entrance sign
entryway sign
Hollywood Forever Cemetery (est. 1899; first burial in 1901)
(formerly Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery)
6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, California 90038


Related Links:
Seeing-Stars.com: Hollywood Forever. This site has detailed maps of the grounds.
Weird California: Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This site has the ghost stories.
"Flowers & Gifts" shop
where you buy the map.
Posted September 30, 2009. Updated May 2014.

Hollywood Forever was formerly Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, a cemetery that had fallen into disrepair, until it was purchased by Forever Enterprises in 1998, refurbished, and renamed Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Paramount Studios occupies the area behind the cemetery, and that land was once a part of the original 100-acre cemetery.

At the flower shop, there is a map available for five dollars that shows the layout of the cemetery with numbered circles indicating where notable personalities are buried. The numbers are paired with names on the back of the map. For 20 dollars, you not only get the map but a book with photos and blurbs.

The florist made it a point to carefully explain where Rudolph Valentino is buried, which led me to think that either many people missed it like me or he was the reason many people visit the cemetery because of the story about the "Lady in Black" who regularly visited his grave, or both.
Lady in Black
Anna Maria de Carrascosa (1910-1973)
in area around the Clark Mausoleum.
Who is the original "Lady in Black"?
The "Lady in Black" would leave a single red rose (or a bouquet) at Valentino's grave on the anniversary of his death. No one knew what her relationship to Valentino was. A number of copycat ladies sprang up to confuse the matter further. However, most people believe the original "Lady in Black" was Ditra Flame (1912-1984), a woman remembering Valentino's kindness and encouragement to her when she was a sick girl in the hospital: "You're not going to die at all. You are going to outlive me by many years. But one thing for sure — if I die before you do, you please come and stay by me because I don't want to be alone either. You come and talk to me." (source: San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 24, 1977) That woman died in 1984 and is buried at San Jacinto Valley Cemetery in nearby Riverside County, but the tradition has continued with successive symbolic mourners.
The Cathedral Mausoleum where Rudolph Valentino lies buried closes at 4:00 p.m.* (*A May 2014 visitor wrote that it closes at 2:00 p.m. now.) When I looked at my watch, it was 3:55. But there were other accessible graves to visit until the overall 5:00 closing time (on weekdays) for the cemetery. MORAL: Visit the florist shop first and get a map. [NOTE: I eventually made a visit the following month to see Valentino.]

What surprised me initially about the cemetery was that it wasn't flat. I had earlier in the afternoon visited another cemetery, just because it was there, as they say. And that cemetery had left me disappointed because the landscape was incredibly flat with nothing photo worthy. But Hollywood Forever Cemetery has monuments, a lot of them. So this is where they bury rich people, I remember thinking, somewhat awestruck.
Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)
(aka Rodolfo Guglielmi Valentino)
view from the Griffith Obelisk
The other surprising thing was how many birds and animals I saw there. The cemetery is a sanctuary, especially for the birds, with green lawns and large bodies of water (at the Clark and Fairbanks memorials), a welcome break from the asphalt and concrete jungle that Los Angeles is.

Photos copyright © Sept. 2009 Kat Avila (plus Nov. 2009 for Valentino)
Time: Mid-afternoon
Camera: Canon SD780 IS
Notes: Community events at the cemetery, such as concerts, summertime movie screenings, and the annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, will affect the availability of parking.
You can drive in…
…or walk in.
The florist is to your right.
Building where the
flower shop is housed.
wishing well
Looking toward
the entrance gate.
admin office
This building houses the
administrative offices
and the Masonic Lodge.
Hollywood sign
The 50-ft.-tall Hollywood sign
on Mt. Lee can be seen from
the cemetery through smog.
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory
on Mt. Hollywood is to the
right of the Hollywood sign.
ground squirrel
For tree squirrels, it's just
another park, but this one is
imitating the praying angel
in the bottom left corner.
Cupid and Psyche
"Cupid and Psyche"
in the Garden of Eternal Love
(based on the legendary tale)
Mel Blanc headstone
Mel Blanc (1908-1989)
"That's All Folks"
Man of 1000 Voices
cartoon voiceover talent
Cathedral Mausoleum
Cathedral Mausoleum sign

