Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars


Part I
5950 Forest Lawn Drive,
Hollywood Hills, CA. / (818) 905-7600



Right next door to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills is this large, handsome Jewish cemetery, Mount Sinai.

One of the most noticeable landmarks here is a 150-foot-long "Heritage" mosaic mural depicting Jewish history in America.

Comic Phil Silvers (1911-1985) is buried here, on the grass near the large mural, in space 1004.

Phil Silvers was best known for his immortal TV role as the wily Master Sergeant Ernie Bilko on "The Phil Silvers Show," for which he won an Emmy. He also made notable appearances on such sitcoms as "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Gilligan's Island," and starred in numerous movies, including "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1966) and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963). (In 1996, Steve Martin played Silvers' famous "Sgt. Bilko" character in a movie of the same name.)

To find Phil Silver's grave, just go to the front of the Heritage mosaic and walk towards the doorway in the center of the mural, but do not go inside. Instead, turn right and walk along the front of the mural until you come to a patch of lawn (with grave markers) next to the far right side of the mural building. Phil Silver's grave is on this lawn. His marker is three rows up, and is the very last marker to the right (in that third row.)




Also buried at Mount Sinai is none other than Norman Fell (1924-1998).

A veteran character actor, he is still probably best known for playing the nosey landlord, 'Stanley Roper,' who complicated the lives of Chrissy, Janet & Jack in the popular sitcom "Three's Company," and who was always avoiding his amorous wife.

"Three's Company" spawned a spin-off, called "The Ropers," which starred Norman Fell & Audra Lindley as Mr. & Mrs. Roper. (Audra Lindley is buried at Woodlawn cemetery in Santa Monica.)

You can find Norman Fell's ashes near Phil Silvers' grave, at the same Garden of Heritage. When facing Phil's grave, look to your left, and you'll notice a west-facing wall filled with small plaques. This is the Columbarium of Tradition. Norman Fell is in Niche 1601A on this wall, just three spaces in from the left edge of the wall, next to the number 16 on the left edge.




Now, go back to the front of the Heritage mural, but this time walk through the mural into the courtyard behind it.  Once inside, you will find one small grass lawn to your left and one to your right.

Go to the lawn on your immediate left. There is a tree in the middle of this lawn.

Just a few spaces to the left of this tree is the lawn grave of actress Bonnie Franklin (1944-2013).

Bonnie was the star of the popular TV sitcom "One Day at a Time", in which she portrayed divorced mother 'Ann Romano', with teenage  daughters played by Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips.

The show ran from 1975 to 1984, and was part of the Norman Lear collection of socially aware sitcoms that also included "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons".

Bonnie is a few graves to left of this tree as you enter this small lawn area.




From Bonnie's grave, turn around and look behind you, and you will see a wall of crypts here. Walk along this wall until you come to column #60 (check the numbers at the bottom of the wall.) Three spaces up from the bottom of this column, you'll find the crypt of yet another comedian (or comedienne, in this case), Totie Fields (1930-1978).

The brash, plump performer was one of only a very few female stand-up comics to hit the big time back then in the 60's & 70's, when she became a staple on "Ed Sullivan Show," the night time talks shows, and on TV game shows. Just as Phyllis Diller's stand-up routine tended to poke fun at her own lack of traditional beauty, Totie's act tended to make fun of her own weight problem. She died of diabetes in 1978 at age 48.




Now, go up the stairs to the top level of this same two-level Heritage Mausoleum, and walk around the outer walkway to until you're standing right above the main entrance below. Here, you'll notice that a small portion of the white wall crypts are marked with a gold tile border. It's here that you will find two celebnrity graves, right next to each other.

The first is that of Irwin Allen (1916-1991), the well-known producer/director of those popular disaster flicks such as "The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno" and "The Swarm"- as well as such memorable sci-fi TV series as "Land of the Giants," "The Time Tunnel," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" and the ever-popular "Lost In Space." His crypt is located two spaces up from the bottom, above the number 39.




Just two spaces to the left, in the same row as Irwin Allen, above the number 37, is composer and orchestra leader David Rose (1909-1990). He was married to Judy Garland from 1941-1945.

He composed the music for many TV series, including the theme for "Bonanza," "Little House on the Prairie" and "Highway to Heaven," as well as the scores to several movies. He was also known as the orchestra leader on "The Red Skelton Show" back in the 50's and 60's, and wrote its theme, "Holiday for Strings." His best-known single composition may be "The Stripper,." which became a pop hit in the 60's.




Actor Lee J. Cobb (1911-1976) is also buried here, but in another section; among his many movie roles, he starred as the last holdout juror in 1957's "Twelve Angry Men," as Marlon Brando's violent mob boss in "On the Waterfront" (1954), and as the police lieutenant investigating the bizarre murders in "The Exorcist" (1973). He also starred as Judge Henry Garth on the popular TV western, "The Virginian."

To find Lee's grave, go north across the road (from the Heritage Mural) to the Garden of Shemot section (click here to see a map of the grounds.) The graves on the lawn are well-numbered here (via round markers), and Lee's grave is number 421. As you enter this section from the west, his marker is located on the first lawn (on the west) of the Garden of Shemot. His grave is just one row up from the northern sidewalk, right next to (left of) the first big tree you encounter as you enter this section from the west.




Next, we go on to discover the graves of 'Mama Cass' Elliott,
"Wild Wild West" star Ross Martin and others.

             

[Click here to go to page two, to continue the tour.]






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