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.”
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, “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 – 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 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, 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!
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.
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.
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.