I’ve been living in Glendale, Calif., for six years, and I just found out about Forest Lawn Memorial Park... the awesomest cemetery in America!
It’s literally two miles from my house, and I never knew.
You know who’s buried there? Nat King Cole. Sammy Davis, Jr. Sam Cooke. Dorothy Dandridge. Ethel Waters. Art Tatum.
Not to mention Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, W.C. Fields and Walt Disney.
Plus Forest Lawn is vast and hilly and beautiful and a great place to walk. (And you know I needs to walk, lest I prematurely take up residence in a similar bone garden.)
There’s wonderful statuary, gorgeous stained glass windows, a museum filled with genuine works of art...
But I was there today looking for dead celebrities. I know that to do this properly takes prior planning... a couple hours on the internets, at least. For one thing, the place has got a quarter of a million dead peoples!
For another, the staff at Forest Lawn doesn’t facilitate celebrity-hunting.
I was in the museum store recently, and I overheard a young European chick asking an old-lady employee how to find a particular landmark. Chick was holding some kind of tourist guidebook.
“Are you looking for movie stars?” the employee asked. European chick nodded. Old lady said, “We don’t encourage that,” and she refused to provide the information requested.
Today, I wanted to see what I could find just winging it. I did all right.
I saw the cinerary tomb of playwright Clifford Odets. And the final resting place of Larry Fine of the Three Stooges.
In a grand mausoleum, I stumbled upon Mary Wells, the early Motown superstar (“My Guy”)... and gospel legend Clara Ward.
I was motivated to buy a little music when I returned home. Click here to hear “Two Lovers,” one of Mary Wells’s biggest hits.
And click here for “Out On a Hill” by Clara Ward & the Ward Singers.