While the Palm Springs area was home to many celebrities over the years, some of them decided to spend eternity in our area. Here’s a look at some of the celebrity graves in the Palm Springs Valley.
Desert Memorial Park – Cathedral City
31705 DaVall Drive
(corner of Ramon Road)
Birth: Nov. 29, 1895
Death: March 14, 1976
Motion Picture Director. A director and choreographer of film musicals, he is considered one of the greatest in the media. Ironically, he was self-taught as a dancer, having no formal lessons, and in his early years as a choreographer, he was constantly afraid that people would find out. Born Busby Berkeley William Enos in Los Angeles, California, his parents were members of the Tim Frawley Repetory Company that acted on the stage. At the age of 12, he enrolled in the Mohegan Lake Military Academy in Peekskill, NY, with the intention of making the Army a career. But like so many other young men who plan on one career only to change to another, he began his future choreography career while serving in the United States Army during World War I, when as an artillery Lieutenant in France, he was directed to stage a parade. Shortly afterwards, he began to organize stage shows for the soldiers, using the soldiers themselves. Upon demobilization at the end of the war, he became a stage actor and director of a small acting troop on Broadway. He went to Hollywood in 1930 at the request of Samuel Goldwyn. There, he quickly became famous for his lavish dance routines using scores of showgirls and for using overhead camera shots to show off the kaleidoscope effect of the synchronized motion. Such films as “Palmy Days” (1931), “Roman Scandals” (1933), “Gold Diggers of 1933” (1933), “42nd Street” (1933), and “Gold Diggers of 1935” (1935), all became famous for his detailed choreographed routines. He created musical numbers for almost every great musical that Warner Brothers produced from 1933 to 1937. During an interview near the end of the Great Depression, he stated, “I tried to help people get away from all the misery...to turn their minds to something else. I wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour.” A revival of his 1930s films in the late 1960s brought him back out of his earlier forced retirement, and he returned to Broadway to direct “No, No Nanette,” which became a success. He was married four times, and died in Palm Springs, California at the age of 80.
Plot: Section A-14 # 74
Birth: February 16, 1935
Death: January 5, 1998
Entertainer, U.S. Congressman. Until the early 1960s, he had a job delivering meat along the Sunset Strip in California. He became an A&R Man for Phil Spector. Working with people such as Sam Cooke, and Chubby Checker, and writing songs such as ‘Baby Don’t Go’, and ‘Don’t Laugh At Me’ Bono achieved his highest level of fame in the entertainment field with his second wife Cheriln Sarkisian LaPierre. It was at Aldo’s Italian Restaurant in Hollywood in 1961 that Sonny met a very young Cher and they married in 1964. Destined to become one of the most famous duos in music history, the couple recorded songs under the name Cesar and Cleo and finally, Sonny and Cher. Their weekly variety television show ran from 1972 until 1974. A daughter, Chastity, was born on March 04, 1969. After his marriage with Cher ended in 1974 Sonny appeared in movies such as ‘Hairspray’, and ‘First Kid’ and he was a guest star on many television shows. Sonny had a short-lived third marriage to Susie Coelho. In May of 1982 he married Mary Whitaker. In February 1983 he opened a restaurant, Bono’s in Los Angeles. A restaurant in Palm Springs followed in 1986. It was during a dispute with City Hall over a building permit needed for his Palm Springs restaurant that Bono became interested in politics. He set out to become the Mayor of Palm Springs so that he could help to change the bureaucracy. He served as Mayor from 1988-1992. In 1990 he formed the Palm Springs International Film Festival. A run for The US Senate in 1991 was not successful, however in November of 1994 he was elected to Congress to serve the 44th District of California. A son, Chesare Elan was born in 1988 and a daughter, Chianna Maria was born in 1991. Additionally, in 1991 he released his autobiography And The Beat Goes On, using the name of one of the hit songs he had written. During his tenure in Congress he was appointed by the Speaker of the House to chair The Entertainment Industry Task Force. He was well known for his outspoken and often blunt opinions of the policies and issues in which he was involved. He worked to achieve federal aid to preserve habitats of various endangered species. He was killed at the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe after he collided with a tree. After his death his widow, Mary Bono, was appointed to fill her late husband’s Congressional Seat and has been our Congresswoman through 2012.
Plot: B-35, #294
Birth: June 26, 1916
Death: March 12, 2000
He was an award-winning broadcaster with seven Emmy Awards for his radio and television commentary and reporting, whose booming delivery earned him the nickname “The Voice”. As a fledging UPI reporter, he was expelled from Germany in 1941 by the Nazi government. He dined with the likes of Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt. He performed briefly in a Las Vegas act with Phil Harris and once contemplated doing a sitcom. At the time of his death he was serving on the board of Eisenhower Medical Center and as chairman of the board of the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences in his beloved Rancho Mirage where he lived for the last 30 years.
