Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marilyn's grave at Westwood Village Memorial Park

When I was driving to Westwood Memorial, I prepped myself for sadness. Westwood is often dubbed the "graveyard of tragic females", because of the women buried there whose lives were cut dramatically short- Marilyn Monroe, Minnie Ripperton, Dominique Dunne, Farrah Fawcett and one of my faves, Natalie Wood. When I first entered, it seemed my expectations would be met. Westwood is a tiny, quiet, shaded park, hidden beneath the tall buildings of Wilshire Blvd. In contrast to the Disneyworld behemoths of Forest Lawn and Hollywood Forever, it is an understated and elegant community cemetery. Oh, but what a community it is!

First, let's get the Marilyn part over with. I really like Marilyn Monroe. I think her comic timing was impeccable. She was, bar none, the most photogenic person ever, and it seems she was also really smart. She is buried in a mausoleum of white stone, but her crypt is light pink marble which makes it quite haunting since it stands out rather sadly, much like she did in life. Pennies were pressed in the grooves of her crypt, and there were fresh flowers. The crypt next to her is empty, waiting for Hugh Hefner to claw his way in some day, probably in 3050.

So I walked around, rather morosely, pondering fame and mental breakdowns until I realized that I was getting more bang for my movie star buck than the Walk of Fame. On one side of the park Truman Capote is buried above Mel Torme, who is ten paces from Eva Gabor,(Eva Darling, according to her headstone) who is buried a stones throw away from John Cassavetes...go figure. On the other side, across the main lawn where the mere mortals (LOTS of doctors) rest, is where the real fun is to be had...because that's where the frat boys are!

The Northwest corner of the cemetery reads like a who's who of Hollywood good old boys in the 60's and 70's, and the fun is contagious. It's seems they all decided to try to one- up each other one more time in the funny department. It's like Dean Martin is presiding over one more booze filled Celebrity Roast. In a way he is, since he is buried here and his epitaph reads "everybody loves somebody sometime." Then there is "Miss Peggy Lee," Walter Matthau, Farrah Fawcett, Karl Malden, Jack Lemmon ( whose grave reads" JACK LEMMON IN), Billy Wilder ("I'm a writer, but nobody's perfect")," Rodney Dangerfield ("There goes the neighborhood"), and my favorite, Merv Griffin ("I will NOT be right back").

It made me really love Hollywood- here was this family of consummate entertainers, who were so effervescent that they were making me laugh out loud at their very graves and put me in a giddy mood as I was driving away. If that's not some kind of gift to humanity, then I don't know what is.

Ease:D( It took me FOUR times to find it...)
Content: A+
Subjective Coolness: A+
Overall: A-

Directions: Oh boy, just go to this website and follow what they say exactly- http://www.seeing-stars.com/buried2/PierceBros5.shtml#directions.
Price: Free, just park inside.

Other great epitaphs from Westwood:
Jeffery Craig Burkhart: "Darling, you should have been there."
Dorothy McKee Wray: "She passed the good around."
Hannah Russell: "...And life goes on."

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