Archive for the ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery’ Category

The unsolved Hollywood murder of boxer Eddie Diggins

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

During prohibition, speakeasies where bootleg liquor was sold, dotted the streets of Hollywood. One such establishment opened in March 1927 in a commonplace looking bungalow on the northeast corner of Cherokee and Selma, just one block south of Hollywood Boulevard. Called the Crescent Athletic Club, it was open only one week and already catered to some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.

The site of the Crescent Athletic Club at 1626 N. Cherokee Avenue just north of Selma. (Google maps)

During the early morning hours of Saturday, March 26, 1927, the crowd at the Crescent was still in revelry mode when Charles Meehan, “an actor turned real estate man” arrived with his wife, actress Irene Dalton. Meehan, who earned most of his income selling bootleg liquor (for which he had been convicted five time), entered the dining room where film director Jimmie Sinclair, screenwriter Jack Wagner, and stuntman Billy Jones, was at a table with comedian Lloyd Hamilton and Eddie Diggins, a former light-weight boxer now trying his hand at acting.

At this point, Diggins had had three supporting roles under his belt in which he played a boxer in all of them opposite Billy Sullivan, the nephew of boxer John L. Sullivan.

Diggins was born in San Francisco on January 8, 1902 to Edward Ayer Diggins Sr., a physician, and his wife Bessie. He attended St. Mary’s College High School in Berkeley before trying his hand at amateur boxing. On June 28, 1921, he debuted as a professional lightweight against Joe Brown. Over the next seven years he fought against some of the greatest boxers of the day including Eddie Landon, Tommy Cello, Johnny Nunes and Harry Eagles. During his career, his record included 72 bouts, of which Diggins had 34 wins (11 KOs), 22 losses (2 KOs) and 16 draws.

Moving to Los Angeles in July 1924, Diggins boxed at several area venues: The Arena in Vernon; Hollywood’s Legion Stadium, and the East Fourth Street Lyceum A. C. where, in a fight against John Battling Ward, he broke his hand.

While his hand healed, Diggins became friendly with many Hollywood elite including actors Bull Montana and Lloyd Hamilton, among others; some from Hollywood’s darker side. Hoping to broaden his talents, he tried the movies by landing a supporting role in The Goat Getter as champion pugilist ‘Lightening Bradley’ who is stocked by a fighter he knocked out played by actor Billy Sullivan. Diggins followed this with two more films opposite Sullivan: The Patent Leather Pug and One Punch O’Day.

On Friday, March 25, Diggins and his wife Marian, met Lloyd Hamilton at the crowded Crescent Athletic Club. Charles Meehan and his wife Irene joined Hamilton, Diggins, Jack Wagner, Billy Jones, Jimmie Sinclair and others, at their table.

Shortly before 3 a.m. the next morning, an argument arose between Diggins and Jack Wagner in which the latter was knocked down. Later, Charles Meehan exchanged blows with Billie Jones, who reportedly had made an insulting remark about Meehan’s wife Irene. One thing led to another and according to Jones, “Everybody was pretty woozy. Everybody seemed willing to fight. I heard someone yelling ‘le’ go, le’ go,’ and after that all I remember is a lot of feet.”

The patrons in the other rooms flocked to the dining-room door to see what was happening. Legs were torn from heavy tables for clubs; bottles were hurled in every direction. Suddenly, someone struck Meehan over the head with a chair, while Diggins squared off for battle with half-a-dozen other trouble-seekers. Then the lights in the nightclub went out.

Patrons made a mad scramble for the doors and windows. Witnesses claimed thumps and crashes could be heard in the darkness. A woman said she heard “a scream of pain.” When the lights were turned on, Billy Jones was getting up from all fours and saw Diggins lying on the floor among broken chandelier glass with blood streaming from his chest.

In the darkness, Jimmie Sinclair had taken Irene Dalton by the arm and led her outside to his car. They drove around the block to allow the excitement to die down until Irene told Sinclair, “Charlie will get killed,” so they returned to the now nearly empty club. Irene found her husband in an adjacent room, unconscious with wounds to his head.

By now, Lloyd Hamilton had returned from the barroom and was holding a bloodied Diggins in his arms, trying vainly to revive the boxer. Within minutes, police had arrived and rammed open the front doors and rushed through the club. However, it was too late for Diggins who had died in Hamilton’s arms.

Detectives immediately concluded that Diggins’ wound was caused by a knife, but one could not be found in the surrounding debris. The club’s employees and lingering patrons were interviewed by the police and the place was searched for liquor (six gallons of wine, five gallons of alcohol and twenty-six bottles of gin were found).

Somehow, a drunken Charles Meehan was found collapsed in the alley behind the club. After reviving him, Meehan curiously told police, “I slugged him through the window,” repeating it several times before being removed in an ambulance.

Eight people, including Lloyd Hamilton, were interviewed at Hollywood’s central station on Wilcox Avenue. Hamilton claimed that when the fight started, he left the dining room because he “didn’t want to get mixed up in it.” After the commotion died down, he returned and saw Diggins on the floor. “I was trying to revive him when the police came in,” he said.

Not surprisingly, many of the witnesses had a lapse of memory, didn’t see what happened, or gave conflicting stories. Charles Meehan was briefly detained as a suspect but was exonerated at the coroner’s inquest.

After a police investigation, it was thought that Diggins wounds were not caused by a knife, but by a sharp piece of glass from a broken chandelier. Thus, his death was accidental. The clothing above Diggins wound showed two distinct cuts while there was only one small wound about an inch wide and an inch and a half deep below his heart. This indicated the death instrument was two-edged, sharp on either side but with two points, one shorter than the other and insufficient enough to penetrate the body.

District Attorney E. J. Dennison said he could find no evidence indicating that Diggins was murdered. “A knife is lacking as none was to be found at the scene or on any of the persons who were there,” he said.

Even though the police and district attorney believed Diggins death was accidental from him falling on a jagged piece of glass, seven members of the Coroner’s jury reached a decision that Eddie Diggins met his death from “a sharp instrument in the hand of a person or persons unknown to us, with homicidal intent.” The eighth member believed the “wound was caused by a piece of glass, accidental.” The autopsy surgeon testified that Diggins’ wound “could have been caused by broken glass,” but couldn’t confirm it. The word “homicide” was formally written on Diggins death certificate. Officially, Eddie Diggins death was ruled a homicide, and as such, is still unsolved.