Plot: Section B-30, lot 351
Birth: Sept. 29, 1896
Death: April 1, 1997
Folk Figure. The mother of Zsa Zsa, Eva and Magda Gabor. Born in Hungary, she was named Jansci (“Johnny”) by her parents, who had wanted a boy. Escaping her dull first marriage to Vilmos Gabor, her own hopes of stardom tarnished, she took to pushing her daughters towards fame and fortune with a vengeance. “You will be rich, famous and married to kings,” she told them. With that end in sight she drove them to master everything they began. She was named Miss Hungary in 1936 at the age of 40, and married again. Finally she made it to America in 1939, divorced and with only $100 and a big diamond to her name. On the other hand Zsa Zsa had gotten here first and married hotel baron Conrad Hilton. With Zsa Zsa’s help Jolie set herself up with a jewelry shop on Madison Avenue. Like her daughters she called everyone “Dahlingk,” loved parties and was always ready to pawn a diamond to pay for champagne. “Life’s a gamble,” she said, “you must know how to play it.” She published an autobiography and a cookbook of her family’s favorite recipes, all heavy on paprika and sour cream. In 1966 Jolie and her husband, Count Odon de Szigethy, bought a modest home in Ridgefield, Connecticut and immediately set about glamorizing the place. “I like to make from a nothing something,” she told the press. The de Szigethys sold the place in 1970. She died at the age of 100, with 21 husbands between her three daughters and herself.
Plot: B-8, #126
Birth: June 11, 1918
Death: June 6, 1997
Actress. Born in Budapest Hungary. Her career as a performer began before her sisters and she came to America with their mother Jolie. She appeared in two films in 1937. “Mai l‡nyok” and “Lenke” also known as “Today’s Girls.” When the three sisters, Zsa Zsa, Eva, Magda and their mother were first in New York City they all set about forming the image of “professional celebrity” and paying for as little as possible themselves. The Nordstrom Sisters and others would remark on the toll charges from telephone calls made during their visits. Her roles in this country were mainly playing herself. These included the first episode of “The Colgate Comedy Hour” (1950), “V.I.P.-Schaukel” (1971), “The People vs. Zsa Zsa Gabor (1991). She married the actor George Sanders in 1970. He had earlier been one of Zsa Zsa’s nine husbands (1942). She died of renal failure in Palm Springs, California.
Plot: B-8, #125
Birth: Feb. 26, 1921
Death: March 12, 2007
Actress, Singer. Remembered for her extreme energy on stage and screen, described as, “A brassy, energetic performer with a voice that could sound like a fire alarm.” Born Elizabeth June Thornburg in Battle Creek, Michigan, to Percy and Mabel Thornburg, the family was abandoned by their father, and their mother worked a variety of jobs to support the family. At age 13, Betty was employed as a singer in a Michigan summer resort and then worked with a local band of high school students. By age 15, Betty saved enough money and traveled to New York City hoping for a break on Broadway. The trip was an unsuccessful and brief one. She was told she’d never make it in show business. She returned home, and with sister Marion gained employment in Detroit nightclub, where bandleader Vincent Lopez scouted and soon hired the teen to be a vocalist with his band. While touring with Lopez, Betty performed the under the name ‘Betty Darling’, while her sister toured with bandleader Glenn Miller using the surname Hutton; Betty soon took the name as well. In 1938, Betty toured with Vincent Lopez in New York City, while recording vocals for RCA Victor’s Bluebird Records. By 1940, Betty left Lopez’s band for a part in the Broadway show, “Two For The Show.” She acquired the comic lead in another Broadway production, Cole Porter’s “Panama Hattie,” her understudy was a chorus girl named June Allyson. Just prior to opening night, by orders of star Ethel Merman, Hutton’s big musical number was cut. Betty was upset, but continued her run after the show’s producer Buddy DeSylva promised to hire her for his Paramount film musical, “The Fleet’s In” (1942). Her following film, “Star Spangled Rhythm” (1942) solidified her place as cinemas newest queen of comedy. She appeared in nineteen films in ten years, from 1942 to 1952, including, “The Perils Of Pauline” (1947), “Let’s Dance” (1950), and “Annie Get Your Gun” (1950) for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), which hired Hutton to replace Judy Garland in the role of Annie Oakley. Due to contractual disagreements with Paramount Pictures, “The Greatest Show On Earth” (1952) and “Somebody Loves Me” (1952) were her final films with the studio. She worked sporadically on television as well as nightclub performances in Las Vegas. Her private life in turmoil, her fourth and final marriage ended in 1967. Hutton had trouble with alcohol and substance abuse, even attempting suicide after losing her singing voice in 1970, and having a nervous breakdown. She turned her personal life around in the 1970s, with the help of a Rhode Island Roman Catholic priest, Father Peter Maguire. She went on to earn a college degree from Salve Regina, a Catholic college for women in Newport, Rhode Island. By the late 1980s she was teaching acting to students at Boston’s Emerson College. After decades in the New England area, she moved to Palm Springs, California in 1999. She hoped to become closer to her two daughters whom she alienated herself from during her bouts of alcoholism. It was not to be. Her children remained distant. During her career she garnered numerous award nominations for her acting and singing performances. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, she has a ‘Star’ on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6253 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. Betty Hutton succumbed to colon cancer in Palm Springs, California.
