FAMOUS GRAVE TOUR – Hollywood Forever #1 (Judy Garland, Clifton Webb, etc.)


Welcome to Hollywood Graveyard, where we set out to remember and celebrate the lives of those who lived to entertain us,
by visiting their final resting places. Today we’re exploring Hollywood Forever
Cemetery, where we’ll find such stars as Judy Garland, Norma Talmadge, Clifton Webb, and many more. Join us won’t you? Hollywood Forever is the most notorious
Cemetery in Los Angeles, and certainly the most requested since we started
doing these tours earlier this year. Unlike its Forest Lawn counterparts
Hollywood Forever not only recognizes its place in Hollywood, it embraces it,
celebrates it. The Hollywood sign is visible from the entrance to the
cemetery, and here the dead roll in style in a Rolls Royce hearse. It’s the only
cemetery with an official walking tour given by Hollywood historian Karie
Bible. And how about movie night in a cemetery? The large mausoleum wall makes
for a perfect movie screen. What could be more Hollywood than watching a movie
surrounded by the graves of those who made the movie? On the Douglas Fairbanks
lawn no less! Hollywood Forever was founded in 1899 as Hollywood Cemetery. The cemetery grew up right alongside the nascent film industry. Not long after its
formation a large tract of the land in the southern portion of the cemetery was
sold to Paramount, where the studio stands to this day. In 1939 the cemetery
was bought by Jules Roth, a millionaire convicted felon. And so began the
unsavory chapter of this storied cemetery. Roth siphoned money from the
operations of the cemetery to enrich himself with luxuries, including a yacht,
which he claimed was for scattering ashes of clients. He neglected upkeep,
allowing the cemetery to fall into disrepair. He also closed the grounds to
minorities, denying actress Hattie McDaniel her wish to be interred here.
The 1994 Northridge earthquake inflicted more damage on the already crumbling
cemetery, and soon it was making more money from disinterments than interments. To settle some of his tax bills Roth
sold the land along Santa Monica Boulevard to form a hideous strip mall… a
blight on Hollywood Forever’s front door. Roth died in 1998 leaving the cemetery
in ruins. That same year the cemetery was purchased by the Cassity brothers and
renamed Hollywood Forever. They poured millions into restoring the cemetery, and
so began its Renaissance, becoming one of the most culturally and historically
significant sites in Hollywood. But enough history, let’s get on with the tour. As with other large cemeteries this is the first of a three-part series.
We’ll begin our tour at the chapel just west of the entrance. It’s often locked
but if you’re lucky you might find this corridor into the chapel on the west
side open. If not, ask nicely, they’ll usually let you in if the service isn’t
being held. The rear portion of the chapel is a beautiful columbarium
featuring an array of glass front niches. We’ll head up to the second level where,
along the far wall, we find the niche and urn of Bebe Daniels, a prolific actress
in the first half of the 20th century. Her career began as a child during the
silent era and as a teen she became Harold Lloyd’s leading lady, their
relationship extending off the screen as well – one of Hollywood’s first star couples. Her drive to pursue a film career rather
than be a traditional wife eventually drove them apart. She soon landed at
Paramount under Cecil B. DeMille, starring in films like, “Why Change Your Wife?” With
the advent of the talkies years later Bebe was able to showcase her voice in
films like “42nd Street.” [music] Resting alongside Bebe’s urn is the urn of her husband Ben Lyon. Ben was also an actor who, with Bebe, had a successful radio show
in London called “Hi Gang.” Ben later became an executive at 20th Century Fox. He discovered an aspiring actress named Norma Jean Dougherty and arranged for her screen test, stating she was Jean Harlow all over again. He got the young star a
contract and helped to come up with her stage name: Marilyn Monroe. Low on the wall to the right is Jerry Siegel. He was a comic book writer who, along with Joe Shuster, created one of the most iconic superheroes of all time: Superman. In his
original 1933 incarnation the Superman was a bald telepathic villain. In the
years that followed Siegel and Shuster continued to develop Superman and try to
get him into syndicated comic strips. Superman’s look was inspired by Douglas
Fairbanks, and his mild-mannered alter ego, Clark Kent, was inspired by Harold
Lloyd. Superman’s home city Metropolis was taken from the 1927 Fritz Lang film
of the same name. With the world, characters, and story ready for primetime
the Man of Steel finally made his debut in June 1938 as the cover feature of
Action Comics 1. It was an immediate hit. Resting here with Jerry is his wife
Joanne, the original inspiration and model for Lois Lane. Further along this wall is actress Ann Sheridan. She was known as the Oomph Girl,
and can be seen in films like “Angels with Dirty Faces,” “Kings Row,” and “I was a Male War Bride.” She also made her mark on television in “Pistols ‘n Petticoats.” After her death in 1967 her ashes were stored at the Chapel of Pines Crematory
in Los Angeles until they were moved here in 2005 in accordance with her
wishes. Along the next wall right we find actress and model Lana Clarkson. She had
bit roles or lean her career in films like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and
“Scarface,” but is perhaps best remembered for her roles in Sword & Sorcery films
like “Barbarian Queen.” Her work in B-movies brought her a cult following in the 80s and 90s. However on February 3rd 2003 Lana was found shot dead in the
home of record producer Phil Spector. She was just 40. Spector claims she
accidentally shot herself kissing the gun. But a jury saw it differently. Phil