During the investigation, several theories surfaced about Diggins death. One was that the mob had induced the fracas at the Crescent as a diversion, and they had covertly murdered Diggins. To support this theory, some witnesses claimed that six men had swiftly driven away during the brawl.

Pudgy-faced comedian Lloyd Hamilton supposedly became a scape-goat after the Diggins murder, reportedly being banned from the screen for two years. Strangely enough, Hamilton and Irene Dalton, a frequent co-star of the comedians and the wife of Charles Meehan, were married three months later and divorced in 1929.

Funeral services for Eddie Diggins was arranged by the Catholic Film Guide and held on March 30, 1927 in the chapel of the O’Connell Sunset Mortuary.

Interment was in Hollywood Cemetery in Section 6, Grave 0318. Eddie Diggins grave is directly across from the peacock pens on the north side of the cemetery. Diggins is in the third row from the curb.

The grave marker of boxer/actor Eddie Diggins at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Please check out a rare five-minute clip of Eddie Diggins from his last film, One Punch O’Day (1926) with Billy Sullivan. Diggins is the boxer in the dark shorts.

Marion Telva at Hollywood Forever…

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Metropolitan Opera Singer Marion Telva

at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

 

 By Allan R. Ellenberger

American opera singer, Marion Telva was born on December 6, 1897  in St. Louis, Missouri to German immigrants, Herman and Elsa Toucke. There she received her vocal training and sang with the St. Louis Symphony. She went to New York in 1918 and sang in various churches and synagogues before being engaged by the Metropolitan Opera. She made her debut there as the Singer in Manon Lescaut on December 31, 1920.

Telva’s opera career was a versatile one, including such favorites as Faust, Aida and La Gioconda. Some of Telva’s regular roles at the Met included Mary in The Flying Dutchman; Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana and Brangane in Tristan and Isolde.  Many lesser known contralto roles included Tote Stadt, Snow Maiden, Don Quichotte, Bartered Bride, Jewels of Madonna, Louise, and Luisa Miller. The highlight of her career, however, was the 1927 revival of Norma, in which she sang “Adalgisa.” Others in that cast were Rosa Ponselle, Ciacomo Lauri-Volpi and Enzio Pinza, and the conductor was Tullio Serafin.

Telva left the Metropolitan Opera in 1931 after the last performance of Deems Taylor’s Peter Ibbetson the premiere of which she had sung in that year. In 1930 she was married to Elmer Ray Jones, president of the Wells Fargo Company (more about him in a future posting) at St. George’s Church, Stuyvesant Square. She was to have retired (at her new husbands urging), however, she returned to the Met in the 1932-1933 season to sing in a concert that was her final appearance there.

Her last major New York appearance was in the Missa Solemnis of Beethoven with Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic in 1935. She also appeared in Los Angeles operas under the auspices of the Grand Opera Association.

Telva and her husband made their home in the Silvermine section of Norwalk, Connecticut and also had residences in Mexico City and Taxco, Mexico. The Taxco residence was a Wells Fargo property named Rancho Telva. Her husband died in 1961 and she passed away a little over a year later. She was 64 years old.

 

 Marion Telva’s grave marker in Section 6 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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Lillian Lawrence, leading lady of the legitmate theatre

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Lillian Lawrence was born in Alexandria, Virginia on February 17, 1868, however she grew up in San Francisco when her parents moved there when she was only two years old. Her first exposure to the theater was when she was twelve years old as a toe dancer at the old Tiovoli Theater in San Francisco. The following year she was chosen as one of thirty-two children to become a living chess piece as the Queen’s Knight in operetta, The Royal Middy at the Bush Theatre. A love of theater infected her, however her parents were opposed to her going on the stage, but when they recognized how much she wanted it, they conceded.

Lawrence remained with The Royal Middy after it was transferred to the California Theatre, and for three seasons she sang in light opera at that house in the company of which Emily Melleville was the prima donna. Then her voice failed, and she took her first engagement as an ingénue in a stock company in Oakland, California, where she remained and learned her craft for two years.

She gradually worked her way eastward, affiliating with groups in Dayton, Ohio, and New York, where for years she was prominent in local productions.  She eventually arrived in Boston, where she was a leading lady with the Castle Square Stock Company for five years beginning in 1897. She was immediately embraced by the theater-going public. By this time, she had a decade’s experience in major speaking parts, had trained her memory so she had over 100 roles at her command, and had bloomed into a captivating actress.

During the first decade of the 20th century she appeared on Broadway regularly. In 1919 Lawrence moved to Los Angeles to live with her daughter, Ethel Grey Terry who made her own niche as a film actress. Lawrence divided her time between films and the legitimate stage where she regularly appeared at the Majestic Theater in downtown Los Angeles. She played in numbers of film roles as power matrons for Universal, Joseph Schenck, and the Talmadge Film Companies. Her last legitimate stage role was with Taylor Holmes at the Playhouse in The Great I Am.

Lillian Lawrence died suddenly of heart disease on May 7, 1926 at her daughter’s home at 610 Alpine Drive in Beverly Hills. Funeral services were held at the Strother & Dayton undertakers on Hollywood Boulevard. Afterward her body was placed in a crypt in the fairly new mausoleum addition at Hollywood Cemetery. Just five years later, her daughter, Ethel Grey Terry died and her ashes were interred in her mother’s crypt.

 

Lillian Lawrence and her daughter are located in Building C, Crypt 308, which is behind the new mausoleum that was recently opened.

 

Harry Addison Love; hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Harry Addison Love; hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

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Santa Monica’s Del Mar Club, the site of jealous rage and murder (LAPL)

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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A bitter, unyielding battle between two women—one the mother and the other the wife—was to blame for the death of Harry Addison Love, a 46 year-old businessman.

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Love, who was born on October 7, 1890, was the son of Charles (d. 1923) and Cora Adkins Love and the brother of Esther Love Spencer (d. Dec. 7 1929). Esther’s widowed husband Howard and their two daughters, Virginia and Janice, now lived with Cora and Harry at the family home at 457 South Harvard Boulevard (demolished).

