Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars

1218 Glendon Avenue,
Westwood, CA. / (310) 474-1579

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OK, now that we've explored the sanctuaries along on the north wall, it's time to take a look at those along the east wall, and the last remaining stars' graves on the east side of the lawn. (See a map of the grounds.)

From Marilyn's crypt, just walk south a bit (away from her wall), and you'll quickly come to three more gated "sanctuaries" lining the far east side of the park, just off the main lawn. The middle one (near the huge tree by Eve Arden's grave) is the Sanctuary of Love, and inside is the crypt of singer & actor Dean Martin (1917-1995).

A member of the Rat Pack (with Frank and Sammy), Dean started out his career partnered with Jerry Lewis in a number of 1950's film comedies. After Martin & Lewis broke up, he cultivated the image of a happy, sophisticated boozer, hosted his own TV variety show ("The Dean Martin Show") for almost ten years, and starred in several 'Matt Helm' spy thrillers. The Italian crooner also strung together a number of hit records, such as his theme song: "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime."

Dino was buried in a tuxedo, above ground, three rows up from the bottom, on the north wall of this Sanctuary. Dean's memorial service, also held here at Pierce Bros., was attended by his long-time partner Jerry Lewis, Mrs. Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Joey Bishop, Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Tony Danza and others. His marker reads:

"Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime."

(His son, Dean Paul Martin Jr.'s, grave is located in the huge National military Cemetery, just a few blocks northwest of Pierce Bros, at the corner of Sepulveda & Wilshire. Click here to see a photo of his grave.)

Also located in the same Sanctuary of Love is the crypt of Oscar Levant (1906-1972). Best known for his wry, sarcastic wit, Levant also co-starred in the movie "An American in Paris," was a talented pianist, had his own early talk show on local TV, and was the man who coined the term "Tinseltown" for Hollywood. "Peel away the phony tinsel from this town, and you know what you'll find?," he asked, "Real tinsel!"

A close friend of George Gershwin, Oscar had a key role (playing himself) in the 1945 movie biography of Gershwin, "Rhapsody in Blue."

When he hosted "The Oscar Levant Show" on KCOP-TV, which was sponsored by Philco, he once got up and told his audience not to buy the company's TV sets, and predicted that he would be fired from KCOP.  He was.  He also predicted that he would be hired by rival KHJ (now KCAL), because "they'll take anybody."   Sure enough, they did. Oscar's crypt can be found on the bottom row of the sanctuary's south wall (opposite Dean Martin), near the lower left corner.

Right next door to the north, in the Sanctuary of Peace, are the parents of actress Elizabeth Taylor, Francis Taylor (an art dealer) and Sara Taylor (an actress of the stage).

The Taylors were Americans from Kansas, living in England when Sara gave birth to Elizabeth. They returned to the States seven years later, in 1939 when they saw the war coming. They settled in Beverly Hills, where Francis opened an art gallery and Sara attended to her daughter's budding acting career. By 1943, young Elizabeth had been signed to a contract with MGM. Sara lived to the ripe old age of 99.

You'll find their twin crypts on the bottom row, on the right side of the Sanctuary (when you walk in).

Their daughter Elizabeth was buried at Forest Lawn Glendale.

( A few rows above them, in the same Sanctuary of Peace, you'll find Dean Martin's parents. Angela & Gaetano Crocetti. )

Now, walk outside of these three (eastern) Sanctuaries, and walk a few steps down to the southern end of them (walk away from Marilyn). On the south-facing outside wall of these Sanctuaries are a number of other crypts. One of them, located about three rows up from the bottom, belongs to actor John Boles (1895-1969).

John Boles probably isn't remembered by many today, but back in the 1930's, he was a major star.

A handsome leading man, he played the good guy in "Frankenstein", who begged Dr. Frankenstein to halt the bizarre experiments. And he was Barbara Stanwyck's husband in the classic tear-jerker "Stella Dallas."

But he may be best remembered for starring in a number of Shirley Temple films, beginning in 1934 with "Stand Up & Cheer". He played Shirley's father (a captured rebel soldier ) in "The Littlest Rebel" and he played her adopted father in "Curly Top".

