Oakwood Memorial Park is located out in a particularly remote - almost rural - portion of the northwest San Fernando Valley, surrounded by rocky hills that used to serve as a colorful background to many Roy Rogers' movies
So it's surprising to find major stars buried there. But here they are!
At Oakwood, you'll find the graves of Hollywood's greatest dancer, Fred Astaire (1899-1987), plus his partner in all those RKO musicals, Ginger Rogers (1911-1995).
This dancing duo starred together in numerous movies from Hollywood's Golden Age, including "Top Hat," "Swing Time" and "Shall We Dance."
Fred also starred solo in films such as "Holiday Inn", "Easter Parade," "Daddy Long Legs" and "Funny Face," while Ginger struck out on her own in movies like "Magnificent Doll."
The two are not buried together.
You'll find Fred's grave in the Sequoia section (Section G, Lot 82, Space 4), near the center of the park.
From the park's main entrance, bear
left and head northwest to the first intersection (see
a map). Fred's grave is located near the southwest tip of the Sequoia
section. Take a look at the map
to get a general idea of the area we're talking about. If you make a right
turn (northeast) at this intersection, then park, you will notice that
from the main road down, there are two large trees on the left (northwest)
edge of this offshoot road. Use the second tree down (on the left) as a
landmark, then go down six rows (northwest) on the grass, then over about
three spaces to your right (northeast).
find her grave, when you first drive into the park, bear to the right (northeast)
and go down to section E. Notice that there is a metal grate running across
the road (causing a slight dip in the road.) Park near this grate. Ginger's
grave is on the lawn on the left (northwest) side of the street (see a map).
From the grate in the road, just walk back (southwest, towards the entrance)
2 1/2 rows. Then walk in on the grass about 15 or
16 spaces. Her grave is located between the second and third row up from
Not long ago, you would have found Col. Hogan himself of TV's "Hogan's Heroes," Bob Crane (1928-1978) buried nearby. He was murdered back in 1978 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (He was listed as "Robert Crane" on his headstone.)
You would have found his grave across the street from the fountains and mausoleum #2, near the the southwest corner of the Oak Knoll section (Lot 34B, Space 8). (see a map) His grave was located five rows down from the main road on the west, and about 13 rows in from the left (south) curb.
However, in 1999, they disinterred Bob and moved
him to Pierce Bros Memorial Park in
Westwood. His new grave in Westwood was unmarked until June of 2003, but
it now has a beautiful new marker which includes photos of Bob and his
Also here is actress Gloria Grahame (1923-1981), the pretty blonde who played Violet (the town vamp who borrows money from Jimmy Stewart to leave town) in the Christmas Classic "It's a Wonderful Life," as well as dozens of other roles in other films (such as Gloria in "Oklahoma").
She's buried in the far northwest section of the park, Pioneer, in a grave east of the Historic Church, near the Oakwood Drive (Lot 242, Space 8).
When you drive along this road at the top (western
the park (see a map), you'll discover
that there is a small wishing well garden on the west side of the road,
north of the church. Gloria's grave is located on the lawn about halfway
between the church and this wishing well, on the east side of the street
(the same side as the church.) Her grave is only three rows in from the
(east) curb. For a landmark, spot the only (log-shaped) trash can in this
area (on the east side of the road.) From this trash can, walk about 13
spaces back towards the church (south), then go three rows down (east).
Also at Oakwood, you'll find actor Stephen Boyd (1928-1977), who starred in such films as "Fantastic Voyage," "Jumbo," "Fall of the Roman Empire," "The Oscar" and "The Bible."
But his most memorable role is probably from the 1959 epic "Ben-Hur." In the film, Boyd plays the key role of Charleton Heston's boyhood friend, 'Messala,' who returns to Jerusulem as the new Roman Tribune, and has his friend Heston shipped off in chains to die as a slave on a galley ship. He is also the one who races against Heston in the movie's climactic chariot race - and is killed in the process. (In fact, Steven Boyd has been immortalized in wax as 'Messala' (along with Charlton Heston) at the Movieland Wax Museum. (Click here to see a photo of that "Ben-Hur" exhibit.)
is located on the outside wall of a mausoleum, across the road from the
the lawn where Bob Crane was buried (see
a map). There are two mausoleums here (separated by a short lawn with
statues of a woman and a lion.) When you stand at the curb, he is in the
mausoleum to the left (south), Mausoleum #1, niche #257. His crypt
is way up on the very top row, on the north wall (facing towards that middle
lawn with the statues.) To be more exact, his crypt is at the very top-left
corner when you're facing this wall. The twin markers on his crypt are
small and difficult to read from below.
In 1998, cowboy star & famed trick roper Montie Montana (1910-1998) was buried at Oakwood. He appeared in western films with Tom Mix and John Wayne, including "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Hud." But most people probably knew him best for his many appearances in the Pasadena Rose Parade and the Hollywood Christmas Parade, where Monty performed rope tricks as he rode on a pinto named Rex, which sported a silver saddle.
His most popular trick was roping members of the audience. He once roped President Dwight Eisenhower, during Ike's 1953 inaugural parade. (He said that the Secret Service bodyguards were not amused.)
Montie's grave is across the street from the old
church, at the top of the slope. From the narrow church steps, facing north,
count up seven rows and Montie's grave is there, number 128, four graves
to the right of the cement marker which shows the section beginning with
grave 124. The bronze maker bears a portrait of Montie and his name spelled
out in rope.
Getting there: Oakwood is located in a relatively remote section of the northwest San Fernando Valley, and can be difficult to reach. Take the San Diego (405) freeway into the Valley, to the Ventura Freeway. Head west on the Ventura Freeway to the Topanga Canyon Blvd. offramp. Go north on Topanga Canyon Blvd to Lassen Street. Turn left (west) on Lassen, and go to where Lassen stops at the cemetery gates.
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