Archive for Holy Cross Cemetery (CA)

Sharon Tate

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on April 3, 2014 by Cade

tate1January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969

Sharon Tate was a B-Movie actress who was just on the cusp of mainstream stardom when the unthinkable happened…and made her a household name.

Tate’s career as an actress was modest, at best. She had bit parts on television shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and had major roles in cult movies like Valley of the Dolls. But her talents took some work. Being a tall, beautiful head-turner certainly helped cover over many of the confidence issues that plagued her early career. Positive reviews of her comedic performance opposite Dean Martin in 1969’s The Wrecking Crew led to a more confident Tate and her career was finally shaping up. Continue reading

Mario Lanza

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , on December 16, 2013 by Cade

lanza1January 31, 1921 – October 7, 1959

A handsome tenor with an astounding voice, Mario Lanza took various stages and – ultimately – Hollywood by storm in the late 1940’s and ’50’s. His ability to bring heavy doses of charm and romanticism to his roles set him apart from many of his contemporaries. He was discovered by Louis B. Mayer at a 1947 performance at the famous Hollywood Bowl. Mayer immediately signed Lanza to a multi-year contract with MGM. He appeared in films like The Great Caruso, The Toast of New Orleans and Because You’re Mine churning out popular recordings from each.

Continue reading

Lawrence Welk

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on November 9, 2013 by Cade

welk1March 11, 1903 – May 17, 1992

“A one and a two . . . “

Lawrence Welk may be the most famous accordion player of all time.

He’s probably the most famous German-speaking accordion player of all time.

And, he’s MOST DEFINITELY the most famous German-speaking accordion player of all time from North Dakota.

Continue reading

Mary Frann

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , , on October 24, 2013 by Cade

frann1February 27, 1943 – September 23, 1998

Best remembered as Bob Newhart’s other TV wife, Mary Frann (born Mary Frances Luecke) was a former pageant girl from St. Louis who studied acting in college and forged a nice career for herself –  mainly in television. From 1974-1979, Frann appeared on the popular soap opera Days of our Lives. From there, she made appearances on many TV shows including Fantasy Island and WKRP in Cincinnati. But, it was in 1982 that she was cast in her most famous role; that of Joanna Loudon, the wife of innkeeper/author Dick Loudon (Bob Newhart) on Newhart. Continue reading

Fred MacMurray

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , , on October 24, 2013 by Cade

macmurray1August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991

Frederick Martin MacMurray’s nearly 50-year career was about as successful and varied as any you will find.  Throughout the 1930’s and ’40’s, MacMurray brought his talents from the stage to some of the most popular films of the era. He worked with everyone from Humphrey Bogart to Katharine Hepburn. His films with iconic director, Billy Wilder, (including the ultimate film noir Double Indemnity and the quintessential comedy The Apartment) became Hollywood classics. MacMurray later worked on a number of Disney live-action films like The Shaggy Dog and The Absent-Minded Professor while also landing what is possibly his most recognizable role (to folks under the age of 50 anyway): Steven Douglas, the father on the long-running TV sitcom My Three Sons.

Continue reading

Mary Astor

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

astor1May 3, 1906 – September 25, 1987

Making the transition to the “talkies” was every Silent Era star’s nightmare.  For some, the change was easy and sound only helped make their career greater.

Meet Mary Astor; the young, auburn-haired girl of German descent whose family moved to New York so she could be discovered. A ploy that worked, as it turns out. Astor (born Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke) landed small roles in silent films and  a contract with Paramount pictures. Though successful, her early life as an actor was not a happy one. In fact, Mary’s life was rife with scandal.  Her parents lived lavishly off the money she made and kept her locked away from the world in their Hollywood mansion. She endured tragic marriages and messy divorces. Lawsuits, affairs, secret diaries, you name it. If TMZ existed in the 1930’s, they would have loved her.

Continue reading

Jimmy Durante

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

durante1February 10, 1893 – March 29, 1980

James Frances Durante and his nose were born in New York City to Italian immigrant parents. Young Jimmy dropped out of school to become a jazz and ragtime pianist. Something he was very good at. By the time he was 27, Durante had his very own New Orleans Jazz Band. But, his piano chops aside, Jimmy Durante was most famous for being a comedian. His self-deprecating humor – he called himself “The Great Schnozzola” because, well… – intentionally butchered language and staccatoed speech patterns earned him fame on the Vaudeville stages, the radio and, ultimately, film and television. Continue reading

Rosalind Russell

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on October 9, 2013 by Cade

russell1June 4, 1907 – November 28, 1976

Multiple Golden Globe and Tony Award winner, Rosalind Russell, was a versatile character actress who made a career out of playing both comedic and dramatic roles. Russell was known for her portrayal of professional-types and was rarely cast as a sex symbol. Her career highlights included films such as His Girl Friday, Mourning Becomes Electra and The Trouble With Angels and stage hits like Auntie Mame and Wonderful Town. In addition to the aforementioned awards, she was also nominated for an Academy Award twice. Continue reading

Bela Lugosi

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on October 1, 2013 by Cade

lugosi1October 20, 1882 – August  16, 1956

Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó was born in Lugos, Hungary (now, Romania) in 1882. He acted on stage and in films in his native country before fleeing to Germany, and eventually, the U.S.A. He changed is name to Lugosi (after his hometown) and made a career of playing one of the most recognizable monsters in pop culture history. As far as I am concerned, Bela Lugosi – with his eastern European accent and steely glare – WAS Count Dracula. You can’t convince me otherwise (except for the fact that he is dead, as evidenced by his presence in this blog – though he WAS buried in a cape1.)

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