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Just a few rows away from Jayne Mansfield (to the northeast) is the grave of actress Janet Gaynor (1906-1984), who was the very first actress to win an Academy Award, back in 1927. (She was nominated for Best Actress oscars in three different movies that same year!)
She may be best remembered for her starring role in the 1937 version of "A Star is Born." You can also find her footprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Next is one of the world's most famous directors, Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959), the man who shot the first full-length movie in Hollywood ("The Squaw Man"), founded nearby Paramount Pictures, and went on to make such classics as "The Ten Commandments," "King of Kings" and "The Greatest Show on Earth."
He even played himself in a Hollywood classic, "Sunset Blvd." You will remember that movie's final line, in which a crazed Gloria Swanson descends the stairs, proclaiming "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!"
His large tomb, containing two matching stone sarcophagi,
is easy to spot. From the Janet Gaynor's grave, just walk northeast.
DeMille's tomb is out near the street curb.
Now, walk around the far north bend of the lake, past the statue of an angel holding up a cross, to the lake's west side, and you'll find grave of John Huston (1906-1987), farther out near the road. Huston was the veteran director who gave us such classics as "The Maltese Falcon," "The African Queen" and "Prizzi's Honor."
Huston was portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the 1990 film "White Hunter, Black Heart."
His headstone has gold lettering and is surrounded
by small flowers and plants.
Walk a little farther south from Huston's grave, right next to a small tree by the road, and you can find the grave of character actor Adolphe Menjou (1890-1963), often described as "the best-dressed man in Hollywood."
Ironically, he appeared with Janet Gaynor
in 1937's "A Star is Born," (he played
the studio boss to her aspiring actress role,) as well as in dozens of
other films, from "The Sheik" (1921) to "Pollyanna."
Back around to the south side of the lake, right across the street from the Fairbanks pool, is the brand new memorial to actress Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952), the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award, playng "Mammy." in the 1939 classic "Gone With the Wind."
It was Hattie's last wish to be buried in a white casket at Hollywood Forever, next to her fellow stars. But back in those days, racist laws prohibited burying black people in "white cemeteries." So instead, Hattie was buried over in Rosedale Cemetery.
But some 47 years after her death, the new owners of Hollywood Forever have done their best to right that wrong. Hattie's family didn't want to move her remains at this late date, so the cemetery did the next best thing - they've built a memorial to Hattie, on the lawn overlooking the lake.
You can't miss it - it's the large pink stone pillar
between the curb and the lake, across from the Fairbanks grave.
Closer to the road, and a few steps to the west, you can't miss the large statue of a young man playing an electric guitar. This is the memorial to Johnny Ramone (1948-2004), the guitarist and founding member of "The Ramones".
The definitive American punk rock group, the Ramones
(along with groups like The Clash and the Sex Pistols) stripped
rock & roll down to its basic four chords and sped up the beat. Unlike
other punk bands that disappeared after a season or two, the Ramones began
in 1974 and lasted until 1996. Loud and fast. The turned out a string of
songs like "Blitzkrieg Bop"
Johnny was cremated. I'm not sure if any of his ashes
are buried here or not, but the memorial stands between the lake and the
From the Johnny Ramone statue, look up and to your left (northwest) a little, and you'll see a small white bench not far from the lake edge. There's a small tree growing behind the bench. Walk over to the bench, look down, and you'll find the modest grave of one of Hollywood's true legends, Fay Wray (1907-2004).
Is there anyone who doesn't remember the original B&W, 1933 version of "King Kong", where the monster ape carries the screaming girl in his hairy fist, up the side of Manhattan's Empire State Building, swatting at the bi-planes that attempt to shoot him down?
The girl held in the giant gorilla's fist, the "Beauty that killed the Beast", was none other than Fay Wray.
She had made 50 other films before "Kong",
starting with silent movies, and made another 40+ afterwards, ending in
1980 with TV's "Gideon's Trumpet" - but she will
always be remembered as the girl in "King Kong". She lived
to be almost 97 years old.
Just a little to the east of the Hattie McDaniel memorial, near the curb
across from the Cathedral mausoleum, you should notice the large, white
double tomb of Harry Cohn (1891-1958),
the movie mogul who founded Columbia
Pictures. He picked this spot himself, because it was close to
his old studio. (The tomb is
just to the east of the Cutis family mausoleum).
A few steps away, you'll find the simple grave of singer-actor Nelson Eddy (1901-1967) (Lot 89), who starred in all those M-G-M musicals with Jeanette MacDonald, such as "Rose Marie," "Naughty Marietta" and "New Moon."
He also had his footprints immortalized in the cement outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
His grave is located near the edge of the lawn, just across the street (north) from the entrance to the Hollywood Cathedral Mausoleum. The marker simply reads: "Nelson Eddy. June 29, 1901 - March 6, 1967". To find it, locate the small curbside marker that says "Section 8 " (near the fork in the road outside the mausoleum). Just to the north of this marker you will see what looks like a small rose garden, with two thin cypress trees. Nelson Eddy's marker is nestled up against the edging stones that border the north side of this small garden area, four markers to the west of a large palm tree, and just a few yards southeast of the two twin cypress trees.
here to read about Jeanette's grave.)
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