Hudson & Munsell’s Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

I took a class in architectural photography (Arch 421) in the fall of 2021. The class was taught by the wonderful and amazing Michael David Arden. He instructed the class in how to use Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. The class wasn’t easy and was very time consuming but I learned a great deal and I’m glad I took the class.

For the class final we had to take twenty photographs of one particular building and then present the photographs in class. I chose the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The building is located in Exposition Park which is South of downtown. Hudson & Munsell were the architects responsible for the building.

The first two images and the image below are of the original entrance, the East entrance, which looks out onto Exposition Park’s rose garden.

This is the entrance I like the best. The cornerstone for the building reads 1910 but all of the merchandise they sell (cups, t-shirts, cards, toys) states the building opened in 1913.

One of the chandeliers in Dinosaur Hall. I’m a big fan of vintage light fixtures — table lamps, standing lamps, hanging lamps — I like them all so I had to take a photograph of this hanging light fixture.

This exhibit is right inside the entrance after you walk through the gift shop. There are two dinosaur in this tableaux. Notice the two tails.

The elevator doors look to be bronze.

Right inside the 1910 entrance is this beautiful statue designed by Julia Bracken. The hall is very dimly lit so it wasn’t easy to photograph.

We weren’t supposed to use an ISO above 1600 if we were taking photographs inside without a tripod. I cheated on this photograph but Michael knew I did because all of our camera settings and development information were included with the photographs when we submitted them to him. On this photograph I wasn’t using a tripod and my ISO was 3200.

I took this view of the staircase because I’m not sure these handrails are original. They could be. I would simply expect something more ornate for a building from 1910.

The museum has an animal hall with dioramas. Look at the casework that surrounds this bear scene. It’s beautiful.

I took this photograph from a distance to get all the buffalo in the photograph. I realize the photograph has a blue-ish tint but I wanted it that way. We had to use the development mode in Lightroom Classic to alter our photographs.

All of the photographs in this post have been altered in some way.

For the final we were given a list of images that were required. Four of the images had to be “dusk” photographs. This is one of mine. This is the South entrance which appears to be a mid-century addition.

We also had to produce four HDR photographs using Photomatix. This was one of my Photomatix photos. This image is of the grillwork above the doors in the previous photograph.

This is what the Photomatix photograph originally looked like.

This photo shows how the original 1910 building connects with the mid-century addition. That’s a “kitchen garden” in the foreground.

This window is near the rear of the building. I straightened the photo and cropped it and then added the artificial blue sky. What I should have done is taken this image on a bright, sunny day when the sun was shinning down upon this section of the building.

I went back the day after Christmas and took this photograph. I like it better.

This is detail from the panel under the window.

This is the North entrance on a cloudy December afternoon.

Another dusk photograph. This entrance changes color at night.

We also had to create a panorama. This is three photographs that I stitched together. I know it looks somewhat distorted but I was amazed I was actually able to do it.

This walkway is near the North entrance. I visited the Natural History Museum, maybe, fifteen times over a two month period. Usually, these walkways were empty or near empty. Why? Most of the adults were inside with their children looking at the dinosaurs.

These dinosaurs are at the Northwest corner of Exposition Park.

There is more information about Hudson & Munsell and The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in my book. I was going to include that information, but that would have made this post very long and text oriented and this post is really about the photographs. It was a great class!

___

My book from the History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Museum

The Academy Museum is located in the old May Company flagship store at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire.

Where it says Academy Museum it used to say The May Company. I’m glad they used restraint and didn’t tart up the building. They could have attached a big golden Oscar between the text but they didn’t. Maybe, they received federal funds to restore the building so they weren’t able to alter the exterior too much?

The architect of the May Company/Academy Building is Albert C. Martin. Martin is a great Los Angeles architect. He designed St. Vincent de Paul’s church at the corner of Figueroa & Adams and the building that houses the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles at 3rd & Broadway. Martin, along with John Austin and John Parkinson, also designed Los Angeles City Hall.

There are huge Oscars in the display windows along the Fairfax side of the building.

My friend Mark and I went to the Academy Museum on opening day — September 30, 2021. Tickets were $25 and it was a timed entry. Everyone seemed thrilled and excited to be there. Some even dressed up.

When you walk into the museum there’s an area with monitors showing different film clips. No matter where you sit you can see different monitors with different “stories of cinema.” My problem with this set-up was I could see all the other different film clips on all the other monitors and I continually wanted to jump up and go and watch what was on some other screen.

The museum has a whole section devoted to the The Wizard of Oz. In The Wizard of Oz gallery there are costume photos of the cast. This is Judy Garland’s Dorothy with a different hair style. I like her hair this way.

The Ruby Red slippers. They’re prominently displayed. Are these the most famous shoes in Hollywood history? The only other famous shoes I can think of are Cinderella’s glass slippers.

The Hollywood Museum, in the Max Factor Building, has a pair too. Just sayin.

The Wizard of Oz gallery has this photo of Gale Sondergaard (Anthony Adverse, The Letter) in a costume for the Wicked Witch of the West. Sondergaard didn’t play the role in the film but obviously her witch would have been more glamourous than Margaret Hamilton’s interpretation.

There is a gallery that contains the scenic backdrop below from the film North by Northwest which is a fast paced movie that stars Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Mount Rushmore can pass for real in the movie but this backdrop looks artificial.

It looks completely fake.

There is a whole section with real Oscars. This one is for Clark Gable’s performance in It Happened One Night (1934). They also have Mary Pickford’s Oscar for Coquette (1928/29). This space also contains Oscars that were won by people in technical fields but I’m drawn to the ones won by movie stars.

There is a gallery devoted to film editing and Thelma Schoonmaker. She’s a film editor who has worked with Martin Scorsese. This image of Robert DeNiro is from Raging Bull.

Another gallery (room) is full of costumes. Oooohh.

Diana Ross wore this in Lady Sings the Blues (1972)…

…and Claudette Colbert wore this in Cleopatra (1934).

They also have real clothes worn by famous actresses. This was worn by Cher to the Academy Awards ceremony in 1986.

There is a gallery with cinematic artifacts that is cool.

R2D2.

CP3O

E.T.

That scary alien from ALIEN.

It’s the Aries Lunar Landing Shuttle from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.

Right near the elevators (which didn’t work all that well on opening day) is a section devoted to Citizen Kane (1941).

The famous sled that burns at the end of Citizen Kane is on display. [The card below explains how this sled survived.]

Look who owns it. Down at the bottom. In small print. Under the description.

My friend — Citizen Mark (Snowden) who went with me that day.

It’s a wonderful museum and well worth the $25 admission fee. Everyone should go. I’m glad I went and I’m going back to see everything I didn’t see the first time.

My book from the History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

The Tower Theater

The Tower Theater, located in downtown Los Angeles, opened on October 12, 1927.

In an article dated March 6, 1927, The Los Angeles Times announced the demolition of the old Garrick Theater at 8th and Broadway. In its place, the Times said, would rise the Tower Theater.

It was a short article, only five paragraphs, and not much was revealed outside of the architect — S. Charles Lee, the seating capacity (900) and the cost of the theater: $500,000. The final paragraph in the article stated, “Contract for the work has been awarded to R.E. Campbell and under the terms of the document the building is to be completed within six months.”

It’s hard to believe but the building came in on time. It only took six months to build the Tower Theater.

The theater opened on October 12th with Lois Wilson’s The Gingham Girl which was a FBO release.

The man behind the theater, A. L. Gumbiner, was from Chicago. He owned fourteen small theaters in Chicago and before building the Tower Theater he owned and operated Los Angeles’ Cameo Theater.

When asked about the size of his theater Gumbiner said, “I did not build a large house, although I have a choice location, because I want to keep my theater filled all of the time. A big house means big overhead and constant expense for special stunts to get enough people to come. I will be consistent and attract a regular class of patrons and when they come to my theater they will see pictures and hear good music. I will have the feature, a comedy, news reel and, yes, two Vitaphone acts, but no fancy dancing or long vaudeville programs.”

The Times writer proclaimed the style as French Renaissance with “much bronze and gilt work to be seen.”

The theater had a smoking room, a playroom with Mother Goose, Little Bo-Peep and the Three Bears stenciled on the walls, a balcony promenade and a sound proof mother’s room where mothers could view the film through a plate-glass window while their children were unruly.

The final cost of the theater was $750,000. Gumbiner saw into the future when he said, “I think there is room in Los Angeles for a small theater which shows good films and has no vaudeville. People don’t go to the movies to see vaudeville.”

2015

Below are some photographs I took of the Tower Theater in 2015. I took them with a Kodak EasyShare camera. The focus isn’t always the best but it does give an idea of what the building looked like at the time.

The Tower’s cap had been removed for safety reasons.

2021

In 2021, after a great deal of restoration, the Tower Theater re-opened as an Apple Store.

I could be wrong but is it possible this marquee was completely recreated?

This plaque is on the exterior of the building above the entrance doors.

This stained glass window and chandelier are in the lobby.

It’s a very small lobby. In Los Angeles we’re still practicing Covid protocols due to the ongoing pandemic.

At the top of the steps is this decorative element. In the archival images there is nothing in this space yet it seems unusually bare. Maybe, Gumbiner ran short of funds? The cost of the theater had risen from $500,000 to $750,000. This would have been an ideal spot for a sculptural relief of some sort; a tribute to the movies or to Los Angeles, perhaps?

One of the ceiling medallions in the lobby’s balcony — adjacent to the chandelier.

Looking from the theater’s balcony toward the stage.

Part of the vaulted proscenium.

Looking up to where the balcony ends and the promenade begins.

The promenade. You would use the promenade if you had one of the box seats next to the stage.

Looking from the stage area toward the balcony.

There’s no doubt about it. Apple has done a wonderful job restoring the Tower Theater. Sure, I would rather have the theater used for its original purpose but if that isn’t fiscally possible this is the next best thing. The theater looks great.

The sepia toned images of the Tower Theater are from Architectural Digest. Architectural Digest in the 1920s didn’t put dates on their issues. Most don’t even have volumes or numbers so, it’s impossible to determine which volume, number, month or year these images are from but they are from a 1920s issue of Architectural Digest.

Sources

Theater landmark razed; crews begin wrecking of old Garrick showhouse at Eight and Broadway; new one to rise. (1927, March 6). Los Angeles Times, E1.

Tower theater designed to typify cinema ideals; new Broadway theater. (1927, October 9). Los Angeles Times, C13.

Tower theater. (n.d.). Architectural Digest.

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Chicago 2021 part Deux

I went to Chicago in July of 2021. This is a continuation of my last post.

The Art Institute

The Art Institute circa 1893. The Art Institute was finished in time to open for the Columbian Exposition. Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, of Boston, were the architectural firm responsible for the design of the building.

My friend Bob and I went to the Art Institute because I wanted to see three particular paintings and the Art Institute’s architectural exhibit on the second floor.

The three paintings below are in the modern wing and about twenty feet from each other.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Ivan Albright.
American Gothic by Grant Wood.

On the second floor of the museum is an exhibition of architectural remnants from demolished and remodeled Chicago buildings.

Most of the remnants are from Frank Lloyd Wright (notice the hanging stained glass window on the far right), Adler & Sullivan or Burnham & Root buildings.

That’s me in front of Adler & Sullivan’s Stock Exchange elevator bank.

Elevator detail.

An original elevator grill from Burnham & Root’s Rookery Building. The Rookery Building was completed in 1886 and the interior was remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. This grill would be pre-1905.

A circular medallion from the elevator doors of Louis Sullivan’s Schlesinger and Mayer Store. Schlesinger and Mayer eventually became Carson Pirie Scott. Today, a Target occupies the retail space.

My friend Bob outside the Art Institute.

We also went to The Chicago Water Tower.

I’ve always been pro-tree until I tried to take a picture of the Water Tower. I think this tree would be less annoying in a different location. This is the famous Water Tower which was built in 1869 and survived the great Chicago fire. That’s the John Hancock Building in the background.

This plaque is on the side of the building.

The Water Tower on an old postcard circa 1950.

Across the street from the Water Tower is the Tower’s less photographed but still spectacular companion.

The Fisher Building

The Fisher Building on a postcard. The original building was erected in 1896 and was 18 stories when finished. This first section was designed by Charles B. Atwood of D. H. Burnham & Company. A 20 story addition was completed in 1907.

The exterior of the building is clad in terra-cotta.

The Fisher Building is directly across the street from the Monadnock Building. The elevated train runs on the street next to the Fisher Building. On the architectural tour we took the tour guide said the residents of the Fisher Building are subjected to constant “rumbling” due to the trains.

The ornate detail above one of the entrances.

A seahorse and six crabs.

The Manhattan Building

A block away from the Fisher Building is the Manhattan Building.

I had never heard of the Manhattan Building before this trip to Chicago.

The Manhattan Building was erected between 1889 and 1891.

The Manhattan Building is 16 stories and located at 431 S. Dearborn Street. The building’s architect was William Le Barron Jenney.

My friend Bob signed us up for numerous walking tours and one of the tours went past the Manhattan Building. I’m glad Bob booked the tours because I’m the type of person who doesn’t sign up for tours and yet I enjoyed all of them.

In all three tours the tour guides mentioned William Le Baron Jenney’s Home Insurance Building which was completed in 1885 and is considered, by many, to be the world’s first skeleton framed skyscraper. The skeleton in this case was not steel, though, but iron. Unfortunately, the Home Insurance Building was demolished in 1931. I hadn’t thought of the Home Insurance Building in years and then suddenly I heard it mentioned three times in two days.

There’s a great book on Jenney by Theodore Turak. Turak says the Home Insurance Building is important for two reasons — “First it made a significant and logical advance in building technology. Second, because Jenney made this advance in Chicago at the time architects were seeking fireproof buildings of greater height and openness, it was perceived as a revolution.”

Turak chisels the Home Insurance Building down to this, “To adapt Mark Twain’s statement about Columbus’s discovery of America, when Jenney discovered skeleton construction, it stayed discovered.”

During the Civil War, William Le Baron Jenney was an aide-de-camp to General Grant and under Grant took part in the siege of Vicksburg. He moved to California in 1904, when he was 72, due to declining health. According to the Los Angeles Times — California was where Jenney planned “to spend the evening of his life.” Jenney lived at 6616 Thorne Street in South Pasadena until his death on June 7, 1907. His body was shipped back to Chicago where he was buried at Graceland Cemetery.

The Reliance Building

The Reliance Building is another building from Daniel Burnham and Company. Notice the density surrounding this building.

The ground floors were designed by John Wellborn Root but Root died in 1891 so Burnham had Charles B. Atwood design and complete the upper floors.

Notice the Chicago windows. Chicago windows are large stationary panes of glass with smaller windows on the sides that open. The Reliance Building is notable for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s an early steel framed building. It was finished (1895) nine years after Burnham & Root’s Rookery Building (1886) and compared to that building this building is light and airy. The Reliance Building can also be seen as a forerunner to the curtain wall buildings that Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe made famous in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Reliance Building circa 1905 when it towered over its neighbors.

Daniel H. Burnham circa 1910. Burnham will never be forgotten because he is responsible for so much of Chicago’s architectural history. Photograph used with the permission of the Chicago Historical Society.

Marshall Field and Company

Marshall Field and Company on a postcard. That looks like Burnham & Root’s Masonic Temple on the far left.

This landmark sign is attached to the Marshall Field and Company Building.

Charles B. Atwood, who was Burnham’s go to man after John Wellborn Root’s death, was born in 1849. He graduated from Harvard and was for eleven years, starting in 1874, the house and furniture designer for Herter Brothers in New York. He designed five houses for the Vanderbilt family on 5th Avenue in New York City and a house for Mrs. Mark Hopkins in San Francisco too. In 1891 Daniel Burnham selected him as the designer-in-chief for the Exposition buildings.

For the White City, Atwood designed the Terminal Station, the Peristyle and the Art Gallery. On December 19, 1895, he died. According to the San Francisco Chronicle it was due to, “complications of disease brought on by overwork during the World’s Fair.” Atwood was 46 years old.

In the Chicago Daily Tribune Burnham said upon Atwood’s death, “His work stands as a monument to his lofty conception of the artistic and his practical ability. Already eminent in his profession, it is indeed more than a personal sorrow that I feel that he could not have lived to crown his work with still greater triumphs.”

One of the entrances to the store which is now a Macys.

The famous exterior clock.

At each corner of the building are these beautiful store plaques and street designations.

One of the column capitals on the first floor.

On each floor, when customers step off the escalator there’re confronted by floor numbers and street designations. The Marshall Field department store covers an entire block so they must have done this to orient customers.

On the seventh floor is a small museum that’s left over from the Marshall Field days. The museum is kind of sad. It isn’t well-maintained. It doesn’t look like anyone has invested any time or attention in the museum for some time. I think the best word to describe how it looks is — neglected. Marshall Field’s portrait hangs here along with two other Marshall Field presidents.

The museum contains this clock which appears to be a homage to the exterior clock. I really want it. It was probably four feet by three feet. It’s so cool and would look great in my apartment.

The Tiffany ceiling in Marshall Field and Company is very famous. Here is a partial view of the ceiling.

The Auditorium Building

The Auditorium Building started out its life as a hotel and office building. The original building contained 400 hotel rooms and 136 offices.

Auditorium Hotel letterhead.

On February 3 1889, J. H. Breslin and R. H. Southgate signed a contract to manage the Auditorium Hotel. Both men were from New York and both men managed hotels in New York City. Breslin managed the Gilsey House and Southgate managed the Hotel Brunswick. Breslin and Southgate created the Auditorium Hotel Company as the management entity. Breslin was the president and Southgate was the vice-president and manager.

The Congress Hotel is not the Congress Hotel yet. Instead, the Congress Hotel is referred to at this time as the Annex. In one of the architectural tours we took the tour guide said there is an underground tunnel connecting the two buildings. The tunnel would be handy in the cold winter months.

The Pompeiian Room in the Auditorium Annex.

