Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

Rudolph Valentino: an alternate ending

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

UPDATE: If you can’t attend tomorrow’s Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service at 12:10 pm (PST) at Hollywood Forever’s Cathedral Mausoleum, the committee has authorized for the first time, a live streaming broadcast via Facebook on the Group, We Never Forget Rudolph Valentino. Join in and enjoy!


What if Natacha Rambova had still been married to Rudolph Valentino at the time of his death? Where might he be interred today?

When silent film star, Rudolph Valentino died prematurely at the age of 31 in 1926, chaos ensued. From the moment his death was announced at New York’s Polyclinic Hospital, until he was laid to rest in Hollywood, riots, rumors and unrest followed the actors body.

And not unlike the circumstances regarding the death and burial of pop super-star, Michael Jackson, there were questions and disagreements over where the body of Rudolph Valentino would rest.

As Valentino lay dying at Polyclinic hospital, his brother Alberto was anxiously making his way from Italy and found out about his brother’s death when he arrived at the Paris train station. Later that day, Alberto released a statement affirming that Valentino would be buried in America.

“This is what he would have desired,” Alberto said. “He so loved America that I am sure he wanted to be buried there – rather, even, than beside our father and mother in Italy. He loved Italy, but he loved the country of his adoption and his success more.”

However, two days later, Alberto altered his decision, stating that he needed to discuss the matter with his sister Maria and Rudy’s American friends. Until then, no decision would be made.

Surprised by this turn of events, many wondered where Valentino would be interred. Rudy’s sister, Maria, told reporters by telephone from her home in Turin that she wished for her brother to be buried in Castellaneta (Valentino’s birthplace). “It is my desire that Rudolph be buried in Italy,” she said, “and I hope that my brother Alberto, now en route to New York, will agree to this.” Citizens of Valentino’s home town agreed and started making plans to welcome the body of their fellow townsman. A committee was organized to collect funds to erect a stately tomb in the town’s cemetery.

Valentino’s manager, George Ullman, still hoped to take his friend’s body back to Hollywood. “I think he belongs there and hope to so persuade his brother,” he said. Pola Negri (Valentino’s alleged fiancé) agreed, telling reporters that she too hoped Alberto would bring Rudy’s body back to the city where the actor had his greatest success. “Because he spent so many happy hours – his happiest hours – here, and because I am here,” she said. “I want him buried in Hollywood. But if his brother should wish him buried in Italy, to lie beside his father and mother – that is different. I can understand that.”

Valentino’s first wife, Jean Acker, sided with the Italian delegation. “I think he would prefer to lie by the side of his mother and father in Italy,” she said. “But I have no say in it. Who am I to say anything?”

Meanwhile, a contingent of Hollywood producers, directors, and actors cabled Alberto, urging that Valentino be buried in Los Angeles. “We, of the Hollywood motion picture colony, who knew, worked with and loved Rudolph Valentino, urge you to order that his mortal remains be allowed to rest forever here, where his friendships were formed and where he made his home,” they wrote. It was signed by thirty-eight Hollywood personalities, including Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Antonio Moreno, Ramon Novarro, Norman Kerry and Louis B. Mayer.

Alberto was very appreciative of the honor and interest that Rudy’s friends bestowed upon his brother, but hoped they would not insist on an immediate decision. “I have communicated with my sister in Turin,” he responded by cable. “There are many factors that must be taken into consideration. I cannot reach a decision until I reach New York.”

Being Valentino’s next of kin, the decision was left to Alberto, and as everyone now knows, that decision was for Hollywood Cemetery where Valentino still rests to this day. However, what if Valentino had still been married to Natacha Rambova at the time of his death? The decision would have been hers. If so, where would his remains be now?

Rudy, Winifred Hudnut, Natacha, Richard Hudnut

At the time of his death, Natacha was in France with her family. The only hint of what her plans would have been if history had been different was a brief cable she sent to Ullman during the fight over where Rudy’s body would lie.

“Unless otherwise directed by Rudolph, we prefer cremation; ashes to be placed in temporary security,” she wrote. “Later could go to my plot in Woodlawn.”

Woodlawn Cemetery is in the Bronx section of New York where many of the city’s historical figures are buried. Silent film actress Olive Thomas was interred there by her husband Jack Pickford just six years earlier.

The huge family plot of Richard Hudnut at Woodlawn Cemetery where only he and his two wives are interred. Who else could he have been expecting? Natacha had her ashes scattered.

