Holy Cross Cemetery - part 4: Stars' Graves



Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars

Part IV
5835 W. Slauson Avenue,
Culver City, CA. / (310) 670-7697

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

OK, now it's time to go outside of the Mausoleum again. We have some outdoor celebrity graves to find.       

Just below the Mausoleum, on the lawn of Section P, you'll find the grave of long-time Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley (1903-1979). O'Malley moved the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, and he ran the team until his death in 1979. His son Peter O'Malley inherited the team when his father died. The Dodgers made it to the World series 15 times under O'Malley ownership. Alas, the family sold the team to Fox in 1998.

You'll find his grave on the lawn, in section P, just west of the Mausoleum. He's near the upper-left (northeast) corner of this P section, two rows down (west) from the top curb, and about ten spaces south of the big tree on the northeast corner. (check map)

To find actress Rosalind Russell's grave, just stand outside the mausoleum, look down the grassy slope and simply spot the huge white crucifix. This giant cross marks here grave.

Among her 50+ movie roles, Ms. Russell played the wry Mother Superior in "The Trouble With Angels" (1966), the eccentric "Auntie Mame" (1958) and the pushy stage mother in "Gypsy" (1962).

She also played 'Hildy Johnson' in 1940's "His Girl Friday" (opposite Cary Grant) and 'Ruth' in "My Sister Eileen." She was nominated for four Academy Awards as Best Actress.

It is a fitting memorial to her brassy screen persona that she lies beneath one of the most ostentatious of monuments: a giant, life-size, white crucifix near the top of the park's eastern slope. Perhaps out of discretion, the bronze marker contains the date of her death (1976) but not of her birth.

Her grave is located between markers #574 & #576.  But just look for the cross.

Click on the small photos to see
an enlarged version of the image.

Nearby in the same Section M (Tier 304, grave #5) is legendary director John Ford (1895-1973). He directed over 140 films in his lifetime, 24 of them starring John Wayne, including such classics as "Stagecoach," "The Searchers," "The Quiet Man," and "How the West Was Won." Nine other Ford films starred Henry Fonda, including "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Mr. Roberts.."

His grave is somewhat difficult to find. From Rosalind Russell's cross, walk down the slope (west) about seven or eight rows, then walk to the left of the cross (north) about 40 spaces (the grave is 25 spaces in from the northern curb.) Look for the round markers. John Ford's grave is one row up and two spaces to the right of marker #304.

His grave reads: "Admiral John Ford."

Silent film director Mack Sennett (1880-1960) (the "King of Comedy"), is buried across the road to the south, in Section N.

He was one of the greatest comedy pioneers of all time. His Keystone Studios (in what is now CBS Studio Center) churned out over a thousand silent screen classics starring his discoveries: Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Stan Laurel, Harold Lloyd, and Wallace Beery, and of course the Keystone Kops.

You'll find Mack's grave on the north side of the lawn over in Section N, south of the mausoleum, in tier 140, space 1. His grave is about ten rows down from the north curb (just south of the three-way intersection near the Priest Plot section), about two rows up from a tree and about six spaces to the right (north) of that same tree. (check map).

In the same section N, one row up from Mack Sennett, and about 31 spaces to his right (north) is the grave of actress Mary Astor (1906-1987) (12 rows down from the north curb, across the road from the south side of the Mausoleum.)

Mary made over 120 movies, but she's best remembered today for her starring role alongside Humphrey Bogart as the femme fatale in the 1941 classic, "The Maltese Falcon." That same year, she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in another film, "The Great Lie" (opposite Bette Davis.) Three years later, she played Judy Garland's mother in the beloved 1944 musical "Meet Me In St. Louis."

Get back in your car and drive around the south side of the mausoleum to Section Y: St. Francis. Band leader Lawrence Welk (1903-1992), is buried on the lawn here.

With his "Champagne Music Makers," his polka accordion, his German accent and his bubble machine, Lawrence Welk was considered square by the rock generation, but he remained one of TV's most popular personalities, introducing such acts as the Lennon Sisters on his weekly program.

