I’m back from my L.A. trip, and despite getting deathly ill my last day there, I had a great time. One of my favorite stops was the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, which is Marilyn Monroe’s final resting place. I’m not necessarily a huge MM fan, but when you think Hollywood, you think Marilyn, so it made sense to me.
Much to my surprise, there were some celebrity tombstones at Westwood Village that were far more attention-getting than Miss Monroe’s.
The cemetery was not at all what I was expecting. I’m used to vast expanses of lush green lawn with headstones varying from a big stone to a huge, opulent mausoleum. There’s just not room for hundreds of cemeteries of that size in L.A. In fact, you don’t really even know there’s a cemetery hidden amongst all of the big buildings until you’re practically inside of it. A vast majority of the tombs were set into walls and the ones that weren’t were pretty standardized. Which is why it was really apparent when someone went the extra mile to stand out by showing a little humor on their tombstones.
Merv Griffin’s had my husband in stitches (sorry about the reflection):
Equally funny was Jack Lemmon’s, who made it to one final marquee:
Fans of Grumpy Old Men and The Odd Couple will be pleased to know that Walter Matthau is buried nearby.
Obviously, Rodney Dangerfield couldn’t go out without a laugh:
As a writer, Billy Wilder’s is especially close to my heart:
Meanwhile, Marilyn’s is pretty nondescript:
Visiting Westwood made me wonder what other celebrities wanted to keep people laughing long after their deaths, so I did a little investigating.
The Man of a Thousand Voices knew how to leave his audience wanting more. On the off-chance that you’re not familiar, Mel was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the cat, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn (among others). How fitting, then, that he chose to have this engraved on his headstone:
You might expect one of Frost’s famous quotes to be inscribed on his tombstone – “In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on.” Instead, he went with something equally thought-provoking:
(”I had a lover’s quarrel with the world”, in case you can’t read it.)
Edgar Allan Poe
Such a dark and macabre writer such as Edgar Allan Poe would surely have something similarly creepy on his headstone, and he does not disappoint. “Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’,” is what the text on the arch over the raven says.
You may not know Ed Wynn by name, but Disney fans will recognize him as the voice of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Later, he played crazy Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins. Prior to Alice, he was a headliner on Broadway who found his way under W.C. Fields’ tutelage. Wynn remembered who was responsible for all of his success and made sure to note so on his memorial:
Finally, you wouldn’t expect a legend like Frank Sinatra to go out without last words to remember him by:
Stop squinting. It says, “The Best Is Yet To Come.”
What are some other entertaining, thought-provoking or otherwise interesting epitaphs we should know about?