If you're parked in the right place, you will see
the brick, colonial church to the north, and to the south (near the base
of these steps) is a giant memorial to George Washington, a dramatic 60'
tower of bronze and marble which was once exhibited at the 1893 Chicago
World's Fair. This is the Court of Liberty.
But before you explore the Court, you might want
to make a quick trip across the street, to the north, and the lawn just
southwest of the Old North Church. Here, you'll find two old
friends from TV.
The first is actor Tom Bosley (1927-2010), best-known from his role on the popular '50s-era sitcom "Happy Days",
where he played 'Howard Cunningham' (or "Mr. C", as 'Fonzie'' would
say), the understanding, sometimes exasperated father of teens 'Richie'
(Ron Howard) & 'Joanie', and husband of 'Marion Cunningham'.
This classic send-up of the 1950's aired for ten years in the 1970s and
early '80s, drawing on the nostalgia people had then for those
supposedly-innocent post-war years.
You'll find his grave on the lawn, near the
southwest corner of the church's front brick deck, and just a few steps
northeast of a large white bench. (See the photo for a better idea
of how to find it.)
And nearby, you'll find the grave of fitness guru Jack LaLane (1914-2011).
Back in the 1950's, at the dawn of television, long before the idea of
nutrition & exercise became trendy with the masses, Jack LaLane
became a local TV star with his own morning show, promoting jumping
jacks and health foods to housewives. He opened gyms, designed exercise
machines, and performed a number of amazing feats of strength. At
the age of 61, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed and towing a boat. He even
got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jack died just three
years short of his 100th birthday.
His lawn grave is a very short walk southwest of Tom Bosley's grave. Just imagine a line from the southwest corner of the church, and walk (perhaps 10 rows) until you can see his elaborate marker (which features bronze likenesses of Jack in several famous poses).
OK, now let's get back to our original
destination, the Court of Liberty. Head back across the street towards
that giant statue of George Washington, and stop at the foot of the
steps leading up to it.
Keaton was a legend of early Hollywood, one of the all-time great silent comics, right up there with Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. With his deadpan expression and trademark porkpie hat, Keaton not only starred in over 100 movies, including "The General," "The Navigator." and "Sherlock Jr.", he also wrote and directed many of them. In his later years, he did television and had a memorable cameo as a card player at Norma Desmond's mansion in 1950's "Sunset Blvd".
His lawn grave is at street level, exactly seven spaces to the right right of the stairs, and right up against the stone wall. It's a simple bronze marker, bearing only his name and the dates of his birth & death.
In the exact same row as Buster Keaton, just 14 spaces to the right (west) of Buster, is the grave of actor Jon Hall (1915-1979). He starred in a long list of adventure films set in jungles, the South Seas, Arabian deserts and other exotic lands.
the late '30s and '40s, Jon Hall made "Hurricane" with
Dorothy Lamour and "Arabian Nights" with Sabu (both
of whom are also buried here at Forest Lawn Hollywood); he starred as Ali Baba
in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," as Robin Hood
in "Prince of Thieves" and in the popular 1950's TV series
"Ramar of the Jungle."
He also appeared in "Sherlock Holmes' Smarter
Brother," "Silent Movie," "The
Last Remake of Beau Geste" and other comedies before he died of
shellfish poisoning in Mexico at the age of 49, while filming a death scene
for the 1983 comedy "Yellowbeard."
Now, walk up those central tiered steps (towards the giant mosaic), to the third level from the bottom (the first level past the Washington statue), and you'll discover the grave of screen legend Stan Laurel (1890-1965). The plaque is built into the low stone wall at the top of this level, on the right (west) side of the main walkway.
Stan was the slim member of that great comedy duo, "Laurel & Hardy." Straddling the silent and talkie eras, the team gave Keaton & Chaplin a run for their money, grinding out one hilarious Hal Roach movie after another. They won an Oscar in 1932 for "The Music Box", in which the pair tried to haul a heavy piano up a steep hill - with hilarious consequences.
Oliver Hardy played the easily-exasperated big guy (a character that probably helped inspire Jackie Gleason's 'Ralph Kramden'), and Stan Laurel was his skinny, sensitive sidekick. And you'll probably remember the classic line: "Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into."
(His partner, Oliver Hardy, is buried at Valhalla
He made dozens of movies - playing roles that ranged from a convict in "The Birdman of Alcatraz" to Pontius Pilate in "The Greatest Story Ever Told" - but the bald actor was most famous for his TV role as police detective "Kojak."
To find Telly's grave from the Stan Laurel grave, leave the main north-south walkway and follow the east-west sidewalk to your left (east). It will lead you through a doorway in the east wall into the Garden of Heritage, a series of small, sheltered alcoves, most marked by large white statues of mothers and their children.
