Emily Dickinson

Posted in West Cemetery (MA) with tags , , on July 15, 2019 by Cade

dickinson1
December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines MELANCHOLY as “depression of spirits dejection”

See also: Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born, lived her entire life, and died in Amherst, Massachusetts. From a young age, Emily was troubled by and consumed with the idea of death. Losses throughout her life – beginning with her cousin and close friend, Sophia, when she was 14 – piled on and Dickinson withdrew more and more from social life as the decades went on. She was known later in life as a recluse who corresponded copiously with friend and relatives both near and far – some of whom she never met in person. Continue reading

Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon

Posted in Cremated with tags , on July 8, 2019 by Cade

fosse_verdon1June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987
January 13, 1925 – October 18, 2000

Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon first met in 1955 on the original Broadway production of Damn Yankees. Fosse had found his way to Broadway via military variety shows and a brief stint in Hollywood. He had just come off the success of choreographing his first major show, The Pajama Game, when he was hired to do the same for Yankees. Verdon – already a Tony-winning dancer and featured actress – was given the chance at her first lead in the Adler/Ross musical comedy. The success of Yankees and the instant personal connection between star and choreographer led to one of the more intriguing and volatile partnerships in theatre history. Continue reading

Jerry Maren

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , on June 26, 2019 by Cade

maren1January 24, 1920 – May 24, 2018

Gerard Marenghi, aka Jerry Maren, was an actor who was notable as the last surviving adult munchkin from the 1939 MGM classic film, The Wizard of Oz. Maren appeared as a member of the memorable “Lollipop Guild” during Dorothy’s introduction to the land of Oz. At the time of his death at the age of 98, he was also the last surviving actor with a speaking part in the movie. Continue reading

Peter Lawford

Posted in Cremated, Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , , , on April 1, 2019 by Cade

lawford1September 7, 1923 – December 24, 1984

Peter Sydney Ernest Lawford was a successful actor, to be sure. The English actor dutifully rose through the Hollywood ranks, eventually landing lead or supporting roles in hits like Easter Parade and Royal Wedding. He appeared on television throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and his later career found him not only appearing in popular movies like Exodus and The Longest Day but also acting as producer on a number of films. It was, however, his off-screen life that garnered by far the most attention. Continue reading

Mel Blanc

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , , on March 25, 2019 by Cade

May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989

It’s no stretch to call Mel Blanc the most famous voice actor of all time. The immensely talented actor spent more than six decades providing the voices for some of the most popular cartoon characters ever. From his groundbreaking and legendary work with Warner Bros. (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester AND Tweety, Elmer Fudd, Speedy Gonzalez…etc. etc. etc.) to his work with Hanna-Barbera (Barney Rubble, Dino, Cosmo Spacely, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman…you get the picture) his characters endeared and enamored generations and still carry on to this day. Born and raised in San Francisco, Blanc transferred his love for dialects and voices into successful radio appearances. His work with Warner Bros. radio in Los Angeles drew the attention of the company’s animation group and the rest is history.

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Paul Gleason

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on March 19, 2019 by Cade

May 4, 1939 – May 27, 2006

Paul Gleason was an aspiring baseball player who – with the help of Ozzie Nelson – stumbled into a career in acting. As he was known to do, Nelson offered the young ballplayer a guest spot on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Gleason was bitten by the acting bug. Gleason’s most notable roles included stints on the television shows All My Children and Boy Meets World. But, he’s perhaps most widely recognized for film roles in classic ’80s movies like Die Hard, Trading Places and The Breakfast Club. His memorable portrayal of assistant principal Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club cemented his place in pop culture history. Gleason continued to work in TV and movies for years before he succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 67. Continue reading

Fay Wray

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , on March 15, 2019 by Cade

September 15, 1907 – August 8, 2004

One could do worse than to be associated with a giant ape for the last 70 years of one’s life. Throughout the 1920s, Vina Fay Wray was an up-and-coming starlet under contract with Paramount Pictures where she made more than a dozen films and successfully navigated the dreaded transition from “silents” to “talkies.” When her Paramount contract was up, Wray shopped around and eventually signed movie deals with a number of other studios, including RKO pictures. It was with RKO that she shot to stardom as the ultimate damsel in distress in 1933’s seminal horror film King Kong. She followed Kong up with a lifetime of credits. Continue reading

George Jessel

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags , , on March 11, 2019 by Cade

April 3, 1898 – May 23, 1981

Known as the “Toastmaster General,” vaudevillian funnyman, George Jessel, took his stage act to Hollywood in the 1920s. Over the course of his 60 year career, he appeared in radio, film and television in addition to recording songs and producing dozens of movies. His affable wit made him a popular emcee and he hosted a number of banquets and roasts for organizations like the Friars Club and the U.S.O. In 1925, he starred in the Broadway stage version of The Jazz Singer and caught the eye of Warner Bros. execs who decided to produce it as the first ever “talking” film. Jessel apparently demanded too much money to be in the movie and the role eventually and famously went to Al Jolson. Continue reading

Andrew Koenig

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , on March 5, 2019 by Cade

August 17, 1968 – February 16, 2010

Joshua Andrew Koenig was an actor, writer and activist. The son of Star Trek star, Walter Koenig, Andrew was most widely recognized for his portrayal of the lovable (and dim) Richard “Boner” Stabone for 4 seasons on the hit 1980s sitcom, Growing Pains. The remainder of his career saw him appearing on stage and working on independent films, voice over projects and behind the scenes as writer, director and editor on a number of projects. Koenig became heavily involved in the U.S. Campaign for Burma and often publicly protested China’s treatment of the Burmese people. Andrew battled severe depression for most of his life. Continue reading

Peter Finch

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , on February 22, 2019 by Cade

September 28, 1916 – January 14, 1977

Frederick George Peter Ingle Finch was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore. The British-born, Australian actor’s 40 year career saw him on stages and screens in Australia, England and the U.S. His international breakthrough was opposite Audrey Hepburn in 1959’s The Nun’s Story for which he earned his third (of seven) BAFTA award nomination. In the end, he won five BAFTA awards and was twice nominated for an Academy Award: for 1971’s Sunday Bloody Sunday and 1976’s Network. It was in Network where Finch delivered one of the most memorable speeches in film history: the infamous “Mad as Hell” speech. The performance garnered rave reviews and attention. Ten weeks before the 1977 Oscars telecast – and the day after appearing on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show – Finch suffered a fatal heart attack in the lobby of a Beverly Hills hotel. He won the Oscar posthumously becoming the first actor to ever do so. Continue reading