The Auditorium Building on a postcard. Construction began in 1886. There was a grand dining room on the tenth floor and a small restaurant on the main floor at the corner of Congress and Michigan Avenue. According to the Chicago Daily Tribune the final cost of the Auditorium Building was $2,700,000.

The Auditorium Building was designed by Adler & Sullivan. The grand opening of the building was held on December 9, 1889. President Benjamin Harrison and Vice-President Levi P. Morton were in attendance and both sat on the Auditorium’s stage during the ceremony. Harriet Monroe, John Wellborn Root’s sister-in-law and the woman who would write a biography about him in 1896, was a well known poet and recited one of her poems to the assembled audience.

After the grand opening four weeks of Italian opera graced the Auditorium stage. The first night saw Mme. Adelina Patti in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. The second night was devoted to Rossini’s William Tell and was the first appearance in Chicago of the famous tenor Francesco Tamagno who was described in the Chicago Daily Tribune this way, “He is of large stature, something over six feet tall, and well proportioned.” The following weeks saw performances of Aida, Semiramide, Les Huguenots and Martha.

Francesco Tamagno was born on December 28, 1850. Tamagno was the first singer to perform Othello in Giusseppe Verdi’s opera Othello on February 5, 1887. Verdi had seen Tamagno perform at the Italian National Exposition in Turin and because of that Verdi asked him to create the role of Othello in his operatic version.

Tamagno’s visit to America was recounted in his Chicago Daily Tribune obituary and he was described as, “Sig. Tamagno was cast in the mold of the heroic tenor. He was as manly and brawny in appearance as the Wagnerian tenor of the purest Teutonic blood, but the timbre of his voice and his vocal art were Italian.” Tamagno died on August 31, 1905.

This is some detail above the entrance I liked.

This landmark sign is attached to the wall right before the entrance to the theater.

This “entrance” used to be inside the Auditorium Building. When the side street that runs parallel to the building/theater was widened the original sidewalk was eliminated. As a result, part of the Auditorium’s lobby was needed for a public sidewalk. Hence, this unusual set-up.

This means three of the hanging light fixtures that were once inside the lobby are now outside — hanging above the sidewalk.

Louis Sullivan ceiling detail above the sidewalk.

The sidewalk was as close as we got to the Auditorium Theater. There are tours of the theater conducted by Roosevelt University but as we peered through the glass doors into the lobby we discovered that the next scheduled tour of the theater was on July 6th and we were leaving Chicago on July 5th. While I was disappointed I wasn’t totally upset. I know that next year when I go back to the Midwest we can stop off in Chicago and see the theater. I just need to schedule my vacation around the tour.

A rendering of the Auditorium Building from Harper’s Weekly — July 2, 1887.

Louis H. Sullivan, Architect; full length portrait, leaning on tree. Photograph (c) 1995, The Art Institute of Chicago, All Rights Reserved.

The Fine Arts Building

The Fine Arts Building on a postcard.

This building was completed in 1885 and was originally eight stories. When it was built it was known as the Studebaker Building and the Studebakers used the building for the sale and service of carriages.

Solon Spencer Beman was the architect of the Studebaker/Fine Arts Building and was also responsible for the remodeling of the building in 1898.

Beman was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 1, 1853. He studied architecture under the famous East coast architect Richard Upjohn from 1870-1877 and arrived in Chicago in 1879.

Joan Pomaranc wrote a brochure regarding the Fine Arts Building for the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks and says the Studebakers used the first four floors for showrooms so Beman installed those floors with large windows. The upper four floors were used for the assembly of wagons and carriages so those floors had smaller windows.

The Fine Arts Building in 2021.

When the building was remodeled in 1898 the top floor (the eighth floor) was removed and three floors were added. To see what the building looked like originally see the Harper’s Weekly rendering of the Auditorium Hotel earlier in this post. The Fine Arts Building is directly to the right of the Auditorium Building and had, according to writer Joan Pomaranc, “pyramidal roofs with rounded sides and conical roofs.”

The Studebakers soley owned the building until 1903 when a group of investors were brought in for a cash infusion but the Studebakers still retained a controlling interest in the building. In 1915 the building was sold for $3 million which was “the largest single real-estate sale in the city’s history to that date,” according to Pomaranc.

The building was sold numerous times over the following decades but the exterior and much of the ornate interior remained intact. In 1978 the Fine Arts Building was designated a Chicago landmark.

At the bottom of this photograph, in very small type, are the words: 410 Fine Arts Building 410.

I look at this and think how can metalwork this old and accessible to the public survive undamaged for 123 years? People must like it as much as I do.

Solon Spencer Beman was also responsible for the Pullman Community complex in south Chicago, which is now an Illinois historic site, and the magnificent Pabst Building. Beman died in Chicago on April 23, 1914.

The magnificent Pabst Building was located slightly Northwest of Chicago in the city of Milwaukee.

The Auditorium Hotel letterhead was bought off E-bay. It also came with an envelope printed with the same image. The stationary was used and dated May 13, 1897. It was sent to someone named Aunt Augusta. The first image of the Manhattan Building and the images of Solon Spencer Beman and Francesco Tamagno are from Wikimedia Commons. The image of Daniel Burnham is from the Chicago Historical Society and used with their permission. The Thulstrup drawing of Burnham and Atwood is from Charles Moore’s book. The Louis Sullivan photograph is a copyrighted image from The Art Institute of Chicago. I bought the Tamagno as Othello image off E-bay. My friend Bob Graef supplied me with four photographs in this post.

SOURCES

A White City architect passed away. (1895, December 21). Chicago Daily Tribune, 12.

Auditorium Building, The. (1976). Chicago: Roosevelt University.

Big Auditorium hotel, The. (1889, February 5). Chicago Daily Tribune, 2.

Big Chicago hotel deal: Peck interests in Auditorium great. (1901, December 8). New York Times, 10.

Chicago Auditorium, The. (1889, February 4). New York Times, 2.

Death of a famous architect Charles B. Atwood. (1895, December 20). San Francisco Chronicle, 5.

Dedicated to music and the people. (1889, December 10). Chicago Daily Tribune, 1.

Great art building. (1892, November 6). Chicago Daily Tribune, 29.

Greatest in the world: Chicago’s Auditorium stands unrivaled in magnificence. (1889, December 8). Chicago Daily Tribune, 30.

King among tenors: Signor Tamagno’s great work at the auditorium. (1889, December 12). Chicago Daily Tribune, 1.

Moore, C. (1921). Daniel H. Burnham: architect planner of cities. Boston: Houghton Mifflen Company.

Obituary 1. Solon Spencer Beman. (1914, April 24). Chicago Daily Tribune, 7.

Obituary 2. Tamagno, the tenor, is dead. (1905, September 1). Chicago Daily Tribune, 6.

Patti sings Juliet: opening of the opera season at the great Auditorium. (1889, December 11). Chicago Daily Tribune, 1.

Pioneer architect of the skyscraper: W. L. B. Jenney life ends. (1907, June 16). Chicago Daily Tribune, 4.

Pomaranc, J. (1986). Fine Arts Building. Chicago: Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks.

Pridmore, J. (2002). Marshall Field’s. Rohnert Park, California: Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

Pridmore, J. (2003). Reliance Building. Rohnert Park, California: Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

R. H. Southgate a bankrupt. (1900, January 21). New York Times, 5.

Southgate’s New York debts. (1897, May 22). New York Times, 1.

Steel builder near his end. (1907, February 12). Los Angeles Times, II1.

Turak, T. (1986). William Le Baron Jenney: a pioneer of modern architecture. Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press.

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Chicago 2021

I went on vacation in July 2021. My friend Bob Graef and I stayed at the Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue. The older section of the hotel, the section with the rooftop neon sign and referred to as the north tower, was built in 1893 to accommodate visitors to the World’s Fair of 1893. That fair was also known as the Columbian Exposition. This section of the hotel was originally called the Auditorium Annex and was connected to the world famous Auditorium Building via an underground tunnel.

The architect of the north tower was Clinton Warren with Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan of Adler & Sullivan serving as consultants.

The south tower was built between 1902 and 1907 and was designed by the architectural firm of Holabird and Roche.

Here’s the hotel on a postcard circa 1917. Notice the original arched entrance.

Right inside the front door is this wonderful coat of arms.

This is what the lobby looked like in 1907.

The Congress Hotel lobby filled with palms. The postmark on the back of this postcard is 1933.

The Congress Hotel lobby in the 1960s.

This is what the lobby looks like today.

The floor has terrazzo inserts.

We were in room 910. The hotel is 128 years old and this could be the original door.

Not the best picture or the brightest picture but this gives you an idea of what our room was like.

I couldn’t have asked for a better view. Our room looked out onto Adler & Sullivan’s Auditorium Building.

By the way, there’s an event space in the hotel that’s pretty spectacular. It rents for $6,000 per event but that cost is waived if during the event $25,000 worth of catering services are used through the hotel’s catering service.

WOW! This would be a great place for a wedding reception.

One of the most architecturally significant buildings in Chicago is the Monadnock Building designed by the architectural firm of Burnham & Root. The firm’s partners were Daniel Hudson Burnham and John Wellborn Root.

Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912) circa 1890.

Here’s the Monadnock Building on an old postcard. This view is from Van Buren Street.

The Monadnock Building viewed from the corner of Dearborn and Jackson Streets. This part of the building, the north side, was built first — in 1891. Right around the time of the 1893 World’s Fair. The Monadnock Building is a load bearing building so the windows at the base of the building are deeply set. The north side of the building has very little ornamentation.

The entrance on this side of the building is low key.

The push plates on the door have a twisted vine pattern.

Inside the north entrance is a staircase leading to the upper floors.

This is what the newel post looks like.

There’s a mailbox past the staircase. The pattern on the mailbox matches the pattern on the door’s push plates.

Lighting in the lobby is dim. The building’s current management has illuminated the lobby as it would have been lit in the 1890s.

The south entrance to the Monadnock Building, on Van Buren and Federal Streets, may seem less spectacular, at first, because the elevated train runs right in front of the building. This half of the building was designed by Holabird & Roche in 1893. Notice the cornice on this side of the building. See below.

Yet, I like this entrance better. It’s pretty spectacular.

I took this photograph around 10:30 in the morning.

A view of the Monadnock Building and the elevated train track.

Here’s the Monadnock Building on a postcard when it was “The greatest office bldg. in the world.”

Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) circa 1895.

Louis Sullivan was part of the architectural firm known as Adler & Sullivan. Adler unfortunately died in 1900 but Sullivan designed a great Loop building, on his own, that still stands.

Sullivan designed the Carson Pirie Scott Building (1904). The building currently houses a Target.

Ornate metalwork extends down the block in both directions from the corner.

Close up detail.

The spectacular corner entrance.

Inside the corner vestibule is all this beautiful Sullivan work done in wood and metal.

It appears to be a heating grate.

Another grate.

On the second floor, in the corner above the entrance, is a small exhibition space with a bench that curves with the curve of the building.

One of the columns in the small exhibition space.

A view from the exhibition space.

Another great building in Chicago that’s noteworthy is Burnham & Root’s Rookery Building.

The Rookery Building was built in 1886. Below are some close-ups of the building’s exterior details.

In 1905 the interior of the building was updated by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Below is an exposed Burnham & Root beam so visitors can see what the original interior looked like before the Frank Lloyd Wright make-over.

Here’s the Rookery Building on a postcard. The postmark on the reverse is 1903.

On the way to the “Bean” and behind the Art Institute is this architectural remnant. It was once the entrance to Adler & Sullivan’s Stock Exchange Building. It is not in a place of prominence. I think it should be inside the Art Institute.

This is what the building looked like before it was demolished. I wish it was still there.

Three of the architects mentioned in this post are buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.

John Wellborn Root (1850-1891) circa 1890.

John Wellborn Root didn’t live long. He died at 41. His entire family is buried around him. Root’s sister-in-law, Harriet Monroe, wrote a book about Root five years after he died.

In her book, Monroe describes Root’s early years in Atlanta and these formative years sound like something straight out of Gone With the Wind. I was surprised by his upbringing and background.

Daniel Hudson Burnham’s grave is over this bridge.

His family is buried with him on this small island. He died unexpectedly. All the architectural journals in 1912 had memorials and obituaries about him. Some were full page testimonials to his greatness. He was a well-known architect in his time and was liked and respected.

Burnham was responsible for many famous buildings including Union Station in Washington, D. C. and the Fuller Building which is also known as the Flatiron Building in New York City. He also oversaw the building of the Columbian Exposition in 1893 which influenced the classical architectural revival that spread across the United States in the decades that followed the fair. Oh, and Burnham’s firm also designed Selfridge & Co. in London.

Louis Sullivan is buried nearby.

This is Sullivan’s headstone. It could fit in my hand. Louis Sullivan died alone in a one room apartment surrounded by his drawings. He was an alcoholic at the end of his life and was seen as someone from the past. Like Daniel Burnham there were full page memorials about him in many of the architectural journals after he died. He may have been someone from the past but he was still thought of fondly.

Adler & Sullivan’s Auditorium Building in Chicago (1890), Wainwright Building in St. Louis (1891) and their Guaranty Building in Buffalo (1895) still stand. I personally like Sullivan’s banks in the Midwest especially the National Farmer’s Bank in Owatonna, Minnesota (1908), The People’s Savings Bank in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1911) and the Merchant’s National Bank in Grinnell, Iowa (1914).

This more elaborate monument dwarfs Sullivan’s original headstone. In the photograph below you can read what is chiseled into the back.

Dankmar Adler is buried MILES away in a Jewish cemetery.

Dankmar Adler (1844-1900) circa 1890.

Adler & Sullivan also designed the Schiller Building in Chicago (1892), The Charnley Residence in Chicago (1892) and the Transportation Building at the World’s Fair of 1893. In 1895 Adler & Sullivan dissolved their partnership.

The Schiller Building on a postcard. That looks like Burnham & Root’s Masonic Temple in the background.

Adler & Sullivan’s Transportation Building at The World’s Fair of 1893.

Prior to visiting the cemetery I had seen an image of Adler’s marker. Moments after driving into the cemetery I said to my friend Bob, “There it is!”

I regretted that I had not taken him some flowers. I will next time I go and visit him.

I like the line that says, “The world is better for his having lived.” It’s very true.

I enjoyed Chicago very much. Traveling with my friend Bob always works because we’ve known each other for decades and we both value our friendship. There will be a Chicago 2021 part Deux because there was so much to see in Chicago and I didn’t want to do one endless post.

When I was in Rock Island, Illinois I found this paperweight at Jackson’s Antiques. I would have paid an arm and a leg for it because I wanted it so badly. It was $32 but the owner/dealer gave it to me for $28. The Chicago Masonic Temple was completed in 1892 and designed by Burnham & Root. The building was demolished in 1939. Jones, McDuffee & Stratton were pottery makers.

Sources

Bush-Brown, A. (1960). Louis Sullivan. New York: George Braziller, Inc.

Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. Accessed on July 20, 2021, https://www.congressplazahotel.com/our-hotel.

Monroe, H. (1966). John Wellborn Root architect. Park Forrest, Illinois: The Prairie Press.

Schaffer, K. & Tilden, S. J. (Ed.). (2003). Daniel H. Burnham visionary architect and planner. New York: Rizzoli.

The photos of Daniel Burnham, Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan are from Wikimedia Commons. The image of John Wellborn Root is from Harriet Monroe’s book. My friend Bob supplied four of the photographs in this post. The image of the Transportation Building I bought off E-bay. It appears to be a plate from a World’s Fair souvenir book.

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Rest in Peace 7

Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills

The location of this Forest Lawn Cemetery is 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in the Hollywood Hills. This branch opened in 1952. I found the cemetery to be quite nice but it is on the edge of wilderness. There are signs throughout the cemetery that warn visitors to be cautious and to be on the lookout for coyotes and rattlesnakes.

I didn’t see any rattlesnakes but I saw this guy. I took this picture from faraway because I didn’t want him to charge me. I saw numerous deer at the cemetery and they were all eating the flowers left on the graves of the departed.

The cemetery’s main building reminds me of the main building at the David O. Selznick Studios.

There are a number of famous people buried at Forrest Lawn Hollywood Hills. The most famous is probably Bette Davis.

Bette Davis circa 1933.

Bette Davis was born in Massachusetts in 1908.

She arrived in Hollywood in 1930 and had a supporting role in the Mae Clarke version of Waterloo Bridge (1931). Davis got her big break the following year when George Arliss selected her to play opposite him in Warner Bros. The Man Who Played God (1932). After that she was signed to a Warner Bros. studio contract and spent the next fifty-seven years transforming herself into a cultural icon.

She made a number of good, great and terrific films including Of Human Bondage (1934), Dangerous (1935), The Petrified Forest (1936), Jezebel (1938), Dark Victory (1939), The Old Maid (1939), Juarez (1939), All This and Heaven Too (1940), The Letter (1940), The Little Foxes (1941), The Great Lie (1941), Now, Voyager (1942), Watch on the Rhine (1943), Old Acquaintance (1943), Mr. Skeffington (1944), The Corn is Green (1945), A Stolen Life (1946), All About Eve (1950), The Star (1952), Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962), Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964), Dead Ringers (1964), Death on the Nile (1978) and The Whales of August (1987).

I personally like her in The Old Maid, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Old Acquaintance and Mr. Skeffington.

She’s buried alongside her mother and sister. The text of the last line, at the very bottom, is “She did it the hard way.

Bette Davis was born on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts and died from cancer on October 6, 1989 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. She was 81 years old.

Her estate was divided between her son Michael Merrill and her assistant Kathryn Sermak who wrote the book Miss D and Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis. She did not leave any money to her daughter B.D. Merrill, who wrote an unflattering book about Davis, or to B.D.’s children.

The Washington Memorial by the sculptor Thomas Ball. When I stood in front of it — it towered over me.

Stan Laurel circa 1926.

