Basil Rathbone

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on November 29, 2021 by Cade

June 13, 1892 – July 21, 1967

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was an English actor and accomplished performer and is most widely known for starring as Sherlock Holmes in a string of successful movies and radio shows about the legendary detective in the 1940s. Born in South Africa, his family moved back to Britain when he was young. His first appearance on stage was in a 1911 production of Shakespeare‘s The Taming of the Shrew. This started a career that saw him become one of the most accomplished Shakespearian actors of his time. Service in World War I; however, would pause that career briefly. Continue reading

James Baldwin

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on November 22, 2021 by Cade

August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987

How does one sum up James Baldwin in a single, concise blog post?

He was an influential writer and activist who pondered and expounded upon what it meant to be black in the height of the American civil rights movement, what it meant to be gay long before societal acceptance had begun to take hold, and what it mean to be, frankly, human, in a century that saw progress and cyclical violence all at the same time. Continue reading

Cab Calloway

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on November 15, 2021 by Cade

December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III was one of the most prominent jazz bandleaders of the swing era of the 1930s and ’40s. He was most closely associated with the famed Cotton Club in Harlem where he and his band started by filling in for Duke Ellington when Ellington was on tour. Cab grew up in Baltimore and often found himself in trouble for playing dice or skipping school. Eventually, he found a more positive outlet for his energies: singing. Despite his mother’s protests (she wanted him to be a lawyer like his father) Cab continued to pursue music. He met and worked with greats like Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie and moved to New York City. After a stint at the Savoy, his band broke up and he joined The Missourians and jumped to the Cotton Club.

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Lucille Ball

Posted in Lake View Cemetery Association with tags , on October 4, 2021 by Cade

August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989

Arguably the most famous comedic actress of all time, Lucille Ball was a mainstay at the top of the television mountain for decades. The model-turned-actor started her groundbreaking run in 1951 when she and her husband, bandleader, Desi Arnez, created and starred in the now-classic sitcom, I Love Lucy. Lucy ran for 6 seasons and became the standard blueprint for sitcoms for generations to follow. Continue reading

Earl Scruggs

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , , on September 27, 2021 by Cade

January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012

There are banjo players…and then there’s THE banjo player.

Earl Eugene Scruggs not only reinvented how the instrument was used, but he opened the door for an entire new genre of music. As a young man, Earl joined the fabled Blue Grass Boys (led by the legendary Bill Monroe) where his patented 3-finger picking style helped shape and define the band’s sound. “Bluegrass” would eventually become an entire sub-genre in Country music and many of the sounds that came from the Blue Grass Boys became archetypes for the style. Maybe none more so than Scruggs’ fast-paced, solo banjo picking. Continue reading

Bernie Mac

Posted in Washington Memory Gardens with tags , , on September 20, 2021 by Cade

October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac was a comedian and actor who rose to fame in the late 1990s and was a staple in American movies and television throughout the 2000s. Bernard McCullough was born in Chicago and grew up idolizing comedians like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. He began his stand-up career in the Cotton Club in his hometown and immediately starting getting noticed for his fearless performances. In 1990, he won a comedy contest that led to an appearance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and by the mid-90s, he was appearing in movies like House Party 3 and Friday. In 2000, he was featured alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley in Spike Lee’s massive hit, The Original Kings of Comedy. Continue reading

Hank Snow

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , on September 13, 2021 by Cade

May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada idolizing Country & Western legend, Jimmie Rodgers. Snow’s humble beginnings were marred with poverty, foster situations and abuse. But, the times he did get to live with his mother were relatively happy…and full of music. His mother was a talented singer and organ player and young Clarence soon began playing guitar and singing himself.

But, in Nova Scotia in the 1920s, music didn’t put food on the table, so Hank took various jobs – ranging from dock work to working on a fishing boat – to help make ends meet. All the while, he continued to stoke his passion for music. He eventually landed an audition at a local radio station which led to paying gigs and – eventually – a recording contract. He moved to Nashville in 1949. Continue reading

Harriet Tubman

Posted in Fort Hill Cemetery with tags , on September 6, 2021 by Cade

c. 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and activist who became one of the most famous freer of enslaved people in the 19th Century United States. Her life and legacy made her a true American icon.

Born into slavery in Maryland as Araminta Ross around the year 1820 (the birth year on her grave marker), “Minty” – as she was known – endured all of the hardships that accompanied slaves at the time. Several of her siblings were sold away, she was routinely whipped and – in one instance – was severely injured when an overseer hit her in the head with a heavy metal object. This injury caused life-long issues for her and led to visions and dreams…which she would later claim were revelations from God. Continue reading

Roy Acuff

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on August 30, 2021 by Cade

September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992

“He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.” – Hank Williams

As a young man in Tennessee, Roy Claxton Acuff wanted to be a baseball player. When that didn’t work out for him, he found solace in some country-western records his dad gave him. With his mind successfully off of baseball, he decided he wanted to be an entertainer and so he set out to become one. Continue reading

Gus Grissom

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on August 23, 2021 by Cade

grissom1April 3, 1926 – January 27, 1967

Virgil Ivan Grissom grew up in Indiana building model airplanes and dreaming of becoming a pilot. When he was in high school, World War II broke out, so Virgil – whose friends called him “Gus” – seized his chance to become a pilot and joined the Army Air Forces. Gus spent the war basically behind a desk…on the ground.

Six years later, the U.S. entered the Korean War and Gus re-enlisted in the newly rebranded Air Force; and this time, he earned his pilot wings. Grissom flew 100 missions in the conflict and made quite a name for himself as an airman. After the war, he became a test pilot and, in 1959, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration called Gus with a special offer.

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