Jimmy Bangley Memorial

A Tribute to Jimmy Bangley

 

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 Jimmy Bangley (1956-2004) 

 

On December 8, 2004, our friend Jimmy Bangley sadly passed away from our lives. He was returned to his family in Suffolk, Virginia to be interred next to his beloved grandmother. The memorial service the following January was a standing-room-only event. Since then, his friends have made donations to purchase a cenotaph niche at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A place where we can visit and remember. Yesterday, that dream came true when more than 30 friends gathered at the cemetery’s Cathedral Mausoleum to unveil the decorated niche to his memory.

 

For those who did not know him, Jimmy Bangley was an accomplished actor, writer and film historian. He appeared in numerous plays both here in Los Angeles and his hometown in Virginia. His film credits included roles in the films Rollercoaster (1977), Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel (2000) and the Faye Dunaway short film, The Yellow Bird (2001).  He also appeared in more than 200 television programs representing Hollywood memorabilia and film costumes since the early 1990s. Although his first love was acting, he was also a successful writer. He wrote numerous articles for Collecting magazine, Classic Images and Films of the Golden Age.

 

Over the years Jimmy waited tables, performed stand-up comedy and sold celebrity memorabilia. For a while he worked at the Writers Guild and spoke at the yearly Rudolph Valentino Memorial at Hollywood Forever. He was also working on a biography of the “Too beautiful” silent screen siren, Barbara La Marr, with his close friend Margaret Burk. Jimmy was multi-faceted and had his hands in many pies during his brief life.

 

For more about Jimmy, please click on CONTINUE READING…

 

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The signature curtain covering Jimmy’s niche

 

Jimmy was unique; a one-of-a-kind. I know that’s said of many but with Jimmy it was true. Sometimes I think that Jimmy — at some point in his life — kissed the proverbial blarney stone. That boy could talk. He would walk up to perfect strangers and begin a conversation on what ever caught his eye (something that I was quite envious of) and always get a smile in return. I guess they realized he was something special.

 

Friends will remember his two minute (or longer) telephone messages — however long the voice mail would allow him to talk. And if he needed more time, he would call back. And then, just to make sure you knew who was calling, he would end it with, “Jimmy Bangley here.” Yes he was.

 

 

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Jimmy and his idol, Bette Davis

 

Jimmy loved a good party and was invariably the center of them. He also loved his divas — besides La Marr, there was Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Mae Murray, and of course Barbra Streisand and Bette Davis. Jimmy worshipped Streisand and Davis. He knew and collected all their films; he memorized lines from their films and had all of Streisand’s albums. Whenever a new Streisand CD would premiere, we listened to it over and over and over — and if the song was good we would “crank it up” and play it again and again.

 

Fortunately Jimmy got a chance to meet Davis and Streisand before he passed. He was buried in the suit he wore when he met Streisand at a public event. That was fitting. He also took with him a cross given to him by Cher and he was wearing his trademark beret.

 

Jimmy loved visiting Hollywood Forever so it is appropriate that his cenotaph is there. During our visits he would talk to the ducks in the pond and serenade them as Marlene Dietrich. Every time they would gravitate to him, either fascinated by the sound of Marlene’s voice or maybe they sensed his charm. Jimmy had a great talent for impersonations — especially the divas he loved so well. Dietrich, Crawford (though his Crawford was more Faye Dunaway impersonating Crawford), Tallulah Bankhead, Mae West and of course, Streisand and Davis — he did them all and did them well.

 

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Jimmy’s friend, Jim Shippee unveils the niche 

 

Yesterday’s ceremony was a casual event. After the unveiling, everyone had the chance to view the niche and all the personal memorabilia that was Jimmy. It brought a smile to all that attended. He would have been happy that we toasted him with champagne, but would probably have preferred a Long Island Ice Tea.

 

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Friends gather to remember Jimmy

 

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Jimmy’s niche

 

Personally, I have and will continue to miss Jimmy. He was a funny, loving, intelligent friend. Later Jimmy.

