Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hollywood Be Thy Name

Love the place, and always have a sinfully good time there. A highlight for me - if you can call visiting a cemetery a highlight - is visiting Westwood Village Memorial Park, one of the better-kept secrets in L.A. Most people don't know where it is, and even those that think they know can't find it. It took me about a day the first time I hit paydirt (sorry) over 15 yrs ago. It's located on the southeast quadrant of Wilshire and Glendon, and I always go in by heading east on Wilshire and taking that first small, unmarked driveway past the Glendon light that goes between some tall buildings. Follow that to an alley where a quite unpretentious and anonymous-looking entrance signals your arrival at the final resting place of an extraordinary number of Hollywood's elite. You know, when stars were stars. It just happens to be where most of my favorites are, which saves a lot of time that might be wasted at a place like Forest Lawn. I won't post all the pics I have, but you can read more about the guest list HERE. Some of my major favorites:

The biggest star of them all - Marilyn. Rumor has it the crypt
behind my head is Hugh Hefner's reserved parking place. (hear that, Bill?)

My favorite entertainer of all time, the King of Cool, Dean Martin

James Coburn, my other favorite Hollywood cool guy, who died shortly after receiving an Oscar. His beautiful young wife died not long after that.

Don Knotts, my favorite funny guy.

Jack Lemmon, my other favorite funny guy.

And let's not forget Rodney.....still not getting any respect, even here. The tombstone reads "There goes the neighborhood"

Truman Capote

If you do find the place, look for other notables such as George C. Scott's unmarked grave, Natalie Wood, Peggy Lee, Buddy Rich, Burt Lancaster, Walter Matthau, and many more.


perugina said...

I know exactly how you would’ve felt…

I went about trying to find La Bocca della Verita, in Rome on my last visit – “The Mouth of Truth” that features in Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck…

Do you think anyone I asked knew what I was taking about? … and I can speak the lingo…

Eventually all alone, I stumbled across it in a tiny little Church… was absolutely thrilled.

Personally, cemeteries give me the creeps!
You don’t look too comfortable here either NNG… that body language!

However, I may make an exception here if ever I find myself in L.A.… as I am a film buff… wont mention any in particular… knowing my luck… you’ll hate them!

Nick said...

Never saw the Bocca, but saw its equivalent in St. Petersburg - the mouth of a bronze lion,next to the Neva. Sailors stuck their hand in it for good luck. I did too, and it worked: I ended up with a
Красивейшая Девушка!
On the contrary, I was quite comfortable there...ghoulish, huh. You already mentioned a couple - love Peck, and liked her ok too, but she wasn't much of an actress.

William K. Moore said...

Hef's headstone... has a nice ring to it.. and as Ted would say "whoa!" You definitely got your money's worth on that beautiful day - hope these noteworhies are enjoying their heavenly desserts. Hear Hef is a Coolwhip and Jello guy.

perugina said...

Красивейшая Девушка!

Please Explain?

I hate cemeteries so much, that when my aunt in Italy drove me out there to visit my Grandfather’s Crypt with all the dead rels... without telling me where we were going!... I stayed in the car and locked the doors!

Sorry Nonno! Maybe on the next visit!

Oh... and to know before hand where you will be "parked" for the rest of eternity...(insert look of distaste and horror!!!!!!) dear God, I hope it's not in that Crypt!

Sandy said...

I am rather fascinated by cemeteries....particularly older pioneer cemeteries.
When our children were young my husband used to like gold fossicking. As well as some small amounts of gold, we found some really interesting old cemeteries. Historically very interesting. Many children died far too young from easily preventable diseases by today's standards. Some of the names of the old goldminers still exist in the community today.

Nick said...

Mr. Russelford - wonder if he'll opt for pajamas or the smoking jacket.

PG - I'm not overly crazy about cemeteries, esp. in this country. European ones are much more interesting, got some real history there and the above-ground crypts are often works of art. There is the occasional standout here, the old Iowa City (20 mi. from my hometown and where I went to the University) cemetery is the infamous Black Angel ( Lots of legends about that one, and it's a rite of passage to visit her at midnight on a full moon. Not for you, I take it! My family has a mausoleum in the original cemetery in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, but no vacancy anymore as of this past year. Not that I was anxious to check in. When I was a little kid I thought it was really cool, and hoped it was haunted. (Красивейшая Девушка! -use your Russian translator!)

Sandy - "fossicking" is a new word for me, and I see that is chiefly an Aussie expression. Thank you, I'm going to work that into a conversation first chance I get!

Anonymous said...

Wealth of info to be had here.
I had to follow the links re list of residents at this cemetary.
Took a wander down that old familiar lane of memories. Names thought forgotten but not, eerie even from this distance. The Black Angel sounds like lots of fun, could be a non incriminating way to solve a raft of problems I would have thought.
I think you already have the Красивейшая Девушка side of things covered.

perugina said...

Красивейшая Девушка!

You sure did... and now you have two... Olga and Larissa!


Oh...I had no idea that my Microsoft Office program had a translator... WOW!

Would not have known if I hadn't asked and you hadn't told!

Fancy that.... another thing learnt!
Thanks NNG.

Nick said...

Dake - the Black Angel would be the perfect place for us to tip absinthe and read Poe on a dark stormy night. Be pretty cool if a raven flew by, huh.

PG - I don't know much Russian yet, just the important stuff! Took a while to get the alphabet happening, but at least in Russian every letter is pronounced....not like our weird language. Transliteration helps, of course: dosvidania, tovarish!