Natacha’s step-father, Richard Hudnut, the famed perfume manufacturer, had a huge family plot at Woodlawn, where his first wife Evelyn was buried in 1919 and where he and his second wife Winifred (Natacha’s mother) were later buried.

Ullman, of course, did not take Natacha’s offer seriously. First, he insisted that cremation was impossible since the Catholic Church did not allow it, and Rudy, who had drifted away from his childhood faith, had returned to it on his deathbed. Ullman recalled that several years earlier they had discussed cremation, and Rudy had said, “Well, when I die I’d like to be cremated and have my ashes scattered to the winds.” Ullman insisted that Rudy was joking.

However, to continue with our speculation, had the couple still been married, the chances are that Valentino would have been buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Hudnut family plot. Now the only question would be if the yearly memorial services that have taken place since the actor’s death would become a ritual at Woodlawn, or would his memory have faded as so many silent film stars of the day have?




In any event, the 90th Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial Service will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, August 23, 2017, at 12:10 pm, in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the actors body still resides. The public is welcome.



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Michael Jackson death anniversary

Thursday, July 8th, 2010


Recent outpouring of affection at Michael Jackson’s grave




Offerings from Michael Jackson fans left at the entrance of the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California on the first anniversary of his death. (Photos courtesy of Gary L. Hill)



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Clark Gable’s crypt kissed

Saturday, June 12th, 2010


Clark Gable’s Tomb Vandalized By A Kiss


(NewsCore) – The tomb of silver screen star Clark Gable was vandalized by an adoring bandit who left her mark with lipstick — causing a repair team to be called to clean it, TMZ reported Sunday.


Gable, who is entombed in a mausoleum at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif. — also the final resting place of Walt Disney, Michael Jackson and a host of other celebrities — is regularly sought after by female fans, and traces of lipstick are occasionally spotted by the actor’s son John Clark Gable.


Although most previous marks were easily wiped away, the latest one stubbornly stuck, forcing a “total overhaul” of the white marble monument by a repair team.


John Clark Gable also warned against letting Jackson fans into the mausoleum — claiming that if they came inside, their tributes could damage surrounding memorials, including his father’s.


He said he asked security to “keep an eye out” for the lipstick bandit’s return.


Click here to view the article



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Hollywood Underground Banquet

Sunday, October 4th, 2009


12th Annual  




 By Allan R. Ellenberger


Last night, October 3, was the 12th annual banquet for Hollywood Underground, a group dedicated to documenting, sharing and preserving the burial sites of Hollywood’s “most famous stars, moguls and eccentrics.”


The theme of the dinner, held at the Mission Room of the  Beverly Garland Hotel, was “Down and Out in North Hollywood: The Economy is Dead and So are the Stars.”


Steve Goldstein


Master of Ceremonies, Steve Goldstein, who is the author of LA’s Graveside Companion: Where the VIPs RIP, welcomed the 70-plus members that included veterans and new comers alike.



Roger Sinclair

Roger Sinclair, “The Godfather of Graving”



Hollywood Underground founder, Karen McHale


Besides Steve, welcoming remarks were made by Roger Sinclair (“The Godfather of Graving”) and Hollywood Underground founder, the late Karen McHale. A surprisingly tasty buffet included something for everyone – beef, chicken and fish and was topped off with a scrumptious Klondike Bar-type ice cream dish.



Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein – Publicity Whore


 The festivities began appropriately with a roast of emcee Steve Goldstein by dinner chairman and original Hollywood Underground member, Harry Martin. Steve has been in the public eye recently due to the death of pop-star Michael Jackson (no he had nothing to do with his passing), appearing on CNN, Good Morning America, Inside Edition and having his information appropriated by the New York Post. Comedian Jon Stewart picked up on Steve’s infamy and dubbed him the most famous “Celebrity Grave Expert” in America on The Daily Show. Congratulations Steve for also being Hollywood Undergrounds, Grave Hunter of the Year 2009!



Kim Eazell

Kim Eazell the “Queen of the OC”


Kim Eazell, also-known-as “The Queen of the OC,” gave a pictorial tour of “Graving in Orange County.” Yes, there are famous people buried in Orange County besides those Real Housewives (their television career – not them). Besides showing prominent graves from several Orange County cemeteries, Kim also shared rare information from an upcoming book on cemeteries in the OC by author Mike Barry. She left us with a teaser about the relative of an obese silent film comedian — but we’ll have to wait for the book.