Continue walking east, past several of these statues (and past another stairway), to the final alcove on your left (north) side, the only alcove which has no statue. (The last statue on your left, just before you reach Telly's alcove, is of a seated, semi-nude woman, with a naked toddler standing up on tiptoe to hug her around the neck). Telly Savalas' grave is tucked away in the indented northwest corner of this final alcove, next to a stone wall bearing the name "Savalas."
A familiar face to TV viewers throughout the '70s & '80s, Bert was a regular panelist on "The Match Game," then went on to host "Tattletales," "Super Password," and "Win, Lose or Draw." As an actor, he also appeared in movies like "The Cannonball Run" and "Semi-Tough,." plus numerous guest appearances on TV shows. Earlier in life, Bert had been a Broadway performer and singer. He died of a brain tumor when he was just 57 years old.
find his grave, go back down to the statue of Washington, then, while facing
up the stairs (south), turn to your left (east) and follow the east/west
sidewalk east, through an opening in another low, stone wall. As soon as
you are past that wall, you will see (on your right/south side) a large
white statue bearing the inscription"Sung Soo Oh Family". Bert's
grave is just a few yards past (east of) this statue, up near the
His creation, of course, was not only a huge success in the comic book field, but also spawned a "Batman" TV show in the 60's, and a number of popular "Batman" movies over the years.
His marker is shaped like an open comic book, and has the famous "Bat signal" inscribed on it, as well as a lengthy epitaph, putting a religious spin on the Batman legend.
To find his grave from the Stan Laurel level, go up the steps one level (south) to the next garden area, then turn right (west) at the next sidewalk. At the west end of this sidewalk is a stone wall and against that stone wall, to the left of the sidewalk, is a white statue of a clothed woman, looking at a naked toddler (who stands on a pedestal). His grave (#1310) is located the lawn in front of this statue (on the left/south side of the sidewalk). That's three spaces east of the statue. and just to the right of it (two rows in from the sidewalk).
John was just 54 when he died, but in our memories, he will always be that even younger 'Jack Tripper' of "Three's Company", the hit sitcom that ran for eight years (from 1976 to 1984), and introduced the world to both John and Suzanne Somers.
Back in those more innocent days, John played the role of a young man who pretended to be gay, so he could fool his straight-laced landlord into allowing him to share an apartment with two girls. (The premise sounded racier than it was - 'Jack' never did score with either 'Janet' or 'Chrissy'.)
The son of country-western legend Tex Ritter, John was a natural physical comedian, and an incredibly likable fellow. When Suzanne Somers left the show, demanding higher wages, she naturally assumed that she was the star. But after her departure, "Three's Company" went on fine without her, simply replacing her with two more blondes. The truth is, it was 'Jack Tripper' who was the glue of this ensemble hit, and the only cast member who was truly irreplaceable.
Just before his death, John had another hit sitcom, in 2002: "8 Simple Rules...", where he played a protective father with two sexy daughters. Alas, just two years into the show, John suddenly died of a heart defect. (His son, Jason Ritter, is also an actor, playing 'Kevin' on TV's "Joan of Arcadia".)
To find John's grave from Stan Laurel's grave, simply
turn to your right and walk west down the sidewalk and out through a door
in the stone wall, into the next garden to the west. As soon as you
pass a stone barrier, turn to your left and you will find John's marker
on the lawn (#1622), just behind (south of) that stone barrier. See the
photo to get a better idea of just where it is.
A man of many talents, Steve Allen was best known as a pioneer talk show host. In 1953, he became the first host of "The Tonight Show" (later followed in that role by Jack Paar, Johnny Carson & Jay Leno). He later hosted several "Steve Allen Shows," which ran on networks and in syndication from 1956 through the mid-70's. His shows introduced such talents as Don Knotts, Louis Nye and Tom Poston. More recently, he hosted the PBS series "Meeting of the Minds."
Allen's greatest gift was that of outrageous, spontaneous comedy - the man could ad-lib with the best of them, and wasn't beyond such crazy stunts as having himself covered with tea bags and dunked in a giant tank of water. An author, he wrote over 50 books. A pianist and songwriter, Steve is said to have written over 8,000 songs, most notably This Could Be the Start of Something Big. He remained unpredictable until the end - a political liberal, Allen's last book was a slashing attack on "trash TV" and the likes of Howard Stern and Jerry Springer. He was survived by his wife, actress Jayne Meadows.
Paul Walker (1973-2013), star of the "Fast & Furious" films, was buried here at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills on Dec. 14, 2013, afterr dying in a tragic accident.
He had been attending a charity event (to aid typhoon relief in the Philippines), and went for what was supposed to be a quick spin as a passenger in a friend's red Porsche Carrera GT. The sports car, which is capable of doing 240 mph, went out of control, smashed into a light pole and exploded into flames, killing both men.
