Archive for the Ferncliff Cemetery Category

Jackie “Moms” Mabley

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on February 27, 2014 by Cade

mabley1March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975

Did you hear the one about the young girl from North Carolina who lost both of her parents tragically as a child, was raped twice before the age of 14 and had to give up the resulting children for adoption? Hoo-boy! It’s hilarious!

Such were the beginnings of one of the most influential female stand-up comics of all time. Jackie Mabley (born Loretta Aiken) ran away from all that to start a life of comedy…because that’s really all you can do at that point. Fast forward a few years and we find “Moms” -as she’s now referred – as a very popular comedian who is known for her racy material and frumpy on-stage persona. Continue reading

Jerome Kern

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on February 24, 2014 by Cade


January 27, 1885 – November 11, 1945

Jerome Kern’s contributions to American music in the first half of the 20th Century cannot be ignored. He wrote dozens of hit musicals for the Broadway stage and worked with many of the top lyricists of the day. Though his biggest hit – the groundbreaking Show Boat – is essentially the only show that has maintained its popularity, his stable of popular songs written for other shows and films remains a staggering portfolio even today. Songs like “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Pick Yourself Up,” “Ol’ Man River” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” have been covered by everybody from Frank Sinatra to Billie Holiday. Continue reading

Malcolm X

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on November 20, 2013 by Cade

x1May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

Malcolm X was a controversial religious and civil rights activist during the tumultuous American 1950’s and ’60’s. A leader in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm – also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz – rose to prominence as the very public face of the very outspoken group. His views on race relations were seen by many as inflammatory and racist in their own ways. The Nation of Islam’s belief in black supremacy and the the “white devil” did little to quell the controversy. In 1964, he split from the Nation and converted to Sunni Islam. The split was contentious and he received a number of death threats for his repudiation of the Nation’s teachings. Continue reading

Ed Sullivan

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags on September 26, 2013 by Cade

sullivan1September 28, 1901 – October 13, 1974

“Ed does nothing, but he does it better than anyone else in television.”
– Alan King

Edward Vincent Sullivan wasn’t a terribly talented man. He couldn’t really act.  Or sing. He was a decent writer, apparently, but who isn’t? Yet, somehow, he managed to change the face of the entertainment world forever. Rising through the ranks as a newspaper columnist, a radio entertainment commentator and ultimately, a television variety show host, Sullivan found a niche – something he didn’t have to be particularly great at, just good enough – and turned the world on its ear. His variety show, Toast of the Town, went on to become The Ed Sullivan Show and famously showcased new talent to audiences across the country. His show brought American audiences legendary performances by the Rolling Stones, Elvis, the Jackson 5, Richard Pryor, the Temptations, George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, the Supremes, and, of course…the Beatles. Ed may have done nothing, but his ability to do it gave us some of the most memorable moments in television history. Continue reading

Jam Master Jay

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

mizell1January 21, 1965 – October 30, 2002

Jason Mizell – better known to the world of music as “Jam Master Jay” – was a pioneer in hip-hop as the DJ for the legendary rap group, Run-DMC. Even though Jay was most known for his work on the turntables, he was a multi-instrumentalist and played drums, keyboards and bass in the studio during the group’s recording sessions.  He was also a notable producer. Born in Hollis, Queens, a young Mizell met Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Joseph “Run” Simmons and wanted “to join the band.” He did so as their DJ and the world of mainstream hip-hop was changed forever. Continue reading

Thelonious Monk

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on April 4, 2013 by Cade


October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982

Thelonious Sphere Monk was a composer and pianist known for his improvisational and dissonant jazz stylings.  His distinctive style (in both music and fashion) set him apart from many of his contemporaries.  With popular recordings such as “Round Midnight” and “Straight, No Chaser,” Monk’s career would span 3 decades and inspire countless musicians and fans.

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Joan Crawford

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on March 23, 2013 by Cade


March 23, 1904 – May 10, 1977

Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur) was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars in the 1930’s.  Her meteoric rise from “flapper” to sliver screen legend paved the way for a roller coaster of a life.  Her motion picture career stalled out and was revived a number of times over its course. She died a recluse in 1977 at the age of 73.

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


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

Judy Garland

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


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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