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Reportedly, Love married 31-year-old Helen Wills in a small Mexican town on May 3, 1936. On their return to Los Angeles, Helen expected Love to reveal their marriage to his mother. He refused, even threatening her. Instead, he rented her a house at 3613 West Fourth Street, but did not live there all the time, alternating between there and his mother’s home.

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Helen pleaded with him to acknowledge her as his wife, but he was adamant. She knew that her new husband had plenty of money, but he was secretive about his affairs. Helen did not care. “All I wanted was to be acknowledged as his wife,” she said.

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In September 1936, Helen became ill (she said it was from worry) so Love sent her to New York for two months. When she returned, she discovered their framed marriage certificate had disappeared. Love told her he placed it in a safety deposit box for safe keeping.

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When the holidays came, she wanted to spend them alone with Love but he insisted that they have Christmas dinner with his mother. Love took his wife home for Christmas but did not introduce Helen as his wife. After dinner, Love and his mother politely sent Helen home alone while they went to church to listen to Christmas carols.

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The next day, Helen was pleased when Love promised that they would spend New Year’s Eve together at a club in Glendale. “I was almost delirious with happiness,” Helen said. “I bought a new gown. I showed it to his mother.” Wrong move.

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However, that happiness was short-lived. Without warning, Love told his wife that he had included his mother in their New Year’s plans. The three of them would go to the Del Mar Club (Casa Del Mar) in Santa Monica. Helen was disappointed. “Since when do we need a chaperone?” she asked.

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“You don’t understand my mother,” he said.

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“I do understand her,” she told her husband. “She is intensely jealous.”

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When an argument ensued, he told her that because of “financial matters,” he would be going to dinner at the club with his mother, and she would have to make other plans. Then he left.

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On New Year’s Eve, Helen met with Love at a building his mother owned at 3020 Main Street. Once again, he refused to take her to the party that night and drove her to a garage where he left her, instructing the attendants that no one was to use the car but him.

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Helen sat in the car for hours. Finally, an attendant told her it would be better if she went to the office, which she did, but not before taking a pistol which Love kept in the car. She went home, and then decided to take a taxi to the Del Mar Club. She took the gun with her. When she arrived, the clerk told her that Love and his mother had not yet arrived. She would wait.

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Shortly, Love came from the dining room. “Hello darling,” she said to her husband.

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“What are you doing here?” Love asked her.

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“I told you I was going to spend New Year’s with you and I meant it.”

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They quarreled, and he returned to the dining room where his mother was waiting. Mrs. Love turned white when she saw Helen and said, “This is no place for you. You are not invited! See me tomorrow.”

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“Tomorrow will be too late,” she told her, and left. Harry followed her to the cab. He asked her if she had a gun. At first she told him that she had none, and then said, “You’re a big man. Why should you be afraid of a gun?”

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Then, when Helen reached into her purse, Love screamed and turned to run. With the gun in hand, Helen ran after him. Love reached the steps of the club when Helen fired. Love fell back down the steps, jumped up and ran. Helen ran after him as he circled around the block, firing two shots at him as he fled. Love dashed towards the Del Mar Club’s entrance. A third bullet felled him on the sidewalk just in front of the doors.

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Street side of the Del Mar Club as it looks today. Red arrow shows general area where

Harry Love collapsed after being shot by his wife, Helen Wills Love.

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Employees of the club carried him into the lobby and placed him on a couch. Helen followed them into the lobby and stared dazedly at her dying husband. She later told police, “I loved him so that I was not going to give him up.” Harry Love died in the ambulance en route to Santa Monica Hospital.

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Later, when Helen was taken to the women’s quarters of the Santa Monica City Jail, she knotted a silken scarf around her neck and lashed the other end to a bar of the prisoner’s room in an attempt to take her life. Once revived, she was taken to County Jail.

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Helen Wills Love being booked after shooting her husband (LAPL)

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Harry Love’s viewing was at Garret Brothers Mortuary on Venice Blvd. There, Helen was permitted to say her good-byes to her slain husband. Sobbing and stroking his hair as he lay in a gray broadcloth coffin, she kissed him and cried, “You’re happier than I am, darling.”

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Helen Wills Love kisses her dead husband,

Harry A. Love, goodbye in his coffin.

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Death Certificate for Harry Addison Love

(click to enlarge)

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Funeral services for Harry Addison Love were conducted at St. James Episcopal Church (Wilshire and St. Andrew’s). His body was cremated and his cremains were placed in the family niche, along with his father’s, in the foyer of Hollywood Cemetery’s Cathedral Mausoleum.

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Red arrow shows general location of Harry A. Love’s

niche at the Cathedral Mausoleum

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Over the next several months, Helen was arraigned and put on trial during which the prosecution contended that the shooting was a planned murder, motivated by the fact she was a “woman scorned.” But the defense attempted to show it was a hysterical and accidental episode arising from the jealousy of Cora Love, mother of the slain man, who would not acknowledge her a daughter-in-law and fostered the estrangement.

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Helen testified that she had been intimate with Love for many months and became pregnant with his child which resulted in their secret marriage in Ensenada, Mexico. Evidently, she lost the baby shortly after. From then on, Cora Love estranged her son’s affections (which Helen called a “mother complex”) in a series of acts which reached a climax on New Year’s Eve. She testified that the shooting was accidental because the gun went off as Love attempted to take it from her. The prosecution, however, produced eye witnesses who claimed that Helen pursued her husband outside the club and deliberately shot at him.

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Helen Willis Love on trial (LAPL)

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Cora Love testifying in the murder trial of her son, Harry. (LAPL)

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Helen Wills Love was convicted of Second-degree murder by a jury of eight women and four men. Helen, who wore the same black outfit throughout the trial, appealed to the judge to pronounce sentence at once so she could change her plea to murder because of insanity.

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Helen believed she would receive a new trial because one juror was declared to be intoxicated during the trial by the County Jail physician. The juror was dismissed (sentenced to five days in jail and fined $100) and an alternate took her place. She was also told that some jurors read newspapers during the proceedings and was told by a stranger he was told of the verdict prior to the end of the trial.