(Click here to see my map of the park)

While you're at that John Boles wall, turn around, and you'll see the north-facing wall of a new building that they added recently. There are already two stars interred in the outdoor crypts here.

The first is none other than Wayne Rogers himself, who you'll best remember as army surgeon 'Trapper John' McIntyre, the original best bud of 'Hawkeye Pierce', in the TV hit "M*A*S*H".

After four years on the hit show, Wayne apparently grew to resent the fact that costar Alan Alda had become the show's central character (in the original movie, "M*A*S*H", 'Hawkeye' & 'Trapper John' were more or less equal stars of the film), and he left the show in a 1975 contract dispute.

M*A*S*H" continued to be a big hit for eight more seasons, while Wayne moved on to try his hand at a noir-ish detective series called "City of Angels".  But it didn't last a year.  He never had another really huge TV show, although he was the star of the 80's sitcom "House Calls", with Lynn Redgrave.

Rogers eventually moved into another arena, and became something of a financial wizard, making real estate deals, acting as an advisor to his fellow celebrities on money matters, writing a book on the subject, and becoming a regular on the Fox Business Channel.  At the time of his death, he had an estimated net worth of $75 million.

His wall crypt is right at the wall's far western edge (or corner), about five spaces up from the bottom.

At the other (east) end of the same wall, way up in the very top row, in the second column from that east edge, you'll find the crypt of actor Robert Loggia.

Robert Loggia was one of those versatile character/supporting actors whose face you recognize, and whose name you recognize, but you still might not be able to say exactly where you've seen him.

Well, here are a few places: He played the General Grey in the 1999 action/sci-fi hit, "Independence Day".  He was the guy who danced with a young Tom Hanks on a toy store keyboard, in the popular 1988 movie "Big". He was drug mobster 'Frank Lopez' in "Scarface".  On TV, you might know him as 'Nick Mancuso" in the 1989 show, "Mancuso, FBI". Later, in 2004, he played another mobster, 'Feech La Manna' in "The Sopranos".

And in between, he did a zillion other character roles in a wide range of movies and TV shows, over a career that spanned more than six decades.

Just across the road from the door to the Sanctuary of Love, up on the curb, on the lawn, you'll find the grave (and very small marker) of actor Burt Lancaster (1913-1994), who starred in as "Jim Thorpe - All American" (1951), and in almost 100 movies including "From Here to Eternity" (which co-starred Donna Reed, who is buried nearby), "The Rainmaker," "The Birdman of Alcatraz," "Seven Days in May," and "The Swimmer."

He starred with Dean Martin in 1970's "Airport."

Burt won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1961 for "Elmer Gantry," and in 1980 he was nominated for his performance in "Atlantic City."

The small rose garden near the administration building contains the scattered ashes of many dearly departed;

among them is popular jazz bandleader Stan Kenton (1911-1979) actor Don DeFore (1913-1993), who played Hazel's boss, 'Mr. Baxter', on TV's "Hazel," and next-door neighbor "Thorny" on "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet", and actress Connie Hines, who played Wilbur's wife, 'Carol', on the sitcom "Mister Ed".

Also cremated by Pierce Bros. was Elizabeth Montgomery (1933-1995), who played the nose-twitching witch, Samantha Stevens, on the popular TV sitcom "Bewitched" from 1964 to 1972.

So was rocker Janis Joplin (1943-1970), who gave us such hits as "Me & Bobby McGee," and "Piece of My Heart." Her funeral service was also held here.

Gene Kelly, actor and song & dance man, was also cremated by Pierce Bros (although his ashes were not buried here.)

So was singer Tom Petty, although his funeral took place at the Lake Shrine, not here, and he was not buried at Pierce Bros.

(Click here to see my map of the park)


 Click here to conclude this tour of Westwood Village Memorial Park
with a visit to the graves of Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon,
Billy Wilder, Carroll O'Connor, Peggy Lee, Les Brown & Brian Keith.

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