Harry Martin

Harry Martin, Dinner Chairman and honoree


Kim then honored dinner chairman, Harry Martin for all the hard work he does in planning the Hollywood Underground event by dubbing him “Martha (Stewart) Junior.” Harry was awarded a sceptre, tiara and sash to signify the honor. Harry’s partner, Art Carapia was also honored as “Harry’s Beloved.” Congratulations Harry!



Mark Masek

Mark Masek


After a brief intermission, Mark Masek, the author of Hollywood Remains to be Seen, gave what was promised as a “quirky tour” of celebrity graves. Did he deliver? Well…. by George he did.  Mark gave a witty account of Hollywood graves which included revealing the tombstones of several California dead who happen to have the same name as someone famous — including seven (or so) U.S. presidential imposter’s.



HU-raffle table


Tickets were sold for a raffle which ended the festivities. Prizes were donated by Hollywood Underground members and included signed books by several of the authors present, a variety of other entertainment books, DVD’s, autographed documents and tombstone rubbings.



Hollywood Underground



Hollywood Underground


Thanks go to everyone involved that helped make the Hollywood Underground dinner such a success. Besides those already mentioned, thank you to Art Carapia (Computer Tech/Accounting); Colleen Tebo (PowerPoint Projector) and those adorable “Raffle Girls,” Karen Fogerty and Jayne Osborne. I would also like to thank Allison Francis (we forgot our photo) for being my “date” for the evening and thanks to her husband Mike for allowing it.



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Michael Jackson’s Funeral

Saturday, September 5th, 2009


Sleeping in Beauty ~ Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson's casket

Michael Jackson’s casket prior to entombment (© Reuters 9/3/2009)


Check out Lisa Burks’ blog for an eyewitness report of Michael Jackson’s funeral:


“Ten weeks after his untimely death, Michael Jackson was finally laid to rest last night at Forest Lawn Glendale in the Great Mausoleum, Holly Terrace, during a much publicized private funeral.”


Click here to continue reading the article from Lisa Burks blog, “Adventures in Graving”



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Valentino’s Forgotten Admirer

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


Valentino’s forgotten admirer




By Allan R. Ellenberger


With news of the impending burial of singer Michael Jackson (September 3) in the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn-Glendale, fans will be deprived of making the pilgrimage to his grave – if this is indeed his final resting place. Forest Lawn is infamous for their so-called privacy issues, and with the burial of the King of Pop within their granite walls, security will be tightened. Sadly though, security is sometimes taken to extremes. At times, overzealous cemetery personnel often harass people who have every right to be there.  


How differently the entombment of silent film star, Rudolph Valentino was handled at Hollywood Cemetery almost 83 years ago. Valentino, whose death and burial was as controversial in 1926 as Jackson’s is today, was interred in the Cathedral Mausoleum – not as imposing or opulent as the gothic Great Mausoleum, but just as stately and on a smaller scale.


For two years after Valentino’s death, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 people from around the world visited his borrowed crypt. This early pilgrimage by fans was documented in the 1938 book, Valentino the Unforgotten by Roger C. Peterson. In it, Peterson, who was custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum, documents the almost daily invasion of visitors to the actors’ tomb.


Roger C. Peterson

 Roger C. Peterson, right, and an unidentified assistant place a floral tribute at Rudolph Valentino’s crypt, circa 1938 (photo courtesy of Tracy Ryan Terhune)


Peterson began working at the mausoleum the year following Valentino’s death. At that time, the only celebrities interred in the vast granite edifice besides Valentino were director and still-unsolved murder victim, William Desmond Taylor and the “Too Beautiful” actress, Barbara La Marr.


Over the eleven years that Peterson worked at the mausoleum, he met and talked to literally hundreds of Valentino admirers. In the book Peterson shares some of those stories — some peculiar and others very poignant. One story in particular was about a simple middle-aged woman, a devoted fan, but whose purpose at the mausoleum was more than just about Valentino. In a few paragraphs, Peterson describes his experience with this woman:


“Of all the people who are loyal to Valentino’s memory, there is one who stands out. She is an Italian woman and comes to the mausoleum three or four times a week. Although she had never seen Valentino in real life she had formed such an attachment for him in pictures, that when he died, she and her husband sold their home in San Diego and moved to Los Angeles. They now have a home within walking distance of the cemetery.