Plot: B-35, #503
Birth: June 10, 1904
Death: February 14, 1988
Composer. Born in Vienna, Austria, by age 15, he had composed a hit popular song, “Katrina” and was getting attention as a promising piano virtuoso. In 1937, his first American Musical Production opened in St. Louis called “Salute to Spring”. During the 1940s, he became a master of the American style in popular music with his first Broadway Production called “Great Lady”. In collaboration with Alan Jay Lerner, he scored the revolutionary Broadway Production of “My Fair Lady” in 1956, which ran for 2,717 performances. The musical became the feature film which included the classic standards “Why Can’t The English?”, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”, “With a Little Bit Of Luck”, “I’m an Ordinary Man”, “Just You Wait” and “The Rain in Spain”. In 1958, he scored the classic film musical “Gigi”, which had songs to include “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” and “I Remember it Well”. Before he withdrew from composing, his last score was for “Camelot” (1960), which included songs “I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight”, “Camelot”, “The Simple Joys Of Maidenhood”, “How to Handle a Woman”, and “If Ever I Should Leave You”. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Plot: B-8, #89
Birth: November 4, 1918
Death: July 7, 1994
Actor. Born Cameron McDowell Mitzell, he was a popular performer for over four decades making more than 300 film and TV appearances. He made his film debut in “What Next, Corporal Hargrove?” in 1945. His many other film credits included “They Were Expendable” (1945), “Flight to Mars” (1951), “The Tall Men” (1955), “The Unstoppable Man” (1960), “Hombre” (1967), “ My Favorite Year” (1982) and “Trapped Alive” (1993). For television he is best remembered for his roles on the westerns “Zane Gray Theatre”, “Bonanza”, “Death Valley Days”, “Daniel Boone” and “The High Chaparral”.
Plot: Section A-23, Lot 83
Birth: July 29, 1892
Death: March 5, 1984
Actor. His birth and boyhood home until age 10 was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His accountant father had visions of his only son acquiring a legal career. However, William showed talent and a keen interest in the theatre in high school. Following graduation, over the objections of his father, his aunt staked him and he enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He first began his career on the stage with many lean years performing in vaudeville and stock companies, then appeared in silent films: ‘Sherlock Holmes, Romola and Beau Geste.’ Finally on to great success in sound films: ‘The Great Ziegfield, My Man Godfrey (Academy nomination), Life With Father (Academy nomination), How to Marry a Millionaire and his final movie before complete retirement in 1955, Mister Roberts’. Teamed with Myrna Loy, they combined in a series of five films called the Thin Man Series. It combined romance, comedy and wit featuring sleuths Nick and Nora Charles. The first Thin Man movie earned him an Academy nomination. Over a 14-year period, William and Myrna were a screen team appearing together in a total of 14 movies. Powell had a track record of marriages to leading actresses from the movies where he appeared. His first marriage was to Eileen Wilson a stage actress, then Carole Lombard who when parting company commented, “That S.O.B. is always acting, even when he takes off his pajamas.” A near miss of marriage to Jean Harlow was nullified because of her untimely death but he was corralled into paying the burial bill. A crypt was reserved for him in the Harlow burial room at Forest Lawn but it has remained empty. He met his match in Diana Lewis an MGM starlet, a union that lasted 44 years until his death. In 1938 he survived a bout with cancer and still went on to complete an amazing 50-year career in show business starting from the stage, to silent movies and finally the talkies. He knew when to retire, when his sophisticated debonair appearance started declining, William Powell called it quits at age 63 settling in Palm Springs where he enjoyed more than 25 years of blissful life. He resisted offers of “comeback” roles, tempted, Powell declined them all. His health began to fade and while in a Palm Springs Nursing Home passed away simply of old age at 91. He was cremated and his ashes buried without fanfare beside his only son who had tragically committed suicide years before.
Plot: B-10, #20
William David Powell
Birth: February 27, 1925
Death: March 13, 1968
Screenwriter. Born the only child of William Powell and his first wife Eileen Wilson nine years into their on again off again marriage during a period of reconciliation between the two. They would finally divorce five years later. As a boy he was apparently plagued by emotional problems. He would become a television writer, whose work was seen on such series as ‘Bonanza,’ ‘Death Valley,’ ‘Rawhide,’ and ‘77 Sunset Strip.’ He served as an associate producer at Warner Brothers Studios and at Universal Studios as well as holding a position at NBC. After ill health precipitated his resignation, he was diagnosed with hepatitis and kidney ailments. His lifelong struggle with depression deepened, and at the age of 43, he wrote his father a four page farewell stating that he was “... going where it’s better,” stepped into a shower, and stabbed himself to death.
Plot: Sec.B-10 Lot 20
Diana “Mousie” Powell
Birth: Sept. 18, 1919
Death: January 18, 1997
Actress. Born in Asbury Park, New Jersey, she was nicked named “Mousie” and began her film career appearing in “All the King’s Horses” (1934). In 1940, she met and married actor William Powell, with whom she remained with for the rest of her life. Before retiring from performing in 1943, her most notable films included “It’s a Gift” (1934), “Gold Diggers in Paris” (1938), “Go West” (1940), “Andy Hardy Meets Debutante” (1940) and “Johnny Eager” (1942). She died of cancer in Rancho Mirage, California.
