Western RoundUp: Final Resting Places,
In this month’s Western RoundUp column we’ll return to the topic of the final resting places of Western filmmakers, visiting the gravesites of 13 actors, actresses, and directors.
We’ll start in the little town of Marysvale, Utah, where widely admired actress Marie Windsor is buried in her hometown. She’s interred along with her husband, former USC basketball star Rodney Hupp; her gravestone includes both her birth name and her stage name.
My husband and I were fortunate to be able to make a stop in Marysvale on a road trip through Utah last year. Marie Windsor was in several Westerns over the course of her career, with one of the best being Hellfire (1949) opposite Bill Elliott.
Returning to California, here is the gravesite of Fritz Lang, who directed a Western I reviewed here very recently, Rancho Notorious (1952). Lang also directed the Westerns The Return of Frank James (1940) and Western Union (1941). He’s buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.
Another director buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills is George Stevens, director of the classic Shane (1953). Stevens also directed Barbara Stanwyck as Annie Oakley (1935).
The star of Shane, Alan Ladd, is interred in a mausoleum at Forest Lawn Glendale. He’s surrounded by several other stars, including Nat King Cole, Clara Bow, Jeanette MacDonald, and George Burns and Gracie Allen. Ladd’s other Westerns included Whispering Smith (1948), The Big Land (1957), and The Proud Rebel (1958), which I wrote about here in 2020.
Mona Freeman, who starred opposite Alan Ladd in the Western Branded (1950), is at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. She also appeared with William Holden and Macdonald Carey in Streets of Laredo (1949); other Westerns included Copper Canyon (1950) and The Lady From Texas (1951). Off the screen Freeman was an artist whose best-known work is the portrait of Mary See which hangs in all See’s Candies shops.
Macdonald Carey, who appeared in Streets of Laredo and Copper Canyon with Mona Freeman, is at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. I particularly admire is charismatic villain in Copper Canyon. Carey’s long film career included films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943), but he is ultimately best remembered as the longtime star of the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
’30s “B” Western star Bob Steele, who went on to play bit parts in many later Westerns, is at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills under his birth name, Robert N. Bradbury. He’s interred with the remains of his twin brother Bill and his sister-in-law. The boys’ father, also named Robert Bradbury, was a “B” Western director.
Gail Davis, buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, starred as TV’s Annie Oakley and was a frequent leading lady in Gene Autry Westerns. In 2004 she was posthumously inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Texas.
Also at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills is Lynne Roberts, who appeared in Westerns opposite numerous stars, including Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tim Holt, and George Montgomery, to name just a few. In some of her early films she was billed as Mary Hart.
“B” Western actor-singer Eddie Dean is at Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California. Dean was born Edgar Dean Glosup, hence the unfamiliar name across the top of the gravestone. He appeared in films for about a decade, beginning in the late ’30s.
Another “B” Western actor-singer, Jimmy Wakely, is at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. In addition to many “B” Westerns, he sang in the very good Arrow in the Dust (1954) with Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray. Besides Wakely’s work in Westerns, his duet of “Silver Bells” with Margaret Whiting is still heard often at Christmastime.
Actress-Singer Julie London is perhaps best remembered today for her role on TV’s Emergency!, but she starred in a number of Westerns, including Saddle the Wind (1958) with Robert Taylor, Man of the West (1958) with Gary Cooper, and The Wonderful Country (1959) with Robert Mitchum. She’s at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills along with her multitalented husband — and Emergency! costar — Bobby Troup.
One of my favorite actors, Tyrone Power, starred in a few Westerns, including Jesse James (1939) and Rawhide (1951). He was said to be a popular figure when filming Westerns in Lone Pine, California, where he was friendly to all and known to occasionally get behind a bar and pour out drinks. He passed on far too young and has this impressive burial site at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
For additional photos of the burial sites of Western actors, please visit my columns from May 2019, February 2022, November 2, 2022, and November 29, 2022.
– 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.
Laura, I enjoyed your nice tribute to these fine filmmakers. This is a way of keeping the memories of them and their work alive. They gave us many hours of pleasurable entertainment and I appreciate the hard work that they did in the visual arts.
Look forward to your next write-up.
Nice piece and of great interest. They all warrant a salute. The Bradbury site interested me the most.
I second Walter’s comments. We appreciate the time you take to seek out these burial sites of movie folk, some who we know well but are largely unknown today sadly. Thanks, Laura!
I don’t know just who it was at Republic Studios that changed Lynne Roberts name for a few years to MARY HART but they obviously felt the starring headline of ROGERS & HART would sell tickets.