Archive for February, 2013

John F. Kennedy

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , , on February 22, 2013 by Cade

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May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

The 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected to the office when he defeated Richard Nixon in the 1960 election.  Charismatic and energetic, Kennedy ushered in an era of youthful optimism through his presidency. He was far more media and pop-culture savy than any previous administration and was the first President to regularly broadcast his press conferences live on television.

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Natalie Wood

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , on February 22, 2013 by Cade

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July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981

Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko was born in San Francisco to a Russian immigrant family in July of 1938.  For some reason, her name was changed when she began acting at the age of 5, and the world met Natalie Wood.

A star from early on, her first major role was that of young Susan Walker in the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th St. She earned 3 Academy Award nominations by the time she turned 25, starring in such classics along the way as Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, Splendor in the Grass and as the face and body in front of Marni Nixon’s voice in West Side Story.

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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Posted in Forest Lawn Glendale with tags , , , , on February 21, 2013 by Cade

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December 08, 1925 – May 16, 1990

“THE ENTERTAINER” HE DID IT ALL

The inscription on Sammy Davis, Jr.’s grave marker could not be more accurate.  He DID do it all.  The multi-talented singer/dancer/actor/impersonator was a dynamo packed into a skinny, 5′ 5″ frame. By the age of 3, he was already performing on stage with his father, Sammy Davis, Sr. and Will Mastin as part of the Will Mastin Trio (Davis, Sr. and Mastin are also buried at Forest Lawn Glendale, right next to Sammy.) His career would see great heights despite personal setbacks.  In 1954, Davis was in a serious car crash that resulted in the loss of his left eye, something he would use to his own self-deprecating sense of humor throughout his life.  He found even greater fame along side pals Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the legendary Rat Pack. The friends remained close throughout their lives and Sinatra remarked upon his death that Sammy was “one of the finest human beings I ever knew in my life.”

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Katharine Hepburn

Posted in Cedar Hill Cemetery with tags , on February 21, 2013 by Cade

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May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a star brighter than Katharine Hepburn. The actress’s career spanned more than 6 decades. She racked up 12 Oscar nominations for Best Actress (winning 4 – a record.)  She worked with everyone from Cary Grant to Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart…and outshone all of them. She was versed in theatre, film, televison and, in later years, continued to challenge herself by taking on difficult Shakespeare roles.  She is perhaps best known – to my generation, at least – for playing opposite Henry Fonda in his final role in 1981’s On Golden Pond.

Hepburn was very publicly involved with actor Spencer Tracy for many years. Continue reading

Frank Sinatra

Posted in Desert Memorial Park with tags , , , , on February 20, 2013 by Cade

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December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998

“The Chairman of the Board.” “The Voice.”  “Old Blue Eyes.” Francis Albert Sinatra had a lot of names.  But, mostly, everyone just called him “Frank.”

Hoboken, New Jersey’s favorite son was one of the largest entertainers in the world for decades.  His smooth and unmistakable baritone catapulted him into super-stardom and made him the idol of a generation. From his early days singing with bandleaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey to his unprecedented success as a solo artist, Sinatra wowed audiences and radio listeners with his rich voice and unique phrasing.

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Jimmy Stewart

Posted in Forest Lawn Glendale with tags , on February 20, 2013 by Cade

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May 20, 1908 – July 02, 1997

By all accounts, Jimmy Stewart was a pretty remarkable human being.

A talented and distinctive actor, he was often described by anyone who knew him with words like “kind” and “generous” and so on and so forth.  Even Joan Crawford liked him.  And she hardly liked anybody. Beyond his Hollywood persona – which garnered him countless legendary roles, 5 Oscar nominations, and Lifetime Achievement awards from just about every organization imaginable – Jimmy was also a decorated military officer and a prolific philanthropist.

They don’t make them like that anymore. Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , , on February 19, 2013 by Cade

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June 01, 1926 – August 05, 1962

I mean, it’s Marilyn. How much do I have to say here?

She was perhaps the biggest sex symbol in 20th century America.  She was romantically linked to baseball players, playwrights and presidents.  She was the ultimate rags to riches story.  She liked to party.   One night, at the age of 36, she took too much Nembutal – maybe by her own choice, maybe by someone else’s – and Elton John wrote a song about her.

Goodbye, Norma Jean. Continue reading

Judy Garland

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery, Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , , , , on February 19, 2013 by Cade

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June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969

I grew up in Kansas.  I’ve heard every “Wizard of Oz” joke 17,000 times (you’re not original, people. Please stop.) I should hate the movie.  I should hate everything about it. But, I don’t.  I actually love it.

Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm in Grand Rapids, MN and was an entertainer from the start. Her family were vaudevillians and she and her sisters performed as The Gumm Sisters in a number of short films as girls. At some point – for any number of reasons depending on who you ask – they changed the name of their act to The Garland Sisters. Good move. And after that, the legendary name of Judy Garland would stick.

Judy starred in more than 40 films including the classics Meet Me in St. LouisIn the Good Old Summertime and, of course, The Wizard of Oz. She became an icon and had worldwide fame.

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Dean Martin

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , , on February 19, 2013 by Cade

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June 07, 1917 – December 25, 1995

Dino Paul Crocetti, better known as Dean Martin, was an American singer, actor and television host. Martin’s earliest success saw him team up with comedian, Jerry Lewis. The duo enjoyed a decade of stage acts, radio programs and television appearances as well as 17 films.  After a popular solo career, he found his iconic place in entertainment history as a member – along with fellow crooners Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. – of the fabled Rat Pack.  Known for his laid-back1 onstage persona  and comedic prowess, Martin enjoyed a lengthy career despite ever-changing musical landscapes and personal tragedies.

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