Candids from the 85th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service
The annual service was held in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM
The Cathedral Mausoleum was standing-room-only as fans of the silent film idol attend this years service.
Tyler Cassity, owner of Hollywood Forever Cemetery, opened the ceremonies
Tracy Ryan Terhune, author of Valentino Forever, was again this years emcee
Sylvia Valentino Huber, the great niece of Rudolph Valentino, delivered remarks from the Valentino family
Psychic-medium, Michael J. Kouri provided musical entertainment
Allison Francis read selected poems from “Daydreams” by Rudolph Valentino
Members of the audience enjoy two videos; one a tribute to past participants of the Valentino Memorial and another celebrating the centennial of Universal Studios where Valentino made four films early in his career. A scene from “A Society Sensation (1918) was shown. (Video editing by Frank Labrador Productions)
Mary Mallory, author of “Hollywoodland,” discussed Rudolph Valentino’s Hollywood home
Comedian Will Ryan also entertained musically
Author Michael Oldham talks about his book, “The Valentino Formula”
Stella Grace, of the Valentino Memorial Committee, closed the service by leading the audience in the 23rd Psalm
Fans gather in the corridor to pay their respects at Valentino’s crypt
Hollywood Forever Cemetery owner, Tyler Cassity and Valentino memorial organizer, Stella Grace discuss next year’s service
Stella Grace and Tracy Ryan Terhune of the Valentino Memorial Committee. Other members include Chanell O Farrill and Marvin Paige.
- Book/Film News , Rudolph Valentino | Tags: Allison Francis, Chanell O Farrill, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywoodland, Marvin Paige, Mary Mallory, Michael J. Kouri, Michael Oldham, Rudolph Valentino, Stella Grace, Sylvia Valentino Huber, The Valentino Formula, Tracy Ryan Terhune, tyler cassity, Valentino Forever, Will Ryan
The Gravecast Show: Interview With Allan Ellenberger
Recently I was interviewed by Josh Perry the host of The Gravecast Show Along with his cohost, author and blogger Steve Goldstein, we talked about our mutual interest in celebrity graves, and he also asked about my books, my blogs and cemeteries and graves in general. Please check it out, I hope you enjoy it.
Theft of historic ‘Hollywoodland’ signs is finally under investigation
Two plaques were pried off the stone gateway to the residential neighborhood below the Hollywood sign in April. The bronze markers said “Hollywoodland Est. 1923.” (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
Residents tried to report the plaques missing in April, but police are only now launching an investigation. Why? The signs were city property, and the city hadn’t filed a formal crime report.
By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
June 4, 2011
Six weeks after two historic plaques were stolen from the entrance to one of Hollywood’s most famous neighborhoods, Los Angeles police are launching an investigation.
The delay was because no one had yet filed a formal crime report about the missing bronze “Hollywoodland Est. 1923” markers, which were pried from the stone gateway to the historic residential area beneath the Hollywood sign.
Residents say they attempted to file a theft report on April 16 after they noticed the plaques’ disappearance but were not allowed to because the markers are considered Los Angeles city property.
No one from the city filed a report, either.
Hollywood Heritage salutes Hollywoodland
Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Hollywood Heritage Museum
2100 N. Highland Avenue
(across from the Hollywood Bowl)
Hollywood, CA 90068
Hollywood Heritage will celebrate the release of the book Hollywoodland from Arcadia Publishing with author Mary Mallory and presenting slides, film, and artifacts of Hollywoodland on display in the museum lobby. Hollywoodland is a visual history of the neighborhood’s development, detailing its construction, amenities, famous homes, residents, movie locations, and one of the world’s most famous icons, the Hollywood Sign.
Ms. Mallory will present a Power Point presentation highlighting chapters in the book, augmented by a clip reel of films shot in Hollywoodland/Beachwood Canyon and screening of rare 1923 archival footage of the Hollywood sign provided by the Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) at the University of South Carolina. The footage is among more than 200 hours of material in its Fox Movietone News Collection, which experts have described as the world’s most complete moving-image record of American culture in the 1920s.