 

 

There is no way that I could relate everything that was Jimmy Bangley. Please, if you want to share your own feelings, stories or whatever, about Jimmy, leave a comment below for others to enjoy. Thank you.

 

 

 

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24 Responses to “Jimmy Bangley Memorial”

  1. Michael Roman says:

    Not a day goes by when I don’t think about my dear, dear friend Jimmy. My life has never been the same since his untimely passing …

    The last conversation I had with Jimmy was when I still worked at Hollywood Forever back in 2004. I was in charge of bringing the cremated remains of movie star Ann Sheridan to an appropriate resting place in the cemetery — after 37 years left abandoned and forgotten in a storage closet. Once I had actual possession of Miss Sheridan, I immediately called Jimmy. He said, “Oh, honey — you MUST remember this moment. You are part of Hollywood history now!” That was our Jimmy …

    I am so sorry I was unable to attend this beautiful tribute and unveiling. God bless you Alan, Jim and everybody involved. I still have such a very difficult time accepting the fact that he is not here with us …

    None of us had the opportunity to say good-bye to our beloved friend. When that thought becomes too painful to bear, I always try to remember that Jimmy and I never actually said good-bye to each other — in person, on the phone, anytime. Instead, I would always say “I love you” — and he would always reply “I love you more”.

    Again, that was our Jimmy …

  2. Rock Armstrong says:

    Jimmy possessed special magic in his personality. He was someone you were always glad to see because he brought happiness to everyone around him.

  3. James Bazen says:

    What a sweet post Allan. I’m sorry I never knew him. What a wonderful tribute.

  4. Lisa Burks says:

    Thank you Allan for your wonderful post and tribute to Jimmy. I never had the honor of meeting him in person, but he was legend among mutual friends and I always enjoyed hearing about his zest for life and passion for Hollywood history. I do, however, own a bit of cherished Bangley history, having purchased two books from his personal library that were donated for charity sale at the Hollywood Heritage barn: The Films of Myrna Loy and The Films of Gregory Peck, each inscribed in his own hand with name and date. I’m so glad to know he’s immortalized at Hollywood Forever, and look forward to paying respects to him there soon. Thanks again, Allan.

  5. James Tuttle says:

    I was just back there again today and it looks great. I know Jimmy would have LOVED it!!

    And don’t worry about the Long Islands…I had a chamagne hangover that was every bit as good. It reminded me of all the times Jimmy and I tried to bring back the Zombie. ugh.

    Thanks, Allan.

  6. Maxwell Hoffmann says:

    Jimmy always made me laugh and smile. I think of him often, but always think of him when I see the ducks at Hollywood Forever. Thank you for helping to build a memorial there, a place we can all visit and remember him.

  7. Max Pierce says:

    I assume I met Jimmy through Allen…although we seemed to travel in the same old Hollywood circles for years, when we finally did meet, it was as if we’d already been old friends for decades. Jimmy was a guest at our annual Christmas party, and I had spoken to him only a few days before he passed about attending.
    My most distinct memory of Jimmy is a selfish one: I ran into him at the French Market (as often was the case). I can’t remember who he was with, but he casually and confidently introduced me as ‘Max Pierce, a writer and fellow Hollywood historian’. Those adjectives made me feel 1o feet tall, for Jimmy was a hard act to top in the history department, but such was his kindness, generosity and professionalism. His absence devastates me still, and even as I write this I am shedding tears. I look forward to the day when we reunite at that Cocoanut Grove (or possibly the Brown Derby Vine Street) in the sky. Until then, I am blessed to have known Jimmy.

  8. Karen McHale says:

    I met Jimmy a handful of times at Hollywood Forever but he always made a BIG impression on me! I just loved his personality and his vibrance. He just cracked me up everytime and he was just so damn interesting! I was sadden when I heard that he’d died. He is truly missed, even by those who only knew him casually.