Plot: B-10, #21
Birth: May 6, 1917
Death: May 6, 1992
Restaurateur and Entertainer. A long-time friend of Frank Sinatra, Rizzo made cameo appearances in several of his films. He was also a frequent guest on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, where he would recite one-liners in his monotone New York accent. During the 1970s, his nightclub was torn down and replaced with Dean Martin’s restaurant, Dino’s. On May 6, 1992, Rizzo was killed in a car accident when he was hit by a drunk driver on his 75th birthday in Rancho Mirage, California. He is buried near Sinatra in the Desert Memorial Park in Palm Springs, California.
Plot: B-8, #157
Birth: May 13, 1913
Death: April 4, 1994
Singer, actress. Born in Texas but raised in California, Ginny Simms became an MGM contract star in the 1940âs. As a child she studied piano but it was her vocal talents that catapulted her career when she formed a singing trio while studying at Fresno State Teachers College. While performing at a club in San Francisco she caught the attention of bandleader Kay Kyser who starred Ginny as his feature singer. In addition to having hr own radio show she also acted in the films Hit The Ice (1943), Broadway Rhythm (1944), Shady Lady (1945) and Night and Day (1946). She acted in her last film, Disc Jockey in 1951 and left Hollywood soon after. She eventually retired form recording as well and went on to manage a travel agency and also became interested in interior decorating.
Plot: Section B-33, Lot 15
Birth: December 12, 1915
Death: May 14, 1998
Entertainer. Regarded by many as the greatest popular singer of the 20th Century, he was nicknamed “The Voice”, “Ol Blue Eyes” and “Chairman of the Board”. Born Francis Albert Sinatra in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son and only child of an Italian immigrant fireman, his mother Dolly was a midwife. Legend has it that one day he heard Bing Crosby singing and decided this would be the career path he was to embark upon. His initial break came in 1935, when he received first prize in a radio contest. He eventually caught the attention of bandleader Harry James, resulting in their collaboration, which included his first recordings in 1939 and moved onto the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with whom he recorded the hit “I’ll Never Smile Again” (1941). He would also marry his first wife Nancy and their union produced his children Nancy, Frank, Jr. and Tina. By the second half of the decade, he launched his Hollywood career with singing and dancing, as well as acting roles in several memorable pictures including “On the Town” (1949), co-starring with Gene Kelly, which featured the score “New York, New York”. In 1950, his career endured a major setback, when he suffered a hemorrhaged vocal cord due to his extreme concert schedule, which resulted in his hiatus from singing for a period. Sinatra turned what could have been a detrimental blow to his career into a positive, as he focused on his acting skills. During that time, he divorced Nancy and married one of Hollywood’s top actress, Ava Gardner. His breakthrough role as an actor would be his playing the doomed Angelo Maggio in the Oscar-garnered “From Here to Eternity” (1953), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and earned respect as an accomplished dramatic performer; this was followed by “Guys and Dolls” (1955), “The Man With the Golden Arm” (1955, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor playing heroin addict Frankie Machine), “The Joker Is Wild” (1957), “Pal Joey” (1957) and “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962). His singing career was also back on track, this time with a richer vocal style heard in the hits “In the Wee Small Hours” (1956), “Come Fly With Me” (1956), “Nice n’ Easy” (1960), “My Way” (1969) and “Theme From New York New York” (1980). By the end of the 1950s, he had divorced Ava Gardner and established an exclusive circle of friends unofficially called “The Rat Pack”, which included Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop (among the films they starred in are the original “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960) and Sergeant’s 3” (1962)), becoming a bill-topping act in Las Vegas. During this period, Sinatra established the Reprise record label. He received Grammy Awards for the singles “It Was a Very Good Year” (1966) and “Strangers in the Night” (1967), also for the albums “September of My Years” and “A Man and His Music” (1967). While filming “Von Ryan’s Express” (1965), he met actress Mia Farrow, whom he married in 1966 (until 1968). He had a brief retirement during the early 1970s, only to return and married Barbara Marx (former wife of Zeppo Marx) in 1976. In 1988, there would be a brief reunion and tour of the “Rat Pack” and during the 1990s more success with his “Duets” recordings. Not long after celebrating his 80th birthday in 1995, his health began to decline as he suffered a heart attack in November 1996 and a fatal one on May 14th, 1998. Frank Sinatra is buried next to his mother, Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra and his father Anthony Sinatra.
