Western RoundUp: Final Resting Places

Western RoundUp: Final Resting Places

few years ago I shared photographs of the final resting places of several Western stars who served in our armed forces.

Over the last few years I’ve been honored to pay my respects at the gravesites of numerous Western stars in multiple states, so I thought I’d return to that topic this month and share some additional photographs.

I’ll begin with the biggest Western star of all, John Wayne. For many years after his 1979 passing his gravesite was unmarked, presumably for security reasons. Today his grave at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar, California, has what I consider the loveliest marker of all. It’s exquisite.

John Wayne

There’s a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean from the gravesite, marked in the photo below by the yellow flowers. Wayne, who lived in nearby Newport Beach, was so revered locally that Orange County Airport was renamed in his honor after his passing.

Pacific View Memorial Park

I’ve written here in the past of my admiration for Wayne’s film Angel and the Badman (1947), which he produced and starred in with Gail Russell. A decade later, producer Wayne again hired Russell for a leading role, in the Budd Boetticher-Randolph Scott classic 7 Men From Now (1956). She’s buried at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood.

Gail Russell

Moseley, the last name seen on Russell’s grave marker, was the real last name of Guy Madison, to whom Russell was married from 1949 to 1954. Madison, who starred in many Western films, is at Forest Lawn Cathedral City, near Palm Springs. His marker references both his birth and acting names, along with noting his TV Western role as Wild Bill Hickok.

Guy Madison

John Wayne’s costar in another film I’ve written about here, Tall in the Saddle (1944), was Ella Raines. She’s buried at Glen Haven Memorial Park, found at the end of a long, winding road in Sylmar, California. The trees on the marker are perhaps a reflection of her outdoorsy childhood in Washington. Raines’ filmography also included the “modern Western” The Walking Hills (1949) with Randolph Scott, Singing Guns (1950) with Vaughn Monroe, and Ride the Man Down (1952) with Rod Cameron and Forrest Tucker.

Ella Raines

Jeffrey Hunter, Wayne’s costar in the John Ford classic The Searchers (1956), is also buried at Glen Haven. Both his birth name and his acting name are on the marker. Hunter died tragically young, in 1969; over two decades later his wife, General Hospital star Emily McLaughlin, was buried next to him.

Jeffrey Hunter

Cathy Downs played the title role in another John Ford classic, My Darling Clementine (1946). She’s buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica. Downs also starred with Rod Cameron in Panhandle (1948), which I wrote about here in my very first Hidden Gems column, and with Guy Madison in Massacre River (1949).

Cathy Downs

George Bancroft, who played Marshal Curley Wilcox in Ford and Wayne’s Stagecoach (1939), is also at Woodlawn Cemetery, in the mausoleum.

George Bancroft

One of my favorite Western stars is Bill Elliott. I loved seeing that his movie nickname “Wild Bill” made it onto the marker at his final resting place in a mausoleum at the Palm Downtown Cemetery in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wild Bill Elliot

Another favorite “B” Western star is William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd, who is interred at Forest Lawn Glendale. The mausoleum there is not easily accessible to the general public so I was fortunate to visit. Hopalong Cassidy is noted alongside Boyd’s name, while next to his wife Grace Bradley Boyd’s name it reads “Mrs. Hoppy.”

William Boyd

Andy Clyde, who played California Carlson in some of the Hopalong Cassidy films, is buried outdoors at Forest Lawn Glendale. He’s next to his son, who tragically died young. His brother David Clyde, a bit player, and David’s wife, actress Fay Holden of the Andy Hardy movies, are also nearby.

Andy Clyde

Dan Duryea was only 61 when he passed on in 1968. He’s at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills next to his wife, who had died the previous year. Duryea’s many Westerns included the classic Winchester ’73 (1950) and one of my favorite Audie Murphy Westerns, Ride Clear of Diablo (1954). He also appeared with Audie Murphy in Night Passage (1957) and Six Black Horses (1962).

Dan Duryea

Talented actress Wanda Hendrix was briefly married to Audie Murphy, but his suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder helped lead to their divorce after just a year. Hendrix and Murphy co-starred in the Western Sierra (1950). Wanda Hendrix also appeared with Joel McCrea in Saddle Tramp (1950), which I wrote about in my very first Western RoundUp column. Like Dan Duryea, she’s at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Wanda Hendrix

Actress Susan Cabot costarred with Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea in Ride Clear of Diablo; she also appeared in two other favorite Murphy films, The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) and Gunsmoke (1953). She’s at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.

Susan Cabot

Also at Hillside is Shelley Winters, who appeared with James Stewart and Dan Duryea in Winchester ’73. Her other Westerns included Frenchie (1950) with Joel McCrea and Untamed Frontier (1952) with Joseph Cotten.

Shelley Winters

One of Winters’ costars in Untamed Frontier was the tragic Suzan Ball, who died of cancer at 21. She also appeared in the Westerns War Arrow (1953) and Chief Crazy Horse (1955). She was survived by her husband, actor Richard Long. She’s at Forest Lawn Glendale.

Suzan Ball

I’ll conclude with the impressive marker for Gene Autry at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. He was both a Western star and the founder of the Autry Museum of the American West, which I wrote about here in January 2019. As alluded to on the gravestone, Autry was also a World War II veteran, a TV and radio star, the one-time owner of Los Angeles TV station KTLA, and the owner of the California Angels baseball team. What a life!

Gene Autry

I have many more such photos and may return to this topic again in the future. One of the interesting things illustrated above is the way the lives, careers, and even the final resting places of Hollywood actors interconnect.

I always feel a great sense of history visiting these cemeteries, and I also appreciate the opportunity to reflect on the joy each filmmaker has brought to my life, along with the lives of countless others.

– Laura Grieve for Classic Movie Hub

Laura can be found at her blog, Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, where she’s been writing about movies since 2005, and on Twitter at @LaurasMiscMovie. A lifelong film fan, Laura loves the classics including Disney, Film Noir, Musicals, and Westerns.  She regularly covers Southern California classic film festivals.  Laura will scribe on all things western at the ‘Western RoundUp’ for CMH.

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3 Responses to Western RoundUp: Final Resting Places

  1. Vienna says:

    Thank you for all the photographs. A fine tribute.

  2. Walter says:

    Laura, a wonderful tribute to these favorite Western Stars of so many of us. They gave us many hours of joyful entertainment and much more. I like to think that they were ordinary people with good work ethics who strived to do the best work that they could do with the talents they had. May they all R.I.P.

  3. Laura says:

    Vienna and Walter, for some reason I’ve only just now belatedly seen your comments. Thank you both so much for reading and for taking the time to share your thoughts. I’m very glad you enjoyed looking them over.

    Walter, I always appreciate the chance to think of these creative talents and how much happiness they have brought us when I walk through one of these cemeteries. Doing so also is a reminder that just like us, they were each someone’s husband or wife, child, parent, friend.

    Best wishes,
    Laura

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