollywood) but is well hidden among the office buildings just off Wilshire Boulevard.  It is so hidden, in fact, that even when you know where it is, it’s still tough to find.  It is actually tucked away behind the Westwood Public Library and you have to walk down an alley to find it.  It’s about one block square and even as you approach it, it simply looks like a little parkette framed by a pair of iron gates.  There aren’t any big headstone monuments like you would see at Forest Lawn or other iconic resting sites, like Pere La Chaise in Paris.  No this one features small markers, most on the ground,  some inside ‘sanctuaries’ with names like The Garden of Tranquility.  But the star factor is astronomical.   In about an hour I was able to see just about every grave marker… stars like Truman Capote, Dean Martin,  Natalie Wood, Heather O’Roarke (the little girl from the Poltergeist movies),  Eva Gabor,  Merv Griffin and Farah Fawcett (buried next to each other),  Betty Page, Dorothy Stratten,  Fanny Brice and the biggest star of them all…  Marilyn Monroe, whose marker has lipstick kisses on it.    Her fans also dedicated a bench for people to sit on and contemplate the star’s impact on Hollywood.  Some of the grave markers had coins on them, or in Marilyn’s case, stuffed into the cracks around the marker and I don’t really know why, unless it has something to do with ‘pennies from heaven’.

There were a couple of celebrity graves that we couldn’t find.  We looked over almost every marker in the search for Frank Zappa and  Roy Orbison… and we couldn’t find either.  Later we discovered that Frank Zappa is actually interred in an UNmarked grave, no wonder we couldn’t find it.  I have no idea how we could have missed Roy Orbison’s marker though.

Truly a great discovery.  So if you are a cemetery tourist like me – check it out,  but bring a map or even a GPS or you’ll never find this hidden Hollywood treasure.

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One Response to “A Tribute To Hollywood’s Legends”

  1. Karen C
    December 17 at 10:05 pm #

    I found out that Roy Orbison’s grave is ALSO unmarked, which certainly explains why we couldn’t find his either… odd that their families chose not to mark their graves in both situations. Can’t wait to read your next post and hear all about Hawaii, xo

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