Thursday, May 06, 2021

A Visit to Home of Peace Memorial Park

Last weekend we visited two cemeteries in East Los Angeles, starting with the Roman Catholic Calvary Cemetery. Photos from that visit may be found here.

Our second stop was at the nearby Home of Peace Memorial Park. This Jewish cemetery originated in Chavez Ravine in 1853, just a handful of years after the California Gold Rush began. Today Chavez Ravine is best known as the home of Dodger Stadium.


Early in the 20th Century the cemetery opened in its present location, and those buried at Chavez Ravine were relocated to Home of Peace over a period of several years. The death dates on some of the tombstones here were probably the oldest we have ever seen at a Southern California cemetery.


Above are two freestanding mausoleums belonging to the Warner family of Warner Bros. Samuel, one of the four brothers who founded the movie studio, is interred with several other family members in the building on the left. He was married to Lina Basquette, the older half-sister of dancer Marge Champion, and was only 42 when he died just before the premiere of the studio's THE JAZZ SINGER (1927).  (Some sources say he was 40, which does not match the grave marker.)  Samuel and Lina's daughter Lita, born the year before her father's death, was raised by her uncle, Harry Warner.

Harry, another of the founding brothers, is in the building on the right; a closer look is below. Director Charles Vidor, who was married to Harry's daughter Doris, is also interred here. His films included the Rita Hayworth classics COVER GIRL (1944) and GILDA (1946).


The third of the four brothers, Jack, is buried with his wife Ann in a garden which has the name Warner on a low wall.  It's one of the prettiest spots at the cemetery.


The fourth founding brother, Albert, is interred in a Warner family mausoleum in Brooklyn, New York.


We were curious about the mausoleum below, and some research led us to learn an interesting slice of Los Angeles history. Moses Hamburger, who died in 1930 and is interred here, was the founder of a Los Angeles department store called Hamburger's, located at Broadway and 8th. The store was later bought out by the May Company department store chain. The May Company is now gone as well, but the building in Downtown Los Angeles still stands today.


Director Mark Sandrich made five of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' films: THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934), TOP HAT (1935), FOLLOW THE FLEET (1936), SHALL WE DANCE (1937), and CAREFREE (1938). His other films included HOLIDAY INN (1942) with Astaire and Bing Crosby. He sadly passed on at the early age of 44. His film credits distinctively used his signature, which was replicated on his tombstone.


Curly Howard of the Three Stooges, birth name Jerome, is at Home of Peace.


Curly's brother Shemp Howard is inside the Home of Peace mausoleum. Brother Moe Howard is at Hillside Memorial Park, a beautiful Jewish cemetery in Culver City.


I was touched to visit the final resting place of director Kurt Neumann, who is buried with his wife. I've enjoyed a number of his films over the past year, including several Streamliners and SON OF ALI BABA (1952), a Tony Curtis film which brought me particular movie joy during our lockdown. His Westerns included BADMEN OF TOMBSTONE (1949) with Barry Sullivan and CATTLE DRIVE (1951), a Joel McCrea film I've enjoyed many times dating back to my childhood.


The Laemmle family of Universal Pictures has a gated room in the mausoleum.


This is the final resting place of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures. His son Carl Jr. is also interred here.


Louis B. Mayer, the one-time head of MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), is here, just below his sister, Ida Mayer Cummings. Ida was the mother of producer Jack Cummings (SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS) and the mother-in-law of director Roy Rowland. (The mausoleum was unusually dark inside, which made photography challenging; click on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.)


We also stumbled across the last resting place of MGM producer Harry Rapf not far from Louis B. Mayer.


Leo Forbstein was the musical director on dozens of Warner Bros. films, including many of the studio's greatest classics.


Composer Mack Gordon wrote classic songs including "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo," "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," "It Happened in Sun Valley," "You'll Never Know," and more.


My gratitude to all those named here for the joy their work has brought us.

Additional photo posts on the final resting places of historic Hollywood figures: A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 1, A Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale, Part 2, A Visit to the Forest Lawn Museum, A Visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2014), A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The Musicians, A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The Comedians, A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - The Actors, A Visit to Westwood Village Memorial Park - Writers, Directors, and More, A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 1, A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 2, A Visit to Holy Cross Cemetery, Part 3, A Visit to Desert Memorial Park, Los Angeles National Cemetery, A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 1, A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 2, A Visit to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Part 3, A Visit to Forest Lawn Cathedral City, A Visit to Oakwood Memorial Park, A Visit to Hillside Memorial Park, Part 1, A Visit to Hillside Memorial Park, Part 2, A Visit to Hollywood Forever Cemetery (2019), A Visit to Woodlawn Cemetery, A Visit to Valley Oaks Memorial Park, A Visit to Valhalla Cemetery, A Visit to Pacific View Memorial ParkA Visit to Glen Haven Memorial ParkA Visit to Forest Lawn Glendale (2020), and A Visit to Calvary Cemetery.

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