This past Sunday, August 23, I made a point of visiting Hollywood Forever Cemetery at 12:10 pm (more on that later in the post). I had been to the graveyard before for Cinespia, the summertime Saturday evening movie screenings, but I had never visited just to wander about. Below are some pictures of the scenery, tombstones, and grave markers from my visit, roughly arranged in a counter-clockwise tour.Looking North Towards the Entrance of Hollywood Memorial Park
Though this would have made a fitting final image, by walking straight ahead to the second "block" in the park, one will see a cluster of Jewish graves on the left. I've noticed that some visitors like to leave coins behind, and one slab of marble had bas reliefs of silver dollars and a hundred dollar bill embedded in the surface. I guess they don't take Visa in the afterlife. Just past this cluster is Mel Blanc, right next to the road.
From Mel's marker, cut across the graves, away from the road, to the east. You'll eventually come to the marker above. From what I remember, this marble model of an Atlas rocket marked the grave of a graphic designer, presumably a space buff. I couldn't help but remember The Loved One, both Evelyn Waugh's book, and the movie with the script by Christopher Isherwood. I wonder if this marker was inspiration for either writer.
Continuing east, one will see an obelisk (the base is in the left of the photo), one of a trio of LA Times markers. Interred here are the Otis and Chandlers, along with a memorial that points to the Times' long history of anti-union sentiment. Walk up to the road and continue east.
On your right is the reflecting pool and grave for Douglas Fairbanks.
On the other side of the road is the monument for Johnny Ramone. Instead of leaving coins, someone has left a guitar pic.
On the same side of the road, continuing east are a couple of free standing crypts. One is done in an Egyptian style. By looking through the door, this stained glass window is visible.
Across the street is the entrance to the Cathedral Mausoleum. Inside along the rear aisle (to the right) is Peter Lorrie's ashes and movie director William Desmond Taylor, one of Hollywood's most famous unsolved murders. Several of Taylor's male and female lovers were suspect, but the case was never solved. On the rear aisle to the left are Peter Finch, and just beyond him is Rudolph Valentino, who died August 23, 1926 at 12:10 pm. Every year since his death, a mysterious woman dressed in black with a veil over her face has left red roses at that exact time, and this year was no exception. The crowd was a mix of very beautiful men and women dressed in period clothing, women who could of been the granddaughters of Valentino's first fans, and a handful of movie buffs. The fact that the 62nd anniversary fell on a weekend probably increased the turnout.
Outside the mausoleum, across the street is a small lake with an island supporting a large crypt. My tour continued counter-clockwise around the pond.
Near the water is this book, bench, and urn monument for Tyrone Power, inscribed with lines from Hamlet. Nearby is a very large crypt with the name Douras over the door. Inside is Marion Davies, William Randolph Hearst's moll. The beach house Hearst built for Davies recently opened as a public facility in Santa Monica, and can be visited for the price of parking.
On the other side of the Douras crypt is Charlie Chaplin's mother.
To your left is one of those tall columnar junipers. At it's base is Virginia Rappe, who is most famous for dieing of trauma sustained at an orgy in "Fatty" Arbuckle's hotel suite.
Continuing around the pond to the north, one will see a pair of similar tall junipers. at its base is Janet Gaynor. Next to the road on the north side of the "block" is the tomb for Cecil B. DeMille. Walking along the road (back towards the mausoleum) is Don Adams, close to the road.
A bench under a Chinese Elm, provides a restful end to the tour. Past the tree is director John Huston, hidden under a hibiscus bush. Across the road is Darren McGavin. Having starred in The Night Stalker, an X-Files type show, his grave is a popular stop among cemetery aficionados.