Sunday, August 2, 2009

A day at the cemetery

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.


Jeff said...

European chicks and old-lady employees - bad mix.

And I can't believe you lived two miles away and never knew about it!

Kellybelle said...

Cool! Sam Cooke's grave!
They have a museum? Who donates the art?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ The guy who built up the cemetery, Hubert Eaton, was a rich businessman who accumulated a lot of art.

Don't know how he made his money. (Banking, I believe.) But he had enough to commission an Italian artist to do a huge reproduction of da Vinci's "Last Supper" in stained glass. Took six years to make.

bklyn6 said...

Cool. I've been a bit interested in this stuff since reading "The American Way of Death."

I think I'd rather be bling.

lawegohard said...

OMG that Clara Ward clip is orgasmic. WTF, I wasn't ready for that! Good Sh*t.

Undercover Black Man said...

Aw shoot, la... I just swapped it out.

Anybody else wants to see that Clara Ward video... click here.

Anonymous said...

there's another cemetery in Hollywood where they project movies every Saturday night against the white wall of a mausoleum to about two thousand people. It's pretty wild to be watching an old flick knowing that the leading actor is buried a hundred yards away. The Cemetery is right behind Paramount.

intrepidideas said...

UBM A unique find indeed. Thanks also Anonymous. That clears up some of the mystery. I knew about the Hollywood Hills Cemetery ( but I wasn't familiar with the Glendale park. I'll have to cruise by with camera in hand. Thanks!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Cool. When you go, Intrepid... first stop should be the Court of Freedom. I think you'd dig it.