FAMOUS GRAVE TOUR – New York #1 (Lillian Gish, Montgomery Clift, 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 New York City and
the surrounding areas, where we’ll find such stars as Lillian Gish, Montgomery
Clift, Whitney Houston, and many more. Join us, won’t you? For the better part of two years we’ve
been wandering the sun-soaked cemeteries of southern California in search of
those entertainers we love who rest there. But the world is a big place and
it’s time for a change of scenery. Time for lush greenery instead of
parched lawns, gray skies instead of blue ones, the subway instead of the Metro, and
in place of palm trees, deciduous trees whose leaves are just beginning to shed
their green for warmer colors in cooler weather. Outside of LA, New York has more
famous graves per capita than just about anywhere else. And that’s where we find
ourselves this fall: New York City. Grave hunting in New York is an experience
entirely unique from LA. The cemeteries are much older here, and you can really
feel the age, the history. And there’s so much character in these graveyards. We
love LA’s memorial parks, but if you’re into old-world graveyards then this is
what you look for. If you love to feel like you’re walking through the set of
one of your favorite movies, this is what you look for: large, aging, moss-covered
stones, thick woods, colorful fallen leaves and stories of lives that go back
centuries. Before stars were being born in Hollywood, America’s great
entertainers were here on the East Coast, performing on Broadway stages or making
films in New York and New Jersey in America’s nascent film industry, with the
likes of Edison and DW Griffith. The first commercially exhibited motion
pictures in America were shown right here in New York City in the late 1800s. In our time in New York will barely scratch the surface of others to see
here. But we’ll still cover a lot of ground, and therefore break up our tour
of New York into four parts. If we want to see all we can we’d better
get rolling, or flying in this case… Oh look, there’s Valhalla Cemetery which we
visited last year. We’ve come full-circle. We’re actually flying into Newark, so
let’s visit a few stars who are right here in New Jersey before heading into
New York. Not far from the airport is Fairview Cemetery. Near the eastern edge
of the cemetery we find the final resting place of one of the greatest
voices the world has ever known: that of Whitney Houston. Unfortunately the rain
has rendered her stone very difficult to read. This is how it normally looks. Beneath her name and dates it reads “the Voice,” and “I will always love you.” Whitney began singing in her church as a child right here in New Jersey and rose to
prominence in the 80s and 90s with hits like, “Saving All My Love For You,” and “I
Have Nothing.” She would soon become the most awarded female artist of all time,
and remains one of the best-selling. She made her screen debut in the 1992 film
The Bodyguard her epitaph, “I Will Always Love You” is a reference to one of her
most popular songs, recorded for The Bodyguard. [music] On February 11th 2012 she was found
unresponsive in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton. She was pronounced dead a
short time later. The cause of death was accidental drowning due to the effects
of heart disease and cocaine use. She was 48. Like so many with immeasurable talent,
Whitney left us far too soon. Resting next to Whitney is her daughter, Bobbi
Kristina, who she had with husband and singer Bobby Brown.
Her parents’ Fame thrust Bobbi Kristina into the spotlight from a young age,
including on the reality show Being Bobby Brown, and The Houstons: On Our Own.
Bobbi Kristina would often appear and sing with her mother, and had just begun
her own singing career when tragedy struck. In 2015 she was found facedown in
her bathtub, a scene eerily similar to her mother. She died after being in a
coma for nearly six months. She was 22. Southwest of here a few miles is
Hillside Cemetery. Here we find London-born funny man and musician, Dudley Moore.
He began his career in England as a musician and composer before joining a
comedy revue, Beyond the Fringe. This led to television where he would often
perform with longtime collaborator, Peter Cook. They co-wrote and co-starred in the
film Bedazzled in 1967, which would be remade in 2000 starring Brendan Fraser.
