Historic Walking Tours of Hollywood Forever Cemetery Reveal Forgotten Scandals and Beloved Stars
WHAT: Historic Walking Tours of Hollywood Forever Cemetery hosted by Karie Bible
WHEN: Various dates, see listings below. Upcoming tour dates will be posted at http://www.cemeterytour.com and tours are year round.
WHERE: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., LA, CA 90038
COST: $12 per person INFO: http://www.cemeterytour.com or 818-517-5988
Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the most celebrated and intriguing locales in Los Angeles. For the past seven years, historic tour guide Karie Bible has been giving official walking tours of the property. This tour has been one of the city's best kept secrets-- until now. The two-hour tour evokes the storied past and navigates the labyrinth of the present as it highlights the various historic tales, scandals and mysteries that remain a part of Hollywood lore.
The tour begins with an introduction that focuses on the diversity of the cemetery and how it has evolved over the past several decades. Attendees then take a journey around the pond and into the life stories of numerous luminaries, including Griffith J. Griffith, who gave the city Griffith Park-- and in 1903 gave his wife a bullet to the head. Surprisingly she survived the attack and Griffith served only two years in San Quentin for the crime.
Showbiz names on the tour literally run the gamut from A to Z, with award-winning director John Huston being only feet away from Maila Nurmi, known to the world as "Vampira" from Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space." Legendary director Cecil B. De Mille also rests only a short distance away from bit player Virginia Rappe, whose only fame came through her death three days after Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's ultimately tragic weekend party in San Francisco. Other stars featured include Fay Wray, Janet Gaynor, Cecil B. De Mille, Marion Davies, Tyrone Power and Columbia Pictures founder Harry Cohn.
The tour also includes three "cenotaphs" or memorials for stars whose remains are interred elsewhere including Jayne Mansfield, Hattie McDaniel and Johnny Ramone.
Later the tour explores the Cathedral Mausoleum, which houses silent screen star Rudolph Valentino.
According to tour guide Bible, "In all of the years I've been giving this tour, his grave remains the most popular and asked about one in the entire cemetery."
The Cathedral Mausoleum also includes tragic silent vamp Barbara La Marr, slain film director William Desmond Taylor and actors Peter Finch and Peter Lorre. After the Cathedral Mausoleum, the tour visits the graves of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr., Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, "Golden Girl" Estelle Getty (a recent addition) and finally Mel Blanc whose grave fittingly reads "That's All Folks!"
Appropriately, Karie Bible was born on Halloween night, has two different colored eyes and a very pale complexion which helps to make her a perfect host for an afternoon of walking among crypts. She developed the rigorously researched tour under the guidance of acclaimed Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker. In an effort to evoke old Hollywood glamour, she even gives the tour in a black vintage gown and matching parasol, which makes her a living photo op for tour guests wanting to remember their adventure at Hollywood Forever.
In addition to the standard "Cemetery of the Stars" tour, Bible is now offering two new tours. The "Jewish Heritage" tour sets out to explore the contributions (both celebrated and notorious) of the cemetery's Jewish residents. The "Hidden Hollywood" tour is an exploration of the forgotten stars of yesteryear who are ripe for rediscovery.
Karie Bible says, "I show people the graves and tell them great stories, but I always encourage people to watch the films of these stars. The films are what they left behind. Ultimately that is their legacy and the way that they continue to live on."
Upcoming Hollywood Forever tour dates:
(All tours are "Cemetery of the Stars" unless otherwise noted.)
Sunday, September 27th at 2pm (Jewish Heritage Tour)
Saturday, October 3rd at 12pm
Sunday, October 4th at 2pm
Sunday, October 11th at 2pm
Saturday, October 17th at 12pm
Sunday, October 18th at 2pm (Hidden Hollywood)
Sunday, October 25th at 2pm (Hidden Hollywood)
Saturday, October 31st at 3pm
Sunday, November 1st at 2pm
Saturday, November 7th at 12pm
Sunday, November 8th at 2pm (Jewish Heritage Tour)
Saturday, November 14th at 12pm
Sunday, November 15th at 2pm (Hidden Hollywood)
Tours are offered year round and future tour dates can be found at http://www.cemeterytour.com