Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars


PART V
1218 Glendon Avenue,
Westwood, CA. / (310) 474-1579


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In 1999, Pierce Bros unveiled a new Memorial Gardens section, located east of the chapel & office, in the southeast corner of the park. The area appears to be devoted exclusively to those who have been cremated. However, it is much more attractive than most such columbariums, complete with fountains, gardens, and pink-stone vaults.

Already, this new area has several new celebrity residents.



Near the entrance to the Memorial Gardens area, you'll see two large stone fountains.

Near the fountain on tp the east (you left, when you're entering) you'll find a marble bench, which contains the ashes of the late Peggy Lee (1920-2001), a jazz/pop singer known for her deadpan delivery of sultry songs like "Fever," "Manana" and "Big Spender," over a career which spanned more than 50 years.

She started out with the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1941. She won a Grammy in 1969 for the hit "Is That All There Is?" Younger people may remember her as the sultry voice of the shaggy, white dog in Disney's animated "Lady and the Tramp" who sang "He's a Tramp (But I Love Him)". She wrote that song (along with others like "Manana" and "It's a Good Day"), and she later sued Disney for royalties - and won! She recorded more than 600 songs and played to packed houses around the world. She was also an actress, winning an Academy Award nomination for her role as the hard-drinking singer in the 1955 jazz saga, "Pete Kelly's Blues."



On the other (west) side of the walkway, you'll see an identical marble bench.

This one belongs to actor James Coburn (1928-2002). Like his contemporaries, Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, James Coburn played intimidating tough guys - some good, mostly bad, in a large number of movies and TV shows. He started out as a supporting actor, particularly in Westerns, but soon moved up to larger roles, in movies such as "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Great Escape".

He became a star in 1966 with the title role in "Our Man Flint" (a satirical take on 007), and followed it up with a sequel ("In Like Flint") and the similiar spy romp, "The President's Analyst", before nabbing the title role in 1973's "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid". Just three years before he died, he won an Oscar for his supporting role as the abusive father in 1999's "Affliction".



Just a few steps away, on top of a marble planter wall, you'll find the niche of Audree Wilson, the mother of the Beach Boys members Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson (who is buried out on the main lawn). The Hawthorne-based surf group had such hits as "Surfin' USA," "Fun Fun Fun," "California Girls," "God Only Knows" and "Surfer Girl." Their mother's epitaph reads: "The Original Surfer Girl."





From Peggy Lee's bench, walk straight east and you'll come to a wall full of crypts.  (The wall faces west.)

Here, near the middle of the wall, you will find the small crypt of actress Janet Leigh (1927-2004).

Although she appeared in many films, Janet will always be remembered as the woman stabbed to death by crazy Norman Bates in the famous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" - one of the most iconic scenes in the history of Hollywood.

(She reportedly never took a shower again, after filming that 1960 scene.)

Most people need to be reminded that she was also Dick Van Dyke's frustrated girlfriend, Rosie, in the happy-go-luck musical, "Bye Bye Birdie".  Earlier, she had played 'Meg' in an all-star 1949 production of "Little Women" (opposite Elizabeth Taylor).  She was the title character in the 1955 musical "My Sister Eileen" (opposite Jack Lemmon). And she had the lead (opposite Charlton Heston) in Orson Welle's classic, "Touch of Evil". But she will always be 'Marion Crane' to most moviegoers.




In the same square of walls filled with crypts, you'll find that of David Nelson (1936-2011), who played the oldest son on the popular sitcom, "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet".  But it's not on the same wall as Janet Leigh's crypt.  Instead, it's on the wall to the north, near the northwest corner of this small complex.  (To be more precise, it's three spaces from the top of the wall, and six spaces to the right of that NW corner.)

His brother Rickey Nelson got more attention, but David was a big part of the show, playing the steady, older brother. The show ran from 1952 to 1966, as the viewers watched David & Rick grow from kids to young men.

Ozzie, Harriet & Ricky are all buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, so I'm not sure why David wound up here - but here he is.





The first is actor Brian Keith (1921-1997), best known today for his role as the gruff-but-lovable 'Uncle Bill' on the popular 60's TV sitcom "Family Affair," in which he starred with Sebastian Cabot ('Mr. French'), who is also buried here at Pierce Bros. (Anissa Jones, who played 'Buffy' on that show, died of a drug overdose in 1976; she was cremated and her ashes scattered.)

Brian Keith also starred in over 100 films & TV shows, including Disney's original 1961 "The Parent Trap" (with Hayley Mills,) "With Six You Get Eggroll" (with Doris Day,) the TV series "Hardcastle and McCormick" and 1975's "The Wind & The Lion" (in which he played Teddy Roosevelt.)

There is a south-facing wall of small crypts located northeast of Peggy Lee's bench. Brian's space is loacted on the top row of that wall, about five spaces from the right. (Click on the photo to the right.)

He is buried above his daughter, Daisy Keith, an actress who appeared with her father in the short-lived TV series, "Heartland," back in 1989. Daisy killed herself in May of 1997. Brian Keith, suffering from lung cancer & emphysema, shot himself at his Malibu home one month later.





Nearby is bandleader Les Brown (1912-2001). He formed his orchestra, "Les Brown and his Band of Renown," in 1936, and it was a mainstay with Bob Hope's military tours for decades. The song '"Sentimental Journey'' was a No. 1 hit for his band (and its singer, Doris Day) and was one of the most popular songs of World War II.

His grave is very near Brian Keith's. From Brian's, just turn to your right, and follow that wall down (south) a few feet to its end. His small marker is on the top row, above some flowers.





One 1999 arrival at Pierce Bros Westwood actually died almost 50 earlier. She is Fanny Brice (1891-1951), the original "Funny Girl" whose life story was told in the Barbra Streisand movie of the same name (as well as in its sequel, "Funny Lady.") Her ashes were originally interred at Home of Peace cemetery in East L.A. But in 1999, after the new Memorial Gardens area was unveiled at Pierce Bros, her ashes were moved here.

She's buried in the same Memorial Gardens area as Brian Keith. You'll find her small crypt right behind the wrought iron gates which separate a small private area from the rest of the Memorial Gardens. Just walk past the fountains and up the steps and the gate will be on your left side. Face the gate, and you'll see Fanny's crypt inside, to the right side of the sidewalk (see the photo.)

I'm told that Carol Burnett's daughter, Carrie Hamilton (1963-2002), is also buried in this private, gated section, in the first space on the left (as seen from the gate). Her father was Joseph Hamilton, the producer of "The Carol Burnett Show" and "Mama's Family." An actor in her own right, you may remember Carrie best as 'Reggie' in the TV series "Fame". After winning a battle against drug addiction, she died of cancer in 2002, at the age of 38.






In January of 2001, when veteran character actor Ray Walston (1914-2001) had his memorial service at Pierce Bros. Ray Walston was known more recently for his work as a judge on the TV series "Picket Fences," but is perhaps best known for his lead role in the TV series "My Favorite Martian" (in which is co-starred with Bill Bixby), not to mention his memorable role as the teacher 'Mr. Hand' in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," and his classic performance as the Devil in the Broadway musical "Damn Yankees." Unfortunately, Ray wasn't buried at Pierce Bros, they just handled the funeral. He was cremated, and his ashes were returned to his home in Beverly Hills.

And I'm told that the wife of Errol Flynn, Nora Eddington (Flynn), was buried here recently. (Flynn himself is buried at Forest Lawn Glendale.) Nora was also married to singer Dick Haymes.







Click here to see a map of the park.

                  

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