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But sentencing would have to wait. That morning, Helen was found to be in “self-imposed state of coma.” Evidently, she had told cellmates that she could end her own life by merely willing herself to die. Physicians tried everything to awaken her and were mystified at her condition. Finally, after more than a week she was revived and pronounced sane. The next day, Helen was brought into court on a wheelchair and sentenced to Tehachapi prison for from seven years to life.

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Oddly enough, the following year, Cora Love obtained a permanent injunction against Helen using the name Love. She was restrained from representing herself to have been the lawfully wedded wife of Harry A. Love, or his widow and from representing herself to be the daughter-in-law or related to, Cora Love. Since Love had allegedly put their marriage license in a safety deposit box for “safe-keeping,” Helen had no proof to defend herself.

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Full niche of the Love family. Notice that Cora’s maker (top) is blank.

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Cora Love died on November 11, 1950 while vacationing in Palm Springs. For some reason, her niche at Hollywood Cemetery was never marked, even though she had two granddaughters that survived her.

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Over the next few years, Helen applied for parole a couple of times, once in 1938, but was denied. She was told she would be eligible to apply again but it is unknown when she was actually paroled. Helen, if counting her “marriage” to Harry Love, had four spouses throughout her life. She died at 95 years of age as Helen S. McCullough on November 2, 2000 in Northern California. She is buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma, California.

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Dr. Theodore von Kármán; Father of the supersonic age

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Dr. Theodore von Kármán; Father of the supersonic age

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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Dr. Theodore von Kármán was a renowned aerodynamicist and founder of Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who was sometimes called “Father of the supersonic age,” and the “patron saint of the Air Force.”

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He was born Szolloskislaki Kármán Todor, son of philosophy Prof. Maurice de Kármán who was knighted by Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary in 1907 for reorganizing Hungarian secondary education, and his wife, Helene Konn, in Budapest, Hungary, on May 11, 1881.

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At the age of six, von Kármán was a prodigy who could multiply five-digit numbers in his head. His father was afraid his son might grow into a side-show freak, so he forbade him to study math. Nevertheless, his boyhood curiosity in science remained strong. He won the prestigious Eotvos Lorand Prize for the best student in mathematics and science in the entire country upon his graduation from the Minta Gymnasium in Budapest at the age of 16.

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He graduated in 1902 with high honors from the Palatine Joseph Polytechnic in Budapest with a degree in mechanical engineering. After a year of mandatory military service, he received his doctorate under the tutelage of the famous aerodynamicist, Ludwig Prandtl, at the University of Göttingen in 1908 and remained as an associate professor until 1912.

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Five years later, while at Göttingen, von Kármán brought forth one of the most important contributions to the science of fluid flow: an explanation of the eddies in the wake of a moving object. This eddy information, known technically as the Kármán Vortex, was closely connected with the collapse of the Tacoma Bridge, known as “Galloping Gertie,” in 1941. Von Kármán aided in the investigation of the bridge collapse and pointed out that the designer had failed to plan for the turbulent eddies produced by high winds hitting the bridge.

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In 1912, Germany recognized von Kármán’s talent by making him director of the newly created Aeronautical Institute of the University of Aachen. But World War I interrupted further work. Called back to Hungary, von Kármán was commissioned into the fledgling Austro-Hungarian Air Corps.

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His first challenge was to prevent balloons, used in artillery spotting, from being targets of the enemy. Von Kármán produced an entirely new device, a set of counter-rotating propellers attached to the observation basket and guided by three cables held on the ground. It was a captive helicopter—the world’s first helicopter to use counter-rotating props.

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After the war, von Kármán returned to Aachen, which he turned into one of Europe’s most renowned research centers. In 1924, he helped found the International Congress of Applied Mechanics, which attracted many distinguished scientists, including Dr. Frank J. Millikan. The two men began a lifelong association. In 1926, when the philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim provided funds for a new aeronautical laboratory at Cal Tech, Dr. Millikan invited von Kármán to advise on the design and to be the center’s first noted lecturer.

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For two years von Kármán traveled between Aachen and Cal Tech. In 1930, he accepted the directorship of the Guggenheim Laboratory and settled permanently in Pasadena. Turning down an offer from the Nazi Air Minister, Hermann Goring, to return to Germany, he became a United States citizen.

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Even a scientist gets time off to meet celebrities.

Here we see von Kármán with sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield.

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Von Kármán’s basic research spawned the concepts that led to space travel. He headed three dozen top-drawer scientists whose reports served for many years as the master plan for Air Force development. Von Kármán foresaw the intercontinental ballistic missile, enormous troop-transport planes and atomic warheads compact enough for use in rockets.

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With the onset of World War II, his pioneer rocketry brought him to the attention of the Pentagon. Gen. H.H. (Hap) Arnold, then chief of the Army Air Forces, thought rockets might be what he needed to help big bombers take off from short runways. In 1944, after recuperating from surgery for intestinal cancer in New York, von Kármán met with General Arnold on a runway at LaGuardia Airport. Arnold proposed that von Kármán lead the Scientific Advisory Group and become a consultant to the military. With Arnold’s support, von Kármán’s research resulted in Cal Tech’s respected Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

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One of Von Kármán’s accomplishments was the first practical helicopter. He improved gliders, airships, windmills, airplane hangars and military and commercial planes.

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Among his most important technical contributions was the theory of boundary layers, which makes it possible to calculate the friction of air on moving bodies, including the temperatures experienced by nose cones re-entering the atmosphere from space.

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Although he never designed a plane, von Kármán had been called “the elder statesman of aviation.” His work led to the pioneer construction of wind tunnels, which permit airplanes to “fly” on the ground. In a career that enveloped the history of aviation, he established a body of knowledge that paved the way for the design of supersonic jets, guided missiles, and rockets.

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After his retirement from Cal Tech in 1949, von Kármán turned his attention toward international cooperation in engineering research. Under the sponsorship of NATO, he formed in 1951 the Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development (AGARD) and devoted the major part of his time to it until his death.

