Crossed Sticks

For some strange reason, I have a strong connection to the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park.  It’s a gem of a cemetery in the middle of Downtown L.A surrounded by high rises.  What a final resting place.

We placed my nephew’s ashes there.  My ex-wife’s parents’ ashes are there.  I’ve been there many times.  Fascinating place.  Almost hallowed ground.

They have an inordinate number of celebrities buried there.  The list is long (you can look it up): Marilyn Monroe, Mel Tormé, Natalie Wood, Bob Crane, Walter Matthau, Eddie Albert, Darryl, F Zanuck, Cornel Wilde, Donna Reed, Sammy Cahn, and on and on.  Touring Pierce Brothers Westwood is like walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Only quieter.

Crazy story about Marilyn Monroe: her burial site is behind a large marble slab on a wall, tucked into a quiet, out of the way corner of the cemetery.  The slab is covered with lip prints.  Fans come every day to kiss the marble.

Marilyn’s grave is marked.  The one next to it isn’t.  There is an urban legend that Hugh Hefner bought the space next to Marilyn’s.  I guess that’s nice.

One day, I was reviewing the various columbaria (for several reasons…see above).  I looked down at the floor and there was a small vase with two cross drumsticks in it.  It was September 30.  I looked up at the tarnished brass plaque on the marble wall:

BUDDY RICH
ONE OF A KIND
1917-1987

(also check out my other Buddy Rich post, “If Looks Could Kill”)

Buddy Rich on Wikipedia

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