things to do in LA when you’re dead

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Feeding my obsession with dead celebrities, I visited the equivalent of a Dead Celebrity Theme Park. On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I found my way to two of the many final resting places of the famous and near famous. Here are some of the graves I saw at Westwood Memorial Park.

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield and…

“All in the Family” star Carroll O’Connor and his son Hugh O’Connor (note that, although listed on the marker, Carroll’s wife Nancy still walks the earth)

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury (wait…. Ray is STILL ALIVE!)
*Note: Ray Bradbury passed away on June 6, 2012.

Carl Wilson (formerly of the Beach Boys, now of dead)…

and Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin (direct from the bar)

film icon Marilyn Monroe and…

actress (and poor swimmer) Natalie Wood (note the coins left on the grave markers)

Singer/songwriter/musician Mel Torme and…

Bob Crane of “Hogan’s Heroes” (Bob’s wife, Sigrid Valdis, who played “Helga” on the show, although listed on the stone, hasn’t joined him for eternity yet)
Note: Sigrid Valdis passed away on October 14, 2007. I swear I had nothing to do with it.

noted drummer Buddy Rich (Mel Torme, also buried in this cemetery, wrote a book about Buddy Rich)

… and bandleader Les Brown

Academy Award winning actor Jack Lemmon

…and Truman Capote, author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood”

and Don Knotts , TV’s Barney Fife and Mr. Furley.

A short drive brought me to the Hollywood Forever cemetery.

This cemetery sits just behind the famous Paramount Studios and its renowned entrance gate.

Hollywood Forever is the permanent home of the object of King Kong’s affection Fay Wray

Punk pioneer guitarist Johnny Ramone and…

Hattie McDaniel , the first African-American to win an Oscar. (Forever neighbors in eternity, Hattie’s grave is located just behind Johnny Ramone’s.)

Also nearby are the graves of cartoon voice master Mel Blanc, …

Wanna-be actress Virginia Rappe, whose greed ruined Fatty Arbuckle‘s career…

and blond bombshell Jayne Mansfield, mother of actress Mariska Hargitay. This is a cenotaph for Jayne. She is actually buried in Pennsylvania.

The DeMille family plot, featuring director Cecil B.

Dashing Hollywood heartthrob Tyrone Power

Very creepy giant statues of saints welcome you to a very creepy mausoleum that is the eternal home to….

the original movie idol Rudolph Valentino and…

David White, Darrin Stephens’ boss Larry Tate on “Bewitched”

…and noted Hollywood heavy, Peter Lorre

CLICK HERE for part 2, one year later

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