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Dr. Von Kármán was never married. He lived with his mother Helene (who died in 1941) and his sister Josephine, whom he called “Pipo;” she managed his California-style villa at 1501 S. Marengo Avenue in Pasadena until her death in 1951. Josephine was a lecturer in the French department of USC, author of a book on early Christian art and a collector of artworks.

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Throughout his life, Von Karman received many honorary degrees and medals, including the U.S. Medal for Merit (1946), the Franklin Gold Medal (1948), as well as most awards given in aeronautics and fluid mechanics. He was a commander of the French Legion of Honor, and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science.

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On January 15, 1963, von Kármán left Pasadena en route to Washington, where President John F. Kennedy conferred another award upon him: the first National Medal of Science as one of the creators of “this new and exciting age.”

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Von Kármán receiving the first National Medal of Science Award from

President John F. Kennedy

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The medal’s citation read:

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“For his leadership in the science and engineering basic to aeronautics; for his effective teaching and related contributions in many fields of mechanics, for his distinguished counsel to the Armed Services, and for his promoting international cooperation in science and engineering.”

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“I know of no one else who more completely represents all of the areas with which this award is appropriately concerned—science, engineering, and education,” the President said.

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Von Kármán replied: “What I can do in the rest of my life, I do not know. But (pointing to his head and smiling) as long as I am in good health here, I will try to be grateful to this country.”

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Afterward, von Kármán traveled to Aachen to visit friends at the Aeronautical Institute, of which he was the director from 1912 to 1929. While there, he suffered a heart attack and developed pneumonia. On May 5, 1963, Dr. Theodore von Kármán died, five days before his 82nd birthday. His body was returned to Los Angeles for interment at Hollywood Cemetery (Beth Olam Mausoleum, Section N-1, Crypt 142) next to his mother and sister.

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President Kennedy expressed deep regret over von Kármán’s death, saying “I know his friends and associates will mourn his loss and join me in paying tribute to a great scientist and humanitarian.”

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After his death, the Theodore von Kármán Award was endowed in 1960 by the Engineering Mechanics Division (now Engineering Mechanics Institute) of the Society, with gifts presented by the many friends and admirers of von Kármán.

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In 1992, the Postal Service honored von Kármán with a 29-cent commemorative stamp at the World Space Congress in Washington DC, Convention Center.

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During his long career, Dr. Theodore von Kármán wrote more than 200 books and scientific papers. He received honorary degrees from universities all over the world, at least 27 of them, extending from Berkeley to Istanbul and Haifa, and was decorated by no less seven governments.

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To visit Dr. Theodore von Kármán’s crypt, enter Beth Olam Mausoleum’s main entrance into the foyer. Go to the back corridor on your left and walk half-way down and von Kármán room will be on your left just past the next doorway.

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Sins of the Mother: The Story of Pauline Hemingway

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Sins of the Mother: The Story of Pauline Hemingway

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Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline

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UPDATE / UPDATE

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery has placed a marker on the unmarked grave of Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, the 2nd wife of author Ernest Hemingway. Evidently the reason that no one could find her location was because her name was misspelled which would place it out of order. The cemetery reached out to the Hemingway family to let them know that the cemetery was willing to provide a marker at cemetery expense, but they received no response.  Thank you to Tyler Cassity and the staff of Hollywood Forever for marking Hemingway. Please stop by and pay your respects when you are at the cemetery. Below is a picture of the new marker which includes her full name and birth and death dates. Also, an article I recently published about Hemingway, her death and her son follows.

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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According to those that knew her, Pauline Hemingway was intelligent, had a great sense of humor and was a great storyteller. That is how friends remembered her. The public would know her best as the second wife of the great American novelist Ernest Hemingway, having the distinction of being at his side during the most prolific era of his career. Among Hemingway’s books that were published during their marriage are: The Killers (1927), A Farewell to Arms (1929), To Have and Have Not (1937), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1938), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).

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She was born Pauline Marie Pfeiffer to her parents Paul and Mary (née Downy) Pfeiffer on July 22, 1895 in Parkersburg, Iowa. Her father was the son of a German Lutheran immigrant and her mother the daughter of an Irish Catholic. Also, there were younger siblings Virginia (Jinny) and Max (who died during the influenza epidemic at age 11).

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In 1900, the family moved to St. Louis where Mr. Pfeiffer made a fortune as a commodity broker. Then, twelve years later, not liking the city scene, they relocated to Piggott, Arkansas. Here the Pfeiffer’s cleared the woods; planted several crops and became an even richer landowner.

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Pauline furthered her education as an early graduate of the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism. After school, she worked for newspapers in Cleveland and later for chic New York magazines, all while under the watchful eyes of her two uncles, Henry and Gus Pfeiffer.

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In 1925, while in Paris for an assignment from Vogue, she met a promising writer, Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley. Pauline’s sister Jinny had joined her and at first, Hemingway was interested in her, thinking she was better looking than Pauline, but she was a lesbian. They all became great friends, however, even taking vacations together.

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When they first met, Pauline was 30 years old, yet it’s unlikely that there was ever a man in her life, other than a cousin, to whom she was engaged when she met Ernest. Though inexperienced, eventually, Pauline was able to work her way into Hemingway’s bed. From this he had the idea of a ménage à trois with Hadley, but neither woman would agree to that so he asked for a divorce.

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Hadley conceded, but with the proviso that the couple agrees to a 100-day separation to test their love. So Pauline returned to Arkansas where she edited several of Hemingway’s manuscripts. When Hadley released them early from their separation commitment, Pauline returned to Paris, but before they married, she asked that he join the Catholic Church, which he did. They were married in the City of Light on May 10, 1927.

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A little more than a year later, Pauline gave birth to their first son Patrick. It was a difficult delivery (C-Section) and became the fictional basis for Catherine’s death in A Farewell to Arms. Doctors recommended that she wait three years before having another child, so it wasn’t until November 12, 1931 that their son Gregory Hancock was born; an even more difficult Caesarian birth. Now doctors insisted that they have no more children, but because of her Catholic faith, Pauline refused to use birth control, forcing them to practice coitus interruptus. The couple’s sexual and marital problems began at this time.