The Twelve Apostles greet
visitors to the mausoleum.
Looking back toward
the entrance.
Rudolph Valentino is buried
in the opposite corridor.
Rudolph Valentino
Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)
3rd one up, next to window
window next to
Rudolph Valentino's crypt
crypt room window
Clark Mausoleum & Nearby Areas
The memorial is for William Andrews Clark, Jr. (1877-1934), founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Clark Mausoleum Clark Mausoleum great egret
great egret
Canada geese
Canada geese
pond turtle
pond turtle
Chinese lion
Looks like a guardian
Chinese lion or Korean dog,
part of a curbside pair that
marks the pathway to the
mausoleum from the street.
Hattie McDaniel cenotaph
Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952)
She was the first African-
American to win an Oscar,
but when she died her request
to be buried here was turned
down. Years later, in 1999,
a cenotaph was erected to
honor her wish in spirit.
Johnny Ramone cenotaph
Johnny Ramone (1948-2004)
(aka John William Cummings)
A die-hard Republican and
punk rocker, he was cremated
and his cenotaph stands at
the opposite end of the lawn
from the grave of band member
Dee Dee Ramone (1951-2002).
Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967)
(aka Vera Jayne Palmer)

The actress's birth year is
incorrect on the cenotaph;
it's a classic feminine privilege
to shave a few years off.

*A cenotaph means the
remains are elsewhere.
Griffith Obelisk
Griffith Obelisk
in adjacent Griffith Lawn

Griffith Jenkins Griffith
Behymer and Cat
I was intently peering into one memorial trying to get a better look at a stained glass window when out of the cemetery quiet there was a loud "MEOWR!" My heart just about leaped into my throat. A black cat peeked around the corner, then sat in front of the tomb like it had guard duty.

When I later looked up the name "Behymer," which was on the memorial, it turns out there was a Lynden Ellsworth Behymer (1862-1947) who came to Los Angeles from Ohio and was a powerful and influential figure in the support and promotion of the city's musical and dramatic arts in the early 1900s, including co-founding and managing the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra, which preceded William Clark Jr.'s Los Angeles Philharmonic.

How do I know I have the right "Behymer"? To his friends he was known as "Bee," the image of which I had been curiously peering at.
cat cat cat cat bee
Fairbanks Memorial for swashbuckling actors Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) and his son Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (1909-2000)
I didn't know Behymer's cat
was following me, but there
it was. Here it's being weird,
probably staring at a bird.
Fairbanks Memorial
Yep, that's the same cat
beneath the bench. It might
be a regular since I've seen
other posted cat sightings.
(BTW, I'm allergic to cats.)
mute swan
mute swan
mute swan
mute swan
Fairbanks Memorial
Canada geese are swimming
and feeding near the memorial.
Crystal Palace
The statuary looked Buddhist, but not a brand I was familiar with. It took some online research to uncover that this area was the burial ground for Thai Buddhists. When you visit, listen for the gentle welcoming sound of the bell wind chime.
Crystal Palace
from across the way
Crystal Palace spires spires guardian
Buddha statue bell praying statue guardian
Abbey of the Psalms
Abbey of the Psalms
ghostThe ghost of actor
Clifton Webb (1899-1966) is
said to haunt the area.
corridor Love, Beauty, Joy
"Love - Beauty - Joy"
in a crypt room
Christian cross
stained glass cross
and flower holder
heart-shaped pair
of peacocks
Beth Olam (House of Eternity) Cemetery (est. circa 1927)
"Beth Olam" or "Bet Olam" is a Jewish euphemism for a cemetery. While within the parameters of Hollywood Forever, Beth Olam is a separate cemetery with its own address (900 N. Gower St.) and entrance on Gower, where the Holocaust Memorial and Anne Frank (1929-1945) cenotaph are located (sights that I missed).
Hall of Solomon
Hall of Solomon
Hall of Solomon
headstones mural
Funerary Art and Symbols
Russian Orthodox cross
Russian Orthodox cross
Square and Compasses
Square and Compass(es)
Freemasonry symbol
Broadway icon
stone angel
stone angel
stone mourner
stone flowers
stone flowers
10th Dia de Los Muertos
(Day of the Dead)
October 24, 2009
10th Dia de Los Muertos
(Day of the Dead)
October 24, 2009
"Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end;
Will come when it will come."

—William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 2