Woodlawn in Santa Monica is an old-fashioned cemetery, with a sea of large, tall headstones - a somewhat unusual sight here in Hollywood, where "lawn parks" are in the majority.
There are a number of celebrities buried here, including the actor who played Ingrid Bergman's husband in "Casablanca," the woman who portrayed "Granny" on "The Beverly Hillbillies," the man who played the boyfriend of "That Girl," and the actor who played the town drunk, "Otis," on "The Andy Griffith Show." And now there's Glenn Ford - one of Hollywood's best actors.
Although it's a relatively
small park, celebrity graves can be difficult to find here if you don't
know where to look. Fortunately, I've been there, done the legwork for
you, and can tell you just where to go. (Click here
to see a map of the grounds.)
According to Army Archerd, Mr. Ford decided to be buried in the Woodlawn
mausoleum back in 1984, twenty two years before his death (at age 90).
He even picked out his casket at the same time (along with his son, Peter
Ford, from Glenn's marriage with actress Eleanor
A local boy (his family moved to California when he was 8), Glenn Ford went to Santa Monica High as a youth, and worked in the stables up at the Will Rogers ranch. Which explains the choice of Woodlawn - a Santa Monica cemetery.
His crypt is located on the
lower level of the mausoleum. When you enter the front doors of the mausoleum,
walk straight back down the main hallway, and on your right you will see
an elevator, as well as stairs. Pick your choice and go downstairs.
When you come out of the elevator (or the stairs), there will be a side
corridor right in front of you, running north/south (not the main east/west
hallway). Glenn Ford is interred on the right (east) side of this
corridor, in the second column of crypts (in from the main hallway), and
three spaces up from the floor, at eye level.
His crypt was unmarked on my last
visit, but Ron sent me this photo in 2012.
To find the crypt of Irene Ryan (1902-1973), the actress who is best known as "Granny" on TV's "The Beverly Hillbillies," head first to the large mausoleum building in the middle of the cemetery. Go in the main entrance (on the west side) and walk east down the main hallway until you come to a white statue of a woman. To your left will be a stained glass window of a red-orange sunburst. To your right will be a long corridor. Turn right, and walk south down the corridor. As you walk, you will encounter four east-west corridors. Go all the way back (past a statue of a nude female angel) to the last corridor. Turn left (east) and walk east down this fourth corridor towards a stained glass window depicting a beautiful scene of mountains, a steam & a valley. Just as you pass through the last arched doorway, you'll find Irene Ryan's crypt on the left (north) wall, just nine spaces east of that last doorway. Her crypt is down on the bottom row.
Although Irene Ryan played an elderly woman on "The Beverly Hillbillies," she was actually only 59 when she started the show. She died just two years after the series finished filming. (See a map.)
Another TV celebrity buried in Woodlawn mausoleum is Hal Smith (1916-1994), who is best known as Mayberry's town drunk 'Otis Campbell' on TV's "The Andy Griffith Show." He also appeared in "Green Acres" and "Petticoat Junction" (a show Irene Ryan appeared on as well from time to time.)
And although most people probably don't know it, Harold "Hal" Smith also supplied the voices for many well-known cartoon characters, including 'Owl' in "Winnie the Pooh," 'Goofy' in "Mickey's Christmas Carol," 'Elmer Fudd' in a couple of 60's Warner Bros cartoons, and even Belle's horse, 'Philippe' in Disney's classic "Beauty & the Beast."
When you enter the mausoleum,
just walk straight back to the rear of the main hallway, and you'll find
his crypt on the left (north) side of the main hallway, just past the last
side corridor, at about eye level.
(Click on the photo above.)
He also starred in a variety
of movies & TV shows, ranging from the serious drama "Roots"
to the silly horror film "Humanoids From the Deep."
Younger viewers might best remember him as the bumbling 'Mayor Kyle Applegate'
in the TV teen sitcom "Out Of This World."
He died of lung cancer at age 59. (See
Fortunately, there is the grave of a major actor just a few yards away from Doug's grave. Turn around and walk back about ten paces east, then five paces left (north), and you will find the grave of Paul Henreid (1908-1992), located near a smaller tree and a bench.
The name may not immediately ring a bell to everyone, but those who have seen the classic film "Casablanca" will know him as 'Victor Laszlo', Ingrid Bergman's husband and Bogart's rival for her affections.
