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Celebrities Don't Always Rest in Peace
From: Morbid Curiosity: Celebrity Tombstones Across America
By Elaine McCarthy
Groucho Marx - Groucho's cremated remains were buried at Eden Memorial Park in San Fernando, California, in 1977. An employee of the cemetery, angry that he was fired, pried the cover off Groucho's niche and stole his urn. He brought it to his home in Burbank in part because Groucho had once said, “I would never be caught dead in Burbank.” Eventually, the perpetrator left the ashes on the doorstep of Mt. Sinai Cemetery, and the recovered Groucho was sent back to Eden Memorial Park. A locked gate was put in place and information is rarely given. If you visit his grave you will see that the gate remains unlocked during the day, and the screwdriver marks around the niche have gone unrepaired.
Sammy Davis, Jr. - Sammy's last wishes were ignored by his wife, Altovise. While he wanted his tombstone to read simply, “The Entertainer,” Altovise changed it to read, “The Entertainer: He Did It All: Your Loving Wife Altovise. Father of Tracey, Mark, Jeff and Mann. Mann was Altovise's son and had never been adopted by Davis.
Another ignored wish was that he wanted a closed coffin to hide his cancer-ravaged body. Instead Altovise had an open casket, and, according to Tracey, Davis' daughter, hired a photographer to take photos. According to a cemetery caretaker, who witnessed the event, when Altovise discovered that Davis' estate owed taxes and was just about bankrupt, she had her husband's body exhumed and removed $70,000 worth of jewelry that had been buried with him.
Peter Lawford - Elegant Peter Lawford, Rat Packer and one-time brother-in-law to John F. and Bobby Kennedy, was cremated and his ashes placed in a crypt in Westwood Cemetery, just a few yards from friend Marilyn Monroe. But he died broke and his children were told if the $7000 cost of his funeral weren't paid, they'd be forced to remove his ashes. Lawford's children offered to pay the balance, if his then-wife would relinquish control of the crypt. She refused and eventually the children paid $430 to disinter Lawford's ashes. The National Enquirer paid for a limousine and boat ride to the Pacific Ocean, in exchange for photo and story rights to the scattering of the ashes.
Truman Capote - Capote, who died in Joanna Carson's home (the ex Mrs. Johnny Carson), was cremated and his ashes split between Joanna and his lover on the East Coast, fulfilling his wish to be eternally bi-coastal. Carson kept the ashes in the bedroom he died in at her home in Bel Air. Then on one Halloween, during a costume party, they were stolen, along with some of his mementoes and $200,000 worth of jewelry. Six nights later, a mysterious car dropped off the ashes, leaving them in a coiled-up garden hose on her back steps. Carson, fearful that the remaining ashes could be stolen again, bought Capote a crypt at Westwood Memorial Park, near his friends Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood.
Marilyn Monroe - Marilyn was rumored to have been buried with a million dollar diamond necklace. One night two very stupid thieves attempted to break into her crypt at Westwood Memorial Park, ignoring the fact that they would have to break through 500 pounds of concrete to get in. To this day, the marble around Marilyn's crypt is cracked from the unsuccessful attempt. A stone bench, donated by her fan club was also stolen. It has since been replaced by a new one.
John Belushi - Belushi is buried on Martha's Vineyard. The island residents tried to prevent his burial on the island, because they feared the presence of his grave would attract loud, rowdy fans who would leave unsavory items behind such as condoms, beer, liquor, and bras, as they do at Doors singer Jim Morrison's grave at La Pere Chaise in Paris. But since the Belushis owned a summer house there, it was their right for them to purchase a plot. There has been a lot of controversy as to where John really is buried. Some have said that he is buried in an unmarked grave in another part of the cemetery, in a grave that is always adorned with flowers. Another rumor is that he is actually buried in Illinois in the Belushi family plot. An Illinois woman claims to have been present during that burial and swears it was his coffin being lowered into the grave.
James Dean - Dean is buried in Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Indiana, and has had his tombstone stolen three times. The third one was found by Tippecanoe County, Sheriff's Deputy, Aaron Gilman, who was driving on a dark deserted country road when suddenly he hit something big, ripping out his transmission. It was the missing tombstone. The sheriff locked the tombstone in one of the cells of their local jailhouse, until it could be securely fastened to Dean's grave. Despite the trouble, the town welcomes all who want to pay tribute to their famous son. But don't even think of stealing it, because there is a guard posted.