Stan Laurel was 37 when he began his partnership with Oliver Hardy in 1927. The duo made a series of films together including Helpmates (1932), The Music Box (1932), Scram (1932), Busy Bodies (1933), Dirty Work (1933), Hollywood Party (1934), Tit for Tat (1935), Pick a Star (1937), A Chump at Oxford (1939), Saps at Sea (1940), The Big Noise (1944) and Utopia (1950). As their popularity waned in the United States the duo toured England in 1947 for six weeks and were favorably received so they continued to do tours in England and Europe until 1954 when Laurel had a stroke.

Most artists today want credit for everything they do on a film set. This wasn’t the way Laurel worked. He only received credit for starring in his films but Hal Roach who was the head of the studio where Laurel made most of his early films said, “Hell, if you listed his name in terms of everything he did on the film, Laurel’s name would be up there ten times.”

In 1957 Oliver Hardy died but Laurel was unable to attend his funeral. His often quoted words regarding this sad event and his inability to attend were, “Babe, would understand.”

In his obituary Laurel was quoted as saying in 1961, “It’s been a great life and I’m happy that I have made people forget some of their sorrows — but it would have been nice to have made a little money along the way. I’m not complaining. I’ve got all I want in this little apartment.”

At the end of his life Laurel lived in a one bedroom apartment in Santa Monica and received a small pension from the Screen Actor’s Guild. His home phone number was listed in the telephone book so fans would call him and he would happily talk with them on the phone or visit with them in person.

Laurel was married numerous times (twice to the same woman). His last wife was Ida Raphael. He married her in 1946. She is buried alongside him.

Dick Van Dyke gave the eulogy at his funeral. Hal Roach, director Leo McCarey, Buster Keaton and Tim Conway attended his funeral.

His wife’s marker is on the ground beneath his marker which is embedded into a wall. Stan Laurel was born in England — in Ulverston, Lancashire on June 16, 1890 and died in Santa Monica, California on February 23, 1965. He was 74 years old.

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This is the only fountain at the cemetery. It’s near the entrance. If I had one bit of advice for this cemetery it would be “more fountains.”

Leon Ames circa 1948.

Leon Ames was born in Indiana in 1902. Sixty-two years later an unexpected event at his home ended up on the front pages of newspapers across America.

Ames arrived in Hollywood in the early 1930s and had his first big success in the Bela Lugosi film Murders in the Rogue Morgue (1932). In an interview with Famous Monsters of Filmland, Ames said the film was “a perfectly awful film which still pops up on TV to haunt me.” Regarding Lugosi he said, “Lugosi was a very quiet fellow and kept to himself during most of the shooting. At that time he had not yet mastered English and was having a bit of difficulty with the language. I was very ‘green’ in the acting profession then and to me as a young man, Bela seemed very much like the eerie Dracula character of his films.”

In this film and his other early films Ames used the name Leon Waycoff which was his birth name. He changed his screen name to Leo Ames due to misspelling problems others had with Waycoff. [He was in show business so it was important people got his name right.] His mother’s maiden name was Ames.

Before 1945 Ames starred in few films of note including Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938), Suez (1938) and Mr. Moto in Danger Island (1939). In 1945 Ames played the part of Alonzo Smith, the father of the Smith clan, in Vincent Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis. The classic MGM film starred Judy Garland and had in its cast Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Marjorie Main, Margaret O’Brien and Tom Drake. This film was a big hit and the turning point in Ames career.

After Meet Me in St. Louis Ames appeared in a string of good films including The Thin Man Goes Home (1945), Anchors Aweigh (1945), Weekend at the Waldorf (1945), They Were Expendable (1945), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Lady in the Lake (1946), Song of the Thin Man (1947), Little Women (1949), Battleground (1949), On Moonlight Bay (1951), Angel Face (1952), By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), Peyton Place (1957), The Absent Minded Professor (1961), Son of Flubber (1963), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) which was his last film.

Leon Ames owned car dealerships in Studio City, Redondo Beach and Encino. He had been in the car dealership business since the mid-1940s.

He continued to act while owning these dealerships and did television work along with his film work. In the 1950s he starred in a television show based on the play Life with Father and in the mid-1960s he worked on the Mr. Ed television series. He played Gordon Kirkwood — Mr. Ed’s neighbor.

Lincoln’s birthday 1964.

The criminal activity that happened at Leon Ames house happened on February 12, 1964. At approximately 8:00 a.m. Ames answered the doorbell at his home, located at 12245 Viewcrest Road in Studio City, and was met by a man holding a gun. The gunman said, “Back up and shut up. This is a holdup and kidnap. Don’t try anything funny because I am dead either way.”

Ames would later say the gunman, who was later identified as Lynn Benner, was neatly dressed but used obscene language repeatedly during the robbery.

At gunpoint Benner demanded $50 thousand dollars. When Ames said he didn’t have that kind of money the gunman suggested Ames call his Ford dealership in Encino for the money. Mrs. Ames called the dealership and requested the manager, Ralph Williams, come to the house for an important business meeting. After Williams was appraised of the situation he proceeded to the Bank of American, located at 12175 Ventura Boulevard, and obtained the fifty grand.

When Williams returned to the Ames home the gunman instructed Williams to bind Leon Ames’ feet, wrists and mouth with surgical tape. Benner then forced Williams and Alfred F. Baumgarteker, a guest staying at the Ames home, into the trunk of a car parked in the Ames garage.

The gunman then grabbed Mrs. Ames as a hostage and made his getaway.

Williams had wisely informed the Bank of America bank manager of the situation and the police were contacted. When Benner stopped at a traffic light at Ventura Boulevard and Laurel Terrace he was boxed in by three police cars. At this point, one of the police officers jumped out of his car and shoved a shotgun into Benner’s face.

The situation ended with no one being injured. Benner, who was 21 at the time, later received a life sentence for the events that transpired.

Ames obituary mentioned he was the last surviving founder of the Screen Actors Guild. He was one of 19 actors who created the union in 1933. He had membership card 15.

Leon Ames was born on January 3, 1902 in Portland, Indiana and died in Laguna Beach, California on October 12, 1993. His death was due to a stroke. He was 91 years old. He was survived by his wife of 55 years Christine Gossett and son Leon (Lee) Ames Jr.

One of the two churches at the cemetery.

Forrest Tucker circa 1961.

Forrest Tucker didn’t make many good movies but he was perfectly cast in Auntie Mame (1958). Rosalind Russell’s Auntie Mame is so big and so full of life it’s amazing Forrest Tucker’s Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside isn’t completely overshadowed by Russell’s Mame Dennis yet Tucker holds his own. He is perfect in this movie. The producers couldn’t have cast anyone who could have done a better job.

Forrest Tucker was born in Plainfield, Indiana on February 12, 1919. His first film appearance was in Gary Cooper’s The Westerner (1940). Tucker continued to make a variety of films throughout the 1940s and 1950s but he mainly worked in western films.

Some of Tucker’s better known films include My Sister Eileen (1942), Keeper of the Flame (1942), The Yearling (1946), Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968), Chishum (1970) and Walking Tall: Final Chapter (1977).

In the 1960s he appeared in the situation comedy F Troop as Sgt. O’Rourke but when he wasn’t working on F Troop he was working on the stage. He was chosen in 1958 to portray Harold Hill in the national touring company of The Music Man and performed it all over the country for four years. After the initial run he continued to perform that role and continued to work in the theater. In the late 1960s he was in the comedy Plaza Suite and in the 1970s he was in That Championship Season.

Tucker was 6-foot-5 and saw himself as a Wallace Beery or Ward Bond type.

He was married four times. The last time was to Sheila Forbes. His final marriage took place on April 15, 1986.

Brooke Tucker, Forrest Tucker’s daughter, was interviewed for the book Raised by the Stars. In it she describes her mother Sandra Jolley, Tucker’s first wife, as an “Earl Carroll show girl” who was “absolutely beautiful.” She describes his second wife, Marilynn Johnson, as a dancer and an interior decorator who died at 37. His third wife was Marilyn Fisk. Forrest Tucker and Fisk were married for 25 years and then divorced. Brooke said she and Fisk were still friends and she had known Marilyn Fisk since she was 14. As for Tucker’s fourth wife — Brooke Tucker said, “Dad’s last wife was Sheila Forbes, and we don’t talk about her!”

On August 21, 1986, Forrest Tucker arrived at the unveiling ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but moments before the ceremony began he collapsed. He was rushed to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and the five minute unveiling ceremony went on as scheduled with his sister and daughter standing-in for him.

Forrest Tucker circa 1950.

Later he was transferred to the Motion Picture Country Home where he died of cancer on October 25, 1986. He was 67 years old. He was survived by his wife of six months, a sister and three children from previous marriages.

That’s a mountain lion next to the coyote and the snake.

George Raft circa 1935.

George Raft was born in Hell’s Kitchen in 1895.

Raft is remembered for turning down the lead roles in High Sierra (1941) and The Maltese Falcon (1941). He was constantly turning down roles. Every time he turned down a role he was put on suspension. He was repeatedly put on suspension. His suspensions were often for long periods of time. He turned down many roles in many movies including Belle of the Nineties (1933), Dead End (1937) and Double Indemnity (1944).

Before he became famous Raft married Grace Mulrooney in 1923. Mulrooney was a catholic and while Raft wanted to call it quits and pursue other women and other relationships Mulrooney wouldn’t give Raft a divorce under any circumstances. Consequently, Raft was stuck to Mulrooney until her death in 1970. Over the years Raft was linked romantically with MANY women but he couldn’t marry any of them.

Some of the films Raft made over the years include Scarface (1932), Night After Night (1932), They Drive by Night (1940), Manpower (1941), Black Widow (1954), Some Like it Hot (1959), Ocean’s 11 (1960), The Patsy (1964), Casino Royale (1967) and Sextette (1978).

In Stone Wallace’s book George Raft: The Man Who Would be Bogart, Raft is quoted as saying, “I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.”

Raft also said this amusing tidbit, “I wish I had taken up some hobby like golf or stamp collecting. You know me I had only one hobby – broads. Now, here I am eighty-five and how in hell can you have a hobby like that at my age? Worse, with this damn emphysema, I can’t even smoke anymore. But I still love to look at all those beautiful dames who walk down Wilshire Boulevard.”

Raft’s funeral service lasted 15 minutes. Vivian Blaine of Guys and Dolls and Danny Thomas were two of the attendees.

George Raft was born in Manhattan on September 26, 1895 and died on November 24, 1980. He was 85 years old.

Raft’s estate consisted of a life insurance policy valued at $10,000 and the furniture in his apartment. He had made millions over the years but was living on $800 a month — from social security and a small Screen Actor’s Guild pension. He left no will and he had no survivors.

This is a view from inside the Court of Remembrance. Forrest Tucker, Leon Ames and George Raft are all buried in this section.

Fritz Lang circa 1965.

Film director Fritz Lang was born in Vienna in 1890.

Lang is best remembered for the silent film Metropolis (1927) which starred Brigette Helm. Yet, Lang directed other great films including (1931) with Peter Lorre, Fury (1937) with Spencer Tracy, Hangman Also Die! (1943) with Brian Donlevy, The Woman in the Window (1944) with Joan Bennett and Edward G. Robinson, Scarlet Street (1945) with Bennett and Robinson again, Rancho Notorious (1952) with Marlene Dietrich, Clash by Night (1952) with Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and Marilyn Monroe, The Blue Gardenia (1953) with Anne Baxter and Raymond Burr, The Big Heat (1953) with Glenn Ford, Gloria Graham and Jeanette Nolan and in 1954 Human Desire with Glenn Ford, Gloria Graham and Broderick Crawford. Lang’s last big Hollywood Film was While the City Sleeps (1956) with Dana Andrews, George Sanders, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Ida Lupino, Rhonda Fleming and John Barrymore, Jr.

The year before his death Lang was asked what kind of films he would make if he were still making films. Lang’s response was, “With the world the way it is, I think they would be very critical – very aggressive. I would want to show how television has robbed the young people of their imagination. But that would only be a small part of all I would have to say.”

After the director’s death film critic Kevin Thomas wrote an appreciation of Lang and said this, “Quite often, Lang could be mischievous, even when he wasn’t in the best of health. He loved martinis, and once at Sambo’s in Palm Springs he furtively, delightedly produced an elegant silver flask filled with his special mix. The great director at least once answered his front door without a stich on, and he insisted on seeing “Deep Throat” and other porn flicks, saying he had to keep up with the times.”

Lang was married three times. First to Lisa Rosenthal from 1919-1921. Rosenthal died in 1921 under mysterious circumstances. [Rosenthal was shot but no one was ever arrested in connection with her death.] The following year Lang married Thea von Harbou. The Lang-von Harbou nuptials lasted from 1922-1933 but ended in divorce. His third marriage took place almost forty years later. In 1971 he married Lily Latte. He remained married to Latte until his death five years later. [Note: Lang and Latte became a couple in 1935 but didn’t marry till 1971.]

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria on December 5, 1890 and died from a stroke, at home, in Beverly Hills, California on August 2, 1976. He was 85 years old. Latte is buried next to him. 

It’s Jesus and he doesn’t look too happy. He’s on a wall at the very end of the Courts of Remembrance.

Liberace on a postcard for a show at the Nugget in East Reno circa 1967.

Liberace is buried here which surprised me. I would have thought he would have been buried in Las Vegas or San Francisco yet here he is in the Hollywood Hills.

Liberace made a film in the 1950s called Sincerely Yours (1955). It was a remake of The Man Who Played God and was supposed to be his big film breakthrough but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, it was a disaster and he never achieved film stardom. He did have a successful television show in the 50s called The Liberace Show though.

He found his ultimate place not in film or television but in Las Vegas and Reno as “Mr. Showmanship.” Reviewers would sometimes criticize his over the top shows and Liberace would respond by saying, “I cried all the way to the bank.” Eventually, he would amend that response to, “I don’t cry all the way to the bank any more — I bought the bank!”

In his 1976 book, The Things I Love, Liberace said, “I would like to be remembered as a kind and gentle soul, and as someone who made the world a little better place to live in because I have lived in it. All of us are only here for a short time — I often feel that I am living on borrowed time. I should have been dead several years ago. But, fortunately, a greater power saw fit to spare me and give me this extra time to live. So every day is a truly marvelous gift to be enjoyed not just by me but by all the people who surround me.”

Shouldn’t his tomb be in the shape of a piano? Instead of a statue atop his tomb shouldn’t there be a candelabra? Just sayin’. His brother George, who worked with him, is buried here too.

Liberace’s last years were filled with lawsuits by former lovers and illness. His death resulted in a media frenzy because he never admitted he had AIDS and the Riverside County coroner was determined to expose the real cause of his death. Liberace’s doctor said his death was due to anemia, emphysema and heart disease.

The Riverside County coroner determined Liberace’s death was the result of pneumonia due to complications from AIDS.

The other church at the cemetery. Covid restrictions were still in effect.

Debbie Reynolds on a postcard for a show at the Riviera Hotel circa 1965.

In the 1950s Debbie Reynolds was thrust into a major news story that must have caused her a great deal of stress. Reynolds’ husband, Eddie Fisher, left her for Elizabeth Taylor after Taylor’s husband, Mike Todd, died in an airplane crash. Reynolds’ probably received more press coverage as a result of Fisher’s marital infidelity than for any other event in her life.

She would marry two more times but both times she picked the wrong man. All her husbands cheated on her and the last two robbed her too.

Reynolds’ made her film debut in a Bette Davis movie called June Bride (1948). She made four more motion pictures between 1950 and 1952 or a total of five motion pictures before she made the film that she is best remembered for today. It’s possibly the greatest Hollywood musical ever made and it’s called Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

In 2013 Reynolds wrote a book with Dorian Hannaway called Unsinkable. In that book she discusses most of her films which include The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953), The Tender Trap (1955), The Catered Affair (1956), Tammy and the Bachelor (1957), The Rat Race (1960), How the West Was Won (1963), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), The Singing Nun (1966), What’s the Matter with Helen (1971), The Bodyguard (1992), Mother (1996), In & Out (1997), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and Behind the Candelabra (2013).

She also appeared on the NBC television sitcom Will & Grace as Grace Adler’s mother Bobbi Adler.

She worked in Las Vegas too. She even created the Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino. She opened the place for the wrong reason though and It failed for two reasons. One, her third husband was pocketing a great deal of the money intended for the hotel and casino and two, the casino was almost an afterthought. The hotel was about time-shares and Reynolds was really interested in creating an establishment or a home base where she could house her movie memorabilia collection.

In her book Unsinkable, her son Todd said, “the principal blunder was probably the choice to focus on time-share units rather than gambling, because people go to Vegas to gamble. Everything else is incidental.”

Debbie Reynolds died the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died. Todd Fisher stated his mother said, “I want to be with Carrie” the day she died.

Debbie Reynolds was born in El Paso, Texas on April 1, 1932 and died on December 28, 2016 from a stroke.

Carrie Fisher by Gage Skidmore.

Carrie Fisher is the heroine in George Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy which includes Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983).

In 1987 she wrote a book, Postcards from the Edge, that was turned into a movie with Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine as the stars. She followed that up in 2008 with Wishful Drinking but her fame is mainly centered on the Star Wars films.

Still, she made other films including Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997).

She was briefly married to Paul Simon (for almost a year from 1983 to 1984) and she had a relationship with CAA agent Bryan Lourd that produced a daughter named Billie Lourd.

She had a substance abuse problem that she was never able to kick which is unfortunate. Fisher was returning to Los Angeles on a flight from Paris on December 23, 2016 when the person sitting next to her noticed she had stopped breathing. Medical aid was administered but she was unresponsive. She was taken to UCLA Medical Center where she was put on a ventilator. Four days later she died.

Carrie Fisher was born on October 21, 1956 and died in Los Angeles on December 27, 2016. The cause of death was sleep apnea but she also had in her system at the time of her death cocaine, heroin, opiates and MDMA.

She was survived by her daughter Billie, her brother Todd and her half-sisters Joely Fisher and Trisha Leigh Fisher.