Dudley’s best-known roles include “10” alongside Bo Derek and the hilarious
1981 film, “Arthur,” which earned him an Oscar nomination. “Will you take my hand?” “That would leave you with one.” “Offer to take my coat.” “You don’t have a coat.” “Well offer to take my tie.” The movie’s theme song, “Arthur’s Theme,” performed by Christopher Cross, won the
Academy Award for Best Song. So on that note, Mr. Cross,
take us into New York City. [music] We finally made it, beautiful New York
City – the Big Apple. We’ll begin our tour of famous graves in
New York City in Upper Manhattan, so let’s hop on the subway and make our way
there. On the Upper West Side, not far from
Yankee Stadium, is Trinity Church Cemetery. When the original Trinity
churchyard downtown began to run out of room
Trinity established a new cemetery here in Upper Manhattan in 1842.
It remains the only active cemetery in Manhattan. Let’s make our way in from the
Riverside entrance on the west and into the Riverside Terrace mausoleum. Here we
find the niche of multi-talented performer of stage and screen, Jerry
Orbach. Fans of Law & Order will recognize him as Lennie Briscoe a role
he played in nearly 300 episodes beginning in the early 90s. But he was
also a regular on stage in Broadway musicals like Chicago, 42nd Street, and
won a Tony for his role in Promises, Promises. And remember that talking and
singing candelabra in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, who went by the name
Lumiere? That was Jerry Orbach. “And now, we invite you to
relax, let us pull up a chair, as the dining room proudly presents your dinner. Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test. Tie your napkin around your
neck, Cherie, and we provide the rest.” Back outside in the next block south,
above eye-level, we find the crypt of Ralph Waldo Ellison. He was a novelist
and literary critic, named for another famous writer: Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ellison is perhaps best remembered for his novel Invisible Man which won the
National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote a number of political and social
essays, and later in life worked as a college professor and lecturer. In 1969
he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Johnson. Let’s take the stairs
to get to the next section east of here. On the east facing wall, above eye-level,
we find Estelle Bennett. She was a singer and
member of the 60s trio The Ronettes with her sister and cousin. Many of their
songs became top 40 hits, including “Walking in the Rain,” and “Be My Baby.” [music] The group was inducted into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. The best place to see our next star is actually from
this overlook since he’s so high on the wall. Here is the crypt of singer, Cuba
Gooding. He was the lead singer of the R&B group The Main Ingredient in the
1970s. They too had a number of chart-topping hits like, “Just Don’t Want
to be Lonely,” and “Everybody Plays the Fool.” [music] You may have surmised that he is the
father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr. Out front of the mausoleums to the east
across the street is the large monument to Richard Sands. He was a 19th century
circus impresario renowned as an equestrian and acrobat. He gained
widespread fame for walking on the ceiling with suction cups, becoming all
the rage as the Ceiling Walker, and the Human Fly. He was just 46 when he died.
And once upon a time a bust of Sands stood on this empty pedestal between the
columns, but sometime between 1861 and now it vanished. Behind the mausoleums to
the west, down the hill, we find the grave of Clement Clarke Moore. He was a pastor,
civic leader, and poet, best remembered today for penning the beloved Christmas
poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known today as “The Night Before
Christmas.” He originally wrote the piece to amuse his children, but they
encouraged him to publish which he did anonymously in 1823.
It wasn’t until 1837 that it was attributed to Moore. It has remained a
Christmas staple for generations, even being made into a number of films. “Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was
stirring not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney
with care in the hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.” And thanks in part
to “The Night Before Christmas,” we have another holiday classic. Several members of the prominent Astor
family are buried here; let’s stop and visit a few of them.
