Archive for the Kensico Cemetery Category

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on March 18, 2014 by Cade

rachmaninoff1April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943

The last of the great Romantic Russian composers, Sergei Rachmaninoff was born into a prominent, if broke, old-aristocratic family. He overcame a torrid childhood filled with dying siblings, a deadbeat father and multiple homes. Through it all, his love for the piano endured. Despite being a below-average student, Rachmaninoff went on to study at the Moscow Conservatory where he excelled. A gifted musician and composer who was influenced by predecessors like Tchaikovsky, he wrote the majority of his catalog before the age of 35. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, Rachmaninoff emigrated, by way of Scandinavia, to the United States where he took on a lengthy career as a conductor and touring performer. His time in America was lucrative, but lacked the inspiration of his homeland. He spent a significant amount of time in Switzerland and planned to be buried at his home there. But, he died of melanoma in Los Angeles…during World War II, so he somehow ended up in Westchester County, New York. As one does.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 187; At the southeast corner of the circle in Pocantico Ave., directly across from the Actors Fund Plot.

kensico_rachmaninoff

Gloria Foster

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags on November 4, 2013 by Cade

foster1November 15, 1933 – September 29, 2001

Sometimes, fame is just bookends. This was the case, to a degree, for the incredibly talented Gloria Foster. Foster made a splash in New York in 1963 for her Obie Award-winning performance in the Off-Broadway production of In White America. The show saw Foster portraying 27 different characters and wowed critics.  She continued a successful stage career appearing in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and other shows. She also appeared in a number of popular TV shows (The Cosby Show, The Mod Squad – the latter of which led to her marriage to Clarence “Linc” Williams III) and films (The Cool World, Leonard, Part 6 (oof)), but it was her role as the matronly and enigmatic Oracle in 1999’s mega-hit, The Matrix, that gave Foster her widest taste of fame. And, as fate would have it, that would be it for her. While filming the sequel to The Matrix in 2001, Foster died of complications from diabetes. She was 67.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 188, Actors Fund Plot; Right near the road on the northern edge of the AF plot.

kensico_foster

Ayn Rand

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on October 9, 2013 by Cade

rand2February 2, 1905 – March 6, 1982

Little Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, moved to the United States at the age of 20, wrote some plays, some books, became an armchair philosopher and, some 80 years later, died.

Of course, simplifying Ayn Rand’s life isn’t fair. So, I’ll expand a bit. Most of her early writings were met with limited success, but she made a splash in 1943 with The Fountainhead. This sprawling 700-page philosophical novel earned her international acclaim and was made into a feature film. She followed it up with, arguably, her most famous book, Atlas Shrugged, an even MORE sprawling 1100-page dystopian philosophical mystery-romance. Both novels put her on the literary map. She devoted herself from that point forward to a personal philosophy she referred to as Objectivism – a theme and subject she would promote and explore the rest of her life.

Rand’s writings, while popular, were met with middling reviews, but her ideals have gone on to inspire many who ascribe to more conservative or libertarian political leanings.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 41; On the north side of Cherokee Ave. under a tree at  the “T” intersection with Ossipee Ave., just to the west of Tommy Dorsey.

kensico_rand

Lou Gehrig

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , , on October 7, 2013 by Cade

gehrig1June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941

It doesn’t get much more “New York” than Hall of Famer Henry Louis Gehrig. He was born in New York. He died in New York. And, he played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees. As a player, Gehrig was outstanding. With a career batting average of .340, the left-handed first baseman was a 7-time All-Star, won six World Series titles won the Triple Crown in 1934 and set franchise offensive records that stood for more than 70 years. Nicknamed, “The Iron Horse,” Gehrig set one of his most famous records when he played in 2.130 consecutive games – a feat eventually broken by Cal Ripkin, Jr some 56 years later.

Off the field, Gehrig is probably most notably and tragically remembered for being diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – the disease which would eventually be associated colloquially with his name. He walked away from baseball in 1939 after delivering his iconic “Luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech at Yankee Stadium. He died of ALS just two years later. He was 37 years-old.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 93, Lot 12686; On the eastern side of a loop in Ossipee Ave., 2nd row back.

kensico_gehrig

Danny Kaye

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

kaye1January 18, 1913 – March 3, 1987

Danny Kaye was a actor, singer and comedian known for his physical comedy and rapid-patter nonsensical singing. Born in Brooklyn, David Daniel Kaminsky was destined to be an entertainer from an early age. As a teenager, he worked on vaudeville stages and in pantomime acts. He went on to star in films, television programs and on Broadway. He was given his own, short-lived radio program in 1945 which co-starred Eve Arden (with whom he also had a romantic relationship) and Harry James. Kaye had a myriad of other interests besides entertaining. He was an avid golfer, a pilot and a chef. He loved baseball, music and charitable causes. He was named the first ever ambassador-at-large for UNICEF and traveled the world promoting its causes for children. The last four years of his life, he was mired with heart and blood problems. In 1987, he died of a heart attack following a bout of hepatitis.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 19; Danny and his wife’s ashes are interred in a bench to the east of and across Tecumseh Ave. from Mineola Lake, the bench is clearly visible from the road but his name on it is not (hint: it’s on the chef’s hat on the engraving).

kensico_kaye

Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.