The images of Bette Davis, Stan Laurel, Carrie Fisher and Fritz Lang are from Wikimedia Commons. The images of Leon Ames and George Raft are publicity photos. The image of Liberace is from a Nugget Casino postcard. The image of Debbie Reynolds is from a Riviera Hotel postcard.

100 attend cryptside rites for actor-tough guy George Raft. (1980, November 29). Los Angeles Times, A30.

Actor collapses before Hollywood ceremony. (1986, August 22). Santa Cruz Sentinel, 34.

Ames kidnapper sentenced to life in prison. (1964, May 1). Los Angeles Times, A3.

Berman, A. (1965, February 24). Film comic Stan Laurel dies. Los Angeles Times, 1.

Bette Davis estate nears $1 million; 2 daughters, grandsons left out. (1989, November 7). Los Angeles Times, A25.

Davis Jr., C. E. (1965, February 27). Mourners fill church for Stan Laurel rites. Los Angeles Times, 18.

Fisher, C. (2008). Wishful drinking. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Fritz Lang, master director, dies at 85. (1976, August 2). Los Angeles Times, B3.

George Raft leaves only $10,000 policy, furniture. (1981, January 31). Chicago Tribune, N15.

Harness, K. (2006). The art of Laurel & Hardy. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc.

Kendall, J. (1986, October 27). Forrest Tucker, stage, TV and film star, dies at 67 after battle with lung cancer. Los Angeles Times, A10.

Liberace. (1986). The wonderful private world of Liberace. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.

Liberace & Palmer, T. (Ed.) (1976). The Things I Love. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

Maronie, S. J. (1976, August). Things you never knew about the unholy two. Famous Monsters of Filmland, (127).

McElhandey, J. (Ed.). (2015). A companion to Fritz Lang. West Sussex, England: Wiley Blackwell.

Mozinog, J., Karlamangla, S. & Winton, R. (2017, June 20). Fisher autopsy sheds light on lifelong demons. Los Angeles Times, A1.

Nelson, V. J. (2016, December 29). Debbie Reynolds, 1932-2016; a 1950s ingenue proved unsinkable. Los Angeles Times, B1.

Oliver, M. (1993, October 14). Leon Ames; last surviving Screen Actors Guild founder. Los Angeles Times, VYA24.

Reynolds, D. & Hannaway, D. (2013). Unsinkable a memoir. New York: Harper Collins.

Rottenberg, J. (2016, December 28). Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016; Star Wars heroine was as witty off screen as on. Los Angeles Times, A1.

Screen legend Bette Davis dies in Paris hospital at 81. (1989, October 7). Los Angeles Times, 1.

Thackrey, T. O. (1980, November 25). George Raft, tough guy in films and life, dead at 85. Los Angeles Times, B1.

Thomas, K. (1976, August 8). Fritz Lang: in memoriam. Los Angeles Times, K38.

Thomas, N. (2011). Raised by the stars; interviews with 29 children of Hollywood actors. Jefferson, North Carlina: McFarland.

Trimborn, H. (1964, February 13). Kidnap drama, wife of Leon Ames rescued. Los Angeles Times, 1.

Tucker recovers from collapse. (1986, August 24). San Bernardino Sun, 2.

Turan, K. (2016, December 30). Remembering Debbie Reynolds; unsinkable to the end; she was the best of a great Hollywood tradition. Los Angeles Times, E1.

Wallace, S. (2008). George Raft: the man who would be Bogart. Albany, Georgia: BearManner Media.

Winton, R., Dolan, J. (2017, June 16). Carrie Fisher died of sleep apnea and ‘drug use’ was also a factor, L.A. County coroner says. Los Angeles Times.

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Brigette Helm who was Maria in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

California has started to reopen after the pandemic. I can actually go places now. YAY!

Rest In Peace 6

LOS ANGELES NATIONAL CEMETERY

National Cemetery in Westwood is a 114 acre cemetery that is located at 950 S. Sepulveda Boulevard. The cross street is Wilshire Boulevard. The cemetery opened on May 22, 1889, and holds three actors of note.

Right inside the front gate is this chapel.
The chapel is appropriately named.
It’s a chapel without any religious symbols.

The three actors of note buried at the National Cemetery are below.

Richard Carlson circa 1957.

Richard Carlson starred in two great movies from the 1950s that are considered science fiction classics today.

Carlson was born in Minnesota in 1912.

He attended the University of Minnesota and arrived in California in the late 1930s. He had an interest in theater so after he arrived in Los Angeles he worked at the Pasadena Playhouse. Carlson made his screen debut in Janet Gaynor’s The Young in Heart (1938). Two years later, he received third billing for the Bob Hope/Paulette Goddard film The Ghost Breakers (1940). He portrayed Thomas Jefferson in Cary Grant’s The Howards of Virginia (1940) and he had a good supporting role in the Bette Davis film — The Little Foxes (1941).

I personally like him opposite Marsha Hunt in The Affairs of Martha (1942) which is a fun movie with Marjorie Main, Melville Cooper, Margaret Hamilton and Barry Nelson. That same year he was fortunate to have love scenes with Hedy Lamarr and compete with Walter Pidgeon for Lamarr’s affection in White Cargo (1942).

After the war he had a part in The Amazing Mr. X. (1948) then he had a substantial role in a hit film that starred Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger – King Solomon’s Mines (1950).

His two classic science fiction films were made in the 1950s and both were big hits. The first was It Came from Outer Space (1953) opposite Barbara Rush, Charles Drake, Joe Sawyer and Russell Johnson. The other was the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) opposite Julie Adams, Richard Denning and Antonio Moreno.

He worked in television in the 1950s and his television credits include The Loretta Young Show, Wagon Train, The Fugitive, Burke’s Law, Bonanza, Rawhide, Perry Mason, Owen Marshall and Mannix.

Mentioned in his obituary was this item: Carlson starred for three years in a television program called I Led Three Lives in which he played a counterspy for the FBI. This was in the early 1950s. Carlson was quoted as saying he liked the money television paid and the prosperity television gave his family.

In the last half of the 20th century some critics dismissed television as the equivalent of a B movie.

Carlson viewed television differently. He saw it as summer stock “with 20 million people watching.” He also said the following regarding why he went into TV: “Examine the men who have been successful in television. They’re almost always people whose careers have gone down or, like myself, whose careers are not likely to get any bigger.”

His last motion picture appearance was in Change of Habit (1969) which starred Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore.

I thought about cleaning off his marker but I think it would be even more difficult to read cleaned off. I went on Memorial Day. He didn’t have a flag so I went and got him one and planted it at the top of his marker.

Richard Carlson was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on April 29, 1912, and died from a cerebral hemorrhage in Encino, California on November 25, 1977. He was 65 years old.

Richard Carlson is about twenty feet south of this monument.

Jack Holt circa 1920.

Jack Holt had a long career. He starred in many movies during the silent era, was a leading man and made the transition to sound films. His screen persona was that of a tough, manly, take charge kind of guy. This persona served him well at the end of his career when he was primarily working in westerns.

Jack Holt was born in New York in 1888. He worked various jobs all over the country including Alaska before he arrived in California sometime after 1910. He appeared in his first film for Universal Pictures in 1914. That film was called Salomy Jane. He made numerous silent films and some had great titles including The White Man’s Law (1918) with Florence Vidor and Sessue Hayakawa, The Road Through the Dark (1918) with Elinor Fair, Cheating Cheaters (1919) with Clara Kimball Young, Bought and Paid For (1922) with Agnes Ayres, While Satan Sleeps (1922) with Fritzi Brunette, Don’t Call it Love (1923) with Anes Ayres, Nita Naldi and Rod La Rocque, Wanderer of the Wasteland (1924) with Billie Dove, North of 36 (1924) with Lois Wilson, The Blind Goddess (1926) with Esther Ralston and The Smart Set (1928) with William Haines.

After moving from studio to studio he finally found a place at Columbia Pictures where he made three Frank Capra movies before Capra sealed his immortality with It Happened One Night (1934). The three films Holt made with Capra were Submarine (1928) with Ralph Graves, Flight (1929) with Ralph Graves and Lila Lee and Dirigible (1931) with Ralph Graves and Fay Wray.

Yet, he was still loaned out to other studios while he was working at Columbia.

He made a film with Mary Astor and Nat Pendleton called White Shoulders (1931-RKO) and a film with Jean Arthur called The Defense Rests (1934-Columbia). He then made The Littlest Rebel (1935-Fox) opposite Shirley Temple and San Francisco (1936-MGM) with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jeanette MacDonald.

He continued to work at Columbia until 1941 when he had a falling out with studio head Harry Cohn. After he left Columbia he did freelance work mainly in westerns though he did have parts in Cat People (1942), They Were Expendable (1945) and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). His son, Tim Holt, was in Sierra Madre.

The day before his death it was reported Holt had been suffering from a heart ailment but was still living in his apartment at the Santa Monica Miramar Hotel. The newspaper account stated that even though he had performed hundreds of “he-man” roles he was now “under an oxygen tent.”

The following day he was taken to the Veterans Hospital. His condition seemed to improve in the afternoon but he suffered a fatal heart attack around 9:00 pm.

His obituary revealed that his birth name was Charles John Holt and originally he wanted to be an engineer but that goal was sidelined by his youthful desire to travel. Holt enlisted in the Army in early 1943 as a captain and was discharged in late 1944 as a major. 

His funeral service was held at the Veterans Cemetery Chapel. (The Bob Hope Chapel seen in the photograph above.) It was a private service with a closed casket.

Jack Holt was born in the Bronx on May 31, 1888, and died in Los Angeles on January 18, 1951. He was 62 years old.

Grant Williams circa 1961.

Grant Williams made one movie that science fiction fans remember fondly.

Grant Williams had a short career but made the most of it. He had a supporting role in the Douglas Sirk film Written on the Wind (1956) and then he starred in The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). He followed up those films with The Monolith Monsters (1957) and PT 109 (1963).

Williams guest starred on numerous television programs in the 1950s and 1960s including Gunsmoke, One Step Beyond, Mr. Lucky, The Munsters, The Outer Limits, Bonanza, Perry Mason and Dragnet. He was also one of the co-stars of Hawaiian Eye which ran from 1960-1963.

He died at the Veterans Hospital but no cause of death was given in his obituary. It is unclear what he died from but a VA spokesman said he was being treated for toxemia.

Grant Williams was born August 18, 1931 and died on July 28, 1985. He was 54 years old.

Notice the director is Jack Arnold. Arnold also directed It Came From Outer Space and Creature From the Black Lagoon. He directed three classic 50’s science fiction films. Good for him.

PIERCE BROTHERS VALHALLA MEMORIAL PARK

There are a number of stars buried at Valhalla.

The original entrance to Valhalla. Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park is located at 10621 Victory Blvd. in North Hollywood, California. It was designed by Kenneth MacDonald who also designed the Arcade Building in downtown Los Angeles.

A brief history of the building.
On the gate of the building.
The building is open on all four sides.
Inside the building looking up at the dome.

Some of the stars buried at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park are below. While some may be forgotten today, one of them, silent film star Mae Murray said, “You don’t have to keep making films to remain a star!”

Mae Clarke circa 1930.

Mae Clarke was in two classic films and some interesting movies. That’s more than most actresses. Clarke had a very long life that began in Pennsylvania where she was born in 1910.

Clarke’s first brush with fame was as the sister-in-law of Fanny Brice.

At the age of fourteen Clarke was in New York City training to be a dancer. Four years later, while working in George White’s Scandals, she met Lew Brice — Fanny Brice’s brother.

Lew Brice found Clarke young and attractive so, of course, he pursued her. Years later she would say in her oral autobiography that she was attracted to Brice because he was “tall and slender, agile” and “a wonderful dancer.” She claimed he was a “handsome dresser” and a “club man.” She was young so it wasn’t difficult for her to fall for Brice’s charm. They were married on February 6, 1928 when Clarke was 18.

Clarke said of Fanny Brice, “I got Fanny Brice as my close friend and sister-in-law. She was a dream person and a friend and she loved my family and was very sweet to them.”

Soon after her marriage, while she and Lew where working in vaudeville, she was seen by an agent, Leo Morrison, who was Lew’s friend. Morrison asked Clarke to do a screen test for a Fox film called Big Time. Clarke wasn’t sure she wanted to do the movie or go to Hollywood but Fanny Brice convinced her to do both and Fanny stated she was going to California with her. In Hollywood, Fanny rented two suites at the Hollywood Roosevelt. One for herself and one for Mae and Lew. Clarke recalled in her oral autobiography that, “My first dinner in Hollywood was in the Blossom Room at the Roosevelt Hotel.”

Mae began working at the Fox Studio at Western and Sunset in 1929. In Clarke’s first two years in Hollywood she made the following films Big Time (1929), Nix on Dames (1929), The Fall Guy (1930), The Dancers (1930), Men on Call (1930), The Front Page (1931) as Molly Molloy, The Public Enemy (1931) opposite James Cagney, The Good Bad Girl (1931), Waterloo Bridge (1931), Reckless Living (1931) and Frankenstein (1931).

She continued to make films throughout 1932 and 1933 including The Penguin Pool Murder (1932) with James Gleason and Edna May Oliver who Clarke said, “was a joy.”

On March 1, 1933, she was at a party at Eddie Mannix’s house. When it got late, Mannix sent her home with actor Phillip Holmes behind the wheel. At the time, Clarke was living in Westwood with her parents. The night was foggy and Holmes was driving close to the curb and slow according to Clarke — then, “all of a sudden, wham! Drove straight into the back of a parked car. No seat belts. My jaw went straight forward into the dash. Broke it right in half, hanging down this way, spitting out teeth.” Clarke lost seven teeth and had to have her jaw wired shut. After she was “de-wired” she had caps put on her teeth but she had no insurance. She eventually sued Holmes for her medical expenses. The case was dropped when Holmes agreed to pay her medical bills.

She had a series of nervous break downs in the 1930s which made employment difficult and whenever she was employed during the 1930s studios were “taking a chance.” She continued to work in the succeeding decades but nine times out of ten she was uncredited or did small bit parts as a hairdresser, courtroom spectator, salesgirl or something of that sort. [Note: Clarke recalled that once while she was institutionalized Fanny Brice visited her and brought along Nicky Arnstein.]

In the 1980s she ended up at the Motion Picture Country Home. James Curtis interviewed her for an oral autobiography which was published after her death. In the book she commented on many of the people she worked with.

Regarding Boris Karloff and Frankenstein Clarke said, “How could you look at that man and know what he was going to do on the screen? He didn’t look like he had any confidence. He was awkward. But when he started to work, he was as graceful as a gazelle. For the size of him, he carried that costume and those weighted feet beautifully. Everything was timed like a – well, he was a giant in all directions. But to just meet him, never having heard of him before, he was too shy, too soft for that big of a man. That big of a man should have bigger talk. He was very quiet; you had to listen… Besides, he was a very private man. He was overly polite. If you get too much politeness, you get the idea that he doesn’t want to be disturbed, and you honor that.”

Regarding Colin Clive and Frankenstein Clarke said when she first met Clive she, “Fell in love with him instantly. Yep. Fell in love. Just gorgeous. But I knew he was married, so that put the reins on. I’ve always had a rule: Never look twice at a man who was married.” When asked how she would describe him Clarke said, “English. Male. Wonderful actor. Beautiful eyes. Gorgeous voice. Nice hair. Clean fingernails. Beautiful clothes. When I didn’t feel well, he sent me a six-foot box filled with spring flowers. I liked that. I thought that was nice… And sophisticated. Man of the world. Continental man. They just have something you can’t describe. Like Herbert Marshall.”

Regarding James Cagney who pushed a grapefruit in her face in The Public Enemy Clarke said, “I could hear him, I could smell — I knew he was a star. He was a man who knew his business, and his business doesn’t stop within himself. He was interested in the whole picture. He wanted you to be good because it helped him to be good. So he gave time to you in rehearsal or took you aside when the director didn’t do it. ‘Let’s run that again. Now look, when I come in, I’ll come in the room on my right foot, so that when I get up here, I will land on my left. I’ll be just facing you and getting ready to turn around this way.’ Choreography.”

Boris Karloff and Mae Clarke in Frankenstein.
I was unable to find Mae Clarke’s grave marker. Find a Grave says it is in Valhalla’s section C — space 2424. I found that space but there is no marker for her there. Maybe, it was broken and not replaced? There is an image of her marker on Find a Grave’s website but that image is from 1996 which was 25 years ago. It’s a mystery as to where her marker is now.

Clarke was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 1990 and lived almost another two years. Mae Clarke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1910 and died of cancer in Woodland Hills, California on April 29, 1992. She was 81 years old.

Alice Terry looking modern and sophisticated on a postcard circa 1925.

Alice Terry’s film career lasted approximately seventeen years. During those years she not only starred in some successful films but she also married a famous film director but her marriage may have hindered her career.

Terry was born in 1900 and started her film career in 1916 as an extra in Thomas Ince’s Civilization. During the teens she worked under the name Alice Taaffe, which was her given name, but in the 1920s she had more success when she changed her name to Alice Terry.

Terry was the female lead in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) opposite Rudolph Valentino. The film was directed by Rex Ingram. While Terry was making the film version of The Prisoner of Zenda in 1921 numerous newspaper articles appeared detailing Terry’s romantic relationship with the film’s director Rex Ingram and their impending marriage. Ingram repeatedly stated in the press that he didn’t want Terry to work in film after their marriage but in some of those same articles Terry stated she planned to continue to work after her nuptials. Still, a Times article from this same time period contained the following sentence, “Miss Terry is to retire from professional life following her marriage, this being Mr. Ingram’s wish as well as her own.”

Despite stories about the couples plans to marry in Belgium, Ireland or some other foreign locale, Terry married Ingram in Pasadena on November 5, 1921. The Prisoner of Zenda, opposite Lewis Stone, was released the following year and was a hit for everyone involved.

