Sunday, December 05, 2010

LA Weekend Part 1: Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Great view of the Hollywood sign from the main street of the cemetery.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I visited Los Angeles to see my family and get away from the desert for a few days.  It was unusually cold but I had a great time nonetheless. Although I lived there for 30+ years, I had never visited the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  It's always been on my list of things to see, but I never got around to it, so I figured better late than never.

Some of you may wonder, why would you want to walk around a place filled with dead people?  Well ... I have a macabre fascination with that kind of thing, and I like to pay my respects to those who I admire or liked who have passed on from this world.

Hollywood Forever has been in existence since the late 1800's and is the final resting place of many ordinary Angelenos.  But it's the famous and infamous who are buried there that many come to see.  The office has a free photocopied map of where it's most famous denizens are buried, and the on-site flower/gift shop has a more extensive booklet and map that you can purchase.  More bizarre is the fact that the cemetery hosts cultural events there.  Back in October, Belle and Sebastian held a concert there, and right before the concert there had been a screening of "Trainspotting."  The things I miss when I move away from LA...

Most of the famous buried there are from the early days of Hollywood, many that I don't even recognize.  But there were plenty that I did know and I'll share some of the more memorable ones here.

Mel Blanc, the man who was the voice of countless Warner Bros. cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig.

Bugsy Siegel, the gangster who was instrumental in the creation of Las Vegas.

Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone.  Interestingly enough, both deceased Ramones are buried here.  I thought they would have been buried in New York.  Their graves are on opposite ends of the cemetery.

Edward Bunker -- writer, screenwriter and actor.  The man who played Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs.

The final photo here is of John Huston's grave.  We had the most difficult time finding this one.  For those planning to visit, beware -- the maps are not quite as accurate as they should be.  For such a world famous film director, he has the most unremarkable gravestone.  I was expecting something larger and fancier, but he had this very simple marker.  It's very easy to overlook.

Walking around the peaceful grounds and seeing his grave, you're reminded that in the end, we all wind up in the same place whether we're famous or not.


genie espinosa said...

wow! i was like astonished wheni saw mel blanc grave! this man was half of my childhood! i would love to visit this place too! i've been in the cemetery of paris, where jim morrison and wilde were buried.
Awesome, i liked your post a lot!

Goomie said...

Thanks Genie! I wished I had enough time to visit the cemeteries when I was in Paris, but I didn't. Definitely on the next trip there...

DeadGoodBooks said...

Hi - Would you be willing to let me use your photo of the grave of Edward Bunker on my website?
The Literary Cemetery