Plot: B-8, #151
Jimmy Van Heusen
Birth: January 26, 1913
Death: February 6, 1990
Composer. Born Edward Chester Babcock in Syracuse, New York, he began writing music while at high school. He renamed himself at age 16, after the famous shirt makers, Phillips-Van Heusen, to use as his off-air name during local shows. His close friends called him “Chet.” Studying at Cazenovia Seminary and Syracuse University, he became friends with Jerry Arlen, the younger brother of Harold Arlen. With the elder Arlen’s help, Van Heusen wrote songs for the Cotton Club revue, including “Harlem Hospitality.”He then became a staff pianist for some of the Tin Pan Alley publishers, and wrote, “It’s the Dreamer in Me” (1938) with lyrics by Jimmy Dorsey. Collaborating with lyricist Eddie DeLange, on songs such as “Heaven Can Wait”, “So Help Me”, and “Darn That Dream”, his work became more prolific, writing over 60 songs in 1940 alone. It was in 1940 that he teamed up with the lyricist Johnny Burke. Burke and Van Heusen moved to Hollywood writing for stage musicals and films throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Swinging on a Star” (1944). Their songs were also featured in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: (1949). He was also a pilot of some accomplishment; he worked, using his birth name, as a part-time test pilot for Lockheed Corporation in World War II. Van Heusen then teamed up with lyricist Sammy Cahn. Their three Academy Awards for Best Song were won for “All the Way” (1957) from The Joker Is Wild, “High Hopes” (1959) from “A Hole in the Head,” and “Call Me Irresponsible” (1963) from “Papa’s Delicate Condition.” Their songs were also featured in “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960) and “Robin and the 7 Hoods” (1964), which featured the Oscar-nominated “My Kind of Town.” Cahn and Van Heusen also wrote “Love and Marriage” (1955), “To Love and Be Loved”, “Come Fly with Me”, “Only the Lonely”, and “Come Dance with Me” with many of their compositions being the title songs for Frank Sinatra’s albums of the late 1950s. He became an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.Van Heusen composed over 800 plus songs of which 50 songs became standards. Van Heusen songs are featured in over one hundred eighty films.
Plot: B-8, #63
Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Cathedral City 69855
(corner of DaVall Drive)
Birth: May 5, 1915
Death: May 9, 1998
Actress. Born Alice Jeane Leppert and raised in New York City’s “Hells Kitchen,” Alice Faye quit school at 14 to become a chorus girl, lying about her age in order to get the audition. She danced in the famous “George White’s Scandals” revues. Not long after that she was discovered by Rudy Vallee, who hired her to sing with his band. Vallee went to Hollywood to star in Fox’s 1934 film version of George White’s Scandals and Faye, who was slated to sing one song in the film, became leading lady when co-star Lilian Harvey walked off the picture. Her success in the film landed her a contract at Fox. Initially, the studio saw her as a Jean Harlowe clone and dyed her hair platinum, plucked her eyebrows and dressed her to show off her figure. Her appearances in On the Avenue, You Can’t Have Everything, “You’re a Sweetheart,” “Wake Up and Live” (all 1937) and “Sally, Irene and Mary” (1938), along with her performances in two 1936 Shirley Temple pictures, “Poor Little Rich Girl” and “Stowaway” firmly established Faye as one of the screen’s top musical stars. Faye’s best dramatic role was in the historical drama “In Old Chicago” (1938), after which she and co-star Tyrone Power were re-teamed for the Irving Berlin musical “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1938) and “Rose of Washington Square” (1939). In the 1940s she appeared with Don Ameche in “Hollywood Cavalcade,” “Lillian Russell” and “That Night in Rio” and co-starred with John Payne in “Tin Pan Alley” (with Betty Grable playing her sister), “Weekend in Havana,” “The Great American Broadcast” and “Hello Frisco, Hello,” in which Alice introduced the Oscar-winning song “You’ll Never Know,” the song most identified with her. Faye had married singer-bandleader Phil Harris in 1941 and took time off to have her second child after completing Busby Berkeley’s “The Gang’s All Here” (1943). In late 1944 she returned to Fox and was assigned to “Fallen Angel” (1945), a drama co-starring Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell. Although the film was supposed to be a vehicle for Faye, many of her scenes were deleted to make room for Darnell, who was being groomed by Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. After seeing the picture in a studio projection room, Faye drove off the lot and didn’t return for 16 years. Faye stayed home to raise her two daughters, but stayed in show business by co-starring with her husband on a weekly radio show. She made occasional TV appearances, before accepting a role as the mother in the1962 Fox remake of “State Fair.” During the 1980’s Faye signed with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals as a “Good Health Ambassador” and made personal appearances all over the country promoting the virtues of physical fitness for senior citizens.