Established in 1923 by investors Eli P. Clark, M. H. Sherman, Harry Chandler, and developers Tracy E. Shoults, and S. H. Woodruff, Hollywoodland was the first themed residential development built in the Hollywood foothills. Beautiful views and elegant homes lent a fairy tale atmosphere to the neighborhood, drawing such famous artists and performers as James M. Cain, Aldous Huxley, Max Steiner, Bela Lugosi, Robert Montgomery, and Madonna as residents. One of the world’s most recognizable icons, the Hollywood Sign, was constructed as a giant billboard promoting the development.
About the author:
Mary Mallory serves as a member of Hollywood Heritage’s Board of Directors, where she acts as a docent for the Hollywood Heritage Museum. She is also a member of the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, which organized the 75th Anniversary of Republic Studios in 2010. She is a photograph processor at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library, and holds a master’s in film history from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, Mallory acts as a theatre critic for The Tolucan Times and has appeared on Turner Classic Movies.
$5.00 for Hollywood Heritage Members; $10.00 for non-members.
Free Parking in Lot D. Tickets for this event are also available online with your credit card via Brown Paper Tickets. A nominal fee will be added to the ticket price for this service. Just go to: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/176909 for more information. Or call 1-800-838-3006 to reserve tickets over the phone
Another mystery beneath the Hollywood sign
Two historic monument plaques, as shown in a book, are missing from a stone gate in Beachwood Canyon. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
First it was directional signs for tourists that vanished, and now 1923 bronze ‘Hollywoodland’ plaques marking the stone gateway to the community have disappeared. Theories abound.
By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
April 27, 2011
Residents living on the narrow lanes beneath the Hollywood sign have quarreled for months over small directional signs pointing tourists to a place where the iconic Tinseltown symbol can be viewed and photographed.
The road signs benefited homeowners on the street that dead-ends at the locked fire road that leads to Mt. Lee and the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, the signs funneled sightseers and tour buses onto other nearby streets. Then the signs mysteriously disappeared. Whether that’s a crime depends on which street you live on.
But now real thieves have stolen two signs that nearly everyone in the hillside neighborhood mourns losing: the historic 1923 “Hollywoodland” bronze plaques that marked the stone gateway to the community.
Peg Entwistle, the suicide blonde of Hollywoodland
Today, September 16, is the 78th anniversary of the suicide of Peg Entwistle. In remembrance, here is a rerun of an article recently posted. Rest in peace Peg.
By Allan R. Ellenberger
On the evening of Sunday, September 18, 1932, a mysterious phone call was received at the Central Station of the Los Angeles Police Department:
“I was hiking near the Hollywoodland sign today,” said a feminine voice, “and near the bottom I found a woman’s shoe and jacket. A little further on I noticed a purse. In it was a suicide note. I looked down the mountain and saw a body. I don’t want any publicity in this matter, so I wrapped up the jacket, shoe and purse in a bundle and laid them on the steps of the Hollywood Police Station.”
The officer asked for the woman’s name but she hung up before he could get more information. He called the Hollywood station and the package was found as described, including the alleged suicide note which read: “I’m afraid I’m a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this thing a long time ago it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”
Detectives made their way to the Hollywoodland sign, where they found the body of a woman, described as being about 25 years old, with blue eyes and blonde hair. She was reasonably well dressed. With no other identification except for the “P.E.” on the suicide note, her body was sent to the morgue where it remained unclaimed.
Meanwhile, the following morning, Harold Entwistle read in the papers about an unidentified woman, dubbed “The Hollywood Sign Girl” by the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, who had apparently jumped to her death from the top of the letter “H” in the fifty-foot-high “Hollywoodland” electric sign. Entwistle, an actor, lived at 2428 Beachwood Drive and could see the sign from his front porch. He was suspicious about his niece Millicent, who he had not seen since the previous Friday evening walking up Beachwood towards the Hollywood Hills. She said she was going to buy a book at the drug store and then visit with some friends.
Millicent, a struggling actress, was known professionally, and to her friends as Peg. It was Peg’s absence and the alleged suicide note that Entwistle regarded as significant — the report said it was signed with the initials “P.E.” After contacting authorities at the county morgue, Entwistle’s fears were confirmed when he identified the dead woman as his niece.
