Archive for September, 2013

Irving Berlin

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx) with tags , on September 22, 2013 by Cade

berlin1May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989

To simply refer to Irving Berlin as a “composer” is like calling the Pacific Ocean a “puddle.” Berlin’s 70 year career broke when the Russian (Belarusian)-American songwriter wrote “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” The song became an international sensation and launched Irving from the stoops of Tin Pan Alley into the stratosphere…where he thrived for more than half a century. Many of the songs Berlin would write would become so common place to future generations, that it’s hard to imagine that someone actually wrote them.  “White Christmas,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Easter Parade,” “Happy Holiday” and “God Bless America” to name just a few. It is said he wrote more than 1,500 songs. Continue reading

Kevin DuBrow

Posted in Pacific View Memorial Park with tags , on September 16, 2013 by Cade

dubrow1October 29, 1955 – November 25, 2007

As the lead singer for the popular Heavy Metal band, Quiet Riot, Kevin DuBrow became an ’80s music sensation. Quiet Riot had a monster hit with 1983’s “Cum On Feel The Noize” thanks, in part, to Kevin’s vocals. He was fired from the band in 1987 and worked on a number of solo projects before rejoining the band in the ’90s. He also had a gig as a Las Vegas DJ for a while. Dubrow died in 2007 at the age of 52 from an accidental cocaine overdose.  You can take the boy out of the ’80s… Continue reading

Florence Griffith Joyner

Posted in El Toro Memorial Park with tags on September 16, 2013 by Cade

joyner1December 21, 1959 – September 21, 1998

The American sprinter known world-wide simply as “Flo-Jo,” Florence Griffith Joyner electrified crowds with her speed and personality. In the trials leading up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and in the games themselves, she set new World Records in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprint. These records – though tainted by discussions of “wind assistance” and potential drug use (unfounded) – still stand to this day. Continue reading

William Howard Taft

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on September 15, 2013 by Cade

taft1September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930

William Howard Taft was the only U.S. President (27th) to also serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (10th). Prior to becoming either, Taft was a lawyer, Governor-General of the Philippines and Secretary of War under President Teddy Roosevelt. He is probably remembered most for his weight, though he lost a good amount once he left the White House. He also suffered from sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Continue reading

Ann Miller

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on September 15, 2013 by Cade

miller1April 12, 1923 – January 22, 2004

Ann Miller (born Johnnie Lucille Collier…yes, Johnnie, her father wanted a boy) was a popular dancer, singer and actress.  Discovered as a young teenager – she lied about her age – she went on to be a staple figure in the heyday of the MGM movie musicals of the 1940s and ’50s. She enjoyed success beyond that, appearing on stage and in television and films well into her 70s. She was largely responsible for the rise in popularity of pantyhose during her work in Hollywood. Being a dancer, this was not a surprise as she had – along with fellow hoofers Betty Grable and Cyd Charisse – some of the most famous legs in the world at the time. Miller died of lung cancer at the age of 80 in 2004. Continue reading

Jack Benny

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags on September 14, 2013 by Cade

benny1February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974

Jack Benny was one of the leading comedic personalities in radio and early television in the first half of the 20th century. Born Benjamin Kubelsky, Benny got his start in comedy the way many performers of his era did, on the vaudeville stage where he often performed with acts like the young Marx Brothers. He burst onto the national stage with his own radio show which ran from 1932 to 1948. Benny was also a very talented violinist, though he would often play it poorly on purpose to get laughs.  The style of his shows really paved the way for more situation-based comedy and opened the door for future sit-coms to break through. Continue reading

Billy Wilder

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , , on September 14, 2013 by Cade

wilder1June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002

Billy Wilder was regarded as one of the greatest, and certainly most versatile, screenwriters and film directors in Hollywood. Over the course of his career, he wrote and/or directed some of the industry’s biggest hits, including Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Double Indemnity, The Seven Year Itch, The Fortune Cookie, Irma La Douce, The Front Page and the perennial classic comedy, Some Like It Hot. He worked with a broad number of stars like Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, Fred MacMurray and Shirley MacLaine. Continue reading

Walt Disney

Posted in Forest Lawn Glendale with tags , on September 13, 2013 by Cade

disney1December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney

Walt Disney may have one of the most recognizable names in all of Hollywood history. The fledgling newspaper illustrator in Kansas City, Missouri turned his passion for drawing characters into an entertainment empire the likes of which has few equals. It was, of course, his somewhat accidental creation of Mickey Mouse that jettisoned Walt into the limelight. Continue reading

Roy Orbison

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , , on September 13, 2013 by Cade

orbison1

April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988

Roy Kelton Orbison was a popular singer-songwriter in the 1960’s.  His distinctive voice was at times powerful and soft, but was always unmistakable. He charted massive hits such as “Oh Pretty Woman,” “Only the Lonely” and “Crying.”  Known for his cool, almost statuesque, presence on stage and his trademark dark clothes and sunglasses, Roy exuded an aura of mystique. This, along with his deeply emotional vocals, helped further his fame as an artist.  Despite a decade or so of waning popularity, Orbison found new success in the 1980’s as he recorded a new solo album and formed the folk-rock supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with fellow legends George Harrison, ELO’s Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Continue reading

Danny Kaye

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , , , on September 12, 2013 by Cade

kaye1January 18, 1913 – March 3, 1987

Danny Kaye was a actor, singer and comedian known for his physical comedy and rapid-patter nonsensical singing. Born in Brooklyn, David Daniel Kaminsky was destined to be an entertainer from an early age. As a teenager, he worked on vaudeville stages and in pantomime acts. He went on to star in films, television programs and on Broadway. He was given his own, short-lived radio program in 1945 which co-starred Eve Arden (with whom he also had a romantic relationship) and Harry James. Continue reading