Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars

Part IV
1712 S. Glendale Avenue,
Glendale, CA. / (323) 254-3131

[This is the fourth page of a five page article. Click here to go to the first page.]

Back in your car again, follow the road northwest, down the hill to the Hall of The Crucifixion- Resurrection (see the map).

Inside, you will discover a modern theatre that presents hourly exhibitions of the colossal painting called "The Crucifixion." In fact, the Hall was built expressly to house and display this work of art. The world's largest religious painting, "The Crucifixion" measures 195 feet long and 45 feet high.

As you might well imagine, Forest Lawn isn't content to simply draw back the curtain. Instead, there is a 20-minute multimedia show, in which the complex landscape of the painting is revealed bit-by-bit, via spotlights accenting the various biblical characters on the elaborately-detailed canvas, a show replete with narration, music, and light & sound effects, telling the Biblical story of Christ's final hours.

Upon leaving the theatre, turn to your right, and you will enter the unusual Forest Lawn Museum, which houses an eclectic (one might say eccentric) collection of items, ranging from religious paintings and a complete collection of biblical coins, to Old West Remington bronzes, lavish reproductions of the British crown jewels, full-size suits of armor, and a giant, stone idol head (named Henry) from Easter Island!

On the steep lawn above the "Wee Kirk o' the Heather" chapel (see a photo), in space 2, lot 8, you'll find the grave of beloved actor Jimmy Stewart (1908-1997), star of "It's A Wonderful Life," "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "The Philadelphia Story." (See a map of the grounds.)

Don't try to hike up this grassy slope (unless you want a heart attack) - instead, get in your car and drive up the road to the top of this hill, and park where you see a large monument called "Protection," featuring a black statue of an archer (a man with a bow & arrow), and bearing the name "Taylor."

Walk over to this monument and stand right in front of the man's bow, as if he were aiming at you. Now turn around and face the opposite direction. Walk six rows ahead (away from the Taylor statue). Jimmy Stewart's lawn grave (a fairly simple marker) is in this sixth row, just three spaces to the right (towards the road).

Jimmy will always be remembered for films like "Harvey," "Rear Window," "The Spirit of St. Louis," "Vertigo," "Anatomy of a Murder," "Magic Town," "The Greatest Show on Earth," "The Shop Around the Corner" and "How the West Was Won." 

But Jimmy was not just a celluloid hero. Enlisting as an Army Air Force pilot in World War II, he was assigned to a safe job as an instructor in the States, but bravely insisted on combat duty instead. He was sent to England, where he led 20 bombing raids against the Nazis, including a 1,000 plane raid on Berlin. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, rising from private to colonel in just four years.

Robert Young (1908-1997), the beloved 'Jim Anderson' on "Father Knows Best," and later the wise "Doctor Welby M.D.," is buried far away, up in the Graceland section, 5905, space 3.

It is not an easy grave to find. (Click here to see a map of the grounds). As you drive along the southwest side of the huge Graceland section, near the intersection where the Sunrise Slope, Vesperland and Graceland sections meet, you'll see a white statue of a woman wrapped in a robe, with a small child. (See the photo to the left.)

Robert Young's grave is on that (northeast) side of the street. From the statue, note that there are trees located along the curb on the same side as the statue.

Park next to the third tree to the right (southeast) of the statue.

Now (if you're in good enough health), climb up the grassy slope. Continue past one smaller tree as you make your way up the hillside, and pause at the second (larger) tree up (the third, if you count the tree by the curb). Mr. Young's simple lawn marker is located about nine spaces up in the same row as that second, large tree.

(Click on the photo above to see the exact spot.)

Now, check the map you picked up at the gate, and head down the hill to the area surrounding the Great Mausoleum, the giant, gothic cathedral-like building on the southwest side of the park which houses some of Hollywood's biggest stars, as well as replicas of some of the greatest works of art of Michelangelo and Leonardo De Vinci.

But before we go inside, we will first take a look at some celebrity graves scattered around the lawns surrounding the Great Mausoleum. (Click here to see a map of the park.)

On the lawns to the east of (behind) the Mausoleum, are two large monuments.

One is dedicated to funnyman Joe E. Brown (1891-1973).
(See the photo - you can't miss it.)

Joe E. Brown was a popular comic actor in the 30's and 40's, a real character (like Jimmy Durante) known for his wide mouth, happy smile and trademark loud yell. You may remember him best from "Some Like It Hot.."

His last line at the end of that classic comedy ("Nobody's perfect!") may well rank as the funniest final line in the history of movies.

A short ways back to the north is the equally impressive tomb of female evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). Sister Aimee, as she was known, was a flamboyant Pentecostal preacher who founded the Foursquare Church and its first location, the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles in 1923.

Scandal hit, however, when she disappeared from a public beach and was feared dead. She turned up later, and although she claimed to have been kidnapped, it appears that she had actually gone on vacation with a lover.

Her life story was told in the 1976 TV movie "The Disappearance of Aimee," with the title role going to actress Faye Dunaway.

Around on the other (west) side of the Great Mausoleum, you'll find a number of large, old-fashioned tall headstones (some of the few you'll find in this park dominated by modern, grass-level markers).

Among these is the square stone monument of L. Frank Baum (1856-1919), author of the beloved classic "The Wizard of Oz."

His grave is a bit tricky to find. It's located in Section G, near the intersection of sections G, H, B & C. His grave is right near the road, just down from a white statue of a woman with a baby (the statue reads "Peters.") The mausoleum building and its three statues, loom in the background. You can see it from the road.

(Check this map for the location.)

Now, drive to the Great Mausoleum itself and park in the lot in front of its main entrance. Take a look at the stone wall on the west side of the walkway here, which leads to the Great Mausoleum. Here, on this wall, you will find the grave of popular Western author Louis L'Amour (1908-1988).

During his writing career, he wrote seventy-five novels and sold over 220 million books; he has been called America's most popular author. Several of his stories have been made into movies, including "Hondo" (with John Wayne), "The Sacketts," "The Shadow Riders," "Catlow" and "The Burning Hills." And he was the only novelist in America to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Also in front of the Great Mausoleum, just across the driveway from Louis L'Amour's grave, you'll spot an unusual statue of a boy riding a goat. The statue was inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen tale, and it marks the grave of Jean Hersholt (1886-1956) (the Danish-born actor & humanitarian who was also a writer and translator of Hans Christian Andersen stories.)

Jean Hersholt is best remembered as the actor who portrayed 'Dr. Christian', both on radio and in a string of 1940's movie mysteries. He also co-starred opposite Shirley Temple in 1937's "Heidi" (virtually unrecognizable in make-up, as her grandfather), and made over 120 other films during his career, often playing a doctor or professor. You'll find his footprints in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, right next to those of Lana Turner. Offscreen, he served as the president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund for 18 years, and helped establish the Motion Picture Country Home.

He may be best remembered today for the "Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award," presented in his name each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which has been given to such stars as Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman and Danny Kaye (who, coincidentally, played the title role in the 1952 movie musical "Hans Christian Andersen"! )

Recent recipients of the Hean Hersholt Award have included Jerry Lewis (2009), Oprah Winfrey (2011), Jeffrey Katzenberg (2012),  Angelina Jolie (2013) and Harry Belafonte (2014).

It's now time to go inside the Great Mausoleum (where Clark Gable
and Red Skelton are buried) and conclude our virtual tour of Forest Lawn Glendale.


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