They’re not entertainers, but they did sculpt the landscape of New York. John
Jacob Astor was a businessman who made his fortune in the fur trade and real
estate here in New York becoming America’s first millionaire. The Astor’s
of the namesakes of a number of places here in New York, like Astor Place and
Astoria. Astor’s great-grandson, John Jacob Astor IV is entombed nearby. He
too was a business man but is perhaps best remembered as the wealthiest
passenger aboard the Titanic when it sank. He died that night, his body
recovered from the water and identified by the initials JJA embroidered on his
clothes. He was portrayed by Eric Braeden in the 1997 film, Titanic. Up the stairs
is his uncle, John Jacob Astor III. He was a businessman and
philanthropist who donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Astor
Library, which later became part of the New York Public Library. And during the
American Civil War he served as a volunteer, receiving the brevet of
Brigadier General. That’ll do it for Trinity, let’s hop back on the subway and
make our way downtown. On 90th Street, across the street from
Central Park, is the Episcopal Church of Heavenly Rest, built in 1929. This is the
final resting place of the legendary actress, Gloria Swanson, whose niche is
located in the basement mausoleum. Unfortunately we were unable to access
the mausoleum while we were there, so we’ll have to visit her from afar. Her
career began in the silent era in the 19-teens,
including in several Charlie Chaplin and Mack Sennett films. In 1919 she signed
with Paramount and did some of her best-known work of the silent era under
Cecil B DeMille, becoming one of Hollywood’s most admired and
sought-after actresses of the 20s. She also became one of the great fashion
icons of the era. When the Academy Awards were introduced in 1929 Gloria was in
the first category of best actresses nominated. It was for her role in Sadie
Thompson, which she also produced. Her successes in the talkies were few, but
one stands as one of the greatest films ever made:
1950s Sunset Boulevard, where she plays the role of Norma Desmond, a washed-up
silent film star stuck in the past and desperate for a return. She received
another Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance. “You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures,
you used to be big.” “I am big.
It’s the pictures that got small.” “Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my
close-up.” Across the street is Central Park where
New Yorkers go to jog, bike, walk their dogs, or if their music lovers, remember
John Lennon at Strawberry Fields, which was named for one of his favorite songs.
John Lennon was a founding member of the Beatles who rose to prominence in the
60s and would become the most successful band in history, with hits from “I Want to
Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Hey Jude” and “Come Together.” After the
Beatles he had a successful solo career including the song that inspired this
Memorial. [music] On December 8, 1980 he was shot dead by a crazed fan just outside his apartment, not far from here. After his death
John was cremated, his ashes scattered at this site. Continuing downtown we reach
another Church, St. Bart’s on 51st and Park Avenue. St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal
Church was built in 1918 and features a beautiful Byzantine Revival design. It has since become a national historic monument. In the basement is a small
chapel columbarium. This is the final resting place of two silent film sisters:
Lillian and Dorothy Gish. Older sister Lillian Gish is considered by many film
historians as the greatest actress of the silent era – a true pioneer of film
dubbed “the first lady of cinema,” the silent screens great tragedienne.
She’s known for playing characters with a fragile outward appearance but
tremendous inner strength. She played the lead role in some of the silent eras
biggest films, like Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and Way Down East, all
directed by DW Griffith. In 1920 she became one of the first women to direct
a feature film, Remodeling Her Husband, which starred her sister, Dorothy. The
arrival of the talkies didn’t slow her career, starring in films like The Night
of the Hunter, and Duel in the Sun, which earned her an Oscar nomination. She died
just a few months short of her 100th birthday. Dorothy Gish was the spitting image of her older sister. She was the comedienne of
the duo and began performing alongside Lillian from their screen debut in 1912’s
An Unseen Enemy. Other films with her sister include Orphans of the Storm, and Judith of Bethulia. By the late 20s she’d mostly retired from the screen, only making a few more screen appearances, but enjoyed a long career on stage later
being inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. Further down Manhattan is Abington
Square Park. Here we find a memorial to Adrienne
Shelly. This is not a grave but a memorial plaque placed in her honor.
Adrienne was an actress and filmmaker known particularly for her work in
independent film, like The Unbelievable Truth. Her final film was the
award-winning 2007 film, Waitress, which she also wrote and directed.
Sadly she wouldn’t live to see the film’s success. On November 1, 2006, she
was found dead hanging in the shower of her apartment. Police initially suspected
suicide, but her husband insisted she was happy and would never take her own life.
