Archive for the Ferncliff Cemetery Category

Jackie “Moms” Mabley

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on February 27, 2014 by Cade

mabley1March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975

Did you hear the one about the young girl from North Carolina who lost both of her parents tragically as a child, was raped twice before the age of 14 and had to give up the resulting children for adoption? Hoo-boy! It’s hilarious!

Such were the beginnings of one of the most influential female stand-up comics of all time. Jackie Mabley (born Loretta Aiken) ran away from all that to start a life of comedy…because that’s really all you can do at that point. Fast forward a few years and we find “Moms” -as she’s now referred – as a very popular comedian who is known for her racy material and frumpy on-stage persona. Mabley became one of the most successful acts on the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit” – a series of “black-friendly” venues during the era of segregation – and forayed her act into the mainstream with regular spots on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the Ed Sullivan Show. She also made appearances in movies, including The Emperor Jones, with fellow Ferncliff resident, Paul Robeson. Moms carved quite the niche for herself over her 56 year career. If it takes that kind of childhood tragedy to produce that kind of funny, as least she managed to do it well.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Knollwood Garden 1, Row 14, Grave 4; In the Knollwood section, Moms is buried (as her plot indicates) 14 rows from the western edge of the garden, just a couple of spaces north of the road.



Jerome Kern

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on February 24, 2014 by Cade


January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945

Jerome Kern’s contributions to American music in the first half of the 20th Century cannot be ignored. He wrote dozens of hit musicals for the Broadway stage and worked with many of the top lyricists of the day. Though his biggest hit – the groundbreaking Show Boat – is essentially the only show that has maintained its popularity, his stable of popular songs written for other shows and films remains a staggering portfolio even today. Songs like “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Pick Yourself Up,” “Ol’ Man River” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” have been covered by everybody from Frank Sinatra to Billie Holiday. Kern moved from Broadway to Hollywood where he would receive 8 Academy Award nominations (winning twice). He continued to work prolifically until he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while walking in New York City. He died less than a week later. Famed lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein, was at Kern’s side when he passed.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 4, Alcove C, Private Memorial Niche 1; Enter the main mausoleum doors, turn right, then left at the end of the hall, then right into Unit 4, then take the next right, Jerome’s niche is on the right.


Malcolm X

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on November 20, 2013 by Cade

x1May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

Malcolm X was a controversial religious and civil rights activist during the tumultuous American 1950’s and ’60’s. A leader in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm – also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz – rose to prominence as the very public face of the very outspoken group. His views on race relations were seen by many as inflammatory and racist in their own ways. The Nation of Islam’s belief in black supremacy and the the “white devil” did little to quell the controversy. In 1964, he split from the Nation and converted to Sunni Islam. The split was contentious and he received a number of death threats for his repudiation of the Nation’s teachings. On February 21, 1965, while addressing a crowd in a New York City ballroom, three men rushed Malcolm on stage and shot him more than a dozen times, killing him. His assassination and legacy sparked a number of African American movements for decades to follow and he is often cited as one of the most influential African Americans in American history.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Pinewood B, Grave 150; In the semi-circular Pinewood section at the eastern end of the park, Malcolm and his wife are buried a couple of rows in from the northern road, their marker faces south.


Ed Sullivan

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on September 26, 2013 by Cade

sullivan1September 28, 1901 – October 13, 1974

“Ed does nothing, but he does it better than anyone else in television.”
– Alan King

Edward Vincent Sullivan wasn’t a terribly talented man. He couldn’t really act.  Or sing. He was a decent writer, apparently, but who isn’t? Yet, somehow, he managed to change the face of the entertainment world forever. Rising through the ranks as a newspaper columnist, a radio entertainment commentator and ultimately, a television variety show host, Sullivan found a niche – something he didn’t have to be particularly great at, just good enough – and turned the world on its ear. His variety show, Toast of the Town, went on to become The Ed Sullivan Show and famously showcased new talent to audiences across the country. His show brought American audiences legendary performances by The Rolling Stones, Elvis, The Jackson 5, Richard Pryor, The Temptations, George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, The Supremes, and, of course…The Beatles.  Ed may have done nothing, but his ability to do it gave us some of the most memorable moments in television history.

Ed died of esophageal cancer in 1974. He did not know he had it. His family did, but chose not to tell him. Not cool, family. Not cool.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 8, Alcove G, Crypt 122; Enter the mausoleum’s main entrance, Turn left, right, left, left then right to enter Unit 8, continue down, past Joan Crawford, until you dead end at a wall of crypts (get it? dead end?), Ed is buried to your right, 2 rows up, next to the elevator.


