A little while ago, my daughter and I went to a cemetery, as we often do. Cemeteries are great places to take kids. They are spacious, peaceful, meditative and perfect places to play zombie tag.*
It was a lovely dark gray rainy morning at a tiny gem of a graveyard in Westwood, hidden between tall office buildings. Driving past on Wilshire Boulevard, you’d never know that you were mere feet from Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park, the final resting place of some Hollywood A-listers. Los Angeles and its surrounding cities boast a great many celebrity graves, especially in Forest Lawn and Hollywood Forever, both of which are great for spotting the dead stars, but the smaller Westwood Village and Woodlawn in Santa Monica are my favorites.
I’ve learned, in my time as a grave-spotter of the famous, that big stars often have small graves. Bing Crosby and Bela Lugosi have modest plaques in the same row at Holy Cross. Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote and Dean Martin are entombed in marble walls, but without any other significant ostentation. Al Jolson’s grave is probably the largest and gaudiest I have ever seen. You can see it from the freeway. Some tombstones are funny. Merv Griffin’s reads “I will not be right back after this message” and Rodney Dangerfield’s says “There goes the neighborhood.”
[meet you at the cemetery gates]