Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars

    
PART I
5835 W. Slauson Avenue,
Culver City, CA. / (310) 670-7697




Like its neighbor Hillside Memorial Park, Holy Cross Cemetery contains the graves of many of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Bing Crosby, Loretta Young, Ray Bolger, Jimmy Durante, Fred MacMurray, Rosalind Russell, Lawrence Welk, Charles Boyer, Bela Lugosi, Rita Hayworth, Jack Haley, Jackie Coogan, Pat O'Brien, Dennis Day, Louella Parsons, Spike Jones, Sharon Tate, Joan Davis, Edmond O'Brien, Mary Astor, ZaSu Pitts, John Ford, Mario Lanza, Joe Flynn, Richard Arlen, MacDonald Carey, comic actor John Candy, and more recently, Mary Frann, Vince Edwards and Audrey Meadows.

Like Hillside, it's a beautiful memorial park; indeed, one of the most attractive in Los Angeles, skillfully landscaped, accented with white statuary, and dotted with small ponds, waterfalls, and serene grottos. But where nearby Hillside is a Jewish cemetery, Holy Cross is Roman Catholic.

When you drive through the large gates of the park (off Slauson Avenue), you will immediately come to a three way fork in the road. To find the grotto that contains most of the movie stars' graves, follow the road to your far left, up the hill. The grotto is on the left hand side (west), near the top of the hill. It is marked by a rugged volcanic-stone archway containing a small altar and white statues of St. Bernadette and the Virgin Mary (recreating the famous apparition scene from Lourdes). There is also a small pond and waterfall in front of the grotto.

It is here, on the sloping hillside lawn in front of this grotto, that you will find many of the graves of Hollywood's most famous. There are round, numbered metal markers in the grass, allowing you to easily pinpoint most graves - a convenience not found at some other cemeteries. (The large number on these markers designates the grave number. The smaller number up above, designates the tier - or row - number.)

This is a very large cemetery. You will also need a map of the grounds to find your way around. Fortunately, I've provided one for you. Just click here.

Superstar Bing Crosby's (1901-1977) modest grave (between markers #125 & #126) is located four rows back (south) from the grotto and ten graves from the western edge. Bing is buried next to his first wife, his mother and his father. Renowned as both singer and actor, Bing starred in such hits as "Going My Way," "The Country Girl," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," "Holiday Inn," and countless "Road pictures." with buddy Bob Hope. He also recorded what was to become the biggest-selling record of all time: "White Christmas." The headstone contains a cross, the insignia IHS, and the words:

"1904-1977.
Beloved by All.
Harry Lillis Bing Crosby."

[Click on the small photos to see enlarged versions of the images.]






The final resting place of actor Bela Lugosi (1884-1956), famous as Hollywood's "Count Dracula," is located just five spaces to the right (east) of Bing Crosby's grave: four rows back (south) from the grotto, and about 15 graves from the western edge, between markers #126 & #127.

At his request, Bela was buried in the black cape that he wore in his famous role as the Count. His black & white headstone is marked with a cross (something no self-respecting vampire would tolerate), and reads:

"Beloved Father.
1882 - 1956."





Just three rows below Bela is the grave of Jack Haley (1899-1979), who played "The Tin Man" pining for a heart in the beloved classic "The Wizard of Oz." Besides that memorable role, he also starred with Shirley Temple in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," and in numerous supporting roles.

(Coincidentally, there is another member of that classic movie's all-star cast buried here at Holy Cross: that of Ray Bolger, "The Scarecrow," is buried in a crypt inside the main mausoleum up on the hill).

(For a detailed map of this Grotto area, just click here.)





Immediately to the right (east) of the grotto, beneath the white statue of a praying angel, is grave #15, that of actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987), with the epitaph:

"Beloved Mother.
Oct. 17, 1918 - May 14, 1987.
To Yesterday's Companionship and Tomorrow's Reunion."

Rita Hayworth starred opposite such superstars as Fred Astaire in "You'll Never Get Rich" (1941), James Cagney in "The Strawberry Blonde" (1941), Tyrone Power in "Blood and Sand" (1941), Gene Kelly in "Cover Girl" (1944), Frank Sinatra in "Pal Joey." (1957), and John Wayne in "Circus World" (1964).






Just a few spots to the right of Rita Hayworth's spot are the graves of Jack Wrather (who owned both the Queen Mary and the Disneyland Hotel) and his wife, actress Bonita Granville (1923-1988) in graves #20 & #21. At age 13, Bonita Granville had a memorable dramatic role as the bad child spreading lies about her teachers in 1936's "These Three." (she was nominated for an Oscar). As a teenager, portrayed spunky girl reporter 'Nancy Drew' in several movies of the late 1930's, and was also featured in the WW2 movie "Hitler's Children," and a number of Andy Hardy films. But she never became a major star as an adult. If you've ever been to Disneyland Hotel, you've probably seen the fancy restaurant called "Granville's." That restaurant was named after Bonita (as was the 'Bonita Tower' at the hotel complex.)





Right above the Wrather's is the grave of veteran actor MacDonald Carey (1913-1994). His movie career spanned five decades (including Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt"), and he made countless TV appearances. but he was probably best known for his role as 'Doctor Tom Horton' which he played for almost 30 years on the TV soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

(For a detailed map of this Grotto area, just click here.)






Now, walk up to the front of the Grotto and then to your left (west), along the face of the grotto, and you'll discover another small (western) lawn - called St. Anne's section. Here, near marker #156, you'll find the grave of Sharon Tate (Polanski) (1943-1969) and her unborn child, both murdered by the Charles Manson gang in 1969. Her husband, Roman Polanski, was the director of the movie "Chinatown," and now lives in exile in Europe. Her headstone is located eight rows from the lawn's western edge, and three markers south of the lawn's northern edge. It reads:

"SHARON TATE POLANSKI
1943 - 1969
Our Loving Daughter & Beloved Wife of Roman."






A little farther north in this St. Anne section, near marker #194, you'll discover the grave of French actor Charles Boyer (1899-1978), perhaps best known for his 1944 role in "Gaslight" (in which he tried to convince Ingrid Bergman's character that she was going insane). His grave is just one row back from the lawn's western edge, and eight graves in from the lawn's northern edge. His headstone reads:

"Beloved Husband & Devoted Father
1899-1978."

(Incidentally, Charles Boyer, Rita Hayworth, Jimmy Durante and Bing Crosby all share the honor of having their footprints immortalized in the famous forecourt outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, as does Rosalind Russell.)



Just around the corner are even more celebrity graves.
But there are too many to fit onto this single page. You'll have to go to page two

             

Click here to go to the next page and find the graves of:

Loretta Young, Audrey Meadows, Jimmy Durante, Jackie Cooper, Pat O'Brien,
Fred MacMurray, John Candy, Ray Bolger, Rosalind Russell, Lawrence Welk,
Vince Edwards, Spike Jones, Dennis Day, Mary Frann, and others.]


Continue the tour





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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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