Archive for July, 2013

Stan Musial

Posted in Bellerive Gardens with tags , , , , on July 29, 2013 by Cade


November 21, 1920 – January 19, 2013

Stanisław Franciszek Musial, better known to baseball fans as Stan “The Man,” was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee and one of the best hitters of all time.  Throughout his 22 year career, Musial batted .331 with 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 runs batted in for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a 24-time All-Star, 7-time National League batting champion, 3-time NL MVP and helped lead the Cardinals to 3 World Series titles. Oh, and he took a year off to serve the Navy at the end of World War II. He also played a mean harmonica.  All in all, there are few players in the history of the game that were as beloved to one particular team than Stan was to the Cardinals.  Musial died in his home on January 19, 2013 at the age of 92. Fans immediately swarmed the statue of his likeness that sits outside of Busch Stadium in St. Louis and it became a public memorial.


Bellerive Gardens – Creve Coeur, MO

Specific Location

Legends Family Estates – At the back left (northeast) corner of the cemetery is a section of family gardens, enter through the REFLECTION GARDEN archway and take the road until you reach a circular turnaround; stop at the beginning of this turnaround, Stan and his wife, Lillian, are buried to your right, looking back toward the mausoleum.


Peter Falk

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags on July 26, 2013 by Cade


September 16, 1927 – June 23, 2011

Despite a successful acting career on both stage (The Iceman Cometh, The Prisoner of Second Avenue) and screen (The Great Race, The Princess Bride), Peter Falk will always, ALWAYS be associated with one name and one name only: Columbo. Falk starred as the fog-headed, cigar-chomping detective from 1968 until 2003. With his trademark squint (the result of having a glass eye from the age of 3) and lackadaisical approach to solving mysteries (“Oh, just one more thing…”), Falk turned Columbo into one of the most memorable television characters of all time. Offscreen, Falk was an avid artist and loved the game of chess.  In his later years, he suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia. After a particularly confused and troubling episode with some paparazzi in 2008, Falk retreated from the public and remained there until his death in June of 2011.


Westwood Village Memorial Park – Los Angeles, CA

Specific Location

At the southern end of the park, in a semi-private family plot between the Garden of Serenity section and the Chapel Garden Estate section. Essentially just to the east of Billy Wilder.


Bettie Page

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags on July 26, 2013 by Cade


April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008

It’s the classic story:

Girl is voted “Most Likely To Succeed” in high school.
Girl begins modeling and becomes an underground sensation in New York camera clubs.
Girl’s photos go mainstream and she becomes “Queen of the Pin-ups.”
Girl becomes a born-again Christian.
Girl leaves the public eye.
Girl works for Rev. Billy Graham.
Girl is diagnosed with schizophrenia and maybe attacks a couple of old people.
Girl still becomes a pop culture icon to new generations long after her career ends.
Girl dies quietly in relative obscurity at the age of 85.


Westwood Village Memorial Park – Los Angeles, CA

Specific Location

Section D, Center Lawn; There is a large evergreen tree about 1/3 of the way in from the eastern edge of the main lawn, Bettie is buried just 2 rows north of this tree and a few spaces to the east.


William Inge

Posted in Mt. Hope Cemetery with tags , , on July 16, 2013 by Cade


May 3, 1913 – June 10, 1973

William Motter Inge was a Pulitzer and Academy award-winning playwright and novelist. Born in the heart of small-town America – Independence, Kansas – Inge’s depictions of solitude, thwarted ambition and sexuality all played starkly against the backdrop of classic Americana. As a drama critic in St. Louis, Inge was encouraged to write by Tennessee Williams. His biggest stage successes, Picnic, Bus Stop, Come Back, Little Sheba and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs earned multiple Tony nominations as well as Oscar nods and the aforementioned Pulitzer (for Picnic). Inge also won an Oscar for writing the Elia Kazan-directed film, Splendor in the Grass. All of his major plays were adapted to film. The film version of Bus Stop starred Marilyn Monroe and also spawned a short-lived television series. Inge’s later plays were not as well received and he struggled with depression.  He was a closeted homosexual and many of his characters dealt with the subject either under the surface or overtly.  His own demons caught up with him and William Inge committed suicide in 1973 at the age of 60.


Mt. Hope Cemetery – Independence, KS

Specific Location

At the southern end of the cemetery, the large INGE family stone is easy to spot.


Michael Hutchence

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags on July 9, 2013 by Cade

hutchence1January 22, 1960 – November 22, 1997

There were very few bands in the late 1980’s and early ’90’s that were bigger than INXS.  The Australian group owed a decent portion of its success to its dynamic, sexy and troubled lyricist/lead singer, Michael Hutchence.  Hutchence met keyboardist Andrew Farriss while in high school and joined Farriss’ band, Doctor Dolphin. Doctor Dolphin eventually became The Vegetables which eventually became INXS. INXS went on to sell millions of records across the world.  Their biggest success, 1987’s Kick, was certified 6x Platinum in the United States. Hutchence mostly handled the success well…save a bit of depression from time to time. His personal life attracted rigorous tabloid attention, particularly in his native Australia.  He was romantically linked to model Helena Christensen, singer Kylie Minogue and a host of others – including, most famously and tragically, British TV host, Paula Yates.  It was his relationship with Yates and Yates’ heated custody battle with ex-husband Bob Geldof, that likely proved to be the final straw for a man who was in a pretty dark place.  Alone, intoxicated and half a world away from his love and their only child, Michael committed suicide at the age of 37 in a Sydney hotel room on eve of the Australian leg of INXS’ latest tour. Speculation over whether it was intentional or accidental was rampant.  Some believed he went the way of David Carradine.  Others, including the official coroner’s report, that he had just reached a breaking point and that was it.  Either way, Hutchence was gone and rock music had lost one of its brightest stars.

