Archive for June, 2013

Sonny Bono

Posted in Desert Memorial Park with tags on June 21, 2013 by Cade


February 16, 1935 – January 5, 1998

Salvatore “Sonny” Bono was good at a lot of things.  He was a pretty good singer. He was a much better songwriter, entertainer and producer, though.  This was evidenced by the massive popularity of his 1960’s and ’70’s pop duo, Sonny and Cher. While Cher may have gotten most of the attention and had an arguably better career, it was Sonny who goofily smiled and quietly wrote all of their huge hits. He was a good actor and funnyman. Sonny and Cher had their own TV shows – mostly of the variety genre – and he enjoyed post-S&C success on television and in films like Airplane II and Hairspray. He was even a decent politician. In 1988, he was elected as mayor of Palm Springs, California. Continue reading

Gene Autry

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , on June 20, 2013 by Cade


September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998

  • The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
  • He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
  • He must always tell the truth.
  • He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
  • He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
  • He must help people in distress.
  • He must be a good worker.
  • He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
  • He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.
  • The Cowboy is a patriot.

Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code. Replace the words “The Cowboy” with “Gene Autry” and you begin to get the picture of what kind of man he was.  If that’s not enough, his headstone clarifies it with the following list:

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Spencer Tracy

Posted in Forest Lawn Glendale with tags , on June 17, 2013 by Cade


April 5, 1900 – June 10, 1967

Spencer Bonaventure Tracy (real name) was a fixture in the so-called “Golden Age” of Hollywood. The Milwaukee-born actor was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor nine times. He won twice. His onscreen partnership with Katharine Hepburn as well as their “private” decades-long affair made for, perhaps, the biggest Hollywood romance of the 20th century. The pair made 9 movies together and shared a 26 year relationship despite Tracy still being married to his estranged wife, Louise.  Ah, but it’s Hollywood. Who cares?  What’s important is that Spencer Tracy is routinely mentioned in conversations about the greatest actors of all time. Continue reading

Peggy Lee

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , , on June 17, 2013 by Cade


May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002

Peggy Lee (born Norma Deloris Egstrom) was a popular vocalist, actress and songwriter known for her hit recordings “Fever” and “Why Don’t You Do Right” (made famous by Jessica Rabbit) among others.  She was also a prolific lyricist and songwriter having written dozens of songs for many top composers and musicians.  Lee spent several years as the singer in Benny Goodman‘s orchestra.  She also wrote songs for – and voiced four characters in – the Disney classic animated film Lady and the Tramp and is said to be the inspiration for the Muppet, Miss Piggy. Continue reading

Stan Laurel

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , , on June 14, 2013 by Cade


June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965

On October 2, 1910 an English ocean liner named Cairnrona arrived in Quebec after a 10-day journey from Southampton. History and the way of the world at the time would indicate that this was no special ship or voyage.  That is, except for the fact that the vessel carried a troupe of comedians headed for America which included Charlie Chaplin and a 20 year-old man named Stanley Jefferson.  Jefferson would eventually change his name to Laurel and America was about to laugh…a lot.  But as impressive of a pairing as Chaplin and Laurel were on that same ship, it was Stan’s later partnership with another comedian that would make him a legend.

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Édith Piaf

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , on June 13, 2013 by Cade


December 19, 1915 – October 11, 1963

“Every damn fool thing you do in this life, you pay for.” – Édith Piaf

Édith Giovanna Gassion was raised in a brothel in Normandy, France. Things got better from there…slowly.  She joined her father as a street peformer at the age of 14 and began singing for money on the outskirts of Paris. She fell in love, continued to sing on the streets and had a daughter. She was a terrible mother. Her daughter died at the age of 2 in the hotel where they were living.  It gets better, it really does. At the age of 19, Édith was discovered by a Paris nightclub owner and began singing “professionally” in said nightclub.  The owner, of course, was promptly murdered, but not before Édith was able to record a couple of songs and begin making decisions for herself. Under new management, she began performing as Édith Piaf (piaf means “sparrow” in case you were wondering) and eventually went on to become one of France’s greatest performers. Continue reading

Hillel Slovak

Posted in Mt. Sinai Memorial Park with tags , on June 13, 2013 by Cade


April 13, 1962 – June 25, 1988

Hillel Slovak was a founding member and the original guitarist for the legendary Los Angeles-based rock band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Slovak met vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea (Michael Balzary) in high school and formed the band with drummer, Jack Irons, for a one-time gig that turned into a steady, and very popular presence in the L.A. music scene.  The line up recorded two albums – “Freaky Styley” and “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan” – all while battling severe addiction to drugs, most notably, cocaine and heroin.  Slovak and Kiedis tried to sober up using each other as support, but the withdrawals proved to be too much and Slovak died of a heroin overdose at the age of 26 while separated from the band. Continue reading

Suzanne Pleshette

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags , on June 11, 2013 by Cade


January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008

Prior to her star-making role as Emily Hartley opposite Bob Newhart in the classic television sitcom The Bob Newhart Show,  Suzanne Pleshette was an established stage and film actress.  She appeared on Broadway in Compulsion and The Miracle Worker and in such classic films as The Geisha Boy and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  But, it was the Newhart Show that brought her biggest fame and critical acclaim (3 Emmy nominations).  Pleshette went on to a lengthy string of guest starring roles and voice over work.  She was married 3 times, including to the costar of a different Bob Newhart project, Newhart, Tom Poston. Continue reading

Bob Ross

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (FL) with tags on June 11, 2013 by Cade


October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995

If television artist Bob Ross wasn’t the nicest guy in the world then I want nothing to do with the world.  Ross turned a love of painting and a lightning-fast technique known as “wet-on-wet” to soothe and entertain public television audiences for more than a decade.  In 1983, the former U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant turned from the loud yelling of the military to the quiet encouragement of painting a “happy little” landscape in real time on PBS.  His show, The Joy of Painting, was wildly popular due to the minimal tools required and oft-repeated techniques. Continue reading

Telly Savalas

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , , on June 8, 2013 by Cade


January 21, 1922 – January 22, 1994

Aristotelis “Telly” Savalas was probably best know as the lollipop-chomping title character in the popular CBS drama Kojak Of course, he did a lot of other things, including co-starring roles in The Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes and – as supervillain, Ernst Blofeld – in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He also was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance opposite Burt Lancaster in The Birdman of Alcatraz. Continue reading