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Unfortunately, Pauline had hoped to please her husband by giving him a daughter. Because of that, there may have been some resentment against the child who not only threatened her life, but was the wrong sex. Gregory—or Gigi (pronounced ‘Giggy’) as he was called, was cared for by a nurse (Ada Stern) from the age of two weeks and rarely saw his mother. Sharing her husband’s resentment against infants, Pauline once admitted to her son: “Gig, I just don’t have much of what’s called a maternal instinct, I guess. I can’t stand horrid little children until they are five or six.”

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Gigi with his nanny Ada Stern

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In fact, Pauline had little to do with either son so that she could devote herself only to Ernest. In her day, people of wealth often left their children with nurses for extended periods, so she may have denied that her children paid some price for her dedication to her husband’s needs.

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There’s no doubt that Pauline loved her husband until the day she died and truly enjoyed being Mrs. Ernest Hemingway. She took a lot of satisfactions from the idea that she had helped him become one of America’s greatest writers.

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Even though she was a writer herself, Pauline chose not to pursue that career. Instead, she focused solely on Ernest’s writing. Hemingway once called her the best editor he ever had, but aside from some poems and her abundant letter-writing, there is not much with her name on it. It is difficult to know even the extent of what she wrote for Vogue since articles in that magazine typically did not carry bylines.

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Jack Hemingway, the writer’s first son by Hadley, had the most positive comments about Pauline, yet she was his stepmother. He enjoyed having two mothers and never felt that she treated him differently than her biological sons. Patrick, however, did not express much about his feelings toward his mother, and Gigi disliked talking about either parent. The best thing Pauline had ever done for him was to hire a good nurse.

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Back: Hemingway, Pauline, Jack. Front: Patrick and Gigi

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At the heart of Gigi’s troubles was a “flirtation with femininity” that infuriated Hemingway. A friend remarked that the boy “was trying on his mother’s clothes from age four, but it wasn’t until age ten, on a trip to Cuba, that Ernest walked in and discovered him. He stood there frozen and then turned and left.”

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Two years after their divorce, Hemingway told Pauline that Gigi had “the biggest dark side in the family except me, and you and I’m not in the family. He keeps it so concealed that you never know about it and maybe that way it will back up on him.” That led to a series of father-son confrontations that scarred Gigi as a boy and haunted him as an adult.

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Finally, Ernest and Pauline’s sexual and marital problems reached its limits—too many affairs and too little sex—and they divorced in 1940 after the publication of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Later, when Pauline lost her faith, she complained to a friend: “If I hadn’t been such a bloody fool practicing Catholic, I wouldn’t have lost my husband.”

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From then on, Pauline would spend most of her time at their Key West home that they bought the year Gigi was born and running a high-end fabric shop. She often visited her sister Jinny who was now living in Hollywood.

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As for Gigi, in 1950 he dropped out of college and briefly was enrolled as a student researcher in the early days of Scientology. The following year he married Shirley Jane Rhodes, against his father’s wishes. When they were expecting their first child, Gigi wrote to his father the news after the fact. It was just the “logical thing to do if we are going to have a child,” he wrote.

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Both were working in a $65-a-week job at Santa Monica’s Douglas Aircraft factory. They set up residence at 1056 Doreen Place, in the nearby seaside community of Venice. There on Doreen Place, Gigi practiced his cross dressing—wearing his wife’s girdle, painting his nails red, and swaggering behind closed doors.

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Then, on the evening of Saturday, September 29, 1951, Gigi was arrested for entering the women’s restroom of a local movie theater while dressed in drag (in his 1976 memoir he described it as a drug arrest). At the time, Pauline was in San Francisco staying with Jay McEvoy, a wealthy art dealer in his big house on Russian Hill. Feeling out of sorts, she complained of headaches, poundings of the heart and a general feeling of anxiety. She planned to get a full check-up at the Mayo Clinic when time allowed.

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The next day, Pauline received a call from Gigi explaining that he was in jail and the basic reason why. “My mother… did not seem at all alarmed by my predicament but thought my father should be notified. When I said that it would be simpler if papa were not brought in she said, ‘yes… a lot of things would simpler if you had only one parent.’ But she wasn’t really at all upset. I can remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday.”

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Irrespective of Gigi’s memories of that day, Pauline was upset. Apparently, she sent Hemingway a cable, something to the effect that their son was arrested, and that the circumstances were muddled. She would be on the next plane to Los Angeles to get more facts and to try to get him out of jail and keep it out of the papers. She would call him from Jinny’s house.

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Jinny and her lover Laura Archera, a violinist and film producer, met Pauline at Los Angeles airport. At the couple’s Hollywood Hills home on Deronda Drive, she told Jinny that she wasn’t feeling well, that she had a sharp pain in her stomach. Regardless, Pauline contacted lawyers while Jinny and Laura prepared dinner. She couldn’t eat so she went upstairs to bed.

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At nine o’clock she forced herself from bed to take a call from her ex-husband, the first of several that evening. They quarreled bitterly when Hemingway blamed her for “how Gigi was.”

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“See how you brought him up?” he screamed over the telephone. Gigi later said that his “aunt, who hated my father’s guts and who certainly couldn’t be considered an unbiased witness, said the conversation had started out calmly enough. But soon Mother was shouting into the phone and sobbing uncontrollably.”

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Around midnight, Pauline woke up screaming from pain. Jinny and Laura drove her to St. Vincent’s Hospital (Third and Alvarado Streets), a 30-minute drive from Hollywood. Once Pauline was in the operating room, Jinny and Laura returned to Deronda and went to bed. Gigi said: “I can imagine the wild frustration of the surgeons as they searched for a bleeding point in the abdomen, where Mother had originally felt the pain.”

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Shortly after three o’clock Monday morning, October 1, 1951, Jinny and Laura were awakened by a call from the attending physician: Pauline had died of shock on the operating table. They’d tried everything.

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Pauline Hemingway’s death certificate

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Within hours, Jinny had Pauline’s body sent to Pierce Brothers Funeral Home on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue, directly across the street from Hollywood Cemetery. Later that morning, Jinny notified family members and cabled Hemingway at 9am, her time.