He was in other memorable films
as well, such as "Now, Voyager" and "Of Human Bondage."
Later in life, he directed such TV shows as "Maverick,"
"The Big Valley." and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."
Although born in Austria-Hungary, he died right here in Santa Monica.
(See a map.)
To find the next star's grave, get back in your car, and drive back past the front of the mausoleum, then turn left (east) and drive to the east end of the road. Park next to the wall of crypts (on your left) and get out of the car. Look to your right, and you'll see numerous old headstones. But notice that there is a low brick wall on this section's eastern edge, and that there is a strip of grass running north-south next to wall. There are only a few new graves on the grass here, but we're interested in one of them. Walk away from the mausoleum (south) and follow that low brick wall. Count the large trees by the wall as you go. When you come to the fifth tree, look down and you'll see the slightly oversized, shiny marble headstone belonging to actor Ted Bessell.
Ted did a number of TV roles in his life (including that of 'Gomer Pyle's friend 'Frankie'), but he will always be best remembered for playing the likable 'Don Hollinger', the boyfriend of Marlo Thomas' character Anne Marie on the classic 60's TV sitcom "That Girl." On his marker it says "Daily Communicant." You may wonder what that means. A Roman Catholic, Ted considered being a priest when he was young. He didn't, but he remained devout, and received holy communion every day. (See a map.)
The show ran from 1957 to 1963, and (to many) represented the idealized, white picket fence world of the '50's post-war era, when nuclear families were the norm, and
most women were stay-at-home moms, raising the new Baby Boom generation
in the suburbs. And 'June Cleaver' was the ideal mom, warding off
false compliments from 'Eddie Haskell' and always there when her kids
Later in life she did have a notable appearance in the 1980 farce "Airplane!", where she surprised people by playing a jive-speaking passenger. But for the most part, she was always identified with that "Beaver" role, revisiting it for sequels to the series, and even doing 'June Cleaver' cameos on other sitcoms.
Her grave is located in Section 12, on
a direct eastern line from the southeast corner of the mausoleum, about
2/3 of the way from the Mausoleum to the park's east edge (Pico
actually on the far south side of Section 12 (where it abuts section
7). Her flat lawn marker is located right next to a large, tall,
black & white family maker with the name "Mortensen". You can
see a series of photos here, which will help you find the plot.
TV star buried at Woodlawn is Audra Lindley
Although you may not recognize the name, you know her as 'Mrs. Roper' on
the hit 70's TV sitcom "Three's Company" and later
on its spin-off show "The Ropers."
She starred on the show
as 'Helen', the long-suffering, sexually-frustrated wife of landlord 'Stanley
Roper' (played by Norman Fell, who is buried at Mount Sinai). The
two died just one year apart.
She later played Phoebe's grandmother
on "Friends," and Cybill Shepherd's mother on "Cybill."
She was cremated, but her ashes are here at Woodlawn, buried in an unmarked
grave near her parents.
Leo Carrillo (1881-1981) is probably best known for his portrayal of 'Pancho', the mischievous sidekick to "The Cisco Kid" in the popular TV series which ran from 1950-1956. But Carrillo starred in almost 100 productions over the years, ranging from "The Girl of the Golden West" (with Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy) to "Phantom of the Opera," usually playing Latin supporting roles.
What many people do not know is that Leo Carrillo
was born into a wealthy family, which at one time owned Coronado Island
in San Diego. A preservationist , he helped preserve Olvera Street in downtown
L.A., as well as the L.A. Arboretum in Arcadia and the Hearst castle. He
was the state's official "Ambassador of Good Will" and was referred
to by the governor as "Mr. California." At one time, he also
owned an Old-California style ranch
in Carlsbad, which is now a registered historical landmark and a public
park. His grave is located out by 14th Street in section 2.
Finally, there's a local political
legend buried here as well. Jesse Unruh
one of the most powerful people in the modern history of California politics.
Getting there: Woodlawn is located in Santa Monica, just one mile east of the Santa Monica Place Mall, and just two blocks south of the Santa Monica Freeway. From West L.A., take the Santa Monica (10) Freeway west to the Cloverfield Blvd. exit. Turn left (south) onto Cloverfield, go two blocks south to Pico Blvd. Turn right (west) on Pico, and go about six blocks west on Pico to 14th Street. Turn right (north) on 14th Street and you'll see the entrance to the park on your right (east) side.
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