Moss Hart

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on December 13, 2021 by Cade

October 24, 1904 – December 20, 1961

With the help of a beloved aunt, Moss Hart grew up enamored by the possibilities of the theater. To be able to create worlds and characters that weren’t bound by the economic or social insecurity he saw everyday was thrilling to him. So, growing up in New York City, it was no surprise when he started to write about these worlds and characters. By the time he was in his mid-20s, Hart had his first hit on Broadway: a play called Once in a Lifetime that he cowrote with George S. Kaufman. Kaufman and Hart would go on to collaborate on a string of hit plays including You Can’t Take it With You, George Washington Slept Here and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Continue reading

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on December 6, 2021 by Cade

December 18, 1917 – February 4, 2005
October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014

Raiford Chatman “Ossie” Davis was an actor, writer, director and activist whose career charged across the stage and screen through the turbulent middle half of the American 20th Century. Along with contemporaries like Sidney Poitier and Melvin Van Peeples, Davis forever altered how black artists approached their roles and the stories they told.

Ruby Ann Wallace was an actress, poet, writer, journalist and activist whose seven decade career garnered a Drama Desk award, an Emmy, an Obie, a Screen Actors Guild award, and a Grammy. She was nominated for a Academy Award for her performance in the 2007 film American Gangster.

In 1946, Davis and Dee met on the Broadway production of Jeb. They were married shortly thereafter and their partnership would become legendary. Continue reading

Basil Rathbone

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on November 29, 2021 by Cade

June 13, 1892 – July 21, 1967

Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was an English actor and accomplished performer and is most widely known for starring as Sherlock Holmes in a string of successful movies and radio shows about the legendary detective in the 1940s. Born in South Africa, his family moved back to Britain when he was young. His first appearance on stage was in a 1911 production of Shakespeare‘s The Taming of the Shrew. This started a career that saw him become one of the most accomplished Shakespearian actors of his time. Service in World War I; however, would pause that career briefly. Continue reading

James Baldwin

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on November 22, 2021 by Cade

August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987

How does one sum up James Baldwin in a single, concise blog post?

He was an influential writer and activist who pondered and expounded upon what it meant to be black in the height of the American civil rights movement, what it meant to be gay long before societal acceptance had begun to take hold, and what it mean to be, frankly, human, in a century that saw progress and cyclical violence all at the same time. Continue reading

Cab Calloway

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on November 15, 2021 by Cade

December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994

Cabell “Cab” Calloway III was one of the most prominent jazz bandleaders of the swing era of the 1930s and ’40s. He was most closely associated with the famed Cotton Club in Harlem where he and his band started by filling in for Duke Ellington when Ellington was on tour. Cab grew up in Baltimore and often found himself in trouble for playing dice or skipping school. Eventually, he found a more positive outlet for his energies: singing. Despite his mother’s protests (she wanted him to be a lawyer like his father) Cab continued to pursue music. He met and worked with greats like Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie and moved to New York City. After a stint at the Savoy, his band broke up and he joined The Missourians and jumped to the Cotton Club.

Continue reading

Lucille Ball

Posted in Lake View Cemetery Association with tags , on October 4, 2021 by Cade

August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989

Arguably the most famous comedic actress of all time, Lucille Ball was a mainstay at the top of the television mountain for decades. The model-turned-actor started her groundbreaking run in 1951 when she and her husband, bandleader, Desi Arnaz, created and starred in the now-classic sitcom, I Love Lucy. Lucy ran for 6 seasons and became the standard blueprint for sitcoms for generations to follow. Continue reading

Earl Scruggs

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , , , on September 27, 2021 by Cade

January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012

There are banjo players…and then there’s THE banjo player.

Earl Eugene Scruggs not only reinvented how the instrument was used, but he opened the door for an entire new genre of music. As a young man, Earl joined the fabled Blue Grass Boys (led by the legendary Bill Monroe) where his patented 3-finger picking style helped shape and define the band’s sound. “Bluegrass” would eventually become an entire sub-genre in Country music and many of the sounds that came from the Blue Grass Boys became archetypes for the style. Maybe none more so than Scruggs’ fast-paced, solo banjo picking. Continue reading

Bernie Mac

Posted in Washington Memory Gardens with tags , , on September 20, 2021 by Cade

October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac was a comedian and actor who rose to fame in the late 1990s and was a staple in American movies and television throughout the 2000s. Bernard McCullough was born in Chicago and grew up idolizing comedians like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. He began his stand-up career in the Cotton Club in his hometown and immediately starting getting noticed for his fearless performances. In 1990, he won a comedy contest that led to an appearance on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and by the mid-90s, he was appearing in movies like House Party 3 and Friday. In 2000, he was featured alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley in Spike Lee’s massive hit, The Original Kings of Comedy. Continue reading

Hank Snow

Posted in Spring Hill Cemetery with tags , , on September 13, 2021 by Cade

May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999

Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada idolizing Country & Western legend, Jimmie Rodgers. Snow’s humble beginnings were marred with poverty, foster situations and abuse. But, the times he did get to live with his mother were relatively happy…and full of music. His mother was a talented singer and organ player and young Clarence soon began playing guitar and singing himself.

But, in Nova Scotia in the 1920s, music didn’t put food on the table, so Hank took various jobs – ranging from dock work to working on a fishing boat – to help make ends meet. All the while, he continued to stoke his passion for music. He eventually landed an audition at a local radio station which led to paying gigs and – eventually – a recording contract. He moved to Nashville in 1949. Continue reading

Harriet Tubman

Posted in Fort Hill Cemetery with tags , on September 6, 2021 by Cade

c. 1820 – March 10, 1913

Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and activist who became one of the most famous freer of enslaved people in the 19th Century United States. Her life and legacy made her a true American icon.

Born into slavery in Maryland as Araminta Ross around the year 1820 (the birth year on her grave marker), “Minty” – as she was known – endured all of the hardships that accompanied slaves at the time. Several of her siblings were sold away, she was routinely whipped and – in one instance – was severely injured when an overseer hit her in the head with a heavy metal object. This injury caused life-long issues for her and led to visions and dreams…which she would later claim were revelations from God. Continue reading