Archive for the Inglewood Park Cemetery Category

Betty Grable

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

grable1December 18, 1916 – July 2, 1973

I had a professor in college who would constantly – and without prompting – tell us: “Betty Grable had the best legs I have ever seen.” Well, this one’s for you, Dr. Wright!

Elizabeth Ruth Grable was an actress, singer and dancer who was a fixture in the hey dey of the American film musical. Her looks, and yes, her legs, made her a very poplular star. In fact, she was Farrah Fawcett some 30 years before Farrah ever donned that red swimsuit. A pin-up photo of Betty in a bathing suit (see the photo on the vase on her grave below) became an icon and one of the most recognizable photos of the World War II era. The movie studio she was under contract with insured her gams for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London. This was serious business.

Beyond the legs, Grable was a likable “bombshell-next-door” type on the screen. She struggled in B-Movies for the early part of her career before deciding to quit altogether. Luckily, she was convinced to sign with 20th Century Fox…where she went on to make her biggest successes with costars such as Marilyn Monroe, Cesar Romero and Jack Lemmon. Eventually, though, she began to be passed over for coveted roles and decided to walk away for good this time.  18 years after her last starring role, Betty died of lung cancer at the relatively young age of 56.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Mausoleum of the Golden West, Sanctuary of Dawn, Crypt A78; Enter the mausoleum’s “Cenotaph” (right) entrance, turn right when you enter, then immediately left, walk to the 2rd corridor and turn right into the Sanctuary of Faith, continue straight down this corridor until it turns into the Sanctuary of Dawn, once you enter the Sanctuary of Dawn, Betty and her mom are buried on your right, about halfway down, 3rd row up from the floor.

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Cesar Romero

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

romero1February 15, 1907 – January 1, 1994

Known to some as The Cisco Kid, to others as Falcon Crest‘s Peter Stavros, and almost universally as The Joker from the 1960’s Batman television series, Cesar Romero was everywhere for a good number of years.  His other credits included Freddie Prinze’s absent father on Chico and the Man and a slew of Latin lover roles. Romero was also a dancer and comedian and appeared in lighthearted musicals such as Springtime in the Rockies – with fellow Golden West resident, Betty Grable. But, it is likely The Joker for which he is most remembered. The toothy grin, white face paint and trademark cackle are pop-culture mainstays. Cesar, a lifelong “confirmed bachelor,” died on New Year’s Day in 1994.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Mausoleum of the Golden West, Alcove of Music, Niche 408; Enter the mausoleum’s “Cenotaph” (right) entrance, turn right when you enter, then immediately left, walk to the 3rd corridor and turn right into the Sanctuary of Reverence, then left into the Sanctuary of Dreams, Cesar’s ashes are in a harp-shaped receptacle in a glass case on your left.

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Edgar Bergen

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on September 6, 2013 by Cade

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February 16, 1903 – September 30, 1978

Perhaps the most famous ventriloquist ever, Edgar Bergen (along with his friends – most notably Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd) defined the art form for generations. As a young comedian and actor, Bergen paid his dues in vaudeville and was given his own show after a very successful appearance on Rudy Vallée‘s radio program. Yup, ventriloquism on the radio.  Either way, Edgar and friends eventually made it to television and enjoyed a long career of entertaining audiences and inspiring future performers. Bergen also continued to act sans dummies, too.  At the age of 75, and just a few days after beginning his retirement concert run, Edgar Bergen died in his sleep of kidney failure. While you can visit Edgar at Inglewood Park, you can also visit his partner, Charlie, who now resides in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Miramar, Lot 131, Grave 2; The BERG(R)EN family plot is relatively easy to spot from the semi-circle road that surrounds this section of the cemetery.

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William Thomas

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

buckwheat1

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:

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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:

Burial

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.

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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.

Burial

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.

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Etta James

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on May 22, 2013 by Cade

james1

January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012

Aaaat Laaaaaaaast….