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Gigi, however, was clueless about the events that supposedly led to his mother’s death. “But Aunt Jinny told me nothing of the details of the phone conversation the next morning,” Gigi recalled, “just that Mother was dead… My mother’s face looked unbelievably white at the funeral [he means the viewing since there was no funeral], and I remember thinking through sobs what a barbarous ritual Anglo-Saxon burial is.”

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Jinny wanted to bury her sister in a Catholic cemetery, but Pauline was a divorced Catholic, so there was no chance of that either. The easiest way was chosen for them—the non-denominational cemetery across the street in a plot that cost $350.

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Pauline’s casket was closed during the brief graveside ceremony on the grounds nearest to the lily pond. There were five mourners attending—Gigi, Jinny, Laura, Jay McEvoy, and Garfield Merner, who was Pauline and Jinny’s first cousin. Pauline’s eldest son, Patrick, was in Africa, and it wasn’t possible for him to get home in time.

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A few days later, Gigi spoke to his father in Havana. Letting down his guard, Gigi told him: “Referring to the trouble I’d gotten into on the Coast,” he said, “It wasn’t so bad, really, papa.”

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“No? Well, it killed mother.”

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“Whatever his motives were,” Gigi later said, “the yellow-green filter came back down over my eyes and this time it didn’t go away for seven years. I didn’t say anything back to him. He’d almost always been right about things, he was so proud, he was so sound, I knew he loved me, it must have been something he just had to say, and I believed him.”

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Six weeks after Pauline’s death, Gigi and Shirley took a flight to Havana to meet Hemingway; there was a wary distance between father and son. At the end of that visit, as they were heading for the airport, Hemingway remarked: “Well, don’t take any wooden trust funds.” Gigi saw the humor in that and smiled as they parted. Then Gigi writes, “I never saw my father again.”

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Gigi spent the next several years trying to find himself. Because of his father’s ill-chosen words, he had blamed himself for his mother’s death.

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In 1960, he entered medical school at the University of Miami. Initially, he had thought his mother died from a heart attack and a ruptured artery. At medical school, one of the first things he did was order his mother’s autopsy report. It showed that Pauline died of a rare and undiagnosed tumor in the core of her adrenal gland called a pheochromocytoma, causing her blood pressure to sore due to extraordinary secretions of adrenaline. Immediately, Gigi knew what happened.

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“It was not my minor troubles that had upset Mother but his [Hemingway’s] brutal phone conversation with her eight hours before she died,” Gigi determined. “The tumor had become necrotic or rotten and when it fired off that night, it sent her blood pressure rocketing…”

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Gigi wrote to his father and confronted him with his interpretation of Pauline’s autopsy. “According to a person who was with him in Havana when he received my letter,” Gigi said, “he raged at first and then walked around the house in silence for the rest of the day.” Nine months later, Ernest Hemingway was dead.

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Over the next forty years, Gigi was married and divorced three more times. He is believed to have had eight children. He received his medical degree and practiced medicine, including time in Montana, but lost his license while struggling with alcohol and his own personal demons. He received electric shock treatments and had several nervous breakdowns. At times, he was a drifter, living in cars, motels or friend’s houses. Finally, in 1995, Gigi had a sex change and became Gloria.

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In 2001, she was arrested in Key Biscayne on charges of indecent exposure and resisting arrest without violence. “He said his name was Gloria,” the arresting officer said. “He looked like a man, but his nails were painted, and he was wearing jewelry and makeup… He was very nice to me.”

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Gloria was taken to the Miami-Dade Women’s Detention Center to await a hearing. Six days later, on October 1, 2001, the 50th anniversary of Pauline Hemingway’s death, Gloria rose early for a court appearance, began to dress and suddenly collapsed onto the concrete floor. The cause of death was hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Hemingway was 69.

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Since the grave of Pauline Hemingway is unmarked, for several decades its location has been a mystery. At least if anyone had that information, no one was talking. Even the cemetery claimed to have no records of her burial—I know because I was told that by a cemetery worker many years ago. In their defense, when Tyler Cassity took over the cemetery in the late nineties, he allowed me to go through the cemetery’s records to look for the famous and the infamous, and I could not find her.

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Then, while doing research for this posting, I came across an article about the writer and Gigi entitled, Hemingway and Son, by Paul Hendrickson. When Hendrickson discusses Pauline’s funeral, he writes:

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“And a stone? It’s a hard and strange fact that, all these years later, there is still no marker of any kind at Pauline Hemingway’s grave. She’s there, anonymously, at what is now known as Hollywood Forever Cemetery, two rows in from the pavement, down from Nelson Eddy Way, under a spongy piece of ground, alongside the modest markers of Lydia Bemmels and Leiland Irish, in almost the literal shade of Paramount Studio’s main lot…”

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Pay dirt! By chance, I was familiar with the grave of Leiland (Atherton) Irish, who is on my list of Hollywood Forever luminaries. His wife Florence, always referred to as Mrs. Leiland Irish, was one of the three founders of the Hollywood Bowl and was its director for nearly thirty years. Ironically, Mr. Irish passed away only five days after Pauline, but he received a marker and sadly Pauline did not.

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In conclusion, an explanation for that oversight may be explained by the following excerpt from Strange Tribe, a Hemingway memoir written by Gigi’s son, John Patrick Hemingway:

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“Pauline was buried in the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, and as a student at UCLA I must have passed by it a thousand times on my way to classes. Still, it wasn’t until a friend asked me to spend a couple of hours there with her that I actually visited the place. ‘We could have a picnic on the grass,’ she had suggested.

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“Yet it was the first time I’d ever set foot inside a cemetery, and while I rejected the idea of the picnic, I had to admit that it was peaceful and well kept, and not at all what I’d expected. It was a sunny day, and we had the grounds to ourselves. ‘Let’s sit here,’ she said, pointing to a grassy area devoid of any markers. For all I know, I could have been sitting on my grandmother’s grave.

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“Years later, I found out from Dr. Ruth Hawkins, the director of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, that my father and uncle had never bothered to put up a tombstone. They could have afforded one, but clearly felt that Pauline didn’t deserve it. ‘I can’t stand horrid little children’ was how she had once tried to justify her treatment of my father, and when she died, those horrid little children probably had better things to do than worry about tombstones. No sign was left of her passing, nothing that might remind them or anyone else that here lay the remains of the woman who’d once been their mother.”