Jam Master Jay

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on September 12, 2013 by Cade

mizell1January 21, 1965 – October 30, 2002

Jason Mizell – better known to the world of music as “Jam Master Jay” – was a pioneer in hip-hop as the DJ for the legendary rap group, Run-DMC. Even though Jay was most known for his work on the turntables, he was a multi-instrumentalist and played drums, keyboards and bass in the studio during the group’s recording sessions.  He was also a notable producer. Born in Hollis, Queens, a young Mizell met Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Joseph “Run” Simmons and wanted “to join the band.” He did so as their DJ and the world of mainstream hip-hop was changed forever. The group had monstrous cross-over successes in the 1980’s with albums such as Raising Hell and Tougher Than Leather. In October of 2002, Jay was working in his Queens recording studio when a man rushed in and shot and killed him in what is believed to have been a paid hit. He was 37.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Hillcrest Garden C, Plot 1120; Behind the Rosewood Mausoleum, the Hillcrest section is made up of 6 gardens, the southwestern-most garden is C, Jay is buried in the center of this garden.


Thelonious Monk

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on April 4, 2013 by Cade


October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982

Thelonious Sphere Monk was a composer and pianist known for his improvisational and dissonant jazz stylings.  His distinctive style (in both music and fashion) set him apart from many of his contemporaries.  With popular recordings such as “Round Midnight” and “Straight, No Chaser,” Monk’s career would span 3 decades and inspire countless musicians and fans.

Monk withdrew from the public in his later years and rarely – if ever – played the piano, even in private.  He died on February 17, 1982 of a massive stroke at his caretaker’s home in New Jersey.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Hillcrest I, grave 405; Behind the Rosewood Mausoleum in the Hillcrest section, about 3-4 rows north of the road and just a few spaces west of a walkway.


Joan Crawford

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on March 23, 2013 by Cade


March 23, 1904 – May 10, 1977

Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur) was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars in the 1930’s.  Her meteoric rise from “flapper” to sliver screen legend paved the way for a roller coaster of a life.  Her motion picture career stalled out and was revived a number of times over its course. She died a recluse in 1977 at the age of 73.

Crawford is perhaps most widely remembered according to the tell-all book, Mommie Dearest, written after her death by her adopted daughter, Christina.  The book does not paint a very flattering portrait of Crawford and recounts years of alleged emotional and physical abuse.  It also is the reason I, to this day, do not use wire hangers.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 8, Alcove E, Crypt 42; Enter the mausoleum’s main entrance, Turn left, right, left, left then right to enter Unit 8, Joan’s crypt is on the left side of Alcove E (on your right,) two rows up from the floor.



Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on March 12, 2013 by Cade


January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001

Aaliyah Haughton was an R&B superstar in the making.  In the years since she first came on the pop music scene, Aaliyah has sold more than 25 million records.  Her first hit single, the Grammy nominated “Try Again” coincided with her first starring role in a film, 2000’s Romeo Must Die. She was well on her way to becoming a crossover star in both music and Hollywood when her life was tragically cut short.  On August 25, 2001, the overloaded charter plane carrying Aaliyah and her crew crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas while returning from shooting the music video for “Rock the Boat.”  Lots of legal battles and wrongful death claims ensued as the pilot was apparently not licensed – and likely full of cocaine – but, none of that could take back the crash.  One of entertainment’s most promising stars was dead at the age of 22.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Rosewood Mausoleum, Unit 4, Tier CC, Private Alcove, Crypt 3; 2nd floor, down the back, right corridor from the main staircase, Aaliyah’s crypt is in a semi-private alcove on the left near the end of this corridor, 2 spaces up from the floor.


Judy Garland

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , , on February 19, 2013 by Cade


June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969

I grew up in Kansas.  I’ve heard every “Wizard of Oz” joke 17,000 times (you’re not original, people. Please stop.) I should hate the movie.  I should hate everything about it. But, I don’t.  I actually love it.

Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm in Grand Rapids, MN and was an entertainer from the start. Her family were vaudevillians and she and her sisters performed as The Gumm Sisters in a number of short films as girls. At some point – for any number of reasons depending on who you ask – they changed the name of their act to The Garland Sisters. Good move. And after that, the legendary name of Judy Garland would stick.

Judy starred in more than 40 films including the classics Meet Me in St. LouisIn the Good Old Summertime and, of course, The Wizard of Oz. She became an icon and had worldwide fame.

But, life was not great.  After years of combating personal demons such as nervous breakdowns, drug abuse, pleurisy, cirrhosis and co-starring with Mickey Rooney…Judy overdosed on barbiturates in her rented house in London just a few days after her 47th birthday.


Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles, CA

garland, judy - may 02 2010

Former burial site – Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale NY

Specific Location

Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum, Judy Garland Pavilion – Just south of the main entrance to this mausoleum is a new section clearly marked as the “Judy Garland Pavilion.” Judy is buried in the middle, right in front of you as you enter the pavilion.