Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars

Part II
6300 Forest Lawn Drive,
Los Angeles, CA. / (323) 254-7251 or (818) 984-1711

[This is a multi-page article.  Click here to return to the first page.]

Back outside, return to the main central walkway, and head east into the next garden area.

There, in front of you, across the lawn, just to the right of the walkway, will be another large, free-standing, white marble, with the statue of a woman standing atop it (this statue is holding flowers).

This is the tomb of Liberace (1919-1987), the flamboyant pianist & showman renowned for his flashy clothes and for the candelabra he always sat atop his grand piano. (His unique signature can be found reproduced in wrought iron on the front of the tomb.)

One of early TV's first stars - his show first went on the air back in 1952 - Liberace was also one of its biggest. His show was a huge hit, and in live appearances, he sold out huge concert venues like Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. He was also one of the first stars to be known by a single name (his full name was Walter Valentino Liberace).

You can even see Bugs Bunny imitate Liberace's classic "I wish my brother George was here" line, as the 'wascally wabbit' sits at a piano, in the 1955 Warner Bros. cartoon, "Hyde or Hare". And he got his wish - George is buried in the very same sarcophagus, along with their mother, Frances. Alas Liberace also had the unfortunate distinction of being one of the first major celebrities to die of AIDS.

[Click here to see a map of the Courts of Remembrance area.]

John WoodenJust to the left (north) of the Liberace
sarcophagus, you'll see a very similar, white sarcophagus.  On the wall to its left, four spaces up from the bottom, is the grave of a sports superstar, the "Wizard of Westwood" himself, UCLA coach John Wooden (1910-2010).

Wooden coached the UCLA Bruins basketball team to 10 national championships in a 12-year period, including seven championships in a row, and a record streak of 88 winning games in a row. Dominating college basketball, the Bruins under Wooden had four years in which they didn't lose a single game. And if that wasn't enough, he lived to be almost 100 years old.

From the Liberace monument, walk to your left (north). Follow the wall, past the central walkway, to its very end, and you will find a small doorway on the right that reads the "Columbarium of Radiant Dawn," and which leads into a chamber full of tiny crypts (for those who have been cremated).

Here, you'll find what used to be the unlikely final resting place of one of television's greatest stars, Lucille Ball (1911-1989), star of TV's immortal "I Love Lucy."

Her tiny space was on the wall to your right (when you first step through the doorway). It was in the vertical row labeled "G62423-G62150," six rows up from the bottom, and eighteen markers in from the doorway. The small marker read "Morton" at the top, the name of her last husband (after she and Desi broke up), and it read "Lucille Ball" only in smaller letters to the left. (Click on the small photo to the right to see what her marker looked like.)

Lucy's ashes occupied this space for 13 years (from 1989 to 2002).

Unfortunately, for fans on the West Coast, she is no longer there.

In 2002, Lucie Arnaz and brother Desi Jr. decided to to send the ashes of Lucy (and grandma Deedee) back to her hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., where they were buried at Lake View Cemetery, in the Hunt-Ball family plot, joining her father and other ancestors. The cemetery is located about a mile north of the Lucy-Desi Museum in Jamestown. So, the most famous resident of Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills is no longer a resident. Her former space is now completely unmarked.

(Click here to see a photo of her current grave in Jamestown.)

In the same room, right across from Lucy on the opposite (north) wall is Walter Lantz (1899-1994), the cartoonist who gave us Woody Woodpecker.

His space is just below a small statue of Mary.

Also in the same room is actress Pamela Britton, who played the neighbor, "Mrs. Brown," in the original TV series "My Favorite Martian," and earlier played Blondie Bumstead in the TV series "Blondie."

(Her marker reads "STEEL" at the top.)

Also in the same room is actor Forrest Tucker (1919-1986), probably best remembered for his comic role as 'Sgt. O'Rourke' on the TV sitcom "F-Troop." But he appeared in almost a hundred movies and TV shows, most of them Westerns.

You'll find his niche on the east wall, opposite the door (in between Lucy and Walter Lantz), eight spaces up from the floor, and 6 spaces to the left of the right corner.

[Click here to see a map of the Courts of Remembrance area.]

Back outside again, go back to the central walkway and walk farther east, into the third garden. As soon as you leave the Liberace garden, turn to your right (south) at the aisle/hallway marked Sanctuary of Light (inside, there is a statue of a mother and her walking child at the end of the corridor).

Here, in vaults #2355 and #2356, are two Hollywood stars unlikely to have been buried side by side: George Raft and Freddie Prinze.

George Raft (1895-1980) was famous as a movie tough guy in Hollywood's Golden Age, right up there with James Cagney and E.G. Robinson in terms of popularity at the time (albeit in less memorable films).

Raft played coin-flipping gangsters, dapper criminals and hard-boiled detectives in movies such as 1932's "Scarface."

In the '40s, his career as Hollywood tough guy was eclipsed by that of Humphrey Bogart - (helped by the fact that George Raft turned down many of the landmark roles that later went to Bogart). But Raft still played a mobster convincingly in the 1959 comedy classic, "Some Like It Hot".

He left his footprints in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and lived to be a wise 85 years old.

His wall crypt, #2356, is the third crypt from the (south) end of the aisle, and two spaces up from the bottom.

Freddie Prinze (1954-1977), on the other hand, was a young, Latino stand-up comic who made people laugh as the star of the popular 1970's TV sitcom "Chico and the Man."

Alas, his future looked bright, but he was apparently fighting inner demons. Freddie shot himself at age 23, adding to the long list of Hollywood stars who died young.

(His son, Freddie Prinze Jr., has become a star in his own right, in movies such as "I Know What You Did Last Summer, and married "Buffy" star Sarah Michelle Gellar.)

Freddie was so young that his son, less than a year old when his father died, is now older than Freddie was at the time of his suicide.

Freddie's wall crypt, #2355, is on the right (east-facing) side of this aisle, one crypt from the south end of the aisle, and the second crypt up from the bottom. It's just to the left (south) of George Raft.

(One of Freddie's co-stars on "Chico & the Man" is also buried here at Forest Lawn Hollywood: Scatman Crothers.)

Right across from George and Freddie, on the opposite wall of the same corridor, is the crypt of actress Wanda Hendrix (1928-1981) (#4349). She was Tyrone Power's leading lady in 1949's "Prince of Foxes", and starred with husband Audie Murphy in 1950's "Sierra". You'll find her crypt four spaces up from the bottom, and about two spaces to the left of George Raft.

[Click here to see a map of the Courts of Remembrance area.]

We've only just begun our tour!


Continue the virtual tour of Forest Lawn Hollywood

and discover the graves of stars like Sandra Dee, Rod Steiger,
Steve Allen, Isabel Sanford, and the man who gave us James Bond...

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