“A few years after they came here she had a baby which died at birth. She named it after Valentino. The baby’s crypt is near that of Valentino, and many people mistake it for his. She brings fresh flowers from her garden. These she divides equally between her baby and Rudy. She also takes care of the flowers brought in by other visitors and fixes these with loving care. Then, with her Bible in hand, she sits for hours reading and saying her prayers. Often I have heard her crying, and it is quite pitiful to hear her weep for her loved ones. Many times after I have closed the mausoleum, she will walk by the windows nearest her crypts and continue to say her prayers.


“She claims Valentino has come to her at night and talked with her. In her broken English she says, ‘Mr. Pete, the spirit of Rudy come to my house. He knocks on walls, sometime on door. I feel him close to me. He say he help me to be happy and he is glad I come to bring flowers to him.’


“She has met Valentino’s brother and sister. On Rudy’s birthday and anniversary of his death, she always arranges the flowers so that it is very pretty when they arrive. They have become good friends and she tells me that Alberto has been to her home for a visit.”



The corridor where the crypt of Rudolph Valentino is located (see arrow) and the crypt of Angelina Coppola and her son Rodolfo Valentino, top row left. Angelina would sit here and pray and read her Bible. (photo by Alan Light)


When I first read this account many years ago, I searched the walls around Valentino’s crypt looking for the remains of this child, but to no avail. I wondered if perhaps Peterson’s imagination had at some point taken over his storytelling, but decided to do more digging.


Based on Peterson’s story, the infant Rudolph was located near Valentino’s crypt and was sometimes confused for his. So I narrowed my search to the same wall where Valentino rests looking for an Italian surname. On the very top row and a few columns to the left of Valentino are the crypts of a couple named CoppolaMatthew and Angelina.


The Coppola’s story is typical of many immigrants who came to this country at the turn of the last century. Both Matthew and Angelina were born in Italy – Matthew’s family arriving here in 1894 when he was 13 years old. They settled in Paterson, New Jersey where Matthew met fellow immigrant, Angelina Rosa Federico. The two were married and started a family – Thomas, Lewis, Dante and Virgilio – all sons. Matthew was a carpenter by trade and in 1919 he moved his family to California to find work – first in San Jose and soon after moving to 2371 Brant Street in San Diego.


True to Peterson’s account, the Coppola’s moved again sometime in late 1926 to Los Angeles – specifically to 1316 Tamarind Avenue (demolished) in Hollywood – only two and a half blocks from Hollywood Cemetery. (The Coppola’s next door neighbor was future singer/actor and Valentino look-a-like, Russ Columbo)


Early in 1928, at the age of 45, Angelina found that she was pregnant, but sadly the baby boy died at birth on September 28. The state records list the child only as Baby Coppola but Angelina named him Rodolfo Valentino Coppola in honor of the actor.


Roger Peterson first met the Coppola’s when their child was interred in the top row crypt on October 15, 1928. Peterson, whom Angelina called ‘Mr. Pete,’ became friends with the Coppola’s during her frequent visits to the mausoleum. In his diary, dated November 24, 1928, Peterson wrote of Angelina’s personal encounter with Valentino:


“Mrs. Coppola was happier today than I have ever seen her. I asked her why and she told me a strange story of Valentino coming to her last night and talking to her. She said his spirit came to her house and knocked on the door. When she let him in, he told her that her baby was happy and not to grieve so much.”


However, it was difficult for the Coppola’s to entirely release their grief for they felt their child’s death was due to the doctor’s negligence. In 1930 they sued Dr. Rodolfo E. Monaco for $75,000 for asserted malpractice. During the trial, Angelina was on the stand being questioned about a statement she made to the effect that “she had been warned by a voice.”


At this point in her testimony, a woman jumped from her seat in the gallery and rushed to the front of the courtroom. Later identified as Shelly Roane Vier, a Long Beach psychic, she claimed she was sent to protect Angelina Coppola. She told the court that the spirit of Rudolph Valentino had directed her to Hollywood Cemetery the previous Christmas, where she met Angelina, and that his spirit had sent her to the courtroom that day. She was in a trance, she said, and for the moment, the spirit of a departed Indian chief, Gray Eagle, possessed her as she spoke in a strange tongue.


It was several minutes before order was restored and Vier was led from the courtroom by a companion. When court reconvened, the judge granted a motion of the plaintiff’s counsel declaring a mistrial. A second trial held two years later was suddenly ended by the judge who held that there was no evidence to show negligence on the part of Monaco.