The opening words of Etta James’ (born, Jamesetta Hawkins) classic ballad “At Last” are unmistakable. James was a prolific singer whose career covered and influenced nearly every genre imaginable. She won six Grammys, a host of other awards and was an 1993 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Whether she was belting Jazz, R&B, Gospel or straight Blues, Etta was without equal.  Alas, a staggering amount of legal troubles (Forgery! Heroin!) and health issues (Leukemia! MRSA!?) is enough to derail anyone.  And, though it took nearly 74 years, that’s exactly what happened.  After a glorious lifetime of beautiful music, trouble and health issues, Etta, at last, succumbed.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Garden of Chimes Mausoleum, Building D, #32-C; On the west-facing wall of Building D, Etta’s crypt is in the 3rd tier up, just 2 spaces from the left edge.

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Billy Preston

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on April 28, 2013 by Cade

preston1

September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006

William Everett Preston was a celebrated studio musician (piano/organ – mainly) who worked with an astonishing list of artists that includes Little Richard, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash and The Beatles.  It was his work with the latter during the “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road” sessions that led to his unofficial designation as “the fifth Beatle.1” He also played extensively with The Rolling Stones both live and in the studio.  Not bad.

Life outside of music wasn’t all that great.  Legal  and substance abuse issues plagued Preston for years, but he continued playing and contributing with some of the most influential musicians ever until the end.  His health deteriorated, however, and he died of kidney failure at the age of 59.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Garden of Peace 151-B; The Garden of Peace is a series of outdoor mausoleums at the south end of the park, Billy is buried on the west side of the southernmost building (E), tier 151.

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1 – Along with a number of others who also can claim it.

Ray Charles

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on March 7, 2013 by Cade

charles1

September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004

Ray Charles Robinson’s beginnings in Georgia and Florida were tough.  Already dealing with the realities of extreme poverty, Ray witnessed his brother drown in a wash tub at the age of  5. He also began to lose his sight around the same time and, by the time he was 7 years-old, was completely blind.

Fast forward a little bit and things went alright for Ray.  Despite struggles with legal issues and substance abuse, Charles had a meteoric career in music using jazz, blues, rock and gospel influences to become one of the best-selling artists of all time. His impact on music was staggering.  He successfully crossed over into the pop and country mainstream, becoming one of the first African-American artists to do so. He consistently ranks in the Top 10 on lists of the top singers/entertainers/performers of all time.

At the age of 73, Ray’s liver failed.  He left behind one of the greatest music legacies the world has ever seen.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

Specific Location

Mausoleum Of The Golden West, Sanctuary of Eternal Love, Crypt A-32; Enter the mausoleum’s “Cenotaph” (right) entrance, turn right when you enter, then immediately left, walk to the 3rd corridor and turn right into the Sanctuary of Reverence, left into the Sanctuary of Dreams (past César Romero), then right into the Sanctuary of Eternal Love (the last right), Ray is buried on your right, 5 spaces in and 4 rows up from the floor.

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Ella Fitzgerald

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , on February 24, 2013 by Cade

fitzgerald

April 25, 1918 – June 15, 1996

A celebrated jazz vocalist, “Lady Ella” Fitzgerald was known as the “Queen of Jazz” and the “First Lady of Song.”  She earned 13 Grammy awards as well as a number of other honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Ella’s unmistakable voice is often praised for its pure tone and flawless diction.

Her later life was plagued with health concerns and, after significant struggles with diabetes, she passed away in her home at the age of 79. Her last words were “I’m ready to go now.”  We should all be so lucky.

Burial

Inglewood Park Cemetery – Inglewood, CA

fitzgerald - jan 21 2013

Specific Location

Sunset Mission Mausoleum, Sanctuary of the Bells, Crypt 1063; Enter the door closest to the park’s E. Florence Ave. entrance; Go up the stairs on your left to the 2nd floor. Ella’s crypt is across the hall from the top of the stairs, 2 rows up

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