Hollywood Remains to Be Seen

Christmas at Holy Cross - Dec. 20, 2009

One of the thing that sets Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City apart from most other cemeteries in the Los Angeles area in December is the large amount of Christmas decorations and displays on gravesites throughout the cemetery. It's not unusual to see full-sized Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, poinsettia plants, flowers, candy canes, bows, wreaths, toys and wrapped packages adorning the graves, along with lots of tinsel, garland and ornaments.

The group stops to read some of the notes that have been left on the grave of Bela Lugosi, along with some flowers and one black rose.

"No, Steve, the graves are down there, by your feet."

Just because we're in a cemetery, that doesn't mean there's no time for gift giving. In this case, a lovely sea-foam-green Snuggie.

And, of course, we did look around to find some of the well-known permanent residents of Holy Cross ...

Singer and actor Bing Crosby, who is buried next to his parents and his first wife, Dixie, who died in 1952.

Comedian Jimmy Durante, and his recently deceased second wife, Margie.

Actress and dancer Ann Miller, along with her daughter, Mary Milner. Miller was nine months pregnant in 1946 when her first husband, Reese Milner, got drunk, beat her up and threw her down a flight of stairs, breaking her back. Miller gave birth to the child, but the little girl died three hours later. Miller and Milner were divorced in January 1947. Miller married two more times, but had no other children.

Actor Jackie Coogan, who started his acting career co-starring with Charlie Chaplin in "The Kid" (1921), and ended it as Uncle Fester on "The Addams Family" on television in the 1960s.

"Chick" Hearn, the long-time voice of the L.A. Lakers.

Trombonist and bandleader Kid Ory, who was influential in reviving interest in New Orleans-style jazz.

Gossip columnist Louella Parsons.

Charles Von der Ahe opened a small grocery store in downtown Los Angeles in 1906. By 1928, the Vons chain had expanded to 87 stores, and Charles Von der Ahe sold the business the following year. Four years later, his two sons, Ted and Will, got into the business, and launched the first "supermarket." There are currently 325 Vons stores in Southern Californians and Nevada.

Barney Oldfield was an automobile racer and pioneer. He was the first person to drive a car at 60 mph on an oval track, and he raced in two Indianapolis 500 races, in 1914 and 1916. Though he never won at Indianapolis, he was the first person to record a 100 mph lap. He also inspired a generation of parents to say to their children as they run through the house, "Who do you think you are? Barney Oldfield?"

Daws Butler was the voice of many cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound. He was also the inspiration, mentor and trainer of many current cartoon voice actors, including Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson.

The founder of Keystone Studios, Mack Sennett was one of the early innovaters in film comedy, working with Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and the Keystone Cops.

Actress Mary Astor is best remembered for her role as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), co-starring with Humphrey Bogart,

Actor Ray Bolger is best known for his performance as the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).

Bandleader Lawrence Welk hosted "The Lawrence Welk Show" on television from 1951 to 1982.

Actor Vince Edwards, best known for his performance in the title role in the "Ben Casey" television series, from 1961 to 1966. His real name was Vincent Edward Zoine.

Ricardo Montalban starred in "Latin lover" roles throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, and is best known today for his role as the white-suited Mr. Roarke on TV's "Fantasy Island" from 1978 to 1984.

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