Archive for Actors

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

David Janssen

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags , on February 12, 2019 by Cade

March 27, 1931 – February 13, 1980

Beloved television and film actor, David Janssen, starred in a number of television shows in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, but is most widely recognized as Dr. Richard Kimble in the original TV series, The Fugitive. In movies, he appeared alongside stars like Audie Murphy and John Wayne. In 1977, he played an alcoholic opposite Angie Dickinson in the made-for-TV movie A Sensitive, Passionate Man. Hey, speaking of alcohol…after years of heavy drinking and smoking, Janssen suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep and died. He was 48 years old. Continue reading

Doris Roberts

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on February 8, 2019 by Cade

November 4, 1925 – April 17, 2016

Doris May Green was a stage, film and television actress whose biggest fame came from playing Marie Barone on the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Over the course of her career, Roberts (having adopted her stepfather’s surname) earned 5 Emmys and a Screen Actors Guild award to go along with numerous other nominations. Prior to Raymond, she appeared in recurring roles on Remington Steele and St. Elsewhere and guest starred on dozens of other shows. She also appeared in more than 30 films including 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. She was a tireless advocate for animal rights and childhood AIDS causes. At the age of 90, Doris died in her sleep following a stroke. Continue reading

David White

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

April 4, 1916 – November 27, 1990

David White appeared in dozens of television programs throughout the 1950’s (Peter Gunn, Father Knows Best), 1960’s (The Fugitive, The Twilight Zone), 1970’s (The Love Boat, The Rockford Files)  and the 1980’s (Cagney & Lacey, Remington Steele).  He appeared in classic films like The Apartment and Brewster’s Millions. But, smack in the middle of his career, he played the role for which he is most widely recognized: Larry Tate – the boss of Darrin Stephens – on all 8 seasons of the sitcom Bewitched.  He worked steadily on the large and small screens and on stage for nearly 40 years. Continue reading

Margaret Hamilton

Posted in Cremated with tags , , on January 14, 2019 by Cade

December 9, 1902 – May 16, 1985

Movie stars play leading roles. Actors play characters. The success of an actor generally hinges upon his or her ability to play a wide-range of characters well. Good characters. Funny characters. Eccentric characters. Evil characters. These characters often differ vastly from the person portraying them. Character actor Margaret Hamilton’s defining role could not have been more different than her real-life nature. In order for her parents to let her pursue acting professionally, Hamilton had to attend college first. She studied teaching – a passion she carried with her throughout her life – and then jumped into acting. She made a number of movies in Hollywood in the 1930s, but it was a 1939 film that would cement her in film history. Continue reading

Marion Davies

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , on December 20, 2018 by Cade

January 3, 1897 – September 22, 1961

Marion Cecilia Elizabeth Brooklyn Douras was born in…well…Brooklyn. From an early age, young Marion wanted to perform. She found herself on the Broadway stage in chorus roles and eventually landed a coveted spot as a Ziegfeld girl. A jump to the screen was inevitably next. Her looks and comedic talent led to a budding career in the silent comedies and other top films of the day. As talented and successful as she was, history most remembers Davies for her relationship to powerful newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was enamored – some would say obsessed – with Davies. He bankrolled many of her films and dictated much of what she was able to do. He specifically preferred her in elaborate historical dramas and kept her away from her more natural lighter, comedic roles. It wasn’t all bad for Davies, though. She got to play hostess to extravagant parties at Hearst’s mansions and enjoyed numerous box office hits. And, by most accounts, they truly loved each other. Continue reading