Tuesday, 20 July 2010

City Of Angels: Final Resting Places, Part 3: Westwood Memorial Park, 1218 Glendon Avenue, Westwood

This quiet, inconspicuous little cemetery is a 'blink and you miss it' affair. Overshadowed - literally - by Wilshire Boulevard's string of high rises, the casual visitor had better know exactly how to get there as otherwise you might drive past, assuming, as I did the first time, that it had been razed like so many other places and buildings in this transient city.

Located just off Wilshire Boulevard in LA's posh Westwood neighbourhood, this small, almost intimate, cemetery is as unpretentious and unassuming as the Hollywood dignitaries that are interred here. Hence, its by-name - Memorial Park - is actually a slight exaggeration as it suggests something pompous and grand, which is precisely what this cemetery is not. Unlike Forest Lawn, there are no grand mausoleums or burial chapels to be found here. Instead, the vast majority of grave sites are simply nothing more than markers in the nevertheless well maintained lawn.

However, although small in size, Westwood Memorial Park has become the final resting place for some of Hollywood's biggest names including Natalie Wood, Burt Lancaster, Marilyn Monroe, 20th Century Fox co-founder Darryl F. Zanuck as well as Billy Wilder and his pals Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, all three of which are buried next to each other.