Paul's body was cremated, and his ashes buried at Forest Lawn.
I went to the park on the day after his funeral, located his grave, and shot the photos you'll see here.
He was buried in the Courts of Liberty area, alongside stars such as Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, Telly Savalas and John Ritter.
To find his grave, you must go to the far east/southeast corner of the Courts of Liberty.
A road named Ascension Drive runs along the east side of the Courts of Liberty. Drive south on Ascension to near the end of the stone wall on your right, where you will see an entrance marked by both a sign reading "Please lock your car" and a square stone water fountain. Walk through the opening here, and to your right you'll see a white statue (as in the photo above) of a woman with an infant on her back (the base of the statue bears the name "Karayan").
Paul's lawn grave is just to the right of this statue, in lot #1934, space 393: the first corner space formed by the stone wall.
You can see a series of my detailed photos here, that will help you find the spot. You can also click here for a map with his location marked.
(It usually takes a few months after the burial for a headstone/marker to be added to the location. I will add new photos of the grave once it is marked.)
On a clear day, you'll be rewarded by a magnificent
view of the park, the Valley below, and the mountains in the distance.
You can even spot Disney studios
Look at the map, and you you'll notice that there is a small peninsula of land jutting out on the west side of the Court of Liberty (across a road), called "Lincoln Terrace." It is anchored by a large statue of Abraham Lincoln at its west end.
Here, near the Lincoln statue, you will find the
graves of two TV stars. The first is William Conrad. The other
is Scatman Crothers.
William Conrad (1920-1994) had a great voice, which made him a radio star - he was the voice of Marshall Matt Dillon on the original radio version of "Gunsmoke". When the show moved to television, the TV role went to the slimmer James Arness.
But Conrad didn't let his weight problem hold him back. He went on to star in his own hit TV series, "Cannon," which ran from 1971 to 1976, and a second series, "Jake & the Fatman," which ran from 1987-1990. On both shows, he played a detective.
To find William Conrad's grave, stand in front of
the giant Lincoln statue, then turn around and face east (towards the street).
Walk east on the sidewalk, about half-way down the length of first lawn.
Stop, and you will notice a tree to your right (south). William Conrad's
grave is located right next to the tree on your right , three rows up (south)
from the sidewalk
[Click on the
small photos to see larger versions of the pictures.]
Scatman Crothers (1910-1986) is probably best remembered for his role as 'Louie' on the popular 60's sitcom "Chico & the Man" (which starred Freddie Prinze, who is also buried here at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills).
But he also had memorable supporting roles in "The Shining," and as 'Mingo' in "Roots." And he did several voices for TV cartoons, including the voice of Meadowlark Lemmon in "The Harlem Globetrotters" animated series, and the voice of 'Scat Cat' in Disney's "The Aristocats."
Scatman's grave is close to William Conrad's. From
Conrad's grave, just walk east on the sidewalk (back towards the street),
go down one short set of steps, and stop right before you come to the next
short set of steps. His lawn grave is two rows in from the sidewalk
on the right (south) side (same as Conrad) and two spaces up from that
second short set of steps.
2009 saw a new resident of the Lincoln Terrace: actor David Carradine (1936-2009), best known as the star of the TV series "Kung Fu" (in which he played the Chinese priest 'Caine', skilled in the martial arts, who had been exiled to roam the American West), and for his later apperances as the title character in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" film series. He also played folk singer Woody Guthrie in the biopic "Bound for Glory".
According to Lisa Burks, his grave is located on the lawn about 50 feet south of a large white statue of a family (the statue is in a niche on the north side of the Lincoln Terrace), just to the right (east) of a small tree.
His large bronze marker contains a lengthy epitaph, which you can read by clicking on the small photo of the marker to the right.
It's here that you'll find the grave of actress Brittany Murphy (1977-2009), who died unexpectedly, at age 32, in 2009, from a pneumonia, complicated by anemia and prescription drugs. She was buried here on Christmas Eve, joining the ranks of young Hollywood celebs who died too soon.
Brittany first came to fame in the 1995 hit comedy
"Clueless", where she played Alicia Silvestone's friend. She
went on to appear in 1999's “Girl, Interrupted”, and in 2003, she had the
lead female role in Eminen's "8 Mile" in 2003. She voiced
the lead penguin in the animated hit "Happy Feet", and was the
voice of the character 'Luann' on the animated series “King of the Hill.”
In a bizarre twist, Brittany's husband, screenwriter
was found dead, just five months later, in
the same house they had shared. Preliminary reports were that he died from
natural causes, despite the fact that he was just 39 years old. They had
been married since 2007. He was buried here, next to his wife.
late 2013, a lab report, commissioned by Brittany's father, indicated
high levels of heavy metals in her body, similar to those found in rat
poison -- raising the possibility that she (and her husband) might have
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