Palm Springs Mausoleum West Wall 2d SSBB
Birth: June 24, 1904
Death: August 11, 1995
Bandleader, Vocalist, Actor. Phil Harris was a versatile performer excelling on many levels as a performer. After settling in California at an early age, he formed the Phil Harris Band which performed in the late twenties and early thirties while recording many novelty songs...”Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette,” “Up A Lazy River,” “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Row, Row, Row,” “Is It True What They Say About Dixie,” and his most successful “Thats What I Like About the South.” Harris had a fledgling career in the movies with a film debut in RKO’s “So This is Harris” which won the 1932 Academy Award for best short subject, comedy category. Phil became part of the popular radio show starring Jack Benny as the musical director. He would sing and lead the band while exchanging comedy quips with Jack. He would marry Actress Alice Faye and the couple would forever be linked synonymously. With Alice Faye, Harris hosted the “Fitch Bandwagon” radio series until the couple starred in their own radio program, The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, a domestic situation comedy where Harris and Faye played themselves while actresses played their real daughters. He turned to appearances on popular television shows such as The Kraft Music Hall, The Dean Martin Show and Hollywood Palace. His career was revitalized and children were delighted with his work in Disney films providing the voice in the animated feature, “The Aristocats” for Thomas O’Malley and again for Little John in the animated movie “Robin Hood.” Probably his best, “The Jungle Book” an animated tale about a boy raised in the woods by animals where he provided the voice for Baloo the Bear while singing the tune, “The Bare Necessities.” He was born Wonga Phillip in Linton, Indiana the only child of Harry and Dollie Harris. His dad would put him on the path to show business by teaching him to play several musical instruments including the drums. He discarded Wonga Phillip becoming simply Phil Harris going on to form his own group called ‘Dixie Syncopators” which performed throughout the south with Phil singing comedy vocals. In World War II, he served in the Merchant Marines. He kind of simply faded away from the Hollywood scene to being a businessman in Palm Springs while becoming a spokesperson and benefactor for the famous resort with all the golf courses. He would pass away at age 91 from a heart condition at his Rancho Mirage residence. Cremation was performed and his wife of 54 years. Alice Faye kept his ashes until her own death. After her cremation, both urns were placed in a companion niche in the outdoor Palm Springs Mausoleum located at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Harris was a longtime resident and benefactor to the California desert city of Palm Springs. He was an early 1950 homeowner at the Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, the first prototype community to be constructed surrounding a golf course. Harris was a tireless promoter of golf in the Palm Springs area, chairing many charity events while doing golf commentary during tournaments. The Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce noted this and honored both Harris and Alice Faye “Honorary Mayor & Mayoress” holding this distinction until 1971.
Palm Springs Mausoleum West Wall 2d SSBB
Birth: August 27, 1916
Death: December 12, 2000
Actor, Director, Writer, and Artist. His decades long career started as a boxer to movie stunt performer, support roles in western movies...”The Cisco Kid and the Lady” “The Last of the Duanes” and “Riders of the Purple Sage” then leading roles in musicals and romantic comedies...”Coney Island” “Ten Gentlemen From West Point” “China Girl” and “Roxie Hart.” His life in his post movie days were as an artist, sculptor and designing furniture and homes. He was born George Montgomery Letz in Brady, Montana, growing up a member of a large family on his parents homestead ranch. He learned to handle himself around horses but exhibited an extraordinary talent for the arts to the chagrin of his parents as his little drawings began appearing on the walls and window shades of the family residence. He became proficient as a carpenter-woodworker and metal-craftsman, all self learned, while doing the tasks and chores of a ranch-hand even constructing cabinets and furniture for the ranch house. Although George would enroll at the University of Montana to pursue a career in the arts, he would leave after only a year to fulfill a childhood dream of becoming a movie star. He journeyed to Hollywood quickly finding work as a stunt man while doing set construction for Republic films. George made his movie debut with a small acting part in the 1935 western “The Singing Vagabond” with the credit George Letz. After signing with 20th Century Fox studio, he changed his screen name to George Montgomery and began making mainly romantic-comedy type films. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II but not before marriage to Dinah Shore only days before his departure. Montgomery left the Hollywood scene in 1972 after a career that included more than eighty feature films only to immerge but a few times for cameo movie roles but appeared many times on the Dinah Shore hosted television shows. He would immerse himself into the operation of his fully owned and staffed customized furniture and cabinet factory in Los Angeles where a number of his designed homes were built. He would expand after self learning the art of bronze casting and would sculpt busts of many Hollywood stars including Ronald Reagan destined for the presidency. His pieces from his collection were exhibited in galleries across the country. His most endearing work graces the entrance to the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage which is the home of the LPGA Dinah Shore founded Golf Tournament and depicts Dinah with their children. He would pass away at his residence in Rancho Mirage from simple complications of old age at 84. A public memorial service was held at the Palm Springs Desert Museum’s Annenberg Theatre. His ashes were divided...part interred near his home in Rancho Mirage and part in the family plot in Highland Cemetery in Great Falls, Montana. Rancho Mirage now has a namesake street. Montgomery Way is located off Dinah Shore Drive, which also is a symbolic reunion of sorts for the couple who were married for many years.
Plot: Columbarium, Serenity Chapel
Birth: August 30, 1935
Death: March 18, 2001
Musician and Songwriter. He was the principal songwriter for the 1960s pop group, the Mamas and the Papas. He penned “California Dreaming” and other hits such as “I Saw Her Again Last Night” and “Creeque Alley.” In 1966 the band won a Grammy for best contemporary group performance for the single “Monday, Monday.” Phillips also wrote for other groups, including the Grateful Dead, the Beach Boys and Scott MacKenzie. Prior to entering the hospital, Phillips had completed work on a solo album tentatively titled “Slow Starter.” Father of the actress MacKenzie Phillips from “One Day at a Time” and singer Chynna Phillips of the group “Wilson Phillips”.
