Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Woodlawn Cemetary's Stars of Stage Tour

A Vintage Nerd

The idea of going on a tour of a cemetery may sound grim or even morbid to some but when I heard about this tour and that it was going to be lead by a well known biographer, I just had to try and go.

I lived in the Bronx for about 15 years and I never went to the Woodlawn Cemetery. I heard of it here and there but I honestly never knew that so many important people from the vaudeville/silent film era, classic film in general, and musical genius's like Irving Berlin were buried here.

Let me start by saying the Bronx of today was not the Bronx of yesteryear. I won't put it down but let's just say everything you hear about it, well it wasn't like that then. So when important folks passed on even in Hollywoodland, the place to be buried was all the way in the Bronx, New York at Woodlawn Cemetery. Even if the person had no ties to New York or the Bronx, this was the place the wealthy and important were laid to rest.

The day of the tour was a potentially rainy day  and then I met up with the group and the leader, Eve Golden, who is a published biographer of some classic film stars. We walked through this cemetery and visited the resting place of many famous folks that most people wouldn't be aware of. I know I wasn't. Luckily the rain held out to the very last moments of the tour-yay!

Here are most of the resting places I visited and I also included a photo and links so you can see who they are as well:

Olive Thomas Grave
Olive Thomas
 Olive Thomas (married to Mary Pickford's brother)
Bert Savoy Grave
Bert Savoy
Jay Brennan Grave
 Bert Savoy (female impressionist) and Jay Brennan (possibly his partner in life-buried close by)
Myrna Darby Grave
Myrna Darby
Myrna Darby
Sam M. Lewis Grave

eShakti
Duke Ellington Grave
Duke Ellington
Miles Davis Grave
Miles Davis
Marilyn Miller
Marilyn Miller
 Marilyn Miller (also once married to Mary Pickford's brother)
Woodlawn Cemetary
Irving Berlin Grave
Irving Berlin
Vernon and Irene Castle Grave
Vernon and Irene Castle

I found this cemetery to be so beautiful and uniquely peaceful. I say that because unlike other cemeteries, there really weren't many people there visiting loved ones because so many of those who have passed, passed on many years ago. I really enjoyed walking around and being able to pay my respect to those who passed and also admire the beauty of many of the old headstones. This was a very unique and special experience.

Have you ever gone on a cemetary tour? Have you ever wanted to pay your respect and visit the resting place of anyone from old hollywood?

4 comments:

  1. What an amazing graveyard! Visiting cemeteries don't phase me in the slightest either. They seem like such a natural part of the cycle of life and both the history buff and the family genealogist in me practically feels called visit them, when I have a chance - the older the better.

    ♥ Jessica

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  2. Oh this graveyard is so awesome! I am the odd one of the family, if we had to go to a cemetery for any reason, I'd be the one who's run off and was reading the headstones! I want to visit Hollywood Forever, as I actually know where it is now, just gotta get there, and have a friend to be with me.

    Carla, TinyAngryCrafts

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  3. Ooh! Great photos -- I've always wanted to do the tour of Woodlawn, as well as Green Wood in Brooklyn . . . someday. thanks for sharing!

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  4. Interesting! And here I thought all the dead celebrities in New York were buried in Greenwood. Seems like a good time.

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