  9. W.K. McCauley says:

    What a wonderful tribute for such a wonderful soul. My second day in Hollywood I walked into the WGA library and into the life of Mr. Bangley. Soon thereafter I was fortunate enough to be introduced to so many of his friends (you know who you are.) I don’t think anyone understood and appreciated the concept of “friend” better than Jimmy Bangley. He constantly talked about and bragged about them all. I have never known anyone who had more friends, nor who was a better one. I miss him every day. Special thanks to Allan and Jim and others who have so tirelessly worked to create a physical memorial to a presence who will always remain with those he knew.

  10. Bruce Bangley says:

    While doing a search I came across this site. Jimmy was my cousin. I would love to come from Virginia to visit with his friends in California and learn more about who he was for you all. He was definitely full of life. I thank you all for your words and actions. Though we grew up just a few streets apart, I was a number of years younger and he was off to the west coast soon after high school.

  11. Bruce Bangley says:

    I just wanted to add one more thing, I had always hoped Jimmy would “make it” in Hollywood. After reading what you all have said and done, I realize that Jimmy DID make it. I just didn’t know it. Again, thanks for sharing.

  12. Jim Davis says:

    I’ll never forget the first day I met Jimmy at Hollywood Forever (and probably you too Allan). When he heard that I was interested in Barbara La Marr he kept me prisoner for hours while he told me endless stories about her – then the next thing I knew we were in a car on our way to see her house in the Hollywood Hills. Jimmy was one of a kind and the most fascinating Hollywood star I’ve ever met!

  13. Lido J. says:

    Thanks for qa great blog.

  14. natalie bangley says:

    Jimmy was my Uncle and I have nothing but warm and happy memories of him. Although he left for California when I was around 12 (I think) and my sister was 2, he was and is one of our favorite family members. My favorite memory is when I was about 5 years old and got a “Barbie and the Rockers” cassett for Christmas. Being the only child in the family at that time, of course no grown up would play with me. I remember very clearly how he came in and danced with me for hours! And ofcourse we always had our holiday call, and he had to talk to everyone,wether he had met them or not, and always say the most loving things. It makes me so proud to know that he was happy and had many friends there in California! Thank you for keeping his memory living on, and maybe one day my sister and I can come see his “spot”!

  15. Stephen M Jeffreys says:

    Jimmy was a good friend, neighbor, and fellow classmate in highschool. Jimmy never had understood the term boring and you could never have been bored in his presence for very long. I think Jimmy developed his impressions in high school making prank calls to any number, but none were ever really pranks because you always knew that at the end of the conversations Jimmy had always made a new friend. We will love and miss you Jimmy, sleep well.

  16. Michael Carr says:

    I am one of Jimmy’s many friends from Suffolk. Jimmy was a very unique person; he could make each person he met feel like he was their best friend. It takes a special person to do that. If you met him you had a friend for life. He had the ability to bring the best out in people. He was one of the few of us who knew what he wanted to do in life and he did it. A day did not go by that he didn’t talk about his family. He loved them dearly, especially his Mom (Mary Francis and his Grandmother Bangley). Someone mentioned the fact that Jimmy liked to talk so much that he would have to call several times to finish what he had to tell you. I know of one time he left me and my wife Pam (Jimmy’s Cousin) a message and he had to call back three times to complete it. I remember all those Panky Parties back in high school. Jimmy was definitely the Head Panky. I think he came up with a Panky name for everyone of us who attended: Phylisha, Bonita, Tatina, Yavetta and so many more that I can’t remember. There are so many more stories about Jimmy that we all know and it would take a life time to write them all down. Keep his memory in your hearts, I know no one will ever forget him. Thanks to all his great friends in California for creating this blog.

  17. KJ says:

    I worked with Jimmy at Writer’s Guild and he was one of the first people that I connected with on a human level in California. He was always helpful and would stop whatever he was doing to give me his take on whatever minute Hollywood detail I was focused on. He used to live near Faye Dunaway, and I was always asking about her. One day he held up his phone, and Faye was rambling on about something. Thank you Jimmy for being so nice and unique.