"The Lawrence Welk Show" was one of television's longest-running hits. The show started in 1955 and ran until 1982, an incredible 27 years! (By comparison, "Gunsmoke," which started out in the same year - 1955, ran out of steam in 1977, after "just" 22 years.)

How do you find his grave? Well, next to the main Mausoleum (to the southeast) is a flower shop - a small brown building with a white pebble roof. Right behind this flower shop is Section Y - the large Saint Francis section, where Lawrence Welk is buried. There is a tall white statue of St. Francis standing atop an altar of sorts near the center of this Section-Y. Mr. Welk is buried nine rows in from the southern curb, in a direct line from the front of this statue. From the southern curb, align yourself with the front of the statue of St. Francis' (the first headstone at the curb in the correct row reads "Riordan, Frank & Geraldine") then walk right towards the statue. Welk's maroon headstone is just nine rows up from this curb. It features a white silhouette of the band leader with his baton, with musical notes flowing behind him.

[Click here to see a map of the grounds.]

Across the road, to the southeast, in section W - "Holy Family," you'll find the grave of ever-youthful Irish tenor and comic actor Dennis Day (1917-1988). He was best known as Jack Benny's naive sidekick on both Jack's radio and TV shows). He was in a few movies (including Jack's "Buck Benny Rides Again"), and supplied the voice for Disney's animated "Johnny Appleseed.." He even had his own short-lived "The Dennis Day Show." on TV in 1953.

He's buried on the lawn, in Tier 53, grave #37.

To locate Dennis' grave, first go to the white statue of the Holy Family (Mary & Joseph holding the baby Jesus) in this Section W.  Dennis' grave is about eight rows behind (east of) this statue, and about 12 graves in from the north curb. Note: his marker reads "Owen Patrick McNulty" (his real name), with 'Dennis Day' written in smaller letters below.

(His long-time boss, Jack Benny, is buried nearby at Hillside memorial park.)

The next (and final) section to the northeast of Lawrence Welk (in Section CC - "Holy Martyrs"), seems to be devoted mainly to the graves of Asian Catholics. There is a statue dedicated to an Asian saint at the west side of this section, as well as a statue of Jesus on the east side.

There are also two well-known TV stars buried here. Both of them recent arrivals.

Here in Section CC, you'll find the grave of actor Vince Edwards (1928-1996), best known for his role as TV doctor "Ben Casey," one of the most popular television shows of the 60's. The show, featuring the temperamental young doctor Casey and the wise Dr. Zorba (Sam Jaffe) ran from 1961 to 1965.

Vince's grave is near the northeast corner of section CC, in tier 65, grave #30. That's about four rows down from the eastern curb, and about seven markers in from the northern curb. It's also about a dozen markers north of - and about three rows behind (east of) the large white statue of Jesus carrying a lamb. The black marker on his grave contains an photo of Mr. Edwards as we all knew him. (Note: his marker lists his name as "Vince Edwards-Zoine.")

Just seven rows away, in tier 52, grave #58 (about nine rows in front of the statue of Jesus) is TV actress Mary Frann (1943-1998), who played Bob Newhart's wife, Joanna Loudon, in the popular sitcom "Newhart." She also played 'Amanda Howard' on the soap "Days of Our Lives" from 1974-1979. She died of a heart attack at age 55.

[ Note that this was the second Bob Newhart show, the one set in a Vermont inn - with Larry, Darryl & Darryl, not the one where Bob was a psychiatrist - his wife in that one was Suzanne Pleshette (who is buried next door at Hillside cemetery). ]

Also in the same section CC, just two spaces to the left (north) of Mary Frann, and four rows closer to the statue of Jesus (in tier 56, grave #55) is Big band singer Helen O'Connell (1920-1993), who sung with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra in the 40's, on songs such as "Green Eyes," "Tangerine" and "Yours." She also appeared in a few movies, was a regular on the "Today" show in the 50's, and even had her own short-lived "The Helen O'Connell Show" on TV in 1957.

Just across the road north of Vince Edwards' grave, is a new section: EE.