Spector was convicted of Lana’s murder in 2009. That’ll do it for the chapel,
let’s head back outside. To the west we find the Abbey of the Psalms. In the first corridor on the right, the Sanctuary of Memories, is the crypt of
voice actress extraordinaire, Lucille Bliss. Her voice can be heard in everything
from “Cinderella” to “The Secret of NIMH.” Two of her best-known characters are
featured right on her crypt: Crusader Rabbit, and Smurfette. “Oh, no, not Papa Smurf! He hasn’t lost his powers! He can’t, he mustn’t! Oooh! Oh, what a nightmare! And it was so real! I’d better make sure Papa Smurf is okay!” Let’s head around the north to the first corridor on the left, the Sanctuary of Faith. Here we find
the crypt of Joan Hackett, an actress popular in the 60s to the 80s. She was
nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Only When I Laugh.” and can be seen in
several westerns of the era like, “Support Your Local Sheriff,” and “Will Penny.” And let’s be honest, she’s got the best epitaph in the whole cemetery. So let’s do as she asks. The next corridor down is the
Sanctuary of Trust. High on the right wall is one of the most prolific composers
you’ve never heard of: Carl Stalling, the man who essentially invented the zany,
frenetic, patchwork music style associated with Warner Bros. cartoons.
Stalling started his career improvising organ accompaniments for silent film in
Kansas City. There he met a young aspiring cartoonists named Walt Disney.
They both eventually ended up in Hollywood and Disney hired stalling to
score some of the earliest Disney shorts, including “Plane Crazy,” and “The Skeleton
Dance.” [music] Stalling eventually made his way to
Warner Bros. where he would essentially score all the Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies cartoons. [music] He averaged one complete score a week
for 22 years, an incredible pace to keep up, right Giuseppe? “Right.” He was known for using
musical puns in his scores quoting popular tunes to reflect what was on
screen. Further down this corridor on the bottom row is Charles Chaplin Jr. He was
the son of Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin. He made his film debut alongside
his father in 1952 in “Limelight.” He only starred in a handful of other film and television programs in his career, including “Girl’s Town,” alongside another
son of a silent film legend, Harold Lloyd Jr. Let’s head inside the Abbey and left
at the first corridor. High on the Left wall is Mildred Harris. On the subject of
Charlie Chaplin, Mildred was Chaplin’s first wife. She was only 17 at the time.
She began her acting career as a child during the silent era, appearing in such
films as DW Griffith’s “Intolerance,” and can be seen in Frank Capra’s “The Power of the Press.” She didn’t transition well into the talkies and her career slowly
declined. She died of pneumonia at just 42. Further down on the right is the crypt of Victor Fleming. He has the distinction of having
directed two of Hollywood’s most legendary films, both of which were
released in 1939: “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Gone with the Wind,” which won him an
Oscar. He directed many other classics like “Red Dust,” and “Captains Courageous.” Oh, by the way, if you’re a fan of “Modern Family,” you remember the episode where
Jay tries to convince Gloria to buy a crypt? Or a ‘drawer’ as she calls it. That scene was shot right here in this corridor. Heading back outside to the
Sanctuary of Peace we find the Talmadge room on the left, which houses the crypts
of the three Talmadge sisters. Norma Talmadge, the eldest of the Talmadge sisters, was one of the major box-office draws of the silent era, and one of the
most glamorous stars of the 20s. Some of her popular films include “Secrets,” and “Smilin’ Through,” both of which were produced under her own production
company. [music] Her career began to wane at the dawn of
the talkies, but her place in Hollywood was already cemented… literally. She was
the first to have her footprints immortalized in cement at Grauman’s
Chinese Theatre in 1927. Common practice among actresses of the era was to fib
about their age to make them younger – a fib the Talmadge sisters would take to
the grave. Norma was actually born in 1894. Above Norma is younger sister
Natalie Talmadge who had a minor acting career. She appeared with Norma in the
1920 film “Yes or No?” And her final film appearance was alongside her husband
Buster Keaton in “Our Hospitality.” Talmadge divorced Keaton in 1932, taking
his entire fortune and refusing him any contact with their children, which
devastated Keaton. She never remarried, and having retired acting in 1923 lived
the rest of her days in relative solitude. She was born in 1896. Above Natalie is the youngest sister, Constance Talmadge. Constance was the comedienne of
the trio. Her breakout role was in DW Griffith’s “Intolerance,” and is best
remembered today for flapper-era comedies like, “A Pair of Silk Stockings,”
and “Her Sister from Paris.” Like her sisters Constance’s film career
didn’t extend into the talkies. She was actually born in 1898. Back down the Sanctuary of Peace, on the left, is the crypt of Clifton Webb, one of the great
actors of the 40s and 50s. But his career began long before that on stage in
Broadway, where he appeared in a number of Broadway shows, most of which were
musicals that showcased his tenor voice. He was middle-aged before he made a
splash in Hollywood, landing the role of Waldo Lydecker in Otto Preminger’s noir
classic, “Laura.” “What’s the harm in trying? There was always a chance that you might
Mr. Lydecker. Just think what it would mean…” “You seem to be completely
disregarding something more important than your career.” “What?” “My lunch.” “Do you really believe that?” “Implicitly.” “I never heard of anything so
selfish.” “In my case self-absorption is completely justified.