In 1924 the couple moved to the French Riviera according to A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses by Tony Slide. The move was partially motivated by Ingram’s dislike of Louis B. Mayer who had become the head of MGM.

While in France the couple formed their own small studio called Victorine Studios. Terry only stayed in France until 1925, though, due to marital problems. She would return to the United States and eventually found a home for Ingram and herself in Studio City after they reconciled. She made a variety of films from 1924 to the end of her career including The Arab (1924) opposite Ramon Navarro, Sackcloth and Scarlet (1925), Mare Nostrum (1926) opposite Antonio Moreno, The Lovers (1927) again opposite Ramon Navarro, The Garden of Allah (1927) opposite Gerald Fielding and Baroud (1933) also known as Love in Morocco which she co-directed with Ingram and was her last film.

Regarding the issue of her marriage and her career — her marriage may have been detrimental to her career because Ingram always chose his wife for the female lead in his films (which is great) but then Ingram concentrated on the male characters in those same films (which is not so great).

As a result, Terry’s characters, in her husband’s films, often seem passive or reactive.

The couple adopted a son, Kada-Abd-el-Kader, while living in the south of France but sent him back to Europe when he became unruly.

After Ingram’s death in 1950 Terry enjoyed her retirement and everything mid-century Los Angeles had to offer an attractive widow. Author Tony Slide interviewed Terry on numerous occasions. Slide states Terry enjoyed dressing up in furs, dinning out at restaurants and going for cocktails after dinner. According to Slide, she also had a romantic relationship with one of her former leading men — Gerald Fielding.

In 1951 Terry sued Columbia Pictures for $750,000 over the film Valentino which insinuated she had a relationship with Valentino when she was still married to Ingram. The lawsuit went her way and Terry received a “substantial” settlement from Columbia as a result of the lawsuit.

Terry ended up at the Motion Picture Country Home in her old age and suffered from Alzheimers’ in her last years.

She’s there by herself.

Alice Terry was born in Vincennes, Indiana on July 24, 1900, and died in Burbank, California on December 22, 1987.

Oliver Hardy is the one on the left. The one with the tiny mustache.

Oliver Norvell Hardy was born in Georgia in 1892. Hardy went to military school and then graduated from the University of Georgia Law School. After graduation he obtained a job working at the Palace Theater in Milledgeville, Georgia. He was interested in the movies and in an effort to attain his goal of finding work in the movies he moved to Jacksonville, Florida where Lubin had set up a studio. He worked at Lubin and stayed in Jacksonville until 1915 then he moved again; this time to New York City. In NYC he worked for Casino, Edison and Pathe Studios. He only stayed in NYC for two years. In 1917 he moved to Los Angeles and found work at the Vitagraph Company.

In 1924 he went to work for Hal Roach Studios and teamed up with Stan Laurel in 1927. From 1927 to 1945 Laurel and Hardy made a series of motion pictures that include Big Business (1929), Pardon Us (1931), Pack Up Your Troubles (1932), Sons of the Desert (1933), Babes in Toyland (1934), Way out West (1937), Great Guns (1941) and Jitter Bugs (1943). Hardy’s obituary claimed that the reason the duo enjoyed world-wide success was because a great deal of their work was done in pantomime. 

From Hardy’s obituary was this paragraph, “In their pictures Laurel called him Ollie, but away from the cameras and to everyone the blimplike Hardy was always Babe. Down through the years Laurel and Hardy had always been close friends, being almost psychic in the understanding of each other.”

Hardy suffered a paralytic stroke on September 12, 1956, which left him incapacitated. From his first stroke till his death he went from a weight of 350 pounds to 120 pounds. He suffered two more strokes the week before his death. The last one put him in a coma which he never recovered from.

A Masonic service was held for Hardy at Pierce Brothers Beverly Hills Mortuary. Adolphe Menjou, Hal Roach and George Stevens attended his funeral. Stan Laurel’s doctor advised him against attending Hardy’s funeral. Laurel was recovering from a stroke he had in 1955.

His grave is located in the Garden of Hope.

This tablet is on the wall of the Garden of Hope.

Oliver Norvell Hardy was born January 18, 1892 and died on August 7, 1957. He was 65 years old and was survived by his wife and a sister.

May Murray at the height of her fame circa 1925.

Mae Murray had a life of ups and downs but it was mainly down from 1933 until her death in 1965.

Mae Murray was born in New York City in 1889 and ended up in Hollywood in the mid-teens after having worked and starred in the Ziegfeld Follies from 1908-1915. Murray’s first film was To Have and to Hold (1916) and she worked hard and appeared in twenty-two films over the next four years. Some of her films from the teens include The Dream Girl (1916), The Plow Girl (1916), A Mormon Maid (1917), The Bride’s Awakening (1918), Modern Love (1918), Danger, Go Slow (1918), The Delicious Little Devil (1919) and The A.B.C. of Love (1919).

She was a popular star and popular with men too. She married her third husband, director Robert Z. Leonard, in 1918. [The Z was for Zigler.]

In the 1920s she made fewer films. She made a total of sixteen films over a ten year period. Some critics complained that Murray posed more than acted but she continued to be popular with audiences and during this decade a few of the films she made were Right to Love (1920), The Gilded Lily (1921), Peacock Alley (1922), Mademoiselle Midnight (1924), The Masked Bride (1925) and Altars of Desire (1927).

It is acknowledged by most critics that Murray’s best film is Erich Von Stroheim’s The Merry Widow (1925) which featured John Gilbert as Murray’s co-star. That same year Murray divorced Leonard and the following year married David Mdivani. Rudolph Valentino and Pola Negri were part of the Mdivani-Murray wedding party. Mdivani was a “Georgian Prince” who latched onto Murray when she was at the height of her fame and worth $3 million. Murray gave birth to a son the following year and the couple named him Koran David Mdivani.

John Gilbert and Mae Murray in The Merry Widow.

Mdivani had an old world view of a woman’s “place” and urged Murray to break her contract with MGM which Murray did. She did this at the worse possible time; when the transition from silent film to sound film was underway. Maybe, Murray’s screen career could have survived with the support of a studio behind her but without one she only made three more films after Altars of Desire. Those three films were a remake of Peacock Alley (1930), Bachelor Apartment (1931) and High Stakes (1931). None were hits and unbeknownst to Murray at the time — her film career was over.

In 1933 the couple divorced and Murray would later state she was broke when she left the courthouse. In debt, Murray was living in a Playa del Rey beach house but in the fall of that same year she moved to the Lido Apartments on Yucca Street in Hollywood. She lived there until she and Koran were evicted for non-payment of rent.

Soon afterward her son needed an operation. She couldn’t pay the hospital bill and she didn’t have a place for him to convalesce so she agreed to let Koran stay with relatives of the doctor who treated him. Problems arose when she wanted Koran back but still had only sporadic employment and no home of her own. In view of her situation the doctor’s relatives didn’t want to give Koran back. In 1939 the case came to a head and the judge ruled in favor of the doctor’s relatives. [It was reported in newspapers, at the time, that Murray had spent time sleeping on park benches when she had no money. Her ex-husband didn’t want custody of Koran because he knew it would link him to Murray and he wanted nothing to do with her.]

She bounced back momentarily in 1941 when she danced the Merry Widow waltz in Billy Rose’s Cavalcade of the Silver Screen at his Diamond Horseshoe but then quit after feuding with Nita Naldi, who was also in the show, and throwing an ashtray at her dance partner, Georges Fontana.

She did work in radio over the years but continued to make bad employment decisions often turning down employment opportunities because she felt the salary wasn’t adequate. When she was broke, she would contact people she knew from the past and ask for loans she had no way of repaying. Alla Nazimova, Theda Bara, Loretta Young and former husband, Robert Z. Leonard all gave her money over the years.

In February of 1964 she took a Greyhound bus to New York City with a manuscript regarding her life that she hoped to have published. She debarked in St. Louis thinking she was in New York and got lost. The police took her to the Salvation Army for assistance because she had no money. When it was discovered she was “Mae Murray — the silent screen star” the Motion Picture Relief Fund was contacted and the Relief Fund supplied Murray with a plane ticket back to Los Angeles.

Murray, who had always lived in the past and always lied about her age, became even more disoriented later that year. In Michael G. Ankerich’s wonderful book about Murray titled Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips he detailed her last big entrance in August 1964.

Because of health issues Murray had been taken to the Motion Picture Country Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. Screenwriter Frances Marion recounted the following scene upon Murray’s arrival.

“As the nurses rushed forward to assist her into the hospital, Mae barked orders. “Step aside, peasants! Let the Princess Mdivani pass. Where are the cameras? Where are my flowers? I must be photographed with flowers. Get them before I’m surrounded by cameramen!” She turned to an approaching doctor. “If you’re a Hearst reporter, be sure to mention that I’ve just finished my memoirs.” She looked toward the nurses. “Music! I always make my entrance with music. Have your orchestra play ‘The Merry Widow Waltz.’ That’s the number I made famous.” Mae extended her hand to the doctor. “May I introduce myself? I’m Mae Murray, the young Ziegfeld beauty with the bee-stung lips–and Hollywood is calling me.” As Mae slumped forward, the doctor caught her in his arms. “Poor old thing,” one of the nurses said.

The finish is peeling off her marker. She’s buried in a plot that was owned by the Motion Picture Country Home.

DeWitt Bodeen, in a summation of Murray’s life and career in Films in Review, said of Murray, “Mae Murray danced through life as if it were a dream world and she its faraway princess. A romantic, she behaved as if reality simply didn’t exist, and then was wounded to the quick when no one understood her butterfly nature. In the end, she escaped from her tangled web of self-deceit and took refuge in another dream world, a fantasy land where she ruled and gave royal commands that must be obeyed on the instant.”

Mae Murray was born in New York City on May 10, 1889 and died on March 23, 1965. She was 79 years old. Ramon Navarro and Claire Windsor attended her funeral.

The images of Richard Carlson, Jack Holt, Grant Williams and Mae Clarke are publicity photos. The images of Mae Murray and Alice Terry are old postcards. The Sons of the Desert window card, The Incredible Shrinking Man poster, The Merry Window photograph and the Frankenstein lobby card are from Wikimedia Commons.

Sources

Actor Jack Holt taken by death. (1951, January 19). Los Angeles Times, 2.

Alice Terry, 88, actress in silent movies, dies. (1987, December 26). Los Angeles Times, 46.

All about Alice: meteoric advances of Miss Terry in motion pictures. (1921, August 21). Los Angeles Times, III14.

Ankerich, M. G. (2013). Mae Murray: the girl with the bee-stung lips. University Press of Kentucky.

Bodeen, D. (1975, December). Mae Murray 1889-1965. Films in Review, 26(10), 597-618.

Clarke, M. & Curtis, J. (1996). Featured player: an oral autobiography of Mae Clarke. Santa Barbara, California: Santa Teresa Press.

Creature furnishes screen thrills in 3D. (1954, February 25). Los Angeles Times, A17.

Film men sued by Mae Murray. (1930, March 9). Los Angeles Times, A10.

Filmland bids farewell to comic Oliver Hardy. (1957, August 10). Los Angeles Times, B1.

Flashes: Postpone wedding, Ingram-Terry marriage to take place in Ireland. (1921, October 14). Los Angeles Times, III4.

Flashes: Rex Ingram engaged, will marry Alice Terry, leading lady. (1921, July 14). Los Angeles Times, III4.

Folkart, B. A. & Stassel, S. (1992, April 30). Mae Clarke, famed for grapefruit scene, dies. Los Angeles Times, B1.

Grant Williams; starred in ’57 ‘Shrinking Man’ film. (1985, August 1). Los Angeles Times, A17.

Hollywood pays Hardy final tribute today. (1957, August 9). Los Angeles Times, 17.

Hopper, H. (1953, February 24). Science fictioners hold Richard Carlson. Los Angeles Times, B6.

Jack Holt, 62, ill of heart ailment. (1951, January 18). Los Angeles Times, 2.

Jack Holt will cuts off wife with a dollar. (1951, February 1). Los Angeles Times, 18.

Jack Holt’s services set for Tuesday. (1951, January 20). Los Angeles Times, 5.

Mae Murray’s and prince’s lives aired in support fight. (1939, August 23). Los Angeles Times, A1.

Mae Murray in tears as she tells poverty. (1940, February 24). Los Angeles Times, 1.

Oliver Hardy of famous movies comedy team dies. (1957, August 8). Los Angeles Times, B1.

Outer-space film arrives. (1953, May 26). Los Angeles Times, B6.

Richard Carlson, actor, dies at 65; star of ‘I Led Three Lives’ on TV. (1977, November 27). Los Angeles Times, 44.

Scheuer, P. K. (1953, May 27). Science-fiction shocker loosed in wide-screen 3D. Los Angeles Times, B6.

Silent film vamp Mae Murray dies broke, lonely. (1965, March 24). Los Angeles Times, A1.

Slide, A. (2002). A biographical and autobiographical study of 100 silent film actors and actresses. University Press of Kentucky.

Stars of yesterday at Mae Murray rites. (1965, March 26). Los Angeles Times, A8.

The pandemic closed practically everything in Los Angeles but it looks like things are starting to open up again. YAY! There may be one final Rest in Peace before I go on vacation.



My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Rest in Peace 5

Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery is located at 1831 West Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles and was founded in 1884.

One of the elaborate monuments at the cemetery. There are so many large monuments at this cemetery. They must have been exorbitantly expensive even back then.

The text at the base is: “We shall meet when the day breaks and the shadows flee away.” I’m not biblical so I did some quick research and found out it’s from the Song of Solomon. It did not clarify anything. It still makes no sense but it sounds comforting.

The cemetery is expansive and takes up an entire city block.

One of the actresses buried at Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery wasn’t allowed to be buried at the cemetery where she wanted to be buried. It seems odd that a cemetery would be restricted but many cemeteries were restricted in the past. Hattie McDaniel wanted to be buried at Hollywood Forever but, back in the 1950s, that cemetery wouldn’t allow her to be buried there. Why? Because she was black. Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery had a more inclusive policy. Angelus- Rosedale Cemetery accepted McDaniel and put her up front — near the entrance.

Hattie McDaniel circa 1940.

Hattie McDaniel was born in 1895. She arrived in Los Angeles in 1931 and made an early film appearance in Mae West’s I’m No Angel (1933). She followed that up with a role in Judge Priest (1934) which starred Will Rogers and then she had a supporting role in The Little Colonel (1935) which was a Shirley Temple picture. She also had roles in Alice Adams and China Seas (both 1935). The following year she was Queenie in Irene Dunne’s Showboat (1936). She closed out the decade with her most memorable role — the role she is remembered for today; that role is Mammy in Gone With The Wind (1939).

McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for GWTW. The first African American to ever win an acting award from the Academy. Yet, her career was far from perfect. Many civil rights leaders objected to her portrayal of stereotypical “Mammy” roles. McDaniel continued to work in Hollywood films and play the roles she was offered despite the objections. She was working on a series called Beulah, first on radio and then on television, in the early 1950s when she had a minor stroke. She was recovering from the stroke when she discovered she had breast cancer.

Hattie McDaniel was born on June 10, 1895 and died of breast cancer on October 26, 1952. She was 59 years old. Thousands of people attended the funeral service including Lena Horne and actor Edward Arnold.

The Egyptian Mausoleum and Columbarium at Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery.

The mausoleum needs some work but it’s still beautiful. Look at its construction. It’s just stucco over a wood frame.

After I took this picture I walked to the side of the building to see if there was anything else noteworthy that I could photograph; a stained glass window or something of that sort. What I stumbled upon was a black cat. When the cat saw me it froze and stared at me for a second or two before it hissed at me and then scurried up a tree next to the mausoleum. My first thought was “Well, that can’t be a good sign.” Yet, nothing bad happened that day but if anything bad happens in the future I’m blaming that cat!

Two of the inhabitants of the mausoleum are below.

From left to right: Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles and Everett Sloane from Citizen Kane.

Everett Sloane was born in Manhattan in 1909. He worked on the stage and in radio before he met Orson Welles. He became a member of Welles’ Mercury Theater in 1938 and was part of Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio cast. Three years later Sloane played the role of Mr. Bernstein in Citizen Kane (1941). Film critics around the world have deemed Citizen Kane the best American film ever made and possibly the greatest film ever made in the history of motion pictures.

Sloane worked in radio during the 1940s and was in the cast of numerous shows including: The Goldbergs, The Shadow, Buck Rogers and Pretty Kitty Kelly. Sloane once stated he worked so much in radio that he averaged about $50,000 a year from the work.

Film-wise Sloane followed up Citizen Kane with Journey into Fear (1943) and The Lady from Shanghai (1947). In the 1950s, he was in Patterns (1956) which is a wonderful film that also has in its cast Van Heflin and the always amazing Ed Begley. He was the star of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode called, “Our Cook’s A Treasure” which has a good twist at the end and a Twilight Zone episode called “The Fever” which should be required viewing at every gambler’s anonymous meeting.

Everett Sloane was born on October 1, 1909 and died on August 6, 1965. He committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates. He was 55 years old at the time of his death. His obituary extensively documents the depression and difficulty he was experiencing over the false impression that he was going blind. He even said to his wife prior to his death, “You would be better off if I killed myself!” He left two notes: one for his wife and one for his business manager. The contents were never revealed to the public.

On the west side of the mausoleum is a wall of locked funeral urns that hold the cremated remains of the deceased.

The spots on this side — the west side — appear to be more “upscale” than those on the eastside. There is a film director, on this side, who may be forgotten but he directed a number of well-known classic movies. His name is Tod Browning.

Tod Browning circa 1930.

Tod Browning was born in Kentucky in 1880. He worked for The Ringling Brothers Circus when he was young and then worked for director D. W. Griffith in New York. When Griffith moved to Hollywood Browning followed. Browning eventually directed films for both Metro and Universal. In the mid-20s he teamed up with Lon Chaney for a film that was a big hit called The Unholy Three (1925). Browning continued to collaborate with Chaney and the two also made The Unknown (1927). Chaney’s co-star in The Unknown was Joan Crawford. Then, Browning and Chaney made London After Midnight (1927) which is, unfortunately, a lost film.

