Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery

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Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery may not come off as a top tourist destination near Los Angeles when it comes to cemetery visits. Nonetheless, its peaceful grounds are worth visiting in addition to paying respects to dancing legends and other classic cinema stars. While there are not a great deal of classic cinema greats buried here, the caliber of the few individuals here is noteworthy. As for my interests, I wanted to pay my respects to classic cinema’s greatest dancing partnership: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

This article does not offer a full overview of each individual located here; rather, it is a “walk” through the grounds from my perspective, highlighting places and people of interest to me. At this point, I have not paid my respects to all of the individuals here and this list is far from exhaustive in covering the notable individuals here.

Fred Astaire
(May 10, 1899 – June 22, 1987)
Born Frederick Austerlitz. An American dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, and television presenter. He is widely considered the most influential dancer in the history of film.

Ginger Rogers
(July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995)
Born Virginia Katherine McMath. An American actress, dancer, and singer. She is known for her starring role in Kitty Foyle (1940), but is best remembered for performing in RKO’s musical films (partnered with Fred Astaire) on stage, radio and television, throughout much of the 20th century.

Gloria Grahame
(November 28, 1923 – October 5, 1981)
Born Gloria Grahame Hallward, known professionally as Gloria Grahame. An American stage, film, and television actress and singer. She began her acting career in theatre and in 1944 made her first film for MGM. Despite a featured role in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), MGM did not believe she had the potential for major success, and sold her contract to RKO Studios. Often cast in film noir projects, Grahame was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Crossfire (1947), and later won the award for her work in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). She achieved her highest profile with Sudden Fear (1952), Human Desire (1953), The Big Heat (1953), and Oklahoma! (1955), but her film career began to wane soon afterwards.

If you are looking to explore beyond the Los Angeles area, I would recommend the drive to Chatsworth to visit this location.

 

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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