Archive for the ‘Celebrity Deaths and Funerals’ Category

Tony Curtis’ funeral

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

CELEBRITY DEATHS AND FUNERALS

Fans, Friends, Family Remember Tony Curtis

 

(Photo by Rex / Rex USA)

 

The 85-year-old Oscar-nominated actor died Wednesday in Henderson, Nev.

 

NBCLOSANGELES

 

Celebrities, fans, friends and family members said goodbye Monday to Tony Curtis.

 

The public funeral service in Las Vegas included a film tribute to the actor’s diverse career, The crowd laughed as an animated Curtis appeared in a scene from the television series “The Flintstones” and sparred with actor Kirk Douglas in “Spartacus.”

 

Jamie Lee Curtis, Curtis’ daughter from his first marriage with actress Janet Leigh, was among family members who attended the service. Jamie Lee Curtis said he was “a little mashugana,” using the Yiddish word for crazy, but always full of life.

 

“All of us got something from him. I, of course, got his desperate need for attention,” she todl the crowd of about 400.

 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recalled Tony Curtis as a generous mentor who encouraged his budding Hollywood career when others told him his foreign accent and name were too much of a hurdle.

 

“‘You are going to make it,'” Schwarzenegger recalled Tony Curtis telling him. “Don’t pay any attention to those guys. I heard the same thing when I came here.”

 

Schwarzenegger said Tony Curtis refused to feel old.

 

“I mean, who has the guts to take off their clothes at the age of 80?” Schwarzenegger said, referring to Tony Curtis posing naked for a Vanity Fair photo shoot in 2005.

 

Seven colorful paintings by Curtis stood on easels while a photo of the young, dark-haired actor was projected on a screen.

 

Curtis’ wife, Jill Curtis, eulogized her husband of 16 years. The hourlong funeral will be followed by burial and then a reception for 200 invited guests at the Luxor hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

 

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, actor Kirk Douglas and singer Phyllis McGuire are among seven honorary pallbearers.

 

The 85-year-old Oscar-nominated actor who starred in such films as “The Defiant Ones,” “Spartacus” and “Some Like It Hot” died Wednesday at his home in Henderson after suffering cardiac arrest.

 

Known for shifting from a pigeonholed pretty boy in the late 1940s and early 1950s to a serious actor, Curtis reshaped himself over decades of work and make himself impossible to typecast. The transformation was completed in 1957’s “Sweet Smell of Success,” in which he played a sleazy press agent who is manipulated by a ruthless newspaper columnist (Burt Lancaster).

 

In person, Kilroy said, Curtis loved giving friends and fans extra touches that made their face-to-face moments more memorable.

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Lewis Stone’s Death and Funeral…

Monday, June 15th, 2009

CELEBRITY DEATHS AND FUNERALS

Lewis Stone

 Lewis Stone

 
By Allan R. Ellenberger

  

A former Broadway matinee idol and cavalry officer, Lewis Stone was, for the last 35 years of his life, one of the leading film actors in Hollywood. A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Stone made the stage his career after completing his college education. He had made considerable headway in the theater when he was called into the Spanish American War.

 

After the war, Stone returned to Broadway with a role in Sidetracked, which made him a star and a matinee idol within a matter of months. Subsequent plays such as The Girl of the Golden West and The Bird of Paradise – popular plays of the time – gave him the chance to master his craft.

 

One of the first actors from the legitimate stage to see the possibilities in movies, Stone made his first major screen appearance in 1915 in Honor’s Altar, which was directed by Thomas Ince. Stone’s popularity soared in the new medium and he soon won roles in other silent films. Among his better known credits were The Prisoner of Zenda (1922), Scaramouche (1923) and The Girl from Montmartre (1926). He received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for the 1928 film, The Patriot.

 

Lewis Stone and Alice Hollister

Lewis Stone and Alice Hollister in Milestone (1920)

 

It was after the advent of sound that he reached his greatest popularity as Judge Hardy in the Andy Hardy series with Mickey Rooney. He spent most of his years as a screen actor with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer where his credits included Mata Hari (1931), China Seas (1935) and Three Wise Fools (1946).

 

Lewis Stone - Andy Hardy

Lewis Stone (left, front row) and his Andy Hardy family

 

In September 1953 Stone was preparing to accept a role in a forthcoming Paramount production of Sabrina (1954) starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart and was awaiting the arrival of the script. At the time, the Stones were being annoyed by a group of boys who would take midnight swims in their pool and toss furniture in afterward.

 

Lewis Stone residence

The former residence of Lewis Stone

 

On the evening of Saturday, September 12, 1953, Stone and his third wife Hazel, were watching television at their home at 455 S. Lorraine Boulevard when they heard a racket in the back yard. When he investigated, Stone found lawn furniture once again floating in the pool and glimpsed three or perhaps four teenage boys running towards the street. Stone gave chase despite his wife’s warning not to exert himself.