Lucille Ball - Lucille was originally buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, California, but her daughter, Lucie, had her and Lucy's mother Dede exhumed and moved to their hometown of Jamestown, New York, where they are now part of the Lucy Museum.
George Tobias - The hearse carrying George Tobias, who played Abner Kravitz on “Bewitched” was involved in a minor traffic accident while on it's way to Mt. Sinai Memorial Park. While the drivers were exchanging information, two men jumped in the hearse and hijacked it, unaware that they had another “passenger.” When they realized they had a dead “Abner” in the back, they quickly abandoned the hearse in the middle of traffic.
Bob Crane - Bob Crane, famous for Hogan's Heroes and videotapes of his sexual exploits, was recently exhumed by his family and reburied in an unmarked grave in Westwood Memorial Park. They were concerned, given the new movie about him, that his previous grave would be desecrated.
John Wayne - John Wayne's family also did not want to mark his grave because they feared that his grave would be desecrated, due to his conservative beliefs about the Vietnam War. It was Wayne's wish to be marked immediately, but the family chose to wait twenty years after his death.
Elvis Presley - The King was originally buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, but was moved to Graceland for security purposes. One night two stupid thieves who thought they could get away with stealing the King prompted Vernon, Elvis' father to bring Elvis back to Graceland. Little did he realize what a profitable move this would be, because thousands visit Graceland each year just to pay tribute to Elvis. Fans leave behind so many mementos that they are carted off daily to charitable institutions for donation.
In 1999 the London Evening Standard printed that Lisa Marie wanted to move her dad to undisclosed location, because her father's memory is turning into a circus. We're still waiting.
John Barrymore - The corpse of John Barrymore, grandfather of Drew, was “rented” for $200 from the Pierce Brother's Mortuary in Los Angeles, and secretly taken by buddies of his to Errol Flynn's home for a macabre joke. They propped the dead leading man, not yet embalmed, in a chair in Flynn's living room. When Flynn flipped on the light, much to his horror there sat a bloated Barrymore. The sight made him run screaming from his house, only to be told by his “friends” waiting on the porch that it was a gag.
In addition, Barrymore wanted to be cremated and buried in the family plot in Philadelphia, but his sister Ethel ignored his request. Instead, he was entombed in the Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum in East Los Angeles. In 1980, his final wishes were honored by his son, John Barrymore, Jr., who exhumed the body, cremated it, and moved it to Mount Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia. In order to fulfill his grandfather's final request, he was forced to pawn and sell many of the Barrymore family mementos that were bequeathed to him.
Jayne Mansfield - Jaynie is really buried in Fairview Cemetery in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania. However, her fans were upset that she had left Hollywood forever. So they all chipped in and purchased a “cenotaph,” (a tomb that serves as a memorial for someone who is actually buried elsewhere) and placed it in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. On the marker is a cameo type photograph of Jayne. Frequently it is smashed or damaged. It was found out that the daughter of the “Lady in Black,” a woman who frequently visited Valentino's grave carrying roses and dressed in black, was doing the smashing. No one has any real proof, but their suspicions do not go unfounded. Apparently the Lady in Black and Jayne Mansfield had a real animosity for one another. When the Lady in Black died, she was laid to rest in Hollywood Forever. No one knew about her final resting place or the bad feelings between her and Mansfield. When the fan club purchased the cenotaph for Jayne, they unwittingly placed it near the grave of the Lady in Black. The daughter, who feels that the fan club put Jayne near her mother just to torment her, has taken up the feud by defacing her photo whenever it is replaced.
Harry Houdini - Houdini, who was always generous and donated money to repair or maintain the graves of other magicians, was a victim of extreme vandalism. A group of youths broke into the Machpelah Cemetery in Flushing, New York, and smashed his grave. They even stole the bust of him that was placed at the center of his grave. David Copperfield stepped in and donated enough money to repair the damaged grave. Copperfield merely carried on the Houdini's tradition of donating money to fix the forgotten graves of fellow magicians.