Hutchence was cremated and his ashes were divided into thirds.  The portion that went to his mother in California was buried at…


Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills, CA

Specific Location

Eternal Love, Lot 4648, Space 3; Next to the curb along Valley Dr., Across Evergreen Dr. from the Church of the Hills.


William Thomas

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , , on July 3, 2013 by Cade


March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980

For some reason, it is incredibly difficult to find a picture of William “Billie” Thomas, Jr. from after 1943.  One look at the kid in the picture above and you get a good feeling for why that’s the case. Thomas played the iconic role of “Buckwheat” in more than 80 of the classic Our Gang shorts of the 1930’s and ’40’s – and then sort of disappeared. In fact, the only picture I could find of Thomas’ post-Buckwheat days was this:


Thomas (right) with Joe Cobb and Spanky

After his somewhat lengthy stint in Hollywood, Billie Thomas left acting and joined the army where he served for two years. He gave up performing entirely and, instead, became a film editor choosing to stay IN Hollywood, but not be OF Hollywood. Thomas died at the relatively young age of 49 of a massive heart attack. This differs, of course, to how many of us who grew up in the 1980’s choose to remember his death.  Thanks to Eddie Murphy and Saturday Night Live, this will always be how I imagine Buckwheat went out:



Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Acacia Slope, Lot 773, Grave D; In the southeast corner of the Acacia Slope section, just two spaces up from the south curb and two rows in from the east curb.


Rudy Vallée

Posted in St. Hyacinth Cemetery with tags , on July 3, 2013 by Cade


July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986

Hubert Prior “Rudy” Vallée was a singer, radio host, actor and bandleader perhaps most widely regarded as the first “crooner.”  Like many of his successors, his soft, smooth voice was one that would have been completely useless in the days before the invention of the microphone.  But, as it were, when you come along during the height of radio, you don’t need to be that loud.  Of course, not all live venues at the time had microphones, so Rudy would tend to improvise and sing through a megaphone – something that became a bit of a trademark.  Vallée played saxophone and clarinet in his youth. Later on, he had a successful band called Rudy Vallée and the Connecticut Yankees. He had hits such as “Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries” and “As Time Goes By.”  He was also in a number of movies including RKO’s The Vagabond Lover. Not without a sense of irony, vagabond lover Rudy, was married four times – briefly, to actress Jane Greer.  Rudy Vallée died of cancer in his home at the age of 84.


St. Hyacinth Cemetery – Westbrook, ME

Specific Location

There is a dirt road that runs along the front (west) section of the cemetery, Rudy is buried along this road near the intersection with St. Damasus Ave., there are six markers in front of the Vallée family stone, Rudy’s is the one on the far right.


Benny Goodman

Posted in Long Ridge Union Cemetery with tags , on July 2, 2013 by Cade


May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986

The undeniable “King of Swing,” Benny Goodman was one of the most important and successful musicians and bandleaders of the Big Band jazz era. Throughout the 1920’s and early ’30’s, Goodman played clarinet in bands and as a session musician alongside titanic contemporaries like Bix Beiderbecke, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Taking the arrangements of a successful but stalled-out African-American bandleader/arranger named Fletcher Henderson, Goodman was able to bring a broad popularity to what would become Swing music. Once he realized how much the crowds at his band’s shows favored Henderson’s lively arrangements, he started playing them more and developing new songs in the same vibe. The rest was jazz history.  Goodman’s bands gave the world classics such as “Stompin’ At The Savoy,” “One O’Clock Jump” and the immortal “Sing, Sing, Sing.” His stable of artists included legends like Gene Krupa, Harry James and Peggy Lee and was renowned for its unapologetic racial integration. In the post-Swing era, Goodman adapted. He worked in Bebop and Cool Jazz, even Classical at times.  He never stopped and continued playing well into his later years and right up until his death from a heart attack in New York City in 1986.


Long Ridge Union Cemetery – Stamford, CT

Specific Location

About  a third of the way down the cemetery, three rows from the back (east).


Gypsy Rose Lee

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on July 2, 2013 by Cade

Gypsy Rose Lee

January 8, 1911 – April 26, 1970

As strippers go, they don’t come much more famous than Gypsy Rose Lee.

Ok…perhaps “burlesque artist” is more appropriate, what with all the negative connotations associated with the term “stripper” these days. Either way, Gypsy (born Ellen Hovick – officially in 1911; unofficially in 1914) turned her talents for the classic striptease and her wit to her advantage and became one of the most popular entertainers of her era starring in film and television long after the music ended at the old burlesque hall. And, she didn’t stop there. Gypsy was also a writer. She published a couple of novels, a play and a memoir entitled, well…”Gypsy: The Memoir.” The latter went on to be the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical, Gypsy. All in all, not a bad little run for a girl from Seattle who couldn’t really sing or dance well enough to breakout.  After an improbable career, Gypsy Rose succumbed to lung cancer at the age of either 59 or 56, depending on who you ask.


Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Pinecrest 1087, Grave #8; In the southeast corner of the Pinecrest section, near the intersection of Pinecrest, Utopia and Cascade Gardens, Gypsy’s grave is just 6 rows up from the south curb and 8 spaces in from the east curb.