 

Upon reaching the sidewalk, Stone suddenly collapsed. A gardener, Juan Vergara witnessed the chase and summoned aid. Sadly the actor died of a heart attack on the sidewalk without regaining consciousness. Lewis Stone was 73.

 

Lewis Stone sidewalk

 The sidewalk where Lewis Stone died

 

Within the hour, police took three boys, one of them 13 and the other two 15, into custody and booked them on suspicion of malicious mischief. They told officers that they previously had taken a swim in the pool and “thought it would be funny if they threw the furniture into it” because Stone had chased them before. After being booked at the Wilshire Station, they were lectured by police before being released to the custody of their parents pending possible Juvenile Court action.

 

Lewis Stone was survived by his third wife, Hazel (Wolf) and two daughters Virginia and Barbara.

 

Stone’s funeral was held at his home on Wednesday, September 16. Last rites were conducted by Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of the Institute of Religious Science, in the ballroom of the Stone home. More than 100 invited friends including film executives, producers, directors and actors occupied the ballroom and the adjoining paneled library beneath a replica of a Raphael Madonna.

 

Lewis Stones funeral

Pallbearers carry the casket of Lewis Stone into his home for the funeral. Compare with the photo below and notice the same doorway, window and columns.

 

Lewis Stone residence

 

“A great friend, a great citizen, a great artist has left us,” said Dr. Holmes. “To know this man was to admire and to love him.” He said that Stone was a religious man whose philosophy was that “not some people but all people are immortal.”

 

Among those present were executives of MGM including Louis B. Mayer, Dore Schary, Edward J. Mannix, producer Jack Cummings, and many others.

 

Mayer, actors Robert Young and Charles Ruggles and agent Fred Fralick were among the pallbearers. Also present were Mickey Rooney, Fay Holden and Celia Parker who played Stone’s family in the Andy Hardy series. 

 

Dozens of other actors who worked with Stone were there – Louis Calhern, Ralph Morgan, Russell Simpson, Donald Crisp, Otto Krueger, Marjorie Rambeau and many more. Directors who guided him in his film productions such as Mervyn LeRoy, Frank Lloyd and Robert Z. Leonard were present.

 

Dr. Holmes in his brief service quoted poems that were favorites of Stone, including the “Good-Night, Sweet Prince” passage from Hamlet that is the requiem for actors. Singer John Gary sang “Abide With Me” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”

 

Stone’s body was taken to Rosedale Cemetery where it was cremated. His ashes are listed as being sent to Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York where he purchased a lot in 1914. His first wife Margaret and two daughters are buried there unmarked, but his ashes, according to his daughter, were scattered over his ranch in Malibu.

 

Stone’s estate which was valued at $150,000 was left entirely to his widow, Hazel. The will, dated February 18, 1935, explained that everything was left to Hazel, and nothing to his two daughters because they had been well provided for under insurance policies. Stone’s friend and attorney, Lloyd Wright, was named executor. Wright’s probate petition estimated the estate’s income as $3,500 a year.

 

Walter Hampden took over the role of Oliver Larrabee in Sabrina that was originally intended for Stone.

 

NOTE: The address above is a private residence. Please DO NOT disturb the occupants.

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Carl Laemmle’s Death & Funeral…

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

CELEBRITY FUNERALS

The Death and Funeral of

Carl Laemmle, Sr.

 

 

 January 17, 1867, Laupheim Wurttemberg, Germany —

September 24, 1939, Beverly Hills, California

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger 

 

He was lovingly known as “Uncle Carl” and the “Little Napoleon” to those who knew and worked for him. Carl Laemmle, Sr., motion picture pioneer and founder of Universal Studios, was the first of the movie moguls to pass away since the death of Irving Thalberg just two years earlier.

 

A German immigrant, Laemmle had only $50 when he first arrived in the United States in 1893. In his early years, he first was a package-wrapper in Chicago, and then a clothing store clerk in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where he eventually became manager and saved $2,000.

 

In 1906 he returned to Chicago and opened a 5 and 10-cent store where he happened to behold  a line of people waiting to pay their nickels to see a motion picture and decided to become a film theater operator instead. He named the theater the White Front and charged 5 cents, offering whatever crude films he could find.

 

From this he established a film exchange and from that success, went to New York where he began to produce his own films. This ultimately led to the founding of Universal Studios and film history when he sent a company to England to film Ivanhoe (1913) in its original setting.

 

Front view of the main administration building of the Universal Pictures Company taken shortly after completion of the building in 1915.

