Cemeteries Worth Visiting: Where Famous Stars Are Buried

Posted March 1, 2017

7 min read

At CRäKN, we take business seriously, but we like to have fun, too. In that spirit and just in time for planning your Spring Break trip, we wanted to bring you this post.

As you’re well aware, most cemeteries receive a modest influx of visitors: bereaved families and friends of the loved ones stopping by to pay respects or adorn the grave marker with flowers on the anniversary of their death, their birthday, or other days when they are greatly missed.

But what about the famous departed among us?

There are quite a few cemeteries where many passed stars are laid to rest. These cemeteries offer an entirely unique experience—some with interactive maps, guides, and life stories available for those who want to visit and reminisce. Here we take a look at 5 of these sites.

Hollywood Forever

One such cemetery is Hollywood Forever. Just as much a landmark as it is a cemetery, Hollywood Forever boasts more names from Hollywood’s famous beginnings than any other location on earth. It is now known as both a historic site, as well as a popular cemetery choice for the majority of the founders and well-known talent from many of Hollywood’s studios, including writers, directors, editors, actors, musicians and comedians. Also laid to rest there are various athletes, inventors and public figures, according to the cemetery’s website (1).

Additional attractions for the tourists and visitors who draw from all over the globe include archived life stories about the deceased, festivals, concerts, and other cultural events. Paramount Studios is located just behind the cemetery. Tours to the studio draws additional traffic to Hollywood Forever (1).

As reported on its website, because Hollywood Forever was founded in 1899, many of Hollywood’s early famous can be found there. There are hundreds of notables; here are a few: Hobart Johnstone Whitley, best known for naming and developing the area we know today as Hollywood, was buried here in 1931. Elmer Clinton Adolph Berger, the inventor of the rear view mirror, was buried at Hollywood Forever in 1952. George Barnes, a top cameraman, photographer and cinematographer for 30 years in Hollywood, can be found here. Cecil B. DeMille, remembered as a very famous producer, actor, screenwriter and director, joined the ranks here in 1959. George Harrison of the Beatles was cremated and placed in the cemetery in 2001 (1, 2, 3).

East London Cemetery & Crematorium

Hopping across the pond, there are quite a few famous cemeteries to be found in England as well. The East London Cemetery and Crematorium takes a different approach to their famous burials, where you can find local Londoners mixed in with popular actors, athletes, writers, public figures and other famous deaths. This 200-acre cemetery maintains formal gardens, tree lined roadways, and stunning landscapes, creating a picturesque escape from the busy city, and welcoming thousands of visitors each year (4, 5).

Jack Warner, a British actor with numerous television and film roles, was buried here in 1981. The third confirmed Jack the Ripper murder victim, Elizabeth Stride, also rests here. Terry Spinks, who was a professional and Olympic boxer, and the youngest Brit to ever earn a gold medal in boxing, died in 2012 and was buried at East London Cemetery as well, according to findagrave.com (4, 5).

Hillside Memorial Park

Hillside Memorial Park is a Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles, California, and hosts the graves of many famous television and movie stars. It has become the resting place to many historical actors, as well as quite a few more recently departed stars. Hillside is located only a few miles from MGM studios. This memorial park is comprised of rolling green hills, interspersed with cypress trees and the tall, white stone monuments adorning many of the famous tombs located here, as reported by seeing-stars.com (6).

Al Jolson currently boasts the largest monument, visible from the entrance of the cemetery, and made up of six white stone columns, adorned by cascading waterfalls, a bronze statue of the famous jazz singer, and a mosaic depiction of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. Many actors can be found in the massive mausoleum, inside individual or family crypts. David Janssen of “The Fugitive”, Eddie Cantor, superstar from the early part of the 20th century, and Aaron Spelling, the famous producer behind classics such as “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” are just three of many that are found at the mausoleum. Buried in a traditional grave outside the mausoleum is actor/producer Sheldon Leonard from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show,” according to seeing-stars.com (6).

Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Forest Lawn Memorial Park is located in the Hollywood Hills and overlooks Disney Studios, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios. According to seeing-stars.com, the atmosphere of this cemetery is very patriotic; the cemetery is enriched with magnificent statues of American Presidents, sprawling acres of lushly landscaped and well-manicured lawns, and replicas of Revolution-era churches (7).

Legendary actress Bette Davis was buried here in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in 1989, in a large sarcophagus adorned with a statue of a woman on top, located at the entrance to the park. Lucille Ball, who also died in 1989 and is remembered from her role on the ever-popular TV show “I Love Lucy,” was cremated and her cremated remains were located here for 13 years. Her children removed her cremated remains in 2002, sending them home to be buried in Jamestown, New York, with other family members (3, 7).

Carrie Fisher, who starred in “Star Wars” and died just last year, was a very recent addition to Forest Lawn. Other recent stars to pass whose graves can be found here include Brittany Murphy, a television and movie actress who died of accidental overdose in 2009, located in an outdoor grave, and Lou Rawls, a singer with three Grammy awards and over 60 albums, who died in 2006, and is located in the crypts. The funeral for Michael Jackson took place at the Hall of Liberty inside this cemetery in July of 2009. But, he was buried permanently at Forest Lawn Glendale location, which is the sister site to the Forest Lawn location in the Hollywood Hills (3,7).

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park

According to seeing-stars.com, Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park is easy to miss, because it is hidden behind the colossal high-rise buildings that line Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Despite that, this tiny cemetery is a popular tourist destination because it contains many famous Hollywood stars, including the ultra-popular Marilyn Monroe. This cemetery is not far from the University of California Los Angeles, and it’s very near the Avco movie theatre complex, where people go to see some of the biggest stars of today without necessarily knowing they are very near to where the famous show business stars of yesterday are buried.

It has a quieter, more intimate feel with grassy lawns that contain most of the burial sites, and outdoor crypts lining the borders of the park. Musical artist Frank Zappa was buried here in 1993 in an unmarked grave. Bettie Mae Page, known as the queen of 1950’s pin-ups, was buried here in 2008. Marilyn Monroe, who died in 1962, is buried above ground in one of the mausoleum crypts. Her crypt and marker are plain and simple, but has become darker than those surrounding it from the stain of fans’ kisses and touches over the years. ‘The Untouchables” star, actor Robert Stack, who died in 2003, as well as singer and actor Dean Martin, who died in 1995, are also buried in crypts at this location. Singer and actress Eva Gabor is buried in a grave out on the lawn, according to seeing-stars.com (8).

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Sources Used Directly In this Post

  1. http://www.hollywoodforever.com/
  2. http://www.hollywoodforever.com/interactive-site-map
  3. https://www.findagrave.com/
  4. https://www.findagrave.com/php/famous.php?page=cem&globalSearchCriteria=&globalSearchType=&FSctf=0&FSstateid=0&FSlastinitial=&firstName=&lastName=&FScemeteryid=2162468&FScityid=0&FScountryid=0&FScountyid=0&FSstartrow=1&FSbirthmonth=0&FSbirthday=0&FSbirthyear=0&FSdeathmonth=0&FSdeathday=0&FSdeathyear=0 https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/cemetery-and-crematorium/about-us/Pages/About%20Us.aspx
  5. http://www.seeing-stars.com/Buried2/Hillside.shtml
  6. http://www.seeing-stars.com/Buried2/ForestLawnHollywood1.shtml
  7. http://www.seeing-stars.com/Buried2/PierceBros.shtml

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