Bela Lugosi was the star of Browning’s biggest hit — Dracula (1931). After Dracula, Browning made a film that was a commercial failure at the time but is held in high esteem today. Freaks (1932) is a film about a love triangle between carnival workers and the revenge meted out on the blonde, callous star of the carnival. Browning’s last film was Miracles for Sale (1939). It is unclear why Browning stopped directing. He was a heavy drinker which could have been the cause but no one seems to know for sure. After his wife’s death in 1944, he pretty much turned his back on the world and went into seclusion.

Tod Browning was born on July 12, 1880 and died on October 6, 1962. He was 82 years old.

It was difficult to get a good picture because the glass is reflective and if I stood or knelt in front of the space my reflection appeared in the photograph. I didn’t want to be in the photograph. I took this photograph by standing to the side and holding my arm out and above.

Marshall Neilan circa 1920 from Who’s Who on the Screen.

Marshall Ambrose Neilan, who was Irish and had red hair, began his life in San Bernardino, California in 1891. San Bernardino is only 65 miles from Hollywood and Neilan was working in the silent film industry by 1912. His first job was working as D. W. Griffith’s chauffeur at Biograph. According to his obituary he worked for a variety of film companies including Famous Players-Lasky, The Kalem Co., The American Film Co. and Universal. There were many opportunities in silent film and just a few years after working as a chauffeur he starred opposite Mary Pickford in Rags and A Girl of Yesterday (both 1915). Pickford and Neilan eventually became good friends and when Neilan turned from acting to directing he directed Pickford in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), Stella Maris (1918) and Daddy-Long-Legs (1919). Neilan had his own production company, Marshall Neilan Productions, by 1920 and in 1921 he married Blanche Sweet who was a D. W. Griffith star and had starred in D. W. Griffith’s Judith of Bethulia (1914).

Neilan worked throughout the 1920s as a director of feature length films. At the end of the decade he directed a successful talkie titled The Vagabond Lover (1929) with Rudy Vallee and Marie Dressler.

Neilan had a drinking problem and his career went downhill in the 1930s. Film director Allan Dwan said Neilan, “ruined himself with liquor and indifference and the bitterness that came from the both of them.” According to Quinlan’s book on film directors, Neilan became the guy who didn’t want to be at work (at the studio) but instead at a party or out carousing. He would show up at the studio half way through the day and his alcoholism made him less and less employable as each year went by. Neilan directed his last film in 1937. According to Bob Edwards, at Find A Grave, Neilan supported himself in the 1940s and 1950s by driving a cab. Mary Pickford paid for Neilan’s funeral.

Marshall Neilan was born April 11, 1891 and died at the Motion Picture Country Home on October 27, 1958. His death was due to cancer. He was 67 years old.

The cemetery is in need of better upkeep. In many of the areas that I visited, on a variety of days over a period of weeks, the grass needed to be mowed. I often had prickly burs sticking to my socks that I had to remove before I got into my car.

Anna May Wong circa 1930.

Anna May Wong was born in 1905 in downtown Los Angeles. She was born in a house on Flower Street. Wong wanted to be in pictures despite her parents objections and fortunately for her she was able to parlay her desire into a career. It may have not been the career she wanted but she had a career. Wong’s first noteworthy appearance was in Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad (1924). Eight years later she supported Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932). She wanted the Louise Rainer part in The Good Earth but MGM wouldn’t cast a Chinese woman opposite a white man (Paul Muni) even if the white man was playing a Chinese man. This was due to miscegenation laws and the Hayes Code.

Miscegenation laws and the Hayes Code prevented Wong from being cast opposite any white male film star in a romantic role. This vastly reduced her screen options.

In 1937, she starred in a film called Daughter of Shanghai. She was proud of this film and thought it showcased Chinese people in a positive light. The film was selected, in 2006, by the National Film Registry as a film worthy of preservation. She had a cabaret act in the 1940s and in the 1950s she had a television show called The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong on the DuMont Network. It was a detective series. One of her last roles was in the Lana Turner picture Portrait in Black (1960).

Anna May Wong was born on January 3, 1905 and died from a heart attack on February 3, 1961. She was 56 years old.

I realize that the tombstone does not say Anna Mae Wong but I showed the image to a Chinese librarian and she verified that the name on the right side of the headstone is Anna Mae Wong’s. Anna May Wong is buried with her mother, Lee Toy Wong, and her sister. I was disappointed that Anna Mae Wong’s name wasn’t written in English so I could read it but that’s just self-centered of me to want that. As long as her family can read it — that’s all that matters.

The Angelus-Rosedale sign is barely visible from the street.

Adjoining Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery is the Chapel of the Pines Crematory. It’s located at 1605 South Catalina Street. The cross street is Venice.

Chapel of the Pines Crematory was founded in 1903.

Chapel of the Pines Crematory not only preforms the functions of a crematory but is also the final resting place of some film people. The crematory claims to be open to the public but that’s not true. Yet, even though access is “difficult” this is the final resting place of the stars below.

Gregory La Cava from a trade paper advertisement circa 1934.

Gregory La Cava was born in 1892. He arrived in Hollywood in the mid 1920s and had his first notable hit in 1926 with So’s Your Old Man starring W. C. Fields. Fields and La Cava teamed up again for the film Running Wild (1927) and the two formed a bond and became good friends.

La Cava worked for a variety of studios including Twentieth Century Pictures, RKO, Paramount and MGM. He directed Irene Dunne in a Fanny Hurst tearjerker Symphony for Six Million (1932) which was a success. He followed that up with The Affairs of Cellini (1934) with Fredrich March and Frank Morgan and Private Worlds (1935) with Claudette Colbert. Then he directed a huge hit for MGM which starred William Powell and Carol Lombard — My Man Godfrey (1936). He had another success the following year with Stage Door (1937). Stage Door starred Ginger Rogers, Katherine Hepburn and Adolph Menjou. He received Best Director Oscar nominations for both of those films. He made two more films with Ginger Rogers: Fifth Avenue Girl (1939) and Primrose Path (1940) and two more films with Irene Dunne: Unfinished Business (1941) and Lady in a Jam (1942) but the Irene Dunne films under performed.

According to Quinlan’s Film Directors, La Cava became the drinking partner of John Barrymore and W. C. Fields and his film work suffered as result. Quinlan’s diplomatically states that his film work at this point was “delayed or abandoned because of his recent illness.” He made one more film in 1947 with Gene Kelly called Living in a Big Way but it wasn’t a hit either.

La Cava’s obituary states he was the last member of the famed triumvirate known as The Doxology Club. The other two members, W. C. Fields and John Barrymore, had proceeded him in death. La Cava was found dead, by his maid, in the second story bedroom of his Malibu home.

The police stated he was found fully clothed and it appeared, as if, he had been sitting on the bed and had fallen over onto it. The telephone directory was open and the phone was not in its cradle. Police speculated he was calling for help.

Leo McCarey, George Stevens, Adolph Menjou, Katherine Hepburn and Andrea Leeds all attended his funeral.

Gregory La Cava was born on March 10, 1892 and died from a heart attack on March 1, 1952. He was 59 years old.

Mitchell Leisen on a game card circa 1938.

Mitchell Leisen was often dismissed by film historians and his contemporaries as a “woman’s director.” In the last decade his reputation has been re-evaluated and he’s rightly seen in a more positive light now. That’s great because Leisen made a number of wonderful films.

He was born in 1897 and was working for Cecil B. DeMille by 1919. Originally, he worked as a costume designer for DeMille but eventually he worked as an art and set decorator too. (Leisen’s hobbies included painting, sculpting and dress making.) His notable costume design work includes DeMille’s Don’t Change Your Husband (1919) and two Douglas Fairbank’s films Robin Hood (1922) and The Thief of Bagdad (1924). His last job as a costume designer, for Mr. DeMille, was The Sign of the Cross (1932).

Leisen wanted to direct so his first step toward that goal was when he worked as an associate director under Stuart Walker. He did that twice and then was given the chance to direct Fredrich March in Death Takes a Holiday (1934). He followed that up with Kitty Carlisle and Victor McLaglen in Murder at the Vanities (1934) and Fred MacMurray and Carol Lombard in Hands Across the Table (1935). In 1938, he directed The Big Broadcast of 1938 which was Bob Hope’s breakthrough film.

He continued making successful films including: Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche in Midnight (1939), Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Remember the Night (1940), Olivia De Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn (1940), Ginger Rogers in Lady in the Dark (1944), Olivia De Havilland and John Lund in To Each His Own (1946), Marlene Dietrich and Ray Milland in Golden Earrings (1946) and John Lund and Barbara Stanwyck in No Man of Her Own (1950).

Leisen’s last big film was The Mating Season (1951) with Gene Tierney, John Lund, Miriam Hopkins and Thelma Ritter.

In the late 1950s and 1960s he worked in television. He directed three episodes of The Twilight Zone including: “Escape Clause” (1959) with David Wayne, “Sixteen Millimeter Shrine” (1959) with Ida Lupino and “People Are Alike All Over” (1960) with Roddy McDowall. He directed two episodes of Boris Karloff’s Thriller: “Girl with a Secret” (1960) and “Worse than Murder” (1960). He also directed episodes of Wagon Train and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.

His obituary states he attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and had worked as an architect in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles. The obit also states he owned his own men’s clothing store in Beverly Hills. In 1949, he was chosen by the Dons association of clothing manufacturers as the best dressed man in the United States.

Leisen was married to a woman named Sandra Gahle who was a singer and actress. They divorced in 1942. For the last 30 years of his life he was a bachelor. He had no survivors.

Mitchell Leisen was born in Menominee, Michigan on October 6, 1898 and died in Woodland Hills, California on October 28, 1972. He was 74 years old.

Jean Hagen circa 1953.

Jean Hagen was born in Chicago. She attended Northwestern University and graduated in 1945. She was working on Broadway in a play called “The Traitor” opposite Lee Tracy when she was spotted by Sam Zimbalist who was a MGM producer. Zimbalist signed her to a contract and her first film was Side Street which was filmed on location in New York. She was in Hollywood by the late 1940s and had a part in Adam’s Rib (1949). The next year she appeared in The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and then in 1952 she appeared in the film that she is best remembered for — Singin’ in the Rain. In that film she portrays Lina Lamont the actress whose voice is all wrong for sound film.

She turned to television in 1953 and appeared alongside Danny Thomas, as his wife, in Make Room for Daddy. Hagen became disenchanted with the series, though, and asked if she could exit the series. Her wish was granted. Her stated reason for leaving the series was because she wanted to be, “just a wife and a mother in real life.” She had married agent Ted Seidel in 1947 and they had a son and a daughter. She later appeared in the The Shaggy Dog (1959) and a terrific Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode titled, “Enough Rope for Two” (1957).

She had a long battle with alcoholism that she finally conquered but then was diagnosed with cancer. She was using the experimental drug laetrile at the time of her death because her doctor had only given her a 50-50 chance of survival with conventional therapy. Hagen’s daughter said her mother was using laetrile because the 50-50 chance wasn’t good enough and her mother “wanted very much to live.”

Jean Hagen was born on August 3, 1923 and died from esophageal cancer on August 29, 1977. She was 54 years old.

Thomas Mitchell in a publicity photo from The Hurricane.

Thomas Mitchell‘s most famous role is probably Gerald O’Hara in Gone With the Wind (1939). Yet, he starred in numerous other classic films.

Mitchell was born in 1892 and began working on the stage in the early teens and arrived in Hollywood in the mid 1920s. His first film of note was Irene Dunne’s Theodora Goes Wild (1936). He followed that up with two great films: Lost Horizon and The Hurricane (both 1937). In 1939 he was in FIVE noteworthy films: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings, GWTW and Stagecoach. For the last film, which starred John Wayne, Mitchell won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In the 1940s, he was in Our Town (1940), The Long Voyage Home (1940), The Outlaw (1943), Wilson (1944), The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Dark Mirror (1946) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) as uncle Billy.

In the 1950s, he had a part in Gary Cooper’s High Noon (1952) and Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps (1956). His final film was Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles (1961). His final television appearance was on “The Perry Como Show.”

According to his obituary Mitchell enjoyed collecting first editions of books and art. Thomas Mitchell had paintings by Whistler, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Who would have guessed that?

Thomas Mitchell was born on July 11, 1892 and died on December 17, 1962. He had been diagnosed with cancer in March 1962. At the time of his death he was 70 years old. His survivors included his wife, a son, a daughter and a sister.

The monster is on the table. Next to the monster are Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein (in green) and Dwight Frye as Fritz, Dr. Frankenstein’s loyal assistant.

Colin Clive had a short life and a short career.

Meeting the director James Whale is the reason Clive is immortal.

Clive’s first role on the stage was in a London production of The Eclipse at the Garrick Theater in 1919. Ten years later he was cast in a play called Journey’s End which was being directed by James Whale. During the Journey’s End rehearsals Clive stumbled over his lines. He couldn’t get the words out in the right order. In James Curtis’ book on James Whale called James Whale, Curtis says Clive was a constant worrier and more so on this production. As a result, R. C. Sherriff, the playwright, offered Clive a shot of whiskey. Clive was reluctant to take it but acquiesced and when the lunch break arrived Clive went to a local bar and drank more. The liquor gave Clive confidence and when he returned to the rehearsal his performance improved. This was the start of Clive’s drinking problem.

In the early 1930s, when Whale moved to Hollywood — Clive followed. Clive appeared in eighteen films over the next seven years — two of which are classics and Clive was cast in those two classic films because of James Whale. Clive made his film debut in the film version of Journey’s End (1930). Some of the films he made over the next seven years were: Frankenstein (1931), Christopher Strong (1933), Jane Eyre (1934), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935) The Widow From Monte Carlo (1935) and Mad Love (1935). Colin Clive’s last film was The Woman I Love (1937).

Clive’s alcoholism was obvious to his co-workers so it came as no surprise, according to Curtis’ book, that “after a year long battle with the complications arising from pneumonia and alcoholism” Colin Clive died. Some sources claim it was tuberculosis not pneumonia. His Times obituary states he died from “pulmonary and intestinal ailments.”

Colin Clive’s body was taken to Edward’s Brothers Colonial Mortuary on West Venice Boulevard and his body lied in state in the mortuary’s chapel until the service. James Whale declined to be an honorary pallbearer or attend Clive’s funeral because he had an aversion to funerals and cemeteries. Peter Lorre and Alan Mowbray were two of Clive’s pallbearers. Clive was married to a French actress named Jeanne de Casalis. They were separated but not divorced at the time of his death. She did not attend the service but according to the Times “sent a spray of red roses.”

Here’s a image of Colin Clive before everything went wrong.

Colin Clive was born on January 20, 1900 and died on June 25, 1937. He was 37 years old.

Colin Clive was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea but his name is on the cenotaph in the front of Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Herbert Marshall starred in so many enjoyable films. He’s a wonderful actor who was born in England in 1890. Marshall served with the 14th London Scots Regiment during World War I, saw some action and was shot in the knee in 1915. He spent thirteen months in the hospital recovering but doctor’s couldn’t save his leg so in all of his Hollywood movies Marshall is walking around on a prosthetic leg.

Marshall’s first motion picture was an English silent film called Mumsie (1927) which starred Pauline Frederick. He arrived in Hollywood in the late 1920s and made his Hollywood film debut opposite Jeanne Eagles in The Letter (1929). He returned to England to make a picture for Alfred Hitchcock called Murder! (1930) then returned to the United States and made a classic Ernest Lubitsch film, opposite Miriam Hopkins and Kay Francis, called Trouble in Paradise (1932). That same year he starred opposite Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus (1932).

He made another film for Ernest Lubitsch, Angel, opposite Marlene Dietrich in 1938 and another film for Alfred Hitchcock released in 1940 — Foreign Correspondent. He followed that film up with a remake of The Letter (1940). The 1940 version starred Bette Davis. The following year he starred opposite Bette Davis again in The Little Foxes (1941) for Samuel Goldwyn Studios.

After World War II, he appeared in Duel in the Sun (1946) and The Razor’s Edge (1946). In the 1950s, he was in Angel Face (1953) and The Fly (1958). In 1960, he was in the Doris Day film Midnight Lace. Marshall is also in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents with Robert Horton called, “A Bottle of Wine” (1957) which is quite enjoyable.

Marshall claimed in an interview, quoted in his obit, that he was making fewer films because they didn’t make his type of picture anymore. He said he made “drawing room pictures.”

Herbert Marshall was married five times. His fourth wife was a showgirl named Boots Mallory but she died in 1958. His daughter is the actress Sarah Marshall. [The Sarah Marshall born in 1930].

Herbert Marshall was born on May 23, 1890 and died of heart failure on January 22, 1966. He was 75 years old.

Sources

Actor Thomas Mitchell, 70, dies. (1962, December 18). Los Angeles Times, 1.

Berman, A. (1966, January 23). Herbert Marshall, 75, actor half century dies. Los Angeles Times, D2.

Curtis, J. (1982). James Whale. Metuchen, N. J. : Scarecrow Press.

Death calls to Colin Clive. (1937, June 26). Los Angeles Times, 3.

Everett Sloane, film, TV actor, found dead. (1965, August 7). Los Angeles Times, 2.

Everett Sloane funeral service to be held today. (1965, August 8). Los Angeles Times, 24.

Film director La Cava found dead in his home. (1952, March 2). Los Angeles Times, 3.

Film figures turn out for La Cava rites. (1952, March 6). Los Angeles Times, 21.

Fox, C. D. & Silver, M. L. (Eds.). (1920). Who’s who on the screen. New York: Ross Publishing Company, Inc.

Friends in last tribute to Clive. (1937, June 30). Los Angeles Times, A3.