Section EE is a very narrow strip of lawn that runs parallel to the tops of sections CC and BB (where the cemetery runs out of usable land to the north).

And near the west/northwest end of this narrow section (EE), you'll find the grave of actor Ricardo Montalban, the star of TVs "Fantasy Island" (where he played the mystical Mr. Rourke), and the titular villain out for vengeance in "Star Trek: the Wrath of Khan".

Born in Mexico, he moved to Los Angeles as a teen.  When he returned to Mexico briefly to care for his ailing mother, he caught on in Mexican films and was becoming a star south of the border, prompting MGM to call him back to Hollywood, where he appeared in a number of lavish productions such as "Neptune's Daughter".

Unfortunately, he fell victim to the kind of ethnic stereotyping typical of the time, and wound up playing a range of Latin Lover types, and was also cast as Native Americans, Arabs, Italians, even a Japanese once (in 1957's "Sayonara").  With the advent of TV, he made the transition to the small screen, guest starring on a wide variety of early shows before hitting it big with "Fantasy Island", where he starred alongside 3',10" Hervé Villechaize (as 'Tattoo').

( He was married to actress
Georgiana Young, the sister of Loretta Young (who is also buried here at Holy Cross).  She had a brief film career, before marrying Mr. Montalban in 1944, and they remained married for over six decades, until her death in 2007, less than two years before his own passing. They are buried together.)

(Some sources list Gary Cooper as being buried at Holy Cross, but that is a mistake. In fact, Gary Cooper used to be buried here, but has been moved to another Catholic cemetery, Sacred Cross, on the east coast.

Also buried at Holy Cross (but more difficult to locate) are gossip columnist Louella Parsons in Section D (who had her footprints immortalized at Grauman's Chinese Theatre), actor Richard Arlen in Section T (who starred in "Wings," the first motion picture to win an Academy Award), Joe Flynn in Section B, Tier 21 (the pesky Captain Binghamton on TV's "McHale's Navy"), Hayden Rorke (the always-bewildered 'Dr Bellows' on TV's "I Dream of Jeannie". in Section W), character actor Richard Egan in Section AA, and comedienne ZaSu Pitts in the grotto.

Another celebrity buried here is popular sports columnist Jim Murray (1919-1998). Murray wrote for the Los Angeles Times for 37 years, won a Pulitzer Prize, helped found the magazine "Sports Illustrated," was named the America's Best Sportswriter 14 times, and was inducted into the (writers wing of the) Baseball Hall of Fame.

He's buried on the lawn in Section R, Tier 30, grave 150 (northwest of the grotto section.) That's a long way in from the curb. But the round markers in this section make it fairly easy to locate his location.

This ends our tour of Holy Cross. These pages will be updated as new celebrities are buried at Holy Cross.

In the meantime, you can take a virtual tour of the nearby Hillside Memorial Park (which is just a few blocks away from Holy Cross) by clicking here. Hillside contains the graves of such legends as Jack Benny, Al Jolson, Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Eddie Cantor, Leonard Nimoy, Dinah Shore, and many more.


[This is the last page of a four page article. Click here to go to the first page.]

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8 AM - 4:30 PM; Sat-Sun: 8 AM - 4 PM.

Getting there: From the San Diego (405) Freeway north, take the Slauson Avenue offramp. Turn right (east) on Slauson and go past the Fox Hills Mall, up the hill to the cemetery's massive, wrought-iron gates (decorated with a large cross) on the left (north) side of Slauson. To reach the grotto with most of the stars' graves, take the left fork, up a steep hill, to the grotto - which is on the left side of the road, near the top of the hill. To reach the Mausoleum, bear to the right, head northeast and look for the large white building.

(Note: there is another pond/grotto just to the right of the entrance, with a lily pond and waterfall, which does not contain stars' graves - do not mistake this area for the major grotto up atop the west hill.)  

Looking for something in particular? Search the Seeing-Stars website!

Click Here to Return to the Main Menu

Copyright © 1999-2022-Gary Wayne
All Rights Reserved
(Click here to read disclaimers)