Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars


Part II
720 E. Florence Avenue,
Inglewood, CA. / (310) 412-6500

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Back outside, we now go to look for some celebrities buried on the lawn, near the middle of the large park.

Gypsy Rose Lee (1914-1970), the famous stripper whose life story was made into the Broadway musical "Gypsy," is also buried at Inglewood Park. Ethel Merman starred as her Mother Rose in Broadway stage production of "Gypsy"; while the 1962 movie musical of the same name starred Natalie Wood as Gypsy and Rosalind Russell as Rose; the 1994, made-for-TV remake starred Bette Midler.

Her grave is located in the Pinecrest section, one section south of the lake, in lot 1087, grave #8. This park is so large, that locating an individual grave can be difficult. Gypsy Rose's grave is located just west of a triple-intersection of three sectors: Utopia, Cascade GardensPinecrest. Her grave is on the lawn, a simple marker with a rose, 6 rows north of the south curb and eight rows west of the east curb. (There is a monument with the name Flynn, just nine rows north of her grave.)

(Click here to see a clickable map of the grounds.)




Also in the Pinecrest section, near the center of that area, is legendary boxer Sugar Ray Robinson (1921-1989), who was the welterweight Champion of the World and held the middleweight title five times. He had an incredible record. He won his first 40 fights in a row, before losing to Jake LaMotta (who was played by Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull.") After that loss, he didn't lose a fight for another eight years. Altogether, he lost only 19 fights out of 175 bouts. (And he beat LaMotta five out of six times in their fights together.) He retired in 1965 and died in 1989.

(Here's a video collection of his knockouts.)

Sugar Ray's grave is rather easy to find. Just park on the south side of the Pinecrest Section, on the road that runs between the large lake and the Pinecrest section. Then just look (south) up to the top of the hill near the center of the Pinecrest section. You will see a few very tall headstones there (near some canary island pine trees), just look for the tall headstone with a color photo of Sugar Ray. It's hard to miss. (Take a look at the photo here to see what you're looking for.) Then just walk up the hill (around 30 rows up from the curb) to his grave.

In fact, there are a number of sports celebrities here at Inglewood Park, including football player Rickey Bell, baseball players Curt Flood, Fred McMullin and Jim Gilliam, Angels' baseball player Lyman Bostock (who was shot in a tragic 1980 incident), volleyball player Flo Hyman, and old-time boxer Jim Jeffries, considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time.
boxer Jim Jeffries
(Jim Jeffries' red barn, which he used as a training gym, can now be found at Knott's Berry Farm, just west of the schoolhouse. His grave here is fairly easy to find. It's a very large stone monument with the name "Jeffries" on it, near the main Florence Street entrance, about three spaces in from the curb near the northeast corner of the Sequoia section. It's easily visible from the road that passes by it.)





In the Magnolia section (just in front of the Golden West Mausoleum), Lot 92, Grave 6, you'll find the grave of veteran Western actor Hoot Gibson (1892-1962).

His real name was Edmund Richard Gibson, from Tekamah, Nebraska. A rodeo star, at 20 years old, he earned the title of "The World's All-Around Cowboy Champion." He got started in the movies as a stunt man for other actors, then graduated to cowboy star of his own shoot-'em-ups back in the silent movie days of the 1920's, with titles like "The Phantom Bullet" and "The Buckaroo Kid." He ended up as a character actor, playing the loyal sidekick (or comic foe) to the likes of John Wayne in the 1950's. All in all, he made over 175 movies in his lifetime.  (Here's one clip.)





Another singer, not quite as famous as Ella Fitzgerald, is buried nearby.

Powerhouse blues singer "Big Mama" Thorton (Willie Mae Thorton) (1926-1984) recorded "(You ain't nothing but a)
Hound Dog" long before Elvis did his famous version (Click here to hear her) And her hit "Ball n' Chain" was later covered by Janis Joplin. She is buried in the 'M' section, Lot 2486-B.





William "Buckwheat" Thomas (1931-1980), the kid who played "Buckwheat." in those old "Spanky & Our Gang" comedies is also buried here. He started when he was three years old and played his last Buckwheat role when he was 13, making over 93 "Our Gang." comedies in all.

(Here's a Youtube clip of one early performance.)

You'll find Buckwheat's grave on the lawn, over in the far southeastern part of the park, in the Acacia Slopes section. (Click here to see a map.) Drive to the northeast corner of this section, and his simple grave is just two graves in from the south curb and just two graves in from the east curb.




Do you remember "Mister Ed,"  TV's talking horse, who spoke only to his owner, Wilbur Post (Alan Young)?  No, the horse isn't buried here, of course, but the man who gave him his voice is.

Allan 'Rocky' Lane (real name Harry Albershart) (1904-1973), the voice of 'Mr. Ed', is buried in an unmarked grave in the Rosehill section, grave A, Lot 70 (somewhat west of the center of the park).

He also played "Sgt. King of the Mounties" in movie serials, and was "Red Ryder" in both the movies and on TV (opposite a young Robert Blake as 'Little Beaver'), and starred as the good guy cowboy in over 100 movie westerns with his stallion 'Black Jack', as well as on TV shows like "Gunsmoke" and "Wagon Train." (Here's one example.)

  He died in 1973, just six years after "Mister Ed" went off the air.


(Click here to see a clickable map of the grounds.)




Etta James
In January of 2012, singer Etta James (1938-2012), was buried at Inglewood Park cemetery.

Covering R&B blues, rock, and jazz, Etta James had a number of hit recordings in the late 1950s and '60s, including
"At Last", "I'd Rather Go Blind", "Roll With Me, Henry", and "Tell Mama".

She is buried in an outdoor crypt, in the Garden of Chimes section.

To find her grave, from the
Mausoleum of the Golden West (where Betty Grable is buried), go outside and head east.

Just east of that Golden West mausoleum, you'll find the new Garden of Chimes, basically a collection of outdoor walls (which the park refers to as "buildings") filled with crypts.  Each wall is designated by a letter of the alphabet.  At the short end of each wall is a bronze plaque saying "Garden of Chimes", plus its letter. Look for the plaque that reads "Garden of Chimes - Building D".  Her crypt is on the west side of this wall, two spaces in from its north end, and three spaces up.

See photos of her grave here (courtesy of Ron Burns).  And here is an aerial map with her building marked.






  

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Hours: Daily: 8 AM - 6 PM.

* Be aware: Inglewood is considered by some to be a high-crime district.
Exercise reasonable caution, especially inside the mausoleums.

Getting there: Inglewood Park cemetery is located north of Hollywood Park racetrack, right across the street from the Forum, at the northeast corner of Manchester Boulevard and Prairie Avenue, in Inglewood. / From the San Diego (405) Freeway, take the Manchester Boulevard exit. Go east on Manchester (about a mile and a half) to Prairie Avenue. Turn left (north) on Prairie and go about three quarters of a mile north to Florence Avenue. Turn right (east) on Florence, and the park's main entrance will be on your right (south) side.  





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Copyright © 2014-Gary Wayne
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