Seeing Stars: Final Resting Places of the Stars

Part II
5950 Forest Lawn Drive,
Hollywood Hills, CA. / (818) 905-7600

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

OK, next, we go back across the road and up (east) a little, to the Courts of Tanach (click here to see a map of the grounds.)

There are two open courtyards here, each with lawns enclosed by walls of crypts - one to the east and one to the west. Go into the first courtyard to the west (the one closest to the Heritage area), and you will find two patches of lawn, one on your left and one on your right. Go to the lawn on your left (east), and go to the extreme upper left (southeast) corner of this lawn.

There, you'll find the lawn grave of Cass Elliot (1941-1974), the lead singer for the 60's group "The Mamas & The Papas." Better known to her fans as "Mama Cass," her unforgettable voice can be heard on such hit recordings as "Monday, Monday," "California Dreamin'" and "Words of Love."

Although she was cremated (at Hollywood Forever) she is in a lawn grave; her headstone reads "Ellen Naomi Cohen" at the top, with "Cass Elliott" below, flanked by music notes.

(Rumors that she had choked to death were false - she died in her sleep of a heart attack.)

Her marker is right on the south edge of the lawn (next to the sidewalk), just a couple of spaces in from the east corner of the lawn.

(Papa John Phillips died in 2001 and is buried in Forest Lawn Cathedral City.)

Now, leave the courtyard where Cass is buried, turn to your right, and walk east a short distance until you come to the space between the two main courtyards of Tanach. There are two (outer) walls of crypts here, one on your left (east) and one on your right (west). Go to the wall on your left, and check the numbers at the base for crypt #52250. (See a map.)

Here (two spaces up from the bottom), you'll find the wall crypt of veteran character actor Herschel Bernardi (1923-1986), who played Police Lieutenant Jacoby on TV's "Peter Gunn" in the 1960's, and starred as "Arnie" on the 1970's TV sitcom of the same name. In 1985, he had a small role as the National Security advisor to the President (played by Patty Duke) in the sitcom "Hail to the Chief." He also did movies and voices for TV commercials and for "The Jetsons" cartoons. Remember those "Charlie the Tuna" TV commercials? He was the voice of Charlie. In his latter years, Mr. Bernardi starred on the Broadway stage as Tevye, in the revival of "Fiddler on the Roof."

Don RicklesJust before Passover in 2017, funnyman Don Rickles (1926-2017) was laid to rest at Mount Sinai.  He is also in the Courts of Tanach, But in the smaller, far west section of Tanach: Lot BR08, Space 4-A (around 34.148521, -118.316045.)

Don was known (sarcastically) as "Mr. Warmth", and he was king of the insult comics.

Fearless in his scorching humor, he would poke fun at just about anyone in his audience, from Frank Sinatra to FDR's son. His humor often included racial, religious, and ethnic stereotypes that might be considered offensive by today's politically-correct standards, but which were considered hilarious at the time, especially since everyone knew that Don Rickles didn't mean it. Although his comedy stage character was an angry, irritable, rather nasty man who insulted everybody he met, the real Don Rickles was a nice guy; there was never any genuine hostility there, just a time-tested formula for getting outrageous laughs. And his audience was in on the joke; they knew it was just an act, and they came to his shows wanting to be insulted by him.  And they weren't disappointed. 
Rickles joked that his biggest worry was that some day there would be someone in his audience who he didn't offend.
Although Don was best known for his stand-up act in Vegas and for his appearances on "The Tonight Show", he actually started out hoping to be a serious actor. He appeared in a number of productions over the years. His first major movie was a 1958 submarine drama, "Run Silent Run Deep", in which he appeared alongside Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.

On TV, he was a regular on Dean Martin's celebrity roasts, a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's late night show, and briefly had his own TV sitcom, "CPO Sharkey". Along the way he popped up on dozens of other popular TV shows, ranging from "The Twilight Zone" to "The Andy Griffith Show". Most recently, in the popular animated "Toy Story" movies, Don played the voice of the irritable 'Mr. Potato Head'.

Then there's Brandon Tartikoff (1949-1997), the brilliant television executive who turned around the NBC network from an also-ran to a powerhouse in the mid-1980's. When he arrived at NBC, the network had been dead last in the ratings for nine years. After introducing such hit shows as "Cheers," "Taxi," "Hill Street Blues," "The Cosby Show," "L.A. Law," "Family Ties" and "Miami Vice," he made NBC the No. 1 network. Unfortunately, he died of Hodgkin's Disease in 1997 at, age 48.

His life inspired the Showtime cable series “Beggars and Choosers,” about life inside a TV network, produced by his widow, Lily.

His grave is somewhat tricky to find. From the Tanach area, drive east up the road, and park where you encounter an intersecting road (Moriah Road) on your left (north) side. Over on the right (south) side of the street is a series of small garden courtyards. Check the map, and go to section 12. As you reach the back of this section, you'll see a waterfall on your left side, with stairs on both sides of it. Standing in front of this waterfall, facing away from it, you'll see a sidewalk on your left side, and a small patch of lawn left of it. Brandon Tartikoff is buried in the center of this lawn (his large marker is easy to spot), in grave #2056.

If you're a fan of the original "The Wild Wild West" TV show, then you know Ross Martin (1920-1981), who played 'Artemus Gordon' the secret agent with many disguises - partner and best friend of Robert Conrad's 'James West'. (In the 1999 movie version of the TV series, Ross' role was played by Kevin Kline.)

His grave is located in the Temple Beth Hillel section, Plot #3628.

But where is Temple Beth Hillel?  It's not marked on the official map. But here's how you get to it (check the map): from Tartitoff's area, get back in the car and turn left (north) on Moriah Road, drive until you see a large monument to the Holocaust (featuring a number of bleak, black human figures). Park at the intersection of Morian Road and Covenant Way. Cross the street (north) to the large Maimonides section and look for a tree about five rows down the hill from the curb. Ross Martin's grave is right next to (behind) this tree. There is more than one tree here, so you might have to check the round numbered markers in the grass to pinpoint it.

Most recently, Don Rickles and Bob Saget were buried here at Mount Sinai.

There are two other familiar names buried here at Mount Sinai. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down their graves just yet. They are:

  • Veteran character actor Jesse White (1917-1997). He is probably best known as the long-suffering 'The Maytag Repairman'; he played the role in commercials from 1968 to 1989, although he has one of those faces you instantly recognize. He had continuing roles in a number of TV series, including "Gunsmoke" (where he played 'Professor'), "The Ann Southern Show" and Danny Thomas' "Make Room for Daddy."

In July of 1999, big band singer Helen Forrest (1917-1999) was buried at Mount Sinai. She sung with Artie Shaw's band, then with Benny Goodman and Harry James, on such hits as I Don’t Want To Walk Without You, How High The Moon, The Man I Love, I Found A Million Dollar Baby, and Skylark.  She also did duets with crooner Dick Haymes on songs such as I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, and appeared as a singer in a handfull of 40's movies, including "Springtime in the Rockies," "Bathing Beauty," and "You Came Along."


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

Hours: Sun-Tues: 8:30 AM - 5 PM (closed Saturdays).

Getting there: The park is located between Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills and the Los Angeles Zoo, on the north side of Griffith Park (just a short distance from the east side of Universal Studios. / From Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, just go east on Forest Lawn Drive a short distance to the entrance to Mount Sinai, which will be on your right (south) side. (See directions for Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.)  

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