“Although she never confided her grief to me,” Entwistle told officers, “I was somehow aware that she was suffering intense mental anguish. She was only 24. It is a great shock to me that she gave up the fight as she did.”
Entwistle denied reports that a broken love affair had actuated his niece to take her life. Instead, it was determined that disappointments for a screen career, equal to the success she had enjoyed on stage, were attributed as the reason behind the spectacular suicide.
Millicent Lilian Entwistle was born in Port Talbot, Wales to English parents Robert and Emily Entwistle, on February 5, 1908 while her parents were visiting relatives. They returned to their West Kensington (outside London) home where she lived until age 8. Peg’s mother died in 1910 and four years later, Robert married Lauretta Ross, the sister of his brother Harold’s wife Jane.
In August 1913, Robert was brought to New York by famed Broadway producer Charles Frohman as his stage manager. After a few years, on March 20, 1916, Peg, along with her parents and aunt and uncle, arrived in New York on the SS Philadelphia. In 1918, Robert and Lauretta had a son Milton, and two years later Robert was born. In 1921, Lauretta died from meningitis and a year later, on November 2, 1922, Robert was struck down by a hit-and-run driver on Park Avenue. He lingered for weeks and died just before Christmas 1922. Now orphans, Peg and her brothers were taken in by her uncle Harold and aunt Jane.
A few years later Peg was living in Boston where she made her first appearance on the professional stage with the Henry Jewett Reparatory Company where she was taught to act by Blanche Yurka. In October 1925, Harold Entwistle’s employer, actor Walter Hampden, gave Peg an uncredited walk-on in his Broadway production of Hamlet with Ethel Barrymore. A young Bette Davis was inspired to act after seeing Peg perform in Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. Over the years Davis made several references to Entwistle, saying that she “wanted to be exactly like Peg Entwistle.”
After serving an apprenticeship with them for several seasons, she came to New York and was recruited by the prestigious New York Theatre Guild and obtained a small part in The Man from Toronto in June 1926. Afterward she was cast in an important role in The Home Towners, which George M. Cohan produced in August of that year. Over the next six years Peg performed in ten Broadways plays in such Theatre Guild productions as Tommy, which was her longest running play. Reviewers said that Peg was “attractive in the manner of a number of other fresh ingénues.”
Other plays followed including The Uninvited Guest, a revival of Sherlock Holmes with William Gillette and Getting Married. Some of her plays lasted no longer than a month or two; however she always received good reviews for her performances regardless of the quality of the production.
In April 1927, Peg married fellow actor, Robert Keith, who was the father of Brian Keith, best known for his role in the television sit-com, Family Affair. The Keith’s toured together in several Theatre Guild plays until their divorce in 1929.
Peg’s final Broadway play was in J.M. Barrie’s, Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire in March 1932. The production starred the popular actress, Laurette Taylor whose alcoholism caused her to miss several performances and forcing producers to end the play several weeks early.
In May, Peg was brought to Los Angeles to costar with Billie Burke and Humphrey Bogart in the Romney Brent play, The Mad Hopes at the Belasco Theatre. The play opened to rave reviews with standing-room-only audiences. One reviewer commented:
“…Belasco and Curran have staged the new play most effectively and have endowed this Romney Brent opus with every distinction of cast and direction. …costumes and settings are of delightful quality, and every detail makes the production one entirely fit for its translation to the New York stage. In the cast Peg Entwistle and Humphrey Bogart hold first place in supporting the star (Billie Burke) and both give fine, serious performances. Miss Entwistle as the earnest, young daughter (Geneva Hope) of a vague mother and presents a charming picture of youth…”
When the play closed, Peg was preparing to return to New York when she was offered a screen test at RKO. On June 13, 1932 she signed a contract to appear in Thirteen Women where she is billed ninth in the opening credits. The film starred Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy as a half-caste fortune teller’s assistant motivated by revenge against the bigoted schoolgirls who tormented her in school years earlier.