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

ziegfeld1

March 21, 1867 – July 22, 1932

Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld, Jr.  was one of the biggest names and most important figures in early 1900’s Broadway theatre.  The Ziegfeld Follies – Paris-inspired revues replete with extravagant costumes, showstopping musical numbers and the famous “Ziegfeld Girls,” ran from 1907 through 1931 in New York City and successfully bridged the gap between the low-brow vaudeville shows and the high-concept Broadway musicals that would follow (he also produced the groundbreaking musical, Show Boat). Ziegfeld’s contribution and legend as a showman would live on long after his death in the form of movies and musicals about the man and his life.  At the time of his death in 1932, Florenz was married to future Wizard of Oz star, Billie Burke, who is buried along side of him.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Section 78; Just off of a circle in Powhattan Ave, behind the Roth mausoleum, there is a bronze statue of a woman with her hands on her knees, Billie and Florenz are buried in front of this statue

kensico_burkezieg

Soupy Sales

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on May 30, 2013 by Cade

January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009

Milton Supman was a radio and television personality, actor and comedian who was known to the world by the nickname given to him as a boy: Soupy.  After hosting a number of local radio and TV shows, Sales started Lunch With Soupy on a Detroit local channel.  The show, which was a mélange of slapstick, puns, sight gags and pie throwing became a hit and in 1959, began to air nationally on ABC. After the show was canceled, there were additional local runs in Los Angeles and New York. Soupy continued to host a variety of shows – often at the same time as others  – throughout his career.  He was also an avid jazz fan and hosted a show called Soup’s On that featured a number of top jazz artists of the day.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

Specific Location

Friar’s Club Section; On Commerce Road, just north of a tree, a few rows up from the curb.

kensico_sales

Anne Bancroft

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags on March 8, 2013 by Cade

bancroft1

September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005

Born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in the Bronx, NY, Anne Bancroft was a multiple Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Emmy and Tony award winner (fake EGOT!)  Not too shabby.  She is probably best remembered for her turns as Anne Sullivan in 1962’s The Miracle Worker and the ever-seductive Mrs. Robinson opposite Dustin Hoffman in 1967’s The Graduate.

Bancroft was married to funnyman/director Mel Brooks for over 40 years.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

bancroft - nov 15, 2011

Specific Location

Section 180, Lot 6; Southwest corner of the lawn at the Southern intersection of Seneca Ave. and Pocatico Ave.

kensico_bancroft

Tommy Dorsey

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on March 4, 2013 by Cade

dorsey1

November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956

American trombonist and bandleader Tommy Dorsey not only gave the world Big Band era  hits like “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Marie” and “In the Blue of the Evening,” he also stole incorporated a number of huge stars into his band over the years.  Drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, as well as a little-known vocalist named Frank something-or-other all sat in with Tommy.  He also funded a young Glenn Miller’s first band.  So, he kind of was a big deal for a while. Dorsey may have been known as “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing” but his perfectionism and unsteady demeanor made him a chore to work with. Or so I’ve heard.

At the age of 51, Tommy thought that it would be a good idea to eat a whole lot of food with some sleeping pills and he choked to death in his sleep. Seriously. That’s how he died.

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

dorsey, tommy - may 02 2010

Specific Location

Section 41; On the north side of Cherokee Ave. just east of  the “T” intersection with Ossipee Ave.

kensico_dorsey

Billie Burke

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on February 27, 2013 by Cade

burke1

August 7, 1884 – May 14, 1970

Though a prolific stage, screen and radio actress, Mary William Ethelbert Appleton “Billie” Burke is remembered for two things:  1) she was married to legendary Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld and 2) she played Glinda the Good Witch in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Personally, I believe she should be remembered for her glorious birth name above all else.

Billie’s portrayal of Glinda has made her known for generations past and will continue to do so for generations to come.  All in all, not too shabby for someone with a middle name like “Ethelbert.”

Burial

Kensico Cemetery – Valhalla, NY

burke, billie - may 02 2010

Specific Location

Section 78; Just off of a circle in Powhattan Ave, behind the Roth mausoleum, there is a bronze statue of a woman with her hands on her knees, Billie and Florenz are buried in front of this statue

kensico_burkezieg