On this month's Morbidly Fascinating Page:

Musician and Actor Legends (and even a dog) are in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

In the Morbidly Fascinating Archives

Titanic Photos Before and After it Sank
Utrecht Hospital
Mysterious Photos
Ghosts of Alcatraz
Meanings of Symbols on Tombstones

About the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Captions Underneath Each Photo



Hollywood Forever Cemetery was founded in 1899 by farmer and businessman Isaac Van Nuys. Originally called Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, the site was one of the first “park-like” cemeteries on the West Coast. It features a lush green landscape, classical architecture, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Though the cemetery flourished as an attraction through the 1940s, it became increasingly downtrodden over the next few decades. By the 1990s, the site suffered from mismanagement, neglect, and an earthquake that left potholes and open crypts in its wake. In late 1997, 27-year old Tyler Cassity purchased the lot for a mere $375,000 and has since worked to restore the estimated $7 million worth of damages from the decades of neglect.

In the restoration process, Cassity has uncovered long-forgotten mausoleums and elaborate rooms filled with stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings. In October of 1999, Cassity erected a granite monument to Hattie McDaniel, an Oscar-winning African-American actress who died in 1952. Though McDaniel wished to be buried in the cemetery along with her Hollywood contemporaries, the bigotry of the time prevented her wish from being fulfilled. “They made a horrible decision and it is in our power to correct it,” Cassity said.

Since 2000, Hollywood Forever has teamed up with film organization Cinespia to feature “cemetery screenings” each summer. Thousands of people gather at the site with lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets, where they lie out under the stars and watch classic Hollywood films projected onto the side of a mausoleum. In true Los Angeles form, this mausoleum contains the remains of silent film actor Rudolph Valentino–his grave often decorated with the red kiss marks of admirers–actor Peter Finch, and dancer Eleanor Powell.

Go HERE to see the entire article.

Below are just some of the legends buried in Hollwood Forever:

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Anton Yelchin died on June 19, 2016 at age 27 when he was crushed to death by his own car outside his home in Los Angeles. His SUV killed him when it rolled backwards down a steep drive. He was best known for his role as Pavel Chekov on Star Trek.

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Fay Wray was born on September 15, 1907, and was a Canadian/American actress best remembered for starring as Ann Darrow in the 1933 film King Kong. She passed away in her sleep at age 96 on August 8, 2004 due to natural causes. Two days after her death, the lights of the Empire State Building were lowered for 15 minutes in her memory.

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American singer Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame died at age 52 on May 18, 2017. The coroner's investigators in Michigan ruled Cornell's death a suicide by hanging. Tests showed the presence of lorazepam, better known by its brand name Ativan, in Cornell's system but did not cite it as a factor in his death.

Fans of Cornell and his work predictably took news of his death hard. Jimmy Page, Nile Rodgers, Elton John, Dave Navarro, Gavin Rossdale, Adam Lambert, Sebastian Bach, Perry Farrell, Elijah Wood, Billy Idol and many more paid tribute to the rock legend on social media.

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Terry the dog was best known for her role as Toto in 1939's Wizard of Oz, but she had 18 other uncredited roles as well. She was a female Cairn Terrier who was born on November 17, 1933 and passed away on September 1, 1945 of natural causes.

Terry died at age 11 in Hollywood, and was buried at Spitz’s ranch in Studio City, Los Angeles. The grave was destroyed during the construction of the Ventura Highway in 1958. On June 18, 2011, although her body is lost, a permanent memorial for Terry was dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

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Peter Lorre was born László Löwenstein on June 26, 1904 in Rózsahegy, the Slovak area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He spent most of his youth in Germany, but left when Nazis came into power in 1933 due to his Jewish religion. His first film in Hollywood was 1941's The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart. His best-known role was also alongside Humphrey Bogart in 1942's Casa Blanca.

Peter Lorre died on March 23, 1964 of a stroke.



Maila Nurmi (born on December 11, 1922), starred in six movies as Vampira (one with Peter Lorre). She was known for her wasp-like tiny waist. But the role that made her famous was actually on television, not film. She found success as the Vampira character, television's first horror host. Nurmi hosted her own series titled The Vampira Show from 1954 to 1955 on KABC in Los Angeles. Vampira pre-dated Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) so Vampira was the original sexy goth horror host.

Maila Nurmi died on January 10, 2008 at age 85 of natural causes.

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Darren McGavin was born as William Lyle Richardson on May 7, 1922. He is best remembered for his hit show Kolchak: The Night Stalker on ABC. Even though that TV series only ran for one season in 1974, it has achieved cult status and is wildly popular among its fans. Darren McGavin is also known for his 1998 guest-starring role in The X-Files as retired FBI Agent Arthur Dales, dubbed “the father of the X-Files.” 

Darren McGavin died at age 83 on February 25, 2006 of multiple organ failure.

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Not everyone buried in Hollywood Forever was an upstanding citizen. Mafia gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel has a crypt there. Bugsy was born on February 28, 1906 and was murdered by "Lucky" Luciano on June 20, 1947.

In 1945, Siegel had a brilliant idea. Just hours away from Los Angeles sat the sleepy desert town of Las Vegas, Nevada. It had nothing going for it except for a compliant local government and legal gambling. Siegel decided to build the Flamingo Hotel in the middle of the desert with $6,000,000, a large chunk of money at the time, which came from the New York syndicate.

The Flamingo wasn’t immediately profitable and Siegel ended up in an argument with Lucky Luciano over paying back the money used to build it. Around the same time that Siegel was killed in Beverly Hills, Luciano’s men walked into the Flamingo and announced that they were now in charge.

You can see a previous The Horror Zine page about mobsters HERE