Monday, December 28, 2020

A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale

A few days ago we drove up to Forest Lawn Glendale to spend a morning strolling the grounds while paying our respects to a number of beloved filmmakers.

As was the case with our visits earlier in the year to Pacific View Memorial Park and Glen Haven Memorial Park, such an excursion also provides a good way to "get out of the house" and enjoy some "socially distanced" exercise, as no one is ever around us as we walk through the cemetery.

Forest Lawn Glendale is very large, spread over 300 acres; it's the original flagship location for a chain of Southern California cemeteries.  It's beautifully maintained and filled with religious and patriotic artwork.  The grounds also house an art museum and a trio of chapels which have hosted not just funerals but many wedding ceremonies, including Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman at Wee Kirk o' the Heather Chapel in 1940.

We could easily make several more visits before locating all of the filmmakers buried there.  To begin to get an idea of what it's like, please visit my photo posts on our visits in 2015 and 2016, A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 1, A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 2, and A Visit to the Forest Lawn Museum.

One of the interesting things about Los Angeles area cemeteries is that a visitor will likely stumble across famous names during a walk, even without doing prior research. 

For instance, as we walked through the Whispering Pines section, I discovered the final resting place of Jack Oakie:

When I came across this marker for Kathryn Blondell, a quick search on my phone revealed that she was the mother of Joan and Gloria Blondell.  Her husband Edward is buried in the same area.

Character actor Edward Everett Horton is also buried in Whispering Pines, alongside his mother and sister.

Fay Holden played Andy Hardy's mother Emily in MGM's Andy Hardy movie series.  

Holden's husband, David Clyde, a Scottish-born bit player in films, is buried nearby.

I had no idea before our visit that Fay Holden was the sister-in-law of Andy Clyde, beloved to "B" Western fans as California Carlson in the Hopalong Cassidy films.  Andy is buried next to his son John Allan, who sadly died of meningitis as a young boy.  

Ralph Hepburn was an Indy 500 driver who appeared as himself in THE CROWD ROARS (1932), which starred James Cagney and Joan Blondell.  This is another gravestone I chanced across and looked up, as I was intrigued by the design.

Michael Curtiz, the director of many classics including THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938), CASABLANCA (1942), MILDRED PIERCE (1945), and WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954).

Richard Dix, an actor I've come to greatly appreciate in the last few years, is buried next to his son Richard Jr., who died in a logging accident just a few years later.

Director Vincente Minnelli is buried in a semi-private garden.  I was deeply moved to stand at the gravesite of the director of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944), THE BAND WAGON (1953), and other beloved classics.  Such a perfect sentence on his gravestone, "You made this world more beautiful."  

I love the character actor Louis Jean Heydt.  For anyone trying to place him, he has a moment as a soldier in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) holding baby Beau Wilkes; he's one of two officers bumped off the final flight at the end of THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945); and he played Joe Brody in THE BIG SLEEP (1946).

Heydt and character actor James Millican, another big favorite, are somewhat easy to confuse, as they look and sound similar to one another; they even played brothers in AL JENNINGS OF OKLAHOMA (1951).  They also both sadly died far too young.  It seems fitting they are at rest in the same cemetery.  Millican was really hitting his stride as a supporting actor in films like DAWN AT SOCORRO (1954) and RED SUNDOWN (1954) when he passed away from cancer in 1955, at the age of 45.

Famed costume designer Edith Head:

Actress Cathy O'Donnell, who was in several classics including THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1948), SIDE STREET (1950), THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955), and BEN-HUR (1959).  She's buried next to her husband, writer-producer Robert Wyler

The great director William Wyler is buried next to his brother and sister-in-law.

Wyler's many classics -- I'm not sure he ever made a bad movie -- included WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939), which starred Merle Oberon.  She's buried in the lovely Garden of Remembrance.

Suzan Ball Long, the first wife of actor Richard Long and a cousin of Lucille Ball, was only 21 when she died of cancer.  Her films included YANKEE BUCCANEER (1952) and WAR ARROW (1953); her last film was CHIEF CRAZY HORSE (1955) opposite Victor Mature.

While we were there we paid a return visit to Walt Disney, who's buried in a private garden in front of the Freedom Mausoleum.  My husband and I met at Disneyland, so it was a chance to again say "Thank you" for that and so much more.

As always, our visit was a chance to reflect on the accomplishments of a number of notable people and appreciate anew how much enjoyment their work has added to our lives.

Additional photo posts on the final resting places of historic Hollywood figures: A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 1A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 2A Visit to the Forest Lawn MuseumA Visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2014), A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The MusiciansA Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The ComediansA Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The ActorsA Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - Writers, Directors, and MoreA Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 1A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 2A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 3A Visit to Desert Memorial ParkLos Angeles National CemeteryA Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 1A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 2A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 3A Visit to Forest Lawn Cathedral CityA Visit to Oakwood Memorial ParkA Visit to Hillside Memorial Park, Part 1A Visit to Hillside Memorial Park, Part 2A Visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2019), A Visit to Woodlawn CemeteryA Visit to Valley Oaks Memorial ParkA Visit to Valhalla CemeteryA Visit to Pacific View Memorial Park, and A Visit to Glen Haven Memorial Park.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful article and the photos.

My husband and I would sometimes tour historic graveyards and imagine the lives of the people. Your visit brings wonderful memories of their legacies.

3:41 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Many interesting names; people we have, or most of us, liked and admired.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Vienna said...

How wonderful to be able to walk through here and salute these Hollywood figures. Thanks for sharing, Laura.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment. I'm glad to know that you all have enjoyed our stroll through the grounds as well. I'd like to think that we are taking along those of you who live far away to pay tribute as well.

Best wishes,

6:20 PM  

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