Archive for July, 2013

Stan Musial

Posted in Bellerive Gardens with tags , , , , on July 29, 2013 by Cade


November 21, 1920 – January 19, 2013

Stanisław Franciszek Musial, better known to baseball fans as Stan “The Man,” was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee and one of the best hitters of all time.  Throughout his 22 year career, Musial batted .331 with 3,630 hits, 475 home runs and 1,951 runs batted in for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a 24-time All-Star, 7-time National League batting champion, 3-time NL MVP and helped lead the Cardinals to 3 World Series titles. Oh, and he took a year off to serve the Navy at the end of World War II. He also played a mean harmonica. Continue reading

Peter Falk

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on July 26, 2013 by Cade


September 16, 1927 – June 23, 2011

Despite a successful acting career on both stage (The Iceman Cometh, The Prisoner of Second Avenue) and screen (The Great Race, The Princess Bride), Peter Falk will always, ALWAYS be associated with one name and one name only: Columbo. Falk starred as the fog-headed, cigar-chomping detective from 1968 until 2003. With his trademark squint (the result of having a glass eye from the age of 3) and lackadaisical approach to solving mysteries (“Oh, just one more thing…”), Falk turned Columbo into one of the most memorable television characters of all time. Continue reading

Bettie Page

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on July 26, 2013 by Cade


April 22, 1923 – December 11, 2008

It’s the classic story:

Girl is voted “Most Likely To Succeed” in high school.
Girl begins modeling and becomes an underground sensation in New York camera clubs.
Girl’s photos go mainstream and she becomes “Queen of the Pin-ups.”
Girl becomes a born-again Christian.
Girl leaves the public eye.
Girl works for Rev. Billy Graham.
Girl is diagnosed with schizophrenia and maybe attacks a couple of old people.
Girl still becomes a pop culture icon to new generations long after her career ends.
Girl dies quietly in relative obscurity at the age of 85. Continue reading

William Inge

Posted in Mt. Hope Cemetery with tags , , on July 16, 2013 by Cade


May 3, 1913 – June 10, 1973

William Motter Inge was a Pulitzer and Academy award-winning playwright and novelist. Born in the heart of small-town America – Independence, Kansas – Inge’s depictions of solitude, thwarted ambition and sexuality all played starkly against the backdrop of classic Americana. As a drama critic in St. Louis, Inge was encouraged to write by Tennessee Williams. His biggest stage successes, Picnic, Bus Stop, Come Back, Little Sheba and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs earned multiple Tony nominations as well as Oscar nods and the aforementioned Pulitzer (for Picnic). Inge also won an Oscar for writing the Elia Kazan-directed film, Splendor in the Grass. Continue reading

Michael Hutchence

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , , on July 9, 2013 by Cade

hutchence1January 22, 1960 – November 22, 1997

There were very few bands in the late 1980’s and early ’90’s that were bigger than INXS.  The Australian group owed a decent portion of its success to its dynamic, sexy and troubled lyricist/lead singer, Michael Hutchence.  Hutchence met keyboardist Andrew Farriss while in high school and joined Farriss’ band, Doctor Dolphin. Doctor Dolphin eventually became The Vegetables which eventually became INXS. INXS went on to sell millions of records across the world.  Their biggest success, 1987’s Kick, was certified 6x Platinum in the United States. Hutchence mostly handled the success well…save a bit of depression from time to time. His personal life attracted rigorous tabloid attention, particularly in his native Australia. Continue reading

William Thomas

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , , on July 3, 2013 by Cade


March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980

For some reason, it is incredibly difficult to find a picture of William “Billie” Thomas, Jr. from after 1943.  One look at the kid in the picture above and you get a good feeling for why that’s the case. Thomas played the iconic role of “Buckwheat” in more than 80 of the classic Our Gang shorts of the 1930’s and ’40’s – and then sort of disappeared. In fact, the only picture I could find of Thomas’ post-Buckwheat days was this:


Thomas (right) with Joe Cobb and Spanky

Continue reading

Rudy Vallée

Posted in St. Hyacinth Cemetery with tags , , on July 3, 2013 by Cade


July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986

Hubert Prior “Rudy” Vallée was a singer, radio host, actor and bandleader perhaps most widely regarded as the first “crooner.”  Like many of his successors, his soft, smooth voice was one that would have been completely useless in the days before the invention of the microphone.  But, as it were, when you come along during the height of radio, you don’t need to be that loud.  Of course, not all live venues at the time had microphones, so Rudy would tend to improvise and sing through a megaphone – something that became a bit of a trademark. Continue reading

Benny Goodman

Posted in Long Ridge Union Cemetery with tags , on July 2, 2013 by Cade


May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986

The undeniable “King of Swing,” Benny Goodman was one of the most important and successful musicians and bandleaders of the Big Band jazz era. Throughout the 1920’s and early ’30’s, Goodman played clarinet in bands and as a session musician alongside titanic contemporaries like Bix Beiderbecke, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Taking the arrangements of a successful but stalled-out African-American bandleader/arranger named Fletcher Henderson, Goodman was able to bring a broad popularity to what would become Swing music. Continue reading

Gypsy Rose Lee

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , on July 2, 2013 by Cade

Gypsy Rose Lee

January 8, 1911 – April 26, 1970

As strippers go, they don’t come much more famous than Gypsy Rose Lee.

Ok…perhaps “burlesque artist” is more appropriate, what with all the negative connotations associated with the term “stripper” these days. Either way, Gypsy (born Ellen Hovick – officially in 1911; unofficially in 1914) turned her talents for the classic striptease and her wit to her advantage and became one of the most popular entertainers of her era starring in film and television long after the music ended at the old burlesque hall. And, she didn’t stop there. Continue reading