The film received poor reviews and negative comments from preview audiences. The Los Angeles Times said of the preview: “…its picturization is an utterly implausible tale of mediocre worth.” The premiere was delayed and the film was edited to reduce its running time, significantly cutting back Peg’s screen time. Once it premiered after Peg’s death, one reviewer called it “a dreadful mess of a picture with more defects, deficiencies and lapses than any offering since Chandu the Magician.”
Peg Entwistle’s home at 2428 Beachwood Drive
(this is a private residence; please do not disturb the occupants)
The sidewalk in front of Peg Entwistle’s home on Beachwood Drive where she took her last walk
RKO did not option Peg’s contract and she was broke and could not return to New York. She tried finding roles on both the local stage and at the film studios but nothing was available. On Friday evening, September 16, 1932, Peg told her uncle she was going to walk to the local drugstore and then visit friends. Instead, she walked up Beachwood past Hollywoodland and then hiked up the side of Mount Lee to the Hollywoodland sign. There she most likely wrote her suicide note, took off her coat and shoe, and climbed a maintenance ladder behind the letter H and, at some point, jumped to her death.
The coroner determined that death was due to internal bleeding caused by “multiple fractures to the pelvis.” Her Episcopal funeral service was conducted on September 20 at the W. M. Strother Mortuary at 6240 Hollywood Boulevard (demolished). Her body was cremated at Hollywood Cemetery and held in storage until December 29 when her ashes were sent to Oak Hill Cemetery in Glendale, Ohio for burial with her father on January 5, 1933. Her grave is unmarked.
The burial card at Oak Hill Cemetery where Peg Entwistle’s ashes were interred. H Milton Ross was the father of Peg’s stepmother, Lauretta. (Photo courtesy of Scott Michaels)
Peg Entwistle was buried with her father at Oak Hill Cemetery in Glendale, Ohio. Their grave is unmarked. (Photo courtesy of Scott Michaels)
Some sources claim that shortly after Peg’s death, she received a letter from the Beverly Hills Community Players, offering her a role in a play where her character commits suicide. Since this tale was related in Kenneth Anger’s “Hollywood Babylon II,” the veracity of it is questionable. Other false claims made by Anger are that Peg jumped from the last letter D because it was the thirteenth letter and she associated it with the film Thirteen Women. He also wrote that she was the first of other “disillusioned starlets” who followed her lead and committed suicide from the sign; this is not true. Peg Entwistle is the only confirmed suicide from that famous Hollywood landmark.
Click below to watch Peg Entwistle’s appearance in Thirteen Women (1932)
- Book/Film News , Hollywood Suicides | Tags: Alice-Sit-by-the-Fire, Belasco Theatre, Bette Davis, billie burke, Brian Keith, Charles Frohman, George M. Cohan, Harold Entwistle, Henry Jewett Reparatory Company, Hollywood Babylon, Hollywood Cemetery, Hollywoodland, Humphrey Bogart, Irene Dune, Kenneth Anger, Laurette Taylor, myrna loy, New York Theatre Guild, Oak Hill Cemetery, Peg Entwistle, RKO, Robert Entwistle, Robert Keith, The Wild Duck, Thirteen Women, Tommy, Walter Hampden
Hollywood sign supporters get 16 more days to reaise funds to buy nearby land
Preservationists fighting to protect 138-acres of land near the Hollywood sign have been granted a reprieve.
They will have 16 more days to raise the $12.5 million needed to purchase the land from a group of Chicago investors. The deadline for the sale was Wednesday, but the owners agreed to extend it until April 30, according to Los Angeles City Council Member Tom LaBonge.
The owners, Fox River Financial Resources Inc., bought the land from Howard Hughes’ estate in 2002 for $1.7 million. They put it up for sale two years ago. The property is zoned to build four luxury homes.
LaBonge said $11 million has already been raised, and $1.5 million is still needed to purchase land. Two donors stepped forward Wednesday to help the effort.
Philanthropist Aileen Getty and the Tiffany & Co. Foundation said they would donate a $500,000 matching grant if the community raised $1 million. Getty and the Tiffany Foundation each previously donated $1 million to the campaign.
Over the weekend, supporters held a fundraiser at Lake Hollywood Park.
— Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times