  18. Deborah Bailey says:

    I grew up in the same town as Jimmy. He was a good friend of my cousin. When Allan states he could talk to strangers he is right. I was in his company numerous times and he was very friendly and talkative. I know his parents and attended the same church as they did. Mary Francis and James are wonderful people. James has since passed away. I saw Mary Francis last summer and she is doing fine and misses her Jimmy and James. Jimmy always wanted to go to Hollywood and act. I am glad he had the opportunity to do just what he wanted. Jimmy was a nice guy and will be missed. I am glad he made good friends in California.

  19. Betty says:

    Allen,
    My regret is that he never got to finish his book on Barbara LaMarr.
    Your tribute to your friend was very touching and I am sure that it bought comfort to his family. You sound like a good person as well.

  20. Susan Diggs Crocker says:

    Jimmy, like you said was one of a kind. I was his sisters friend in high school. He gave us all nick names mine was “sixteen candles”. He was a joy to know. He also made me laugh, we would have burgers at 3 in morning and watch a Betty Davis movie and talk for hours.

    Jimmy I love you!

  21. Ashley Roy says:

    I am Jimmy Bangley’s cousin, but sadly I never got to meet him because he moved to CA; I’m in NC. He seemed like a very lively, captivating, and warm person, and I’m sure those of you that knew him could see that. I also wish I could read his unfinished book about Barbara LaMarr that he seemed so passionate about. I did attend his funeral in VA, and it was very moving to hear his last message that he left his mother and father on their answering machine. He thanks them for what they’ve done for him and pours out love, unknowingly giving his last message. He was a special person and his memory lives on.
    ______________________________
    Hi Ashley, yes Jimmy was a very special person and all his friends here miss him very much.

  22. Terri Baines says:

    Jimmy was my cousin and I went to high school with him. My very first date was a double date with him and even then he kept us all laughing. I loved Jimmy very much and was so excited for him when he was able to live his dream and move to California. It warms my heart to see that he continued to bring joy into people’s lives and that he made so many friends…but then, how could he not? Unique? The word had to have been coined for him. Thanks to all of you for making sure that his memory and joi de vivre continues for all time.

  23. Marina says:

    I met Jimmy on the set of “Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel.” The day before he came I overheard the director mentioning that “Jimmy Bangley will be coming tomorrow.” That name kept echoing in my mind. Why was it so familiar? Then it hit me. Jimmy Bangley was the writer of an in depth excellent article I read about Barbara La Marr in Classic Images and a few others. Although it had been a few years since those articles came out, it stood out as one of the best I’ve read.

    The next day I met him and we had an exciting conversation that included Barbara La Marr, Alla Nazimova, and others. He was writing a book about Barbara La Marr at the time and I was so eager for it to be published. I showed him some of my collectables I had on her at the time. I am still hoping that the book will be continued by his writing partner. I would love to read it.

    We kept in contact for a short time after the film wrapped. He was a lovely man with spirit and a great love for people.

  24. Linda "E" Eggert Morrow says:

    I was one of Jimmy’s very best friends in L.A. We met when he was 19 yrs. old and I was 23. We became fast friends never living too far from each other during my 15 years in L.A. When I received a returned Christmas card from his last address in 2005, I phoned his family in Virginia and discovered he had passed. The greatest sadness of my life at that time. Jimmy was full of life , always fun and daring. We had the craziest times growing up together during those years, spending holidays together with our many friends, all transplants from around the country. I missed him greatly when I left Lo s Angeles in 1991, but never went a day without thinking of Jimmy. He loved my baby daughter Brigitte…who still looks at the hundreds of photos we have of her uncle Jimmy. He was a huge part of my life and will always remember him as a great true friend. Love you Jimmy….Your Linda E…ps: hello to Michael Roman if you read any of these comments! Im in New York..

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