Plot: Faith & Hope, Crypt 12E, Space A
Birth: May 21, 1916
Death: October 14, 1997
American author of popular novels. One of the best-selling writers of all time, he penned over 25 best-sellers, totaling over 750 million copies in 32 languages. Born Harold Rubin in New York City, he was the son of well-educated Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. He was reared by his pharmacist father and stepmother in Brooklyn. His first book, “Never Love a Stranger” (1948), caused controversy with its graphic sexuality. “The Dream Merchants” (1949) was a novel about the American film industry, from its beginning to the sound era. Again Robbins blended his own experiences, historical facts, melodrama, sex, and action into a fast-moving story.
His 1952 novel, “A Stone for Danny Fisher,” was adapted into a 1958 motion picture King Creole, which starred Elvis Presley. Among his best-known books is “The Carpetbaggers” -- loosely based on a composite of Howard Hughes, Bill Lear, Harry Cohn, and Louis B. Mayer -- taking the reader from New York to California, from the prosperity of the aeronautics/ aeronautical industry to the glamour of Hollywood. Its sequel, “The Raiders,” was released in 1995. Since his death, several new books have been published, written by ghostwriters and based on Robbins’s own notes and unfinished stories. In March 1965, he had three novels on the British paperback bestseller list – “Where Love Has Gone” at No.1, “The Carpetbaggers” at No.3 and “The Dream Merchants” in the sixth spot.His widow, Jann Robbins, has republished 12 of his most famous titles with AuthorHouse Publishing.
Birth: December 6, 1917
Death: May 5, 2008
Entrepreneur. With Burt Baskin he co-founded the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain in 1945. They also pioneered in franchising their stores. Famed for its “31 flavors” concept, Baskin-Robbins now has over 5,500 outlets around the world. Robbins was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and raised in Washington state.
Plot: Serenity Chapel, North Crypt, 3B
Birth: August 13, 1904
Death: April 21, 1999
Actor. He made his screen debut in the 1926 film ‘Fascinating Youth,’ and quickly became a star in the late silent era. He also found success as a bandleader and a musician. His signature song became “Twelfth Street Rag,” which he was able to play a few bars of on a great number of musical instruments. However, he remains best remembered for his acting career. Rogers, who acquired the nickname “America’s Boyfriend,” starred in such films as ‘Wings’ (1927), ‘My Best Girl’ (1927), ‘River of Romance’ (1929), ‘Along Came Youth’ (1930), ‘Working Girls’ (1931), ‘This Reckless Age’ (1932), ‘Best of Enemies’ (1933), ‘This Way Please’ (1937), ‘Sing for Your Supper’ (1941), and ‘An Innocent Affair’ (1948). During World War II, he also worked as a flight-training instructor for the Navy. After making ‘An Innocent Affair,’ he retired from the screen for nine years, concentrating on television and radio work. In 1957 he starred in his final movie, ‘The Parson and the Outlaw,’ playing a minor role. Rogers married the legendary actress Mary Pickford in 1937, becoming her third husband. The two had worked together in her 1927 film ‘My Best Girl,’ while she was still married to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., but didn’t become romantically involved for some time, even though Rogers had reported feeling attracted to her since they had made that movie. When they finally did become a couple and got married a decade later, many people felt the marriage would never last because Rogers was eleven years younger than Pickford, and it was rare to see a couple where the husband was the one who was significantly younger than the wife. However, they proved their nay-sayers wrong by remaining married until Pickford’s death in 1979. The couple adopted two children, Ronnie and Roxanne. In 1981 Rogers remarried to Beverly Ricono. His second marriage lasted until his death. Rogers was also very involved in charity work and humanitarian groups; for his activities in these causes he was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1986 at the Academy Awards ceremony. Another honor he received in his later years was having a children’s symphony orchestra in Coachella Valley, California named after him. He and his second wife had helped to found this children’s orchestra. Rogers passed away at the age of ninety-four of natural causes.
