Archive for Inglewood Park Cemetery

Betty Grable

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

grable1December 18, 1916 – July 2, 1973

I had a professor in college who would constantly – and without prompting – tell us: “Betty Grable had the best legs I have ever seen.” Well, this one’s for you, Dr. Wright!

Elizabeth Ruth Grable was an actress, singer and dancer who was a fixture in the hey dey of the American film musical. Her looks, and yes, her legs, made her a very poplular star. In fact, she was Farrah Fawcett some 30 years before Farrah ever donned that red swimsuit. A pin-up photo of Betty in a bathing suit (see the photo on the vase on her grave below) became an icon and one of the most recognizable photos of the World War II era. The movie studio she was under contract with insured her gams for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London. This was serious business.

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Cesar Romero

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

romero1February 15, 1907 – January 1, 1994

Known to some as The Cisco Kid, to others as Falcon Crest‘s Peter Stavros, and almost universally as The Joker from the 1960’s Batman television series, Cesar Romero was everywhere for a good number of years.  His other credits included Freddie Prinze’s absent father on Chico and the Man and a slew of Latin lover roles. Romero was also a dancer and comedian and appeared in lighthearted musicals such as Springtime in the Rockies – with fellow Golden West resident, Betty Grable. But, it is likely The Joker for which he is most remembered. The toothy grin, white face paint and trademark cackle are pop-culture mainstays. Cesar, a lifelong “confirmed bachelor,” died on New Year’s Day in 1994. Continue reading

Edgar Bergen

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on September 6, 2013 by Cade

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February 16, 1903 – September 30, 1978

Perhaps the most famous ventriloquist ever, Edgar Bergen (along with his friends – most notably Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd) defined the art form for generations. As a young comedian and actor, Bergen paid his dues in vaudeville and was given his own show after a very successful appearance on Rudy Vallée‘s radio program. Yup, ventriloquism on the radio.  Either way, Edgar and friends eventually made it to television and enjoyed a long career of entertaining audiences and inspiring future performers. Continue reading

William Thomas

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , , on July 3, 2013 by Cade

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March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980

For some reason, it is incredibly difficult to find a picture of William “Billie” Thomas, Jr. from after 1943.  One look at the kid in the picture above and you get a good feeling for why that’s the case. Thomas played the iconic role of “Buckwheat” in more than 80 of the classic Our Gang shorts of the 1930’s and ’40’s – and then sort of disappeared. In fact, the only picture I could find of Thomas’ post-Buckwheat days was this:

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Thomas (right) with Joe Cobb and Spanky

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Gypsy Rose Lee

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags on July 2, 2013 by Cade

Gypsy Rose Lee

January 8, 1911 – April 26, 1970

As strippers go, they don’t come much more famous than Gypsy Rose Lee.

Ok…perhaps “burlesque artist” is more appropriate, what with all the negative connotations associated with the term “stripper” these days. Either way, Gypsy (born Ellen Hovick – officially in 1911; unofficially in 1914) turned her talents for the classic striptease and her wit to her advantage and became one of the most popular entertainers of her era starring in film and television long after the music ended at the old burlesque hall. And, she didn’t stop there. Continue reading

Etta James

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , on May 22, 2013 by Cade

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January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012

Aaaat Laaaaaaaast….

The opening words of Etta James’ (born, Jamesetta Hawkins) classic ballad “At Last” are unmistakable. James was a prolific singer whose career covered and influenced nearly every genre imaginable. She won six Grammys, a host of other awards and was an 1993 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Whether she was belting Jazz, R&B, Gospel or straight Blues, Etta was without equal. Continue reading

Billy Preston

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , on April 28, 2013 by Cade

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September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006

William Everett Preston was a celebrated studio musician (piano/organ – mainly) who worked with an astonishing list of artists that includes Little Richard, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash and The Beatles.  It was his work with the latter during the “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road” sessions that led to his unofficial designation as “the fifth Beatle.1” He also played extensively with The Rolling Stones both live and in the studio.  Not bad.

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Ray Charles

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , on March 7, 2013 by Cade

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September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004

Ray Charles Robinson’s beginnings in Georgia and Florida were tough.  Already dealing with the realities of extreme poverty, Ray witnessed his brother drown in a wash tub at the age of  5. He also began to lose his sight around the same time and, by the time he was 7 years-old, was completely blind.

Fast forward a little bit and things went alright for Ray.  Despite struggles with legal issues and substance abuse, Charles had a meteoric career in music using jazz, blues, rock and gospel influences to become one of the best-selling artists of all time. His impact on music was staggering.  He successfully crossed over into the pop and country mainstream, becoming one of the first African-American artists to do so. He consistently ranks in the Top 10 on lists of the top singers/entertainers/performers of all time.

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Ella Fitzgerald

Posted in Inglewood Park Cemetery with tags , , on February 24, 2013 by Cade

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April 25, 1918 – June 15, 1996

A celebrated jazz vocalist, “Lady Ella” Fitzgerald was known as the “Queen of Jazz” and the “First Lady of Song.”  She earned 13 Grammy awards as well as a number of other honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Ella’s unmistakable voice is often praised for its pure tone and flawless diction.

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