Archive for March, 2013

Al Jolson

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags , on March 12, 2013 by Cade

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May 26, 1886 – October 23, 1950

Look, I’m not here to judge.

I wasn’t around in the first quarter of the 20th century to understand what was and wasn’t culturally acceptable.  I don’t know, first hand, what race relations were like.  I don’t know whether it’s okay or not that the primary image that comes to mind when one hears the name “Al Jolson” is this:

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That’s not my business. Continue reading

Aaliyah

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on March 12, 2013 by Cade

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January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001

Aaliyah Haughton was an R&B superstar in the making.  In the years since she first came on the pop music scene, Aaliyah has sold more than 25 million records.  Her first hit single, the Grammy nominated “Try Again” coincided with her first starring role in a film, 2000’s Romeo Must Die. She was well on her way to becoming a crossover star in both music and Hollywood when her life was tragically cut short.  On August 25, 2001, the overloaded charter plane carrying Aaliyah and her crew crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas while returning from shooting the music video for “Rock the Boat.” Continue reading

Tom Bosley

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , , on March 12, 2013 by Cade

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October 1, 1927 – October 19, 2010

Thomas Edward Bosley was a beloved television star who will be forever remembered as “Mr. C.”  Bosley, of course, played Howard Cunningham on the long-running ABC comedy Happy Days, but he was also known for Broadway (Fiorello!) and other television roles (Father Dowling Mysteries).  Tom also had an extensive voice over career thanks to his distinctive, husky voice.

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John Cazale

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (MA) with tags , , on March 12, 2013 by Cade

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August 12, 1935 – March 12, 1978

John Cazale might not be a name you instantly recognize, but his face should be familiar.  He is probably best known for portraying Fredo Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy. His career in Hollywood was brief, but unprecedented: He appeared in six full-length motion pictures (The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter and The Godfather Part III) , ALL SIX of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.  That’s right, he batted a 1.000 lifetime average.  He was close friends with Al Pacino and dated Meryl Streep.  Cazale had just wrapped his scenes on The Deer Hunter when he succumbed to cancer at the age of 42. Continue reading

James Cagney

Posted in Gate of Heaven Cemetery with tags , on March 9, 2013 by Cade

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July 17, 1899 – March 30, 1986

No matter how much I want it to be true, James Cagney was not a gangster in real life.  In fact, he was more light-hearted comedian and dancing showman than cold-blooded criminal.  But, whatever, I like the version of the ultimate mobster in my head better.

Either way, Cagney was a showman.  He showed his range throughout his career on stage (Vaudeville and Broadway) and in films.  He even tried to sing a time or two. Continue reading

Don Knotts

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , on March 8, 2013 by Cade

knottsJuly 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006

Don Knotts will forever be associated with one of the greatest characters in television history.  His portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show cemented Knotts’ place in America’s collective living room for decades.  He appeared in many post-Mayberry films and other tv shows (including wannabe-lothario landlord, Ralph Furley on ABC’s Three’s Company), but he was and always will be Barney to his adoring public. Continue reading

Anne Bancroft

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on March 8, 2013 by Cade

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September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005

Born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in the Bronx, NY, Anne Bancroft was a multiple Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Emmy and Tony award winner (fake EGOT!)  Not too shabby.  She is probably best remembered for her turns as Anne Sullivan in 1962’s The Miracle Worker and the ever-seductive Mrs. Robinson opposite Dustin Hoffman in 1967’s The Graduate.

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Ray Bolger

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , , , on March 7, 2013 by Cade

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January 10, 1904 – January 15, 1987

Song and dance man, Ray Bolger, had quite the stage and film career going when he stumbled upon a little role as a scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.  Total career killer that one.

Seriously, though, Bolger was immensely talented and any lack of recognition of his work outside of Oz is strictly on us.  We suck.

 

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Cass Elliot

Posted in Mt. Sinai Memorial Park with tags , , , on March 7, 2013 by Cade

Photo of Mama Cass

September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974

Known to the world as “Mama Cass,” Ellen Naomi Cohen, AKA Cass Elliot, was a singer and member of the American vocal group, The Mamas & the Papas.  Elliot’s voice can be heard prominently on many of their best-known recordings, including “California Dreamin'” and “Monday Monday.”

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Ray Charles

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , on March 7, 2013 by Cade

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September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004

Ray Charles Robinson’s beginnings in Georgia and Florida were tough.  Already dealing with the realities of extreme poverty, Ray witnessed his brother drown in a wash tub at the age of  5. He also began to lose his sight around the same time and, by the time he was 7 years-old, was completely blind.

Fast forward a little bit and things went alright for Ray.  Despite struggles with legal issues and substance abuse, Charles had a meteoric career in music using jazz, blues, rock and gospel influences to become one of the best-selling artists of all time. His impact on music was staggering.  He successfully crossed over into the pop and country mainstream, becoming one of the first African-American artists to do so. He consistently ranks in the Top 10 on lists of the top singers/entertainers/performers of all time.

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