Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous

Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous

by Patricia Brooks, Jonathan Brooks
     
 

You don't have to be a ghoul to enjoy graveyards. Visiting the final resting places of movie stars and other well-known personalities is as much a celebration of lives fascinatingly (or self-destructively) led as it is an illuminating look into the past.
This wonderfully opinionated book, full of history and amusing anecdotes, introduces you to cemeteries up and…  See more details below

Overview

You don't have to be a ghoul to enjoy graveyards. Visiting the final resting places of movie stars and other well-known personalities is as much a celebration of lives fascinatingly (or self-destructively) led as it is an illuminating look into the past.
This wonderfully opinionated book, full of history and amusing anecdotes, introduces you to cemeteries up and down California. Hundreds of evocative profiles give tribute (and in some cases rebukes) to those lying below, including baseball Hall of Famers, authors, presidents, and an entire galaxy of movie stars, from Mary Pickford to Frank Sinatra. From the famous to the infamous, they're all here—yes, even Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen.
Join authors Patricia and Jonathan Brooks as they unearth hundreds of intriguing characters whose legacies live on beyond the grave. You'll find:Detailed obituaries and sepulchral photographsCemetery locations, contacts, and visiting hoursInformation on graveyard tours, walks and special eventsFilm Vault sidebars connecting the stars to their best-known rolesDirections to related homes and museums nearbyLocal restaurant recommendations for those with a lively appetite

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Star gazing at cemeteries is a favorite California sport, especially in Southern California where so many of the constellations lie. One of the nicest things about a visit to celebrities’ final abodes is that you’ll always catch them at home.

 

By the evidence of this book, many people find California so irresistible that they want to reside there forever. Grave watcher Patricia Brooks (Where the Bodies Are and Permanently New Yorkers) and hubby Jonathan now feast on the rich cemetery fields of California. They cast a cold (but very entertaining) eye on the postmortem abodes of celebrities including Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, John Steinbeck, Rudolph Valentino, W. C. Fields, Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, William Randolph Hearst, Bugsy Siegel, and Casey Stengel. One long goodbye.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762741014
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2006
Series:
Insiders' Guide Series
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.86(d)

Read an Excerpt

FRED ASTAIRE 1899–1987

“Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.” Not much of an appraisal of a budding Hollywood wannabe. What happened to the Paramount executive who wrote that report of a screen test is unknown, but the potential failure he was writing about? Fred Astaire. 
     While it is rumored that Astaire was born in tails and a top hat, he was actually a regular baby, born in Omaha, Nebraska, to a family named Austerlitz. The name Astaire was borrowed from an uncle, whose last name was L’Astaire, when Fred and his sister Adele were developing their dancing act for vaudeville. The team was so successful that they appeared in top Broadway shows in the 1920s—Lady Be Good, Funny Face, The Gay Divorcee, and The Band Wagon among them . . .
-OR-

OLIVER NORVELL HARDY 1892–1957
Imagining Oliver Hardy without Stan Laurel is akin to imagining Chang without Eng. If ever there was a pair that made up a whole, these were the guys. Although Hardy had appeared in over 300 films before Hal Roach Studio Director Leo McCarey paired him with Laurel, “Babe” Hardy, as he was known to friends, is remembered only for being the larger half of the most popular film comedy duo ever. 
     And that's no slight. Ollie was the beloved screen ignoramus who never recognized his own stupidity because his inseparable friend Stanley was ostensibly the dimmest light on the planet . . .

-OR-

GINGER ROGERS 1911–1995

Rogers and Astaire together again—but only here in Oakwood. As part of the most famous ballroom dancing team in movie history, Rogers was often cited by feminists who claimed that “she did everything Astaire did but backwards and on high heels.”   All true, and Ginger Rogers could also act. She proved it by quitting her career as a dancer and musical comedy lead in order to try to make it as a serious actress. She not only made it—in such films as Stage Door (1937), Primrose Path (1940), I’ll Be Seeing You and Lady in The Dark (1944), Weekend at The Waldorf (1945), and Perfect Strangers (1950)—but also won an Oscar for her role as a working class girl in Kitty Foyle (1940).
    Let’s flashback to the beginning. Virginia Katherine MacMath was born in Independence, Missouri. The name “Ginger” came from the way a cousin mispronounced Virginia, and Rogers was her mother’s maiden name . . .

-OR-

W.C. FIELDS 1880–1946
A W.C. Fields film character once said, "Life's a funny thing; you're lucky if you get out of it alive." Fields needn't have worried. Through his films and adoring fans, he gained his own immortality.     Fields was born William Claude Dukenfield in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his childhood was anything but happy. Forced to work in his father's grocery store, William escaped stern reality by juggling, one of his innate talents. But practicing with store produce, which William often dropped and bruised, exhausted his father's patience. Eventually the youth fled to seek his own way.
    By the time Fields was in his late teens, he was charming European royalty with a comic juggling act. He hit the big time when he was hired as a regular act in the Ziegfeld Follies; soon he became one of the highest paid men in the country, earning much more than the president and deservedly so, as his acts always satisfied the audience. 
    Using W.C. Fields as his stage name, he segued effortlessly into movie roles that embodied his curmudgeonly, put-upon heavy-drinking persona. Fields started in short films but soon moved to features, with The Old Fashioned Way, Poppy, It's a Gift, The Bank Dick, and My Little Chickadee (costarring Mae West) among his credits.
    Fields’ heavy drinking caused failing health, which virtually ended his film career. But he managed to connect with fans via radio, where he had a famous
"feud" with Charlie McCarthy, the wise-guy dummy of popular ventriloquist Edgar Bergen.    A nonreligious man, Fields was surprised in what would turn out to be his deathbed by friends who caught him reading the Bible. "Just looking for loopholes," he explained.
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Meet the Author

Patricia Brooks has written other guidebooks (not all of them funereal), including Where the Bodies Are and Permanently New Yorkers (both Globe Pequot). When not under-taking graveyard tours, she resides peacefully in Connecticut.
Jonathan Brooks, who spent years at an entertainment-based cable TV station digging up information on many of the people he writes about in this book, is a freelance journalist living uncryptically in Los Angeles, where he never misses a deadline.

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