He pressed for further examination and it was soon determined that a young
construction worker had murdered Adrienne, and made it look like a suicide.
She was only 40. To honor her memory the Adrian Shelley Foundation was
created to support women filmmakers. We finally made it downtown, the sun blocked
by buildings that disappear into the sky. Right on Broadway is Trinity Church. This
is the original Trinity churchyard cemetery, predecessor to the one uptown
that we visited earlier. This churchyard cemetery has graves dating back to the
1680s, making it one of the oldest in America and home to many of the nation’s
early historical figures. So old are many of these graves that the tombstones are
weather-worn to little more than a silhouette of what they once were. This
is the third Trinity Church to stand on this site, built in 1846. The original was
lost in the great fire of 1776, and the second was demolished in 1839. In
the graveyard to the south we find one of America’s Founding Fathers: Alexander
Hamilton. In 1788 he convinced New Yorkers to agree to ratify the US
Constitution. He then became the nation’s first
Secretary of the Treasury, founding our nation’s financial system. It’s fitting
them that he’s the man featured on the US $10 bill.
He died in 1804 in that infamous duel with Aaron Burr. The life and legacy of
Hamilton underwent a sort of renaissance with the production of the wildly
popular 2015 Broadway musical, Hamilton. [music] Time to say goodbye to Manhattan, cross
East River via the Brooklyn Bridge, and make our way to Green-Wood Cemetery
in Brooklyn. Green-Wood was founded in 1836 and has since become a national
historic landmark. As you approach the cemetery you’re greeted by this
magnificent gothic gateway built in the 1860s. There are approximately 600,000
graves here, spread out over 478 acres. This is the home
to not just famous entertainers, but many of New York’s historical figures,
political and civic leaders, war heroes, and more. We’ll barely put a dent in all
there is to see here. If we had a month we could never cover it all. let alone a
day. Oh, there’s my dream house right here in the cemetery. I’m glad we didn’t have a car today, because Green-Wood is the kind of
cemetery that’s just a pleasure to walk through. So many hidden gems off the
beaten path that you otherwise wouldn’t find if you were speeding through. That being the case we’ll take our time as we stroll from one site to the next here at
Green-Wood. Our first famous grave here is in Section G southeast of the entrance.
Leonard Bernstein was one of the 20th century’s most renowned and celebrated
conductors and composers. Much of his fame was derived from his long tenure as
music director of the New York Philharmonic. As a composer his works
range from symphonies, ballets, operas, and several beloved musicals, including On
the Town, and his most popular work, West Side Story. [music] His only original film score not based
on one of his musicals was On the Waterfront in 1954. It earned him an
Oscar nomination. Let’s make our way south to section 113. Oh wow, look at this.
Autumn in New York. Love it. Here we find the final resting place of silent film
actress Florence La Badie. She’s another in a long
list of silent film stars who, despite being major stars in their day, are all
but forgotten today. Her career began on stage then in 1911 she joined Thanauser
Pictures, where she became a major player in films like The Million Dollar Mystery.