I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention.” No one did the prim and proper yet lovably prickly gentleman better than
Clifton Webb. He was the first actor to play housekeeper Lynn Belvedere,
beginning in 1948’s “Sitting Pretty.” He was often known as one of Hollywood’s
best-dressed men, and he was nominated for three Oscars in his career. The next corridor over is the Sanctuary of Light. Just to the right is Jesse Lasky. He was
a pioneer in early Hollywood, co-founding Paramount Pictures, and producing the
very first feature film in Hollywood, “The Squaw Man.” He hired up-and-coming director Cecil B. DeMille to direct it. [music] On the opposite wall, way up at the top,
is Darla hood. She was the little leading-lady, so to speak, of the popular Our Gang
also known as Little Rascals short films of the 30s and 40s.
She was the object of young Alfalfa’s undying affections. “Would you like to eat lunch with me?” “Mm-hmm” “I made it especially for you. Do you know why?” “Why?” “Because you have personality.” “Have I?” After she outgrew Our
Gang she made appearances in various TV shows and films including “The Bat” with
Vincent Price. In 1979 she underwent an appendectomy. She died suddenly of heart
failure after the procedure. It was discovered that she had contracted acute hepatitis from a blood transfusion during the procedure, leading to her
death. She was only 47. heading back Heading back outside, further down this road, is the newly minted Judy Garland Pavilion, the new eternal resting place of Hollywood
legend, Judy Garland. Born Frances Ethel Gumm, she began her career in vaudeville, performing with her sisters as The Gumm Sisters. By the time she was 13 she had a
contract with MGM and began making movies, mainly musicals to showcase her
incredible voice. She found a popular pairing with Mickey Rooney in films like
“Babes in Arms.” A few years later she landed the role that would make her a
legend, playing Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” [music] “Over the Rainbow” is considered by many
as the greatest film song of all time, and became her signature song. Other of her notable film roles include “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and “A Star is Born,” which
earned her an Oscar nomination. She delighted audiences on stage as well as on screen, receiving a special Tony Award in 1952 for her Palace Theatre
engagement. She was truly one of Hollywood’s brightest stars who burned
out far too quickly. While in London in 1969 she was found dead of an accidental
overdose of Seconal at the age of 47. She was originally entombed at Ferncliff
Cemetery in New York, but in early 2017, nearly fifty years later, her family had
her body relocated here to Hollywood Forever, her crypt adorned with her
favorite flower: yellow roses. Her epitaph reads, “I’ll come to you smiling through
the years,” lyrics from one of her popular songs, “Through the Years.” [music] Our last stop is further down this road,
in the Jewish section of the cemetery, in the hall of David
here we find composer Nelson Riddle. We visited him in our Batman Special, but he was much more than just the composer for the legendary Batman TV series and movie
in the 60s. He began his career at Capitol Records arranging and
orchestrating for artists like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and more
He went on to have a successful career in film and TV music, winning an Oscar
for his music in “The Great Gatsby.” Several popular TV series also feature
themes written by Riddle, including “Route 66,” and “The Untouchables.” [music] And that concludes our tour! What are some of your favorite memories of the stars we visited today? Share them in the comments below, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe for more famous grave
tours. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you on the next one! Drive carefully as you tour the cemetery,
for our animal friends who may be crossing the road. Most notably here: peacocks. I can think of no more perfect mascot
for Hollywood Forever than the peacock… except maybe a peacock with a
hipster mustache. Oh! Well aren’t we looking dapper today!? Watch out peahens!

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