 The crypt of Angelina Coppola and most likely her son, Rodolfo Valentino Coppola (d. 1928)


We assume that Angelina continued her frequent visits to the mausoleum for many years afterward, but who can say for sure. Baby Rodolfo’s grave is no longer marked with his name, but it’s likely that he was interred with his mother in the same crypt (1172) when she died on March 23, 1956 at age 72. Perhaps his marker, the one that confused so many fans, was also placed inside.


Peterson remained the custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum until 1940 when he left to become a home contractor. The cemetery did not replace Peterson and there would never be another custodian to walk the corridors of the mausoleum, directing visitors to Valentino’s crypt.


Roger Peterson grave marker

 The grave of Roger C. Peteron, one-time custodian of the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetery (photo courtesy of Tracy Ryan Terhune)


Roger Peterson died on July 31, 1972 and was laid to rest at Grandview Cemetery in Glendale. One wonders why he wasn’t interred at Hollywood Cemetery where he had worked for so many years.


Valentino the Unforgotten, the book that Roger C. Peterson wrote based on his diaries of the never-ending procession of visitors to Valentino’s crypt, was published in 1938. However, after only one shipment was sent to stores, a fire destroyed the warehouse where the remaining copies were held. The book was never republished so copies of the original are rare. In 2007, Tracy Ryan Terhune brought the book back into print, adding new information on Peterson. The book can be purchased on Amazon.


If you attend the 82nd Annual Rudolph Valentino Memorial on Sunday, August 23, 2009, before visiting the crypt of Valentino, pause for a moment below the resting place of Angelina and Matthew Coppola and their son Rodolfo, and remember a mother’s devotion and love for her child. 


Thank you to Tracy Terhune for the use of his photos and permission to quote from Valentino the Unforgotten.



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The Thriller of the Hunt

Saturday, July 11th, 2009


The Thriller of the Hunt


 Michael Jackson

 MJ’s landmark album”Thriller” ~ 25th Anniversary promotional photo


Adventures in Graving
By Lisa Burks


Before Michael Jackson’s death, grave hunting was a (pardon the pun) niche interest.


Today it’s become a national obsession as the mainstream media Keystone Cop their way around our stomping grounds, trying to do what seasoned Hollywood area grave hunters have been accomplishing for years: find out where a body is buried.


Now I can appreciate what Meryl Streep must feel like whenever a flavor-of-the-month model tries to act. Just kidding. Kindasorta. 😉


Click here to continue reading Lisa Burk’s article, The Thriller of the Night



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Rudolph Valentino and Michael Jackson Comparison

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


The Circus of death


Line waiting to view Valentino's body

Line of fans and mourners waiting to view
the body of actor Rudolph Valentino in 1926


Fellow blogger and Rudolph Valentino expert, Donna Hill, has posted an interesting comparison between the lives and the deaths of silent film idol Rudolph Valentino and the recently deceased “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. Check out her blog, Strictly Vintage Hollywood.


“The recent and very sudden death of the pop icon Michael Jackson gave me pause to reflect on interesting parallels between two events 80 years apart: the uncanny similarity to the “Circus of Death” that accompanied the untimely passing of silent screen idol Rudolph Valentino.”


Click here to continue reading Donna’s article



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Michael Jackson’s Will

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


Michael Jackson’s will


Michael Jackson


Click here to read Michael Jackson’s Will




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Michael Jackson Tribute on Walk of Fame

Friday, June 26th, 2009


Fans honor singer Michael Jackson on the Walk of Fame


Michael Jackson in London

Michael Jackson

(1958 – 2009)


By Allan R. Ellenberger
June 26,2009


The helicoptors buzzing over my roof reminded me that the world was watching fans congregate at the Walk of Fame star for singer Michael Jackson, located in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. So I decided to check it out walking the five blocks from my home and finally working my way into the crowds as Michael Jackson songs blared from souvenir stores and hawkers sold Michael Jackson T-shirts on Hollywood Boulevard.


I never got close enough to see the “King of Pop’s” actual star since the wait in line was a half-block long and about 6 deep on the star-studded sidewalk. But here are a few of the sights I was able to record:


Michael Jackson fans at Grauman's Chinese

Fans wait in line for a chance for a 15 second glimpse of Jackson’s star


Jackson neon sign at Grauman's

Grauman’s Chinese gives tribute to the pop singer on its neon sign


Michael Jackson fans

Michael Jackson fans wait in line to see his flower-strewn star


Michael Jackson fans

Media trucks cover fans as they view Michael Jackson’s star on the Walk of Fame. The Cinegrill at the Roosevelt displays Jackson’s name and birth/death years.



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