Birth: February 29, 1916
Death: February 24, 1994
Singer, actress, television hostess. Fondly remembered for her long career on stage, screen, TV, and radio. Dinah Shore’s 55 years in show business included more than 70 hit recordings...”Dear Hearts and Gentle People” “Buttons and Bows” “Blues in the Night” “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” “I’ll Walk Alone” and “I Wish I didn’t Love You So.” She had a Peabody Award, 10 Emmy Awards with 3 stars on the Hollywood Walk. She was born Francis Rose in Winchester, Tennessee to Russian Jewish immigrants Solomon and Anna Shore, her father a successful businessman. Called “Fanny,” she recovered from a bout with polio as a toddler but was left with an impaired leg, which would be problematic during her entire life. She was a busy active teenager growing up in the Winchester area located a short distance from Nashville. “Fanny” attended Nashville’s Hume-Fogg High School where she was a cheerleader and excelled in athletics. After graduation, she enrolled at Vanderbilt University becoming head of her sorority and active in golf and tennis. “Fanny” took voice and acting lessons from a tutor and often sang on radio station WSM Nashville. Even with a degree in hand from Vanderbilt, she was determined to have a career in show business. Believing her best chance lie in New York City, she immediately moved there after graduation. However, her goal of being a star was elusive and Francis Rose Shore encountered nothing but rejection. She became noticed after singing with a young amateur by the name of Frank Sinatra leading her into Xavier Cugat’s Orchestra as a vocalist and finally to NBC as a staff singer on the network’s radio programs. After signing a record contract with RCA, she gained national prominence and her singing career skyrocketed. The war years were productive as she recorded many hit records while becoming a mainstay on the Armed Forces Radio network and even had her own radio show She further helped the war effort going overseas to entertain American troops. She became Dinah Shore and added her own military trophy with marriage to George Montgomery only days before he left for an enlistment in the Army Air Force. In the postwar, Dinah’s attempts at a movie career were mediocre but she had some success in musical films...”Belle of the Yukon” “Up in Arms” and “Till the Clouds Roll By.” She appeared in and made many movies for television and was the musical voice in these Disney pictures...”Make Mine Music” and “Fun and Fancy Free.” However, her savior in 1951 was the new medium called television. As host on “The Dinah Shore Show” she became the first woman to host her own variety show soon overlapping with a second show “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show.” When the show closed in 1963, Dinah literally disappeared only to immerge on occasion for guest appearances on various shows. She arrived back on television in the early 70’s hosting the popular NBC daytime talk and variety show, “Dinah’s Place.” Her final series was a weekly television show called “A conservation With Dinah” which ended in 1991 after she experienced stomach pains and was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica where she was diagnosed with cancer. Her treatment was unsuccessful and she would pass away less then a year later at her Beverly Hills residence with her family at her bedside. She was cremated and after a final service at Hillside Memorial Park Chapel a portion of her divided ashes were placed in a wall crypt located in the Park. Another portion was interred at Forest Lawn, Cathedral City, located near her desert residence. Legacy...Dinah Shore helped the war effort during World War II making many appearances entertaining troops overseas. Closer to home she was frequent entertainer at the Betty Davis Hollywood Canteen for serviceman. She was honored and awarded the USO Medallion. Dinah Shore Drive is her namesake. The busy thoroughfare transverses the desert cities of Rancho Mirage and Cathedral City. A Dinah Shore Blvd is located in her hometown, Winchester and takes you to the town square where her father had a store. She gave women’s professional golf a major boost by establishing the LPGA tournament that bore the name “Colgate Dinah Shore Tournament.” Kraft Nabisco after taking over sponsorship changed the name to “Kraft Nabisco Championship” which is still played annually at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. However, the winner receives the Kraft Nabisco Dinah Shore Trophy.
Plot: Columbarium, Serenity Chapel
Birth: January 5, 1917
Death: September 10, 2007
Academy Award-Winning Actress. Born Sarah Jane Mayfield, for many years she gave her birth date as January 4, 1914 to make herself appear older, enabling her to work full time while still a minor. She launched her professional career in 1930 singing on radio programs under the name “Jane Durrell”, and after 1932 she obtained small parts in such films as “The Kid from Spain” (1932), “My Man Godfrey” (1936), and “Cain and Mabel” (1936). In 1936 she changed her name to Wyman and began work as a contract player with Warner Brothers, the same year she graduated from the University of Missouri. Her first notable role was in “Public Wedding” (1937). Wyman co-starred with Ronald Reagan in “Brother Rat” (1938) and its sequel “Brother Rat and a Baby” (1940). After years of lackluster leads she finally gained critical notice in the “The Lost Weekend” (1945), and was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress in 1947 for “The Yearling”. She won in 1949 for her powerful performance as a deaf-mute rape victim in “Johnny Belinda” (1948), the first Oscar winner since the silent film era to win for a role that didn’t include dialogue. She was Oscar-nominated again in 1952 and 1955 for “The Blue Veil” and “Magnificent Obsession”. In the 1950s Wyman hosted a television series, “Jane Wyman Theater”, receiving an Emmy nomination in 1957. She lived in semi-retirement until the 1970s, when she appeared in guest roles on “Charlie’s Angels” and other television series. In the 1980s her career enjoyed resurgence when she was cast as the matriarch in “Falcon Crest”, a CBS drama about a family involved in the California wine industry. Wyman married Ronald Reagan in 1940 and they had three children: Maureen, Michael (whom they adopted), and Christine, who was stillborn. Career differences and Reagan’s political ambitions led to their divorce in 1948. She was then married bandleader Frederick Karger twice (from 1952 to 1955 and from 1961 to 1965, both ending in divorce). After “Falcon Crest” was canceled Wyman retired to Rancho Mirage Country Club.
Plot: Mission Santa Rosa, East exterior, Space 5F
Coachella Valley Public Cemetery
82925 Avenue 52, Coachella
Birth: May 18, 1897
Death: September 3, 1991
Legendary motion picture director, writer, and producer of the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Three-time Oscar winner for his direction on the timeless classics “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” (1936), and “You Can’t Take It with You” (1938). He also directed the 1946 holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” among many other great films. An American icon.
Plot: Lot 289, Unit 8, Block 77