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Pauline Hemingway’s unmarked grave is simple to find. It’s located in Garden of Legends (Section 8) on the west side. Park near the two Chinese lions on the edge of road and walk two rows in. Find the Irish and Bemmels markers and Pauline is in the unmarked plot between them.

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There is more to the life of Pauline Hemingway than can be documented here.Recommended reading:

Hawkins, Ruth A. Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage. Little Rock: University of Arkansas Press, 2012.

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Mina Crolius Gleason, Mother of actor James Gleason

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Mina Crolius Gleason, Mother of actor James Gleason

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MINA CROLIUS GLEASON

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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On this Mother’s Day we remember Mina Crolius Gleason, the mother of playwright and actor, James Gleason.

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Born Arabella Crolius on June 9, 1858, in Boston, her family had been in the theater for generations. She was on the stage as a child, appearing with her four brothers and sisters at the historic Castle Square Stock Company Theater.

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Following her marriage to William Lawrence Gleason, she went on tour with him in Charles Frohman’s road shows. Later, the couple appeared in stock at Oakland and at Elitch’s Gardens in Denver.

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Her son, James Gleason, was one of the most successful American playwrights and actors, in stage and films. Gleason made an impression in roles in such films as Meet John Doe, Here Comes Mr. Jordan and The Bishop’s Wife. He made his debut on the stage as a 4-months-old baby carried in his mother’s arms.

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In April, 1927, Gleason wrote a part in The Shannons of Broadway especially for his mother, but she fractured a hip while stepping down from a train at Gallup, New Mexico. She was unable to act in the play, although her son postponed the production on her account.

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Now an invalid, Mina was confined to her home at 117 North Maple Drive in Beverly Hills. On June 26, 1931, she was rushed to the Osteopathic Hospital and it was there she died the following day from heart disease. She was 73.

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Mina Gleason’s death certificate

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Mina’s funeral was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills with interment, along with her husband’s ashes, at Hollywood Cemetery (Section 8, in the vicinity of John Huston).

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Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Presentacion Urquidez Lopez; her family was the first in Hollywood

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By Allan R. Ellenberger

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Born in 1842, Presentacion Urquidez was the fifth child of Don Tomas Urquidez and his third wife, Ramona Candida Vejar. Don Urquidez, who was born in Santo Tomas Mission, Lower California, arrived in Los Angeles at the age of twenty-five. Urquidez was the first Spanish resident of what would eventually be known as Hollywood, and his cattle and horses roamed far over the southern slopes of the Cahuenga Valley. Annually he celebrated the fiesta of “The Sign of the Cross,” with its praying, dancing, horse racing, and barbecue with the pure native wines and brandies.

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In 1853 Don Urquidez built the first house in what would be Hollywood (see photo above), an adobe and wood building that had its roof insulated with brea brought from the nearby tar pits. It was located in an old Native American graveyard on the northwest corner of Franklin and Sycamore Avenues.

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On October 21, 1861, Presentacion married Jose Claudio Tranquilino Lopez at the Plaza Church in downtown Los Angeles. Afterward, festivities lasting eight days were held at their famous adobe in Hollywood.

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Through various causes, the family lost its vast estates. Old and blind, Don Tomas returned from the celebration of the Eve of St. John at the San Gabriel Mission to find himself disposed of his beloved adobe. Later their home was bought by General Harrison Gray Otis, founder of the Los Angeles Times and was renamed The Outpost.

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Presentacion would bear her husband Jose at least five children, and Carmen Avenue in Hollywood was named after one of them. In her old age, Presentacion remembered General John C. Fremont and much of the local history of the time and was one of the few remaining representatives of the time when most of this section was owned by the Spanish.

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The evening before her death on September 8, 1908, Presentacion entertained a group of old friends until late in the morning, smoking her favorite cigarettes and talking about old times. She was weak and feeble, and after the last friend had gone, called for a final cigarette and was surprised that she was too weak to inhale the fumes. Sinking back on her couch, she turned her glance upward, gave a loud happy laugh and died with a smile on her lips. Two sons and a daughter and a large number of grandchildren survived her.

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At the end of her life, she claimed to not know her real age which

probably explains the wrong date on her tombstone.

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Before her burial in Hollywood Cemetery, the funeral was held at the Blessed Sacrament Church on the southeast corner of Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood Boulevard) and Cherokee Avenue. Her tombstone reads, “En Paz Descanse” or “Rest in Peace.” Her grave is located in the northeast corner of the cemetery (where the older graves are) and about two rows from the wall.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery presents Dia de los Muertos

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Hollywood Forever Cemetery presents Dia de los Muertos

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Robert Nudelman and Marvin Paige markers at Hollywood Forever

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

The graves of preservationist Robert Nudelman, and casting agent, Marvin Paige now marked at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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Recently, within the last few weeks, the graves of two of Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes people have been marked.

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First, Robert Nudelman, a leading preservationist who helped spearhead Hollywood’s rebirth as he campaigned over three decades to save and restore such landmarks as the El Capitan Theatre and the Cinerama Dome, now has a marker after six years. He was 52 years old when he died in 2008.

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“There probably isn’t a single historic building or development project in Hollywood that Mr. Nudelman didn’t have a part in,” Fran Offenhauser, vice president of Hollywood Heritage said at the time. He was “the conscience of Hollywood,” Offenhauser added. “He really made the village happen in Hollywood, and it’s going to take a village to fill the gap he left. . . . He was really the lightning rod who woke up an area.”

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Marvin Paige, who cast movies including Star Trek: The Motion Picture, two Woody Allen films and shows including General Hospital, worked as a celebrity handler and owned an extensive Hollywood archive, died of injuries sustained in a car crash in Laurel Canyon in October 2013. He was in his 80s.

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Paige spent several decades as a casting director, then reinvented himself in later years as a keeper of Hollywood history who could always find the right person to appear at a tribute or showbiz celebration, such as the annual Cinecon events. “He was essential in targeting the right celebrities for the right event,” said publicist Edward Lozzi.

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