 

Moving operations to California, he eventually purchased 230 acres in the San Fernando Valley, just outside of Hollywood, and here founded Universal City on March 15, 1915. His most successful films included Traffic in Souls (1913), Foolish Wives (1922), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), Phantom of the Opera (1925) and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. When talkies arrived, he remained president but handed much of the studios production to his son, Carl Laemmle, Jr.

 

Carl Laemmle, Sr. and son

 

In 1936, because of financial problems, most notably due to the overruns on the budget of Showboat (1936) and the ravages of the depression, Laemmle was eventually forced to retire, selling the studio to Standard Capital Company.

 

For the next three years, Laemmle maintained an office in Hollywood to take care of his various business interests. He finally ceased this activity, and spent most of his time at his home at 1275 Benedict Canyon, which was the former residence of producer Thomas H. Ince.

 

Laemmle suffered his first heart attack on July 14, 1939; this was followed by several milder attacks. On September 23,  he went for a car ride hoping to gain some relief from the heat. Upon returning he declared that he felt a “little wobbly” but slept soundly the rest of the night.

 

Early the next morning he suffered two more heart attacks and his doctor was called. The third and fatal heart attack occurred while he was still in bed. Present at the time of his death was his son, Carl, Jr., his daughter, Rosabelle Bergerman and two physicians.

 

Laemmle was also survived by two brothers, Siegfried and Louis Laemmle and two grandchildren, Carol Bergerman, 9 and Stanley Bergerman, Jr., 7.

 

Tributes immediately began to pour in. From Mexico City, Joseph M. Schenck, president of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, paid high tribute to Laemmle by issuing the following statement:

 

“The passing of Carl Laemmle was a shock and a great loss to the motion picture industry.

 

“Carl Laemmle was more than a pioneer, he was a builder. A kind, gentle man, he fought for the industry at a time when it was weak and shackled, and due to his courage and independence, the fight that was of nation-wide importance in its time was won.

 

“The whole motion picture industry must mourn the loss of Carl Laemmle, but in Hollywood where he lived and worked, his memory will be enshrined.”

 

That day, Laemmle’s will was taken from a bank vault and scanned to learn whether he had expressed any last wishes as to his burial — which he had not. At the time, his family was undecided as to whether he would be buried beside his wife (who died in 1918) in a mausoleum in Salem Field Cemetery in New York, but finally determined that he would be laid to rest at Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

 

It was also announced that Rabbi F. Edgar Magnin, the “Rabbi to the Stars,” would give the eulogy and read the ritual over Laemmle’s body, which would lie in state at the Wilshire B’nai B’rith Temple from 11:30 AM the next day up until the time of the services.

 

Wilshire B’nai B’rith Temple

 

As a mark of respect, at 12:30 PM on September 26, there was a five-minute period of silence at all of the studios in Hollywood, at the home offices of Universal in New York and at all of the Universal film exchanges throughout the world.

 

Rabbi Magnin intoned prayers over Laemmle’s body as nearly 2,000 of his friends and former associates listened at the Wilshire B’nai B’rith Temple. The ceremony was simple, as requested by the family. Laemmle lay in a copper coffin at one side of the pulpit, banked high with flowers.

 

Touching briefly on Laemmle’s rise to success from a poor immigrant from Germany to a leader in the film industry, Rabbi Magnin pointed out it was not the money he made nor the power he wielded but what he did with his wealth and his power.

 

A PORTION OF RABBI MAGNIN’S EUOLOGY:

 

“Many people are  mourned after their death but not loved while they are alive, particularly those who have power which makes them so susceptible to hatred.

 

“But here was a man who was loved by all. He was kind and sweet. He saw all who needed him and never with a display of arrogance. He was always the same, sweet and simple. He never forgot he was a poor boy.

 

“He gave generously of his purse and his heart. His charities were widespread and of this I, personally, am acquainted. He gave to the organized charities but he helped more people in an individual way. He established a foundation and he took a personal part in it.

 

“He always gave to people who needed help, but he made them feel that they were earning what he gave them.

 

“He was a fine American. He was born in Germany and he always had a tender spot for the German people. He full well realized in the World War as today that they are victims of a government.

 

“His love for his home and his family was second to none.”

  

During the service, Laemmle’s daughter, Rosabelle almost broke under the strain and it was minutes after Magnin’s closing words that she was able to leave the temple and enter a car to go with relatives to the cemetery for the interment.

 

Laemmle family room at Home of Peace (findagrave / A. J. Marik)

 

Carl Laemmle was laid to rest in a private family room of the Chapel Mausoleum at Home of Peace Cemetery. Universal Studios is still a major film company; one of only a few that still survive at their original locations in Hollywood.

 

(findagrave / Gerald N. Davis M.D.)

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