I suppose if you are the type of person that likes to visit the graves of famous people, then this is the cemetery for you. I’m not that type of person. As I’ve mentioned before, I often find the graves of the non-famous to be more interesting than those who are more well-known. That’s not to say I won’t seek out the grave of someone in particular if they meant something to me personally, but otherwise I’m happy enough to come across the grave through my wanderings.
So I ventured into Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the last hour that it was open for the day. Not a good start. I prefer to begin my day with a cemetery. I’d spent some time in downtown L.A., visiting museums and avoiding the rain, but I knew I wanted to see this cemetery while I was in the city. Actually, I had a list of about 5 or 6 cemeteries, but without a car getting to them proved time-consuming. In any event, I was tired from all the walking I had already done that day. So, while I was happy to be finally be able to see the cemetery, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to do so. I didn’t bother with a cemetery map, I just started wandering (to the left, as usual), letting my eyes dictate where I wanted to go.
This is one of the oldest cemeteries in L.A., and the only one in Hollywood. It’s not in a particularly well-to-do area, but the cemetery itself is nicely landscaped, so it made wandering around quite easy. Well, except for the soggy ground, which I had to be careful with – the grounds were not uniformly smooth and there were times where I thought there was a real possibility of falling through a grave. Luckily, that didn’t happen!
There are a number of tombs and statues here – nothing to rival the scale of the big European cemeteries, but enough to be interesting. I think the real draw here is the number of notable celebrities buried here – the vast majority seem to be actors/actresses/ directors, etc., but there are gangsters, jazz musicians, and other singers/musicians here too. Even though that’s not something that usually attracts me when I when I visit a cemetery, I wish I had had more time to actually do a little “star-gazing” at a cemetery where it is really appropriate to do so. Oh well – the next time I’m in L.A. (whenever that will be).
Quality of Monuments: Good. There are a few statues, but of course the real draw here is the actual grave sites of the various celebrities buried here.
Cemetery Grounds: Extensive – but mostly flat. It’s easy to get around. There’s a nice pond in the Garden of Legends.
Visitors: Quite a few, despite it being the end of a cold, grey, rainy day. People were chasing graves as fast as they could before the cemetery closed for the day. However, the numbers were small enough not to be intrusive.
Photographer Notes: None really. It’s a pretty open space, so graves are well-lit from every angle.
Cemetery: Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Location: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Notable Internments: Don Adams (Get Smart), Mel Blanc (That’s All Folks!), Cecil DeMille (Director), Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz), George Harrison (the Beatles), DeeDee Ramone (the Ramones), Rudolph Valentino (actor), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek reboot)
Hours: 8:30-17:00 daily (until 17:30 in the summer)