She was known as Fearless Flo for being a daredevil at heart, often performing
risky stunts in her films. Florence had the unfortunate distinction of being the
first motion picture star to die at the height of her popularity. In 1917, while
driving in New York, her brakes failed causing an accident. She died weeks later
from her injuries at the age of 29. Her grave remained unmarked for nearly a
century until Thanhauser’s grandson raised funds and facilitated the
placement of this stone in 2014. It’s a long walk south to our next stop, so
let’s take it all in as we stroll. Wish you guys were here to see this in
real life, it is just breathtaking. This morning haze has given the cemetery a sort
of ethereal otherworldly feel. But on the bright side, you don’t get the
mosquitoes by watching the video. Do you love piano music? Well odds are some of
your favorite pieces were performed on a piano made by this man:
Henry Steinway. He founded the piano manufacturing company Steinway & Sons in
1853 in Manhattan. Here we are in section 182. South of the
road is the grave of Laura Keene. She was a London born actress who moved to the
US. in the 1850s, and quickly found success on the
American stage. A few years later she became the first female theater manager
in New York, and continued to act in and produce plays, including one very
infamous performance of Our American Cousin in 1865. On the night of April
14th she was onstage performing at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC when
President Abraham Lincoln was shot. Let’s turn east and make our way to
section 176. Following this unique line of graves to
about the middle of this lawn we find Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was a neo-
expressionist artist of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent. He gained notoriety
as a street artist painting graffiti in the Lower East Side in the 70s. By the
80s he began exhibiting his drawings and paintings, and even caught the eye of
Andy Warhol with whom he would collaborate. He died of a heroin overdose
at the age of 27. In 2017 a painting of a skull by Basquiat sold for $110.5 million dollars, setting a new record price for an American artist. Let’s turn south again and head to the
very end of the cemetery. The last section before the fence and the road is
section 191. Here we find legendary movie cowboy, William S. Hart. He’s considered cinemas foremost silent cowboy, paving the way for future Western
mega stars like Tom Mix and John Wayne, but different from Tom Mix, Hart’s cowboy
was rugged, authentic, not costumed up. His first on-screen appearance was as Massala
in the 1907 production of Ben Hur, and his breakout came in 1914’s The
Bargain. He would go on to star in around 75 films, mainly westerns, earning him the
nickname “Two-Gun Bill.” But by the 20s audiences began to prefer the Western
star epitomized by Tom Mix: action-packed, idealized, with flashier costumes. Hart retired after making Tumbleweeds in 1925. Both he and Tom Mix were pallbearers at
Wyatt Earp’s funeral in 1929. Might wanna rest your feet a little bit before we
double back and head north to section 168. Just past a small pathway, close to the
road, is Frank Morgan. He was a character actor of radio, stage, and screen, best
known for his work at MGM. If you’re a fan of 1939’s The Wizard of Oz you’ll
recognize Morgan in not one, but five roles: Professor Marvel, the Gatekeeper,
the Carriage Driver, the Guard, and of course the Wizard himself. “No my dear, I’m a very good man… I’m just a very bad wizard.” “Well what about the heart that you promised Tin-Man? And the courage that you promised Cowardly Lion?” “And Scarecrow’s brain?” “Why anybody can have a brain. That’s a very mediocre commodity.” Morgan was nominated for two Oscars in his career, for The Affairs of Cellini, and
Tortilla Flat. He died of a heart attack at the age of 59 while filming Annie Get Your Gun. That’ll do it for Green-Wood, but we have one more stop before our day is through. East of here a few blocks is Prospect Park a popular recreational
spot in Brooklyn. What many people don’t realize is there’s a cemetery hiding in this park, obscured by thick woods, all but invisible to visitors, and generally
closed to the public. This small path off Center Drive leads
us to Friends Quaker Cemetery. The cemetery began in 1849 and covers about 12 acres. Deep in these woods we find the grave of the great actor, Montgomery
Clift, who epitomized the role of the young, dark, brooding outcast in many of
his films. He was one of Hollywood’s very early method actors, and though his film
roles may have been few, they are among the greats in Hollywood history. Some of
his more notable roles include A Place in the Sun, Judgment at Nuremburg, and as
Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt in From Here to Eternity, all of which earned him
Oscar nominations. “Well, one afternoon he and I were sparring around in the gym, you know, kind of friendly like, and he must have been set pretty flat on his feet, because I caught him with a no more than
ordinary right cross, and, uh, he didn’t get up, he didn’t move.” In 1956 he was in
a serious car accident, requiring reconstructive surgery to his face. He
never really fully recovered physically or emotionally, and turned to painkillers
and alcohol. He continued to work, but his behavior became more erratic over the
years. He died at the age of 45 of coronary artery disease.
He was buried here at the Quaker Cemetery at his mother’s request. 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. Is anyone missing a cat? If not maybe
I’ll adopt him. He can be my right-hand man in future cemetery tours.

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