Posts Tagged ‘Woodlawn Cemetery’

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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The Doty Twins Tragedy

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

 HOLLYWOOD TRAGEDIES

Weston and Winston Doty; the lost twins from “Peter Pan”

 

  

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

For nineteen years, Winston and Weston Doty, twin brothers, lived together, went together and developed the close comradeship that comes only to boys of their kind until the Montrose flood swept down on them during a New Year’s Eve party and ended their lives.

 

Weston and Winston, the twin sons of Clarence “Jack” Doty – radio actor and one time leading man for Edna Park – and Olive Nance Naylor, were born on February 18, 1914 in Malta, Ohio. Before the twins were five years old, their parents separated and Olive moved the family to Los Angeles where she gained employment at the Palmer Photo Play Corporation. It was here that she formed connections to get the twins into films. Weston was originally named Wilson at birth; however once he began appearing in films with his brother, his name was changed.

 

 

Winston and Weston Doty in “One Terrible Day” (1922)

 

The Doty twins film credits included a few Our Gang shorts and as the twin Lost Boys in the 1924 version of Peter Pan starring Betty Bronson. The pair were talented radio performers and, at the age of 15, they graduated from Venice High School. In 1931-32 they attended the architectural school of the University of Southern California where they gained more fame as cheer leaders for the Trojans’ football team. Unfortunately after two years they had to drop out to earn enough money to complete their schooling.

 

On Sunday evening, December 31, 1933, the boys left their home at 1026 Amoroso Place, Venice to attend a New Year’s party given by Henry Hesse at 2631 Manhattan Avenue in Montrose. Weston escorted Mary Janet Cox to the party and Winston took Gladys Fisher. A steady rain had been falling in Los Angeles since early Saturday morning. The chief topic that evening – besides the rain – was the next day’s Rose Bowl game between Stanford and Columbia Universities.

 

At midnight, the twins called their mother and wished her a happy new year.  It was the last time she would hear their voices. A short time later, Henry Hesse heard water rushing around the house. He stepped to a rear door, just in time to see the porch swept away. Rushing inside he grabbed his wife, ran for another exit and shouted: “Everybody get out!”

 

As the party guests reached the outside, they stepped off into several feet of swirling water as the walls of the home crumbled. Hesse said he held to his wife and battled the constantly rising waters to the street, then grabbed a floating tree trunk, placed his wife astride it and started to swim. Three blocks from their demolished home the log rammed into a concrete wall, where the two held on safely until the waters subsided.

 

 

Above is Manhattan Avenue, Montrose after the New Years flood in 1934 where the Hesse house once stood and where the Doty twins lost their lives (lapl)

 

 

On New Year’s Day, searchers found Winston and Weston’s bodies lying close together in the debris in the Verdugo Wash. Mary escaped the flood but Gladys was also drowned. Once the flood waters had subsided, a total of 35 people had lost their lives that night.

 

 

 

Funeral services for 19 year-old Winston and Weston Doty were conducted at the Union Congregational Church in Venice followed by cremation at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, where they are interred. The following year, their father Jack died alone from a heart attack in a Chicago hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

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William Andrews Clark Jr. Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever

Friday, June 4th, 2010
By Allan R. Ellenberger

Visitors to Hollywood Forever Cemetery invariably ask who is interred in the huge mausoleum in the center of the lake. The answer is William Andrews Clark, Jr., the second son of millionaire copper-king and Montana Senator, William A. Clark, Sr. (1839-1925).

Clark, a philanthropist, was founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1919) and a collector of rare books. At his death, he left his library of rare books and manuscripts to the regents of UCLA. Today, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library specializes in English literature and history from 1641 to 1800, materials related to Oscar Wilde and his associates, and fine printing.

The Clark family mausoleum is built on an island approached by a large bridge fashioned of 40-foot granite slabs. The artificial lake, island and bridge, which covers 50,000 square feet, were constructed in 1909 at a cost of $10,000. At the time it was said to be modeled after “one of the large cemeteries of the East.”

In January 1920, Clark bought the island and within a few weeks, contractors began work on the foundation of the mausoleum which is made of reinforced concrete. Clark contracted the Georgia Marble Company (Tate, Georgia) for $125,000 worth of white Georgia crystaline marble, where it was quarried but was cut here in Los Angeles.

The mausoleum, which was designed by architect Robert D. Farquhar, is in the Ionic style. The pediment is all in one piece. The bronze door was cast from a model design and made by an eastern sculptor.

The interior of the mausoleum is finished with reddish marble and the sarcophagi, of which there are seven, are in like material. The inside dome is finished with a design worked out in mosaic of pigeon blue and old gold. A similar mosaic is laid on the floor. The four interior stained glass windows were made by Lamm & Co. of New York. On the walls are Biblical scenes done in mosaic which 18 Italian artists labored on for 14 months.

The mausoleum was completed in 1921 at a cost of more than $500,000, which includes the island site, the bridge and the lake which had palely beautiful lotus blossoms, hyacinths and lilies from far-away lands.

When the mausoleum was completed, Clark transferred the body of his first wife, Mabel Foster Clark (1880-1903) to it from a vault in Butte, Montana, and also the body of his second wife, Alice McManus Clark (1884-1918) which was then resting in the family mausoleum of his uncle, J. Ross Clark, at Hollywood Cemetery.

There are seven sarcophagi in the mausoleum, three on each side, and one at the head where Clark is interred. Besides his two wives, also interred there is his only son, William A. Clark III (1902-1932), who died in an airplane crash. They all preceded him in death.

William Andrews Clark, Jr. died of heart disease at his summer home in Salmon Lake, Montana on June 14, 1934.

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Clark’s father, Senator William Andrews Clark, Sr., is interred in his own grand mausoleum (above) at the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.

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Olive Thomas at Woodlawn Cemetery…

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

 — NEW YORK SPECIAL —

 

WOODLAWN CEMETERY

Olive Thomas

(1894-1920)

 

 

AMERICAN SILENT FILM ACTRESS

 

BORN: October 24, 1894, Charleroi, Pennsylvania

DIED: September 10, 1920, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

CAUSE OF DEATH: Accidental poisoning

 

FUNERAL: St. Thomas Church, New York

 

 

BURIAL: Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York

 

 

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