Hattie M’Daniel, negro star, dies. (1952, October 27). Los Angeles Times, A1.

Private services held for Thomas Mitchell. (1962, December 19). Los Angeles Times, A3.

Quinlan, D. (1999). Quinlan’s film directors. London, England: B. T. Batsford.

Rites arranged for director Gregory La Cava. (1952, March 3). Los Angeles Times, A1.

Rites set for director Mitchell Leisen, 74. (1972, October 31). Los Angeles Times, B4.

Silent films’ Marshall Nielan dies; pioneer director, actor and producer ill since February. (1958, October 28). Los Angeles Times, B1.

Thackrey, T., Jr. (1977, August 31). Services pending for actress Jean Hagen. Los Angeles Times, B26.

Thousands crowd church at Hattie McDaniel rites. (1952, November 2). Los Angeles Times, A5.

The images of Hattie McDaniel, Everett Sloane, Tod Browning and the Frankenstein lobby card are from Wikimedia Commons. The photos of Jean Hagen, Thomas Mitchell and Herbert Marshall are publicity photos. The Anna Mae Wong and Colin Clive images are old postcards. The Gregory La Cava image is a single page from a two page trade paper advertisement. The Marshall Neiland image is from Who’s Who on the Screen. The Mitchell Leisen image is from Transogram’s Movie Millions Game Set.

The pandemic closed practically everything in Los Angeles but it didn’t close cemeteries. There will probably be a Rest in Peace 6.

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Rest In Peace 4

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village is located at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood, California. I had never been there before and I drove right past the entrance. Google repeated three times that I had reached my destination but I hadn’t seen it. I turned my car around, parked on the street and went looking for the cemetery on foot.

The entrance to the cemetery is hidden. It’s up a narrow access road that looks more like an alley than a street and the graveyard isn’t visible from the street. The cemetery is hidden behind buildings. One of those buildings is the Westwood Public Library.

Below you can see the ENTIRE cemetery in these two shots.

This cemetery probably has more stars per square foot than any other cemetery in Los Angeles County.

Below are a few of the notable individuals buried at Westwood Village.

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Natalie Wood circa 1962.

Natalie Wood is one of the few child stars who was able to make the transition from child star to full fledged movie star. One of her early roles was as the girl who didn’t believe in Santa Clause in the movie Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She made the transition from child star to teenage star opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1956). In 1956, she also had a pivotal role in John Ford’s The Searchers which starred John Wayne.

In 1961, she achieved full blown movie stardom with West Side Story which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the 1960s, she starred in Splendor in the Grass (1961), Gypsy (1962), Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), Sex and the Single Girl (1964) and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). She drowned under mysterious circumstances in 1981. She was filming Brainstorm at the time of her death and that film was eventually released in 1983. She was 43 years old.

Natalie Wood was born July 20, 1938 and died on November 29, 1981.

Eddie Albert circa 1960.

Eddie Albert was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1906. He became well-known as a result of his work in the film Roman Holiday (1953). The film starred Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and Albert received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Later he appeared in The Longest Day (1962) and Captain Newman, M.D. (1963). From 1965 to 1971 Albert co-starred with Eva Gabor in the very successful television series Green Acres. After his television series ended he worked in motion pictures again and received another Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the film The Heartbreak Kid (1972). His later films included The Longest Yard (1974) and Airport 1979. He died from a pneumonia at the age of 99.

Eddie Albert was born on April 22, 1906 and died on May 26, 2005. He married Margo in 1942. She was best known for her role as Maria in the Ronald Coleman version of Lost Horizon (1937).

Donna Reed circa 1953.

Donna Reed was born in Dennison, Iowa in 1921. She didn’t make many memorable movies but she made one that practically everyone in America has seen. In the history of American film there are few movies like that. Before she made that film she was in Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), The Courtship of Andy Hardy (1942), The Human Comedy (1943) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). Then, in 1946 she had the female lead opposite Jimmy Stewart in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. That film is one of the most watched films ever released in the United States. There is no way she could have topped it but she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for From Here to Eternity (1953). After Eternity she was in The Benny Goodman Story (1956) opposite Steve Allen but at that point her film career was pretty much over.

She made the transition to television and starred in her own TV series called The Donna Reed Show which ran from 1958-1966. Her husband in the show was the very likeable Carl Betz and her daughter was portrayed by Shelley Fabares.

Reed was married three times. First to make up artist William Tuttle (1943-1945), then to producer Tony Owen (1945-1971) and finally to Army colonel Grover W. Asmus (1974-her death). Donna Reed was born on January 27, 1921 and died on January 14, 1986. She died from pancreatic cancer. She was 64 years old.

Note: Grover Asmus died in 2003 but his death date has yet to be added to their marker.

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Lew Ayres circa 1932.

Lew Ayres was born in Minneapolis in 1908 and he played in a band before he arrived in Hollywood in the late 1920s. Ayres made two movies of note around 1930. One was opposite Greta Garbo called The Kiss (1929). The other was selected as the Best Picture of 1929/30. That film was All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). After Western Front, he made a number of less than memorable films until he made Holiday (1938) opposite Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. That same year he starred as Young Dr. Kildare which became a series so more Dr. Kildare movies followed over the years.

After World War II he starred opposite some big female stars including Olivia DeHavilland in The Dark Mirror (1946), Ann Sheridan in The Unfaithful (1947) and Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda (1948). In the early 1960s he starred in two films with all star casts: Advise and Consent (1962) and The Carpetbaggers (1964). Then, Ayres worked in television; everything from The Big Valley to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Lew Ayres was born December 28, 1908 and died on December 30, 1996. He was 88 years old.

Eve Arden circa 1945.

Eve Arden was born in Mill Valley, California in 1908. Once in Hollywood, Arden was in RKO’s Stage Door (1937) with Ginger Rodgers and Katherine Hepburn. She also had a part in a lesser known Marx Brothers’ movie — At the Circus (1939) and in Clark Gable’s Comrade X (1941). She was featured in that great Warner Bros. film The Unfaithful (1947) with Ann Sheridan, Zachary Scott and Lew Ayres. Yet, Arden is best remembered for three roles in three films. The first as Joan Crawford’s friend and sidekick in Mildred Pierce (1945). The second as Jimmy Stewart’s secretary in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and the third as Rydell High’s principal in Grease (1978).

Like many other film stars she turned to television in the 1950s and starred in the immensely popular Our Miss Brooks from 1952-1956.

Eve Arden was born April 30, 1908 and died November 12, 1990. The cause of death was a heart attack. She was 82 years old. She’s buried next to her second husband, actor and producer, Brooks West.

Darryl F. Zannuck circa 1934.

Darryl F. Zanuck was born in Wahoo, Nebraska on September 5, 1902. In 1908, he and his mother moved to Los Angeles. At 15, he signed up for the service and after serving in World War I, Zanuck returned to Los Angeles and worked for both Mack Sennett and Jack Warner. In 1933, Zanuck entered into a partnership with Joseph Schenck and the company they created was Twentieth Century Pictures. This incarnation of the company existed from 1933 to 1935. During these three years Twentieth Century Pictures were released through United Artists. In 1935 Zanuck and Schenck bought Fox Studios and from that point forward the company was known as 20th Century-Fox.

Zanuck fought to be a part of the military in World War II and saw some action in France. When he returned to the United States he took his place as the undisputed head of 20th Century-Fox. He is the credited producer on numerous films including: Wilson (1944), Dragonwyck (1946), The Razor’s Edge (1946), Nightmare Alley (1947), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), The Snake Pit (1948), Pinky (1949), Twelve O’Clock High (1949), All About Eve (1950), Viva Zapata! (1952), With a Song in My Heart (1952), The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (1956) and The Longest Day (1962).

Zanuck died of pneumonia. He was 77 years old.

That’s a whole lot of text for a burial marker! I found it difficult to read even when I was there. 

Cornel Wilde circa 1945.

Cornel Wilde was born in 1915. He ended up in Hollywood in the early 1940s and his first big success was in the Monty Woolley film Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942). He followed that up opposite Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven (1945) and A Song to Remember (1945). In the latter film he portrayed Frederic Chopin and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Those films were followed by another hit, Forever Amber (1947), opposite Linda Darnell. In 1948, he starred opposite Ida Lupino in the very enjoyable film Road House. In the 1950s he starred in the Academy Award winning Best Picture of 1952 The Greatest Show on Earth. Wilde then produced and starred in a magnificent film noir opposite his wife Jean Wallace. That film is The Big Combo (1955).

He continued to make films throughout the 1960s and 1970s but none were successful either artistically or commercially. The only film of any note that is remembered today is The Naked Prey (1966).

Cornel Wilde was born on October 13, 1915 and died of leukemia on October 16, 1989. He was 77 years old.

Burt Lancaster circa 1950.

Burt Lancaster was born in lower Manhattan in 1913. He worked as a circus acrobat when he was young and eventually served in World War II. After the war, he was appearing in a New York play when he was spotted by Harold Hecht. Hecht thought Lancaster had the looks necessary for a leading man in motion pictures and was able to convince Lancaster to move to Hollywood. Hal Wallis agreed with Hecht’s assessment and signed Lancaster.

Burt Lancaster made a series of highly successful films including: The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Criss Cross (1949), Jim Thorpe – All-American (1951), Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), The Rose Tattoo (1955), Marty (1955),* The Rainmaker (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Sweet Smell of Success (1958), Separate Tables (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Swimmer (1968), Airport (1970), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), Atlantic City (1980) and Local Hero (1983). His last film of note was Field of Dreams (1989).

Lancaster suffered a stroke in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed and he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1994. Lancaster was born on November 2, 1913 and died on October 20, 1994. He was 80 years old.

*He was the producer of Marty with Harold Hecht. I didn’t see any family nearby but his friend and partner, Harold Hecht, is about fifteen feet away.

Kirk Douglas circa 1952.

Kirk Douglas was born in New York in 1916 and ended up in Hollywood in the mid-1940s through the help of Lauren Bacall. (They knew each other in New York City.) His first film was opposite Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (1946). Next up was the classic noir film Out of the Past (1947) opposite Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum. The following year he starred in Champion (1949) and then had a string of hits in the 1950s. Douglas starred in Young Man with a Horn (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Detective Story (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Lust for Life (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957). His last two films of note were Spartacus (1960) and Seven Days in May (1964).

Douglas continued to make films over the next three decades. He had a stroke in 1996 which had an affect on his speech but it didn’t stop him from living. He died in 2020 at the age of 103.

Kirk Douglas was born on December 9, 1916 and died on February 5, 2020. No cause of death was given at the time of his death but one can assume it was natural causes or old age.

Walter Matthau circa 1980.

Walter Matthau made a series of movies with director Billy Wilder and actor Jack Lemmon. Their first collaboration together was The Fortune Cookie (1966) which won Matthau the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The trio also made The Front Page (1974) and Buddy Buddy (1981) together. Matthau also starred in The Odd Couple (1968), Hello Dolly (1969), Plaza Suite (1971), Kotch (1971), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and The Bad News Bears (1976).

There’s an Alfred Hitchcock Presents that Matthau did with Betty Field that I like. It’s called “A Very Moral Theft” (1960). In the episode Betty Field’s character, Helen, who is older and on the verge of spinsterhood wants to marry Matthau’s character, Harry Wade, but Wade isn’t so sure. Helen makes the ultimate relationship mistake; she loans Harry Wade money at which point things go unexpectedly wrong.

Walter Matthau died from a heart attack. He was 79 years old.

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Jack Lemmon circa 1955.

Jack Lemmon‘s first big role was opposite Judy Holiday in It Should Happen to You (1954). He followed that up with Mister Roberts (1955) and then starred in a string of very successful films including: Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Odd Couple (1968), The Out-of-Towners (1971), Save the Tiger (1973), The Front Page (1974), The China Syndrome (1979) and Missing (1983).

Lemmon’s son, Chris Lemmon, wrote a book regarding his father. In the book Neil Simon recounted a story in which super agent Swifty Lazar threw a party for Simon when Simon first arrived in Hollywood. Simon said some of the biggest stars in Hollywood were at the party including Gregory Peck, Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Billy Wilder, Jack Lemon and Fred Astaire. Simon recounted that none of the stars made any attempt to engage him in conversation except for Jack Lemmon. Lemmon was the only one who walked over and spoke to him without being prompted by Lazar. Simon said he always remembered that.

Jack Lemmon was born on February 8, 1925 and died on June 27, 2001. The cause of death was bladder cancer. He was 76 years old.

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Billy Wilder circa 1950.

Billy Wilder was born in Poland in 1906. In the 1920s, as a young adult, he moved to Berlin, first, and then to Paris. In 1933, he fortunately left Europe for good and moved to America. In Hollywood, he found a job at Paramount and along with his writing partner, Charles Brackett, he worked on a series of scripts that included: Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938-Paramount), Midnight (1939-Paramount), Ninotchka (1939-MGM), Hold Back the Dawn (1941-Paramount) and Ball of Fire (1941-RKO). [Note: Paramount loaned out Wilder and Brackett to other studios to work on scripts.]

In 1942, Wilder got his chance to direct a Ginger Rodgers film, The Major and the Minor. Rodgers co-star was Ray Milland and the film was a success. From the moment The Major and the Minor was released until the 1970s Wilder was a major film director who created a series of films that are held in even higher esteem today than they were when they were released.

A partial list of the films Wilder directed include: Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), A Foreign Affair (1948), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Private Life of Sherlock Homes (1970), The Front Page (1974) and Fedora (1978).

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The text on his headstone is a homage to the last line of Some Like it Hot. Billy Wilder was born June 22, 1906 and died on March 27, 2002 from pneumonia. At the time of his death he was 95 years old.

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Brian Keith circa 1955.

Brian Keith was born in New Jersey in 1921. After he arrived in Hollywood, he starred opposite Ginger Rogers in Tight Spot (1955) and opposite Maureen O’Hara in The Parent Trap (1961). He also had a role in a Best Picture nominee: The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966). Opposite Doris Day he starred in the very enjoyable With Six You Get an Eggroll (1968).

From 1966-1971 Keith starred in the long running television series Family Affair with Sebastian Cabot.

In most of his work Brian Keith had a pleasant, warm and easy-going persona yet there is an Alfred Hitchcock Presents where he plays against type. It’s in an episode titled “Your Witness” (1960). In the episode he portrays an attorney and unfaithful husband who’s a heel. A horrible heel. He’s just horrible! Unfortunately, for him, his wife in the story gets tired of his abuse and when the opportunity arises — gets even.

Daisy Keith was one of Brian Keith’s daughters. In April of 1997 Daisy Keith committed suicide. Keith, who had both lung cancer and emphysema, committed suicide — with a gun — on June 24, 1997. He was 75 years old.

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Janet Leigh circa 1948.

Janet Leigh was born in Stockton, California in 1927. In the mid 1940s, Leigh was working at a California ski resort when she caught the attention of MGM’s Norma Shearer who was at the resort on vacation. Shearer thought Leigh had star potential so Shearer set up an interview for Leigh at MGM and then persuaded the MGM executives to give Leigh a studio contract. Leigh made a series of average but unspectacular films until she hit her stride in 1958. That year she starred with Charlton Heston and Marlene Dietrich in Orson Wells’ Touch of Evil. She followed that up with her most famous role, as Marion Crane, in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Two years later she appeared in John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and followed that up with George Sidney’s Bye Bye Birdie (1963). She semi-retired after that to concentrate on her family. 

Years later she starred opposite her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, in The Fog (1980) and in Halloween: H20 (1998).

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Janet Leigh was married four times. Her most famous marriage was to Tony Curtis which lasted from 1951-1962. Her last marriage was to Robert Brandt. She was married to him from 1962 to the time of her death. Leigh was born on July 6, 1927 and died on October 3, 2004 from vasculitis. Vasculitis is a blood vessel disorder. She was 77 years old.

Marilyn Monroe circa 1955.

Marilyn Monroe had a small part in The Asphalt Jungle (1950) which is a very good movie and garnered a great deal of praise at the time and is held in high esteem today but that picture really belongs to Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern. She had another small part in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950). That film won the Academy Award for Best Picture but that’s a Bette Davis picture. Monroe had yet another small part in Monkey Business (1952) but the stars of that film were Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. All the small parts paid off because in 1953 Marilyn Monroe became a star. That year three of her most memorable films were released.

The three films are: Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. She followed up those films with Bus Stop and The Seven Year Itch (both 1956) and at the end of the decade she co-starred alongside Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot (1959). Her last film was The Misfits (1961) opposite Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. She died from an overdose of barbiturates the following year.

Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 and died on August 4, 1962. She was 36 years old. The founder and publisher of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefner, has the crypt directly to the left of Monroe’s crypt.

Most of the images are postcards from the 1930s and 1940s. The images of Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood are from Wikimedia commons. The images of Eddie Albert, Brian Keith, Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder are publicity photos. I bought the picture of Walter Matthau off E-bay. It was one photo in a set of four (I purchased all four) from an estate sale. The estate belonged to a woman who had gone to a luncheon where Matthau spoke. The image of Zanuck is part of a trade paper advertisement that I also bought off E-bay. 

Sources

Brackett, C., Slide, A. (Ed.). (2014). It’s the Pictures that Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lemmon, C. (2006). A Twist of Lemmon: A Tribute to My Father. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Quinlan, D. (1996). Quinlan’s Film Stars. Washington, D.C. : Brassey’s.

Quinlan, D. (1997). The Film Lover’s Companion: An A to Z Guide to 2,000 Stars and the Movies they Made. Secaucus, N.J.: Carol Pub. Group. 

Wlaschin, K. (1979). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World’s Great Movie Starts and their Films: from 1900 to the Present Day. New York: Harmony Books.

The pandemic closed practically everything in Los Angeles but it didn’t close cemeteries. There will be a Rest in Peace 5!

My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.

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Hillside Memorial Park is located on the west side of Los Angeles near the 405 Freeway.

It’s located at 6001 W. Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1941. Some of the stars buried at Hillside are below.

Shelley Winters circa 1950.

Shelley Winters was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1920. She achieved her first notable success starring opposite Ronald Coleman in his Oscar winning performance in the film A Double Life (1947). She was a glamour girl in the early days of her career but wisely discarded that persona and took up meatier parts instead. Her other notable film roles include The Great Gatsby (1949), A Place in the Sun (1951), The Night of the Hunter (1955), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), Lolita (1962), A Patch of Blue (1965), Alfie (1966) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). She died from heart failure in 2006. She was 86 years old.

It looks like someone has been polishing her marker. They need to use more elbow grease.

Arthur Freed circa 1960.

Arthur Freed was born in South Carolina in 1894. At the beginning of his career he was a songwriter. Two of his most famous songs, done in collaboration with Nacio Herb Brown, are “Singin’ in the Rain” and “You Are My Lucky Star.” The latter was used extensively in The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) and in the final action sequence of Alien (1979).

Freed graduated from songwriter to MGM movie producer in 1939 when he produced the Mickey Rooney – Judy Garland film, Babes in Arms (1939). After that he was unstoppable. He produced: Strike up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), For Me and My Gal (1942), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), Girl Crazy (1943), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Good News (1947), Easter Parade (1948), Words and Music (1948), The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), On the Town (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Royal Wedding (1951), Show Boat (1951), An American in Paris (1951), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Brigadoon (1954), Kismet (1955), Silk Stockings (1957) and Gigi (1958). From 1963 to 1967 he served as president of the motion picture academy. He died from a heart attack in 1973. He was 78 years old. 

Freed’s wife is buried next to him. 

Many stars are buried in the mausoleum.

It has a wonderful art modern look to it.

I like the drapery handles.

This plaque is next to the front doors. No mention of an architect!

From the inside looking out.

Jack Benny circa 1935.

Jack Benny was from the Windy City (Chicago) and born in 1894. Benny made the occasional movie in the 1930s and 1940s including The Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935). Even though this was his first film Benny received top billing over Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor. He continued to make films including: Man About Town (1939), Charley’s Aunt (1941), To Be or Not to Be (1942), The Meanest Man in the World (1943) and It’s in the Bag (1945). In reality, the movies were a side gig for Benny because he was well-known throughout America before he made his first film. His fame came from his radio show, The Jack Benny Program, which ran from 1932-1955. The radio show was the basis for his television program which was also known as The Jack Benny Program and it aired from 1950-1965. After his television show was cancelled he toured the country as a stand-up comedian.

In the book “Benny” a receptionist recounted an incident in which Benny arrived for his doctor’s appointment, saw the doctor, said “bye” to the staff and left, but then he returned with a cake and sat with the office staff eating cake and visiting with them for a good part of the afternoon. According to that same book, it was not unusual for Benny to buy fifty postcards, when he was out of town, and spend the time between shows writing to friends. There were numerous stories like that in the book. He died in December 1974 from pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.

He’s buried with his wife Mary Livingston. Over two thousand people attended Jack Benny’s funeral including: Gregory Peck, Walter Mattheau, Jimmy Stewart, Edgar Bergen, Raymond Massey, Ronald & Nancy Reagan, Ceasar Romero, Rosalind Russell, George Murphy, Dennis Day, Mel Blanc, Eddie Rochester Anderson, Groucho Marx, Jack Lemmon, Milton Berle, Jack Carter, Morey Amsterdam, George Burns and Danny Thomas. Bob Hope gave the eulogy. That’s quite a send off.

Jeff Chandler circa 1955.

Jeff Chandler was born in Brooklyn in 1918. His first notable role was in Broken Arrow (1950) which resulted in an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. He had another big hit opposite Joan Crawford in Female on the Beach (1955). His final film was Return to Peyton Place (1962). In 1961 he went into the hospital for spinal cord surgery which resulted in complications. He died from a blood infection and pneumonia. His family sued for wrongful death and malpractice. His estate was awarded $233,358. He was only 43 years old.

Tony Curtis was one of the pallbearers at his funeral. Some of the stars who attended his funeral were Shelley Winters, Edward G. Robinson, Janet Leigh, Kim Novak, Mickey Rooney and Sammy Davis, Jr. He’s high up on the wall but he’s obviously not forgotten. 

Eddie Cantor circa 1920.

There are many wacky images of Eddie Cantor but I like this photo of him because he looks relaxed which is quite different from the persona he exudes in his movies.

Eddie Cantor was born in New York City in 1892. He made his Broadway debut in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1917 and appeared in a number of Ziegfeld Follies productions over the next ten years — often in blackface. He was well known by the late 1920s and was offered the Al Jolson role in The Jazz Singer but turned it down. Still, he wanted to make movies so he went to Hollywood and starred in a series of motion pictures including: Kid Boots (1926), Whoopee! (1930), The Kid from Spain (1932), Roman Scandals (1933) and Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937). Cantor had two radio shows in the 1940s: Time to Smile and another sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. In the 1950s he was one of the hosts of a comedy hour sponsored by Colgate — the toothpaste manufacturer. Eddie Cantor died in 1964 from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.  

Eddie Cantor wrote many books. Four are Caught Short!, My Life is in Your Hands, Take My Life and Between the Acts. Between the Acts, which is a small book 4 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches, is autobiographical and dedicated to Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow and Maurice Chevalier. There is one picture in the entire book. It’s on the title page and it’s Eddie Cantor in blackface. He obviously sold himself as someone who performed in minstrel shows. I didn’t realize this until I started to look into his life. 

Dinah Shore circa 1940.

Dinah Shore was born in Winchester, Tennessee in 1916. She went to New York City in the late 1930s and found a job working at a NBC radio station where she drew the attention of Eddie Cantor. Cantor put her on his radio show and the radio show was a springboard for the movies. Some of her films include: Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), Follow the Boys (1944), Up in Arms (1944), Belle of the Yukon (1944) and Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). She was fine in the movies but that wasn’t her future. She was a singer not an actress. In the 1950s she had a television show sponsored by Chevrolet and her theme song for that show, “See the USA in a Chevrolet” is still quite memorable and singable.

She was married to actor George Montgomery (Roxie Hart) from 1943-1963. Their marriage had A Star is Born element to it because as his career went down — hers went up. Her success and his failures were two of the reasons for their divorce. According to the book Dinah! one of the other reasons was: George would talk about anything except their marital problems. Shore had a talk show in the 1970s called Dinah! She died from ovarian cancer complications in 1994. She was 78 years old.

She’s on one of the walls at the rear of the mausoleum.

From the credits of Singin’ in the Rain.

Cyd Charisse was born in Amarillo, Texas in 1922. She found herself in Los Angeles during the second World War and in the mid-1940s her efforts to work in the film industry paid off when she landed a role in Ziegfeld Follies (1946). She followed that up with a small part in The Harvey Girls (1946) and more work in Till the Clouds Roll By (also 1946). She went on to appear in Words and Music (1948), East Side/West Side (1949), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), Brigadoon (1954), It’s Always Fair Weather (1956), Silk Stockings (1957) and Two Weeks in Another Town (1962).

Charisse and her husband, Tony Martin, wrote a book with Dick Kleiner titled The Two of Us. It was about their lives. She said the following regarding the “Broadway Melody” number in Singin’ in the Rain: “I didn’t really have much to do with Gene during that picture. We did the one number together, that’s all. During the rest of it, he was busy with his own numbers and with the other dancers in the company. I did have to learn to smoke a cigarette in our number, however. He wanted me to have a long cigarette holder and, as the camera panned up my legs and my body, I was supposed to exhale a drifting plume of smoke. I had never smoked and it took me a long time, plus a lot of coughing, before I got it right.”

She died in 2008 from a heart attack. She was 86 years old and is buried next to her husband.

She’s in the Court of the Matriarchs with her husband, singer Tony Martin.

Al Jolson circa 1925.

Al Jolson was born in Lithuania in 1886 and came to America in 1894 with his mother and three siblings. He began working on Broadway in 1902 and started working in blackface around 1910. For the next fifteen years he starred in a series of Broadway musicals — in blackface. According to the book “Jolson: The Story of Al Jolson,” in 1924, Jolson was enlisted by Calvin Coolidge to help kick off Coolidge’s race for the White House. Why? Because Jolson was adored by the American public and Coolidge’s re-election team thought Jolson’s support could swing votes their way. That’s how big Jolson was.

Regarding The Jazz Singer (1927), George Jessel had played the part on Broadway, for over three years, but when Jessel asked for $100,000 to star in the motion picture Warner Bros. looked elsewhere. Warners’ second choice was Eddie Cantor but he declined the offer so Jolson was given the role because he was willing to invest his own money in the picture and take some of the profits — if there were any. The Jazz Singer was a hit which led to more Jolson films including The Singing Fool (1928), Say it with Songs (1929), Mammy (1930), Wonder Bar (1934), Go into Your Dance (1935) and The Singing Kid (1936). Eddie Cantor, in his book “Take My Life,” said of Jolson, “He sang and he talked; but he was more than just a singer or an actor — he was an experience.” Jolson was married to Ruby Keeler from 1928-1940. He died from a heart attack in 1950. He was 64 years old. 

Al Jolson’s gravesite is so over the top it’s in a different dimension. The whole thing was designed by the great Los Angeles architect Paul Revere Williams.

This is another view of the gravesite from the steps of the mausoleum. Jack Benny, George Burns, George Jessel and Eddie Cantor were four of the pallbearers at Jolson’s funeral. Larry Parks, Harry Cohn and Louis B. Mayer attended the service.

His headstone is beautiful; it contains classical elements including fluted columns, ornamental scroll work and a finial.

The Sweet Singer of Israel. Isn’t that Moses?

Jolson’s estate was valued at $3,236,000. ($35,715,842 in 2021 dollars) This statue is next to the tomb. The sculptor was C. Romanelli, Jr. I was just relieved he wasn’t in blackface. 

Woodlawn Cemetery is located at 1847 14th Street in Santa Monica, California. The city purchased the cemetery from the original owners in 1897. 

The mausoleum is in the Spanish Colonial Style and was erected in 1922. I suspect an earthquake is responsible for the missing urn.

The images upon the walls were painted by Hugo Ballin. He did the murals for Griffith Observatory. He’s buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Paul Henreid circa 1945.

Paul Henreid made two films that are in the pantheon of Hollywood filmmaking. Opposite Bette Davis he starred in Now, Voyager (1942). He was also in the star filled Casablanca (1943). Henreid was blacklisted in the early 1950s and turned to directing in the latter half of that decade. I’ve seen numerous Alfred Hitchcock Presents directed by him. In 1992 he died from a pneumonia after suffering a stroke. He was 84 years old.

Henreid married Lisl in 1936. 

There are numerous stained glass windows in the mausoleum but they’re not religious.

William Haines circa 1930.

William Haines was born on January 2, 1900 in Virginia. He ended up in Hollywood in 1922 and had an early success with The Midnight Express (1924) then supported Mary Pickford in Little Annie Rooney (1925). He became a first tier star with Brown of Harvard (1926). He went on to star in Tell it to the Marines (1926), West Point, The Smart Set and Show People (all 1928), The Duke Steps Out, A Man’s Man and Navy Blues (all 1929) and Free and Easy and Way Out West (both 1930). According to Quigley he was the number eight box office star in 1928 and the number three box office star in 1929 and 1930.

Haines’ film career came to an end in the 1930s because he was gay and was living openly with Jimmy Shields. (They would live together until Haines’ death.) After his film career, Haines went on to become the proprietor of a successful decorating business that served the Hollywood community and other notables for decades. Haines died of lung cancer at the age of 73 in December 1973. Jimmy Shields committed suicide three months later. According to the book “Wisecracker,” Shields left a suicide note detailing his unhappiness after Haines’ death and then took an overdose of barbiturates. They’re buried next to each other.

Lillion H. Stone is Haines’ sister.

Charles Bickford circa 1920.

Charles Bickford was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1891. His college plans were derailed by the acting bug which landed him on Broadway by 1925. He was in Hollywood by the late 1920s and had an early success opposite Greta Garbo in Anna Christie (1930). In his book Bulls, Balls, Bicycles & Actors Bickford said, “I was not a Garbo fan, but she was a big star and the idea of being teamed with her was certainly to my advantage as a newcomer.”

Yet, by 1935 his career was almost over. While filming East of Java he stepped in and performed a stunt with a lion. The lion reacted badly to Bickford’s presence. It attacked him, picked him up by the neck and mauled him. He was lucky to have survived. After he was released from the hospital and according to Bickford’s book, Darryl F. Zanuck said at their first meeting concerning Bickford’s future employment, “Of course you’re all washed up. You know that? With that mangled neck. You’re through as a leading man.” Bickford had a big ego and didn’t want to accept Zanuck’s decree but after a solitary trip to the Grand Canyon Bickford came to the realization he could no longer play romantic leads and decided to go after character parts as a way to keep working.

It was a wise decision because he was able to find almost continuous employment for the rest of his life. Some of his notable films are: Little Miss Marker (1934), The Plainsman (1936), Of Mice and Men (1939), Reap the Wild Wind (1942), Mr. Lucky (1943), The Song of Bernadette (1943), Duel in the Sun (1946), The Farmer’s Daughter (1947), Brute Force (1947), Johnny Belinda (1948), Whirlpool (1949), A Star is Born (1954), The Big Country (1958) and The Days of Wine and Roses (1962). He died in 1967 from a combination of a blood infection and pneumonia. He was 76 years old.  

REST IN PEACE

Bickford was buried in a community plot and his grave is not marked. This momentarily surprised me but after thinking about it — it didn’t.

William Lundigan, who is in a film I like called The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), is buried at Holy Cross cemetery, alongside his parents, but there is no marker or headstone for him. There are headstones for his parents but not for him.

According to the Hollywood Forever book regarding the Hollywood Forever cemetery published by the Hollywood Forever cemetery, when Ann Sheridan died she was cremated but her ashes were never picked up. Hollywood Forever eventually paid the costs of her cremation and picked up her unclaimed ashes. They then installed Sheridan in their Chapel Columbarium at Hollywood Forever. [Sheridan remained unclaimed from 1967-2005!] Sheridan, known as “the oomph girl,” was in Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), They Drive by Night (1940), King’s Row (1942) and The Opposite Sex (1956).

Death often happens unexpectedly and if there is no one, with money, to deal with the costs of death even a star’s remains can end up unclaimed or in an unmarked grave.

Glenn Ford circa 1955.

Glenn Ford starred in a number of good movies and had a career that spanned over five decades. He was born in Canada in 1916 and with his family moved to Los Angeles in 1922. 

He made a number of films for various studios from 1939 to 1942 but none were of major importance. He signed up for the Marines in December 1942 but first married film star Eleanor Powell whom he had met on a cross country bond tour. It seems surprising today, but Eleanor Powell retired from the screen when she married Ford because she wanted to be a wife and a mother. What was wrong with her? [They divorced in 1959.]

When Ford returned from the war he had a big hit in 1946 with Gilda and was a major star from that point to his retirement in 1991. He also starred in: A Stolen Life (1946), The Big Heat (1953), Human Desire (1954), The Blackboard Jungle (1955), Interrupted Melody (1955), Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Cimarron (1960), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963) and Superman (1978).

According to Quigley, Ford was the #5 box office star in 1956, the #1 box office star in 1958 and the #6 box office star in 1959.

Ford’s son, Peter, wrote a good book. It’s called Glenn Ford: A Life. The details regarding the last twenty years of Ford’s life are not easy to read. He had an fortune in excess of $14 million dollars above and beyond his house. At this point, Ford was older. He had a drinking problem and he was foolish. It was in this phase of his life that a number of grifters took advantage of him and fleeced him. (He was engaged to a number of “nurses” but never married them and he had a wife who was happy to be married to him during the good times but when Ford had health problems she no longer wanted to spend time with him and instead spent her time and his money on her boyfriends.) By the time of his death he still had the house but his fortune was gone. Ford died in 2006.

Ford is buried on the ground floor but it’s really the basement. Ford selected the space himself. He didn’t want to be buried in the ground. Mickey Rooney and Debbie Reynolds attended his funeral.

This is the best statue I’ve ever seen in a mausoleum. She’s holding an hour glass. It’s the perfect location for this statue and I find it somewhat spooky at the same time.

There could possibly be a Rest In Peace 4.

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SOURCES

Benny, M. L. , Marks, H. & Borie, Marcia. (1978). Jack Benny. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 

Bickford, C. (1965). Bulls, Balls, Bicycles & Actors. New York: P.S. Eriksson.

Cantor, E. (1930). Between the Acts. New York: Simon and Shuster.

Cantor, E. & Ardmore, J. K. (1957). Take My Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 

Cassidy, B. (1979). Dinah! New York: Franklin Watts.

Ford, P. (2011). Glenn Ford: A Life.  :University of Wisconsin Press.

Fordin, H. (1996). MGM’s Greatest Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit. New York: De Capo Press. 

Freeland, M. (2007). Jolson: The Story of Al Jolson. Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell.

Hollywood Forever, Cemetery — Funeral Home — Library of Lives. The Official Directory. (No date). Los Angeles: Hollywood Forever Cemetery. 

Mann, W. J. (1998). Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood’s First Openly Gay Star. New York: Penguin Books.

Martin, T., Charisse, C. & Kleiner, D.  (1976). The Two of Us. New York: Mason/Charter.

Wells, J. (2005). Jeff Chandler. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. 

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Most of the images are postcards from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The picture of Arthur Freed I bought off Ebay. The images of Cyd Charisse, Glenn Ford and Eddie Cantor are from Wikimedia Commons.

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My book from The History Press, Architects Who Built Southern California, was released on March 11, 2019. It’s 10 chapters with each chapter devoted to a different architect (or architectural firm) including: Harrison Albright, John Austin, Claud Beelman, Elmer Grey, Hudson & Munsell, A. C. Martin, Meyer & Holler, Julia Morgan, Morgan Walls & Clements and Alfred F. Rosenheim.