Death & Hollywood

So if you don’t know by now, I can be kind of morbid, and after visiting The Autry (I didn’t take any photos, as the lighting and display cases proved to be difficult, and I chose instead to focus on the experience, but I highly recommend visiting as it is nothing short of spectacular!) the remainder of our day in Los Angeles was spent visiting locations pertaining to death, specifically the location where Elizabeth Short’s body was discovered and the Westwood Village Memorial Park, the final resting place of many celebrities.

On January 15th, 1947 the dismembered body of Elizabeth Short, who came be known as the Black Dahlia, was found in a grassy vacant lot along Norton Avenue, an area that was gearing up to become a fresh row of tract homes for the post-war boom of Los Angeles.

Frequently, the location of Short’s body is simply described as between Colosseum and 39th along Norton, on the west side of the street.  So the exact location is debatable, and it wasn’t until I returned home I even thought about looking at the coroner’s report.  But as it turns out the location that I chose wasn’t far off from the report’s description (I was roughly two houses north), especially when compared with Lindsey’s (of I am Not a Stalker) visit.

After refusing encouragements of sprawling out in the lawn, I plopped myself down in the parking strip, instead of the lawn of someone’s house, because let’s be honest, looking outside your window to see someone randomly laying in your lawn having their picture taken is kinda strange, but, hey, if you’re going to live where history happened, you better get used to some weird history geeks coming around.

After peeling out of Norton Avenue, we headed toward Westwood Village Memorial Park.  I have yet to visit Hollywood Forever, which I initially suggested when we decided to go into LA for a day, but when I learned that Bettie Page, the queen of pin-ups herself, was buried at a small cemetery in West Hollywood, I quickly chose it over Hollywood Forever.

There are many other notable celebrities buried at Westwood too, including James Dean’s Rebel without a Cause co-star Natalie Wood, among many other favorite actors, musicians, and authors, many of whom passed away in recent years.

But perhaps the celebrity that draws the most admirers is Marilyn Monroe.

Other celebrities include James Coburn, Beach Boys member Carl Wilson, television producer Sidney Sheldon, actor Jack Lemon, Colombo himself (as well as the grandpa from The Princess Bride) Peter Falk and the legendary Peggy Lee.

Squaw Dress: Expo
Belt: Who knows…? Most likely thrifted by my dad.
Mocs: Thunderbird by Minnetonka

10 thoughts on “Death & Hollywood

  1. Love this! I believe she is buried in Oakland at the Mountain View Cemetery, not too far from where I live! A beautiful cemetery if you have not yet been and are ever in the bay area. I need to go back and find her grave marker!

    I only really knew anything about Hollywood Forever. Thanks for sharing the info on Westwood Village!

  2. Excellent post – I love that you’re a fellow fan of making pilgrimages so to speak, to places where historical deaths of note took place. The first thing just about (I kid you not), I did when I worked for a few months as a teenager in the ghost town on Barkerville here in B.C. was make a beeline for the cemetery (though the man for which the town is named, Billy Barker, isn’t buried there, he was laid to rest in Victoria, have left the area broke, despite his riches at one point, some years after the rush had dried up; interestingly though, there has been talk in recent years or exhuming his remains and moving them to Barkerville, which is an idea I personally support and think would be a fitting tribute to him).

    Love (!) your fabulously fun yellow squaw dress!

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Ahhh I am so jealous! I too have a morbid fascination and have a weird thing about cemeteries and sites where people have died. I always wanted to go to that cemetery, especially for Marilyn – she has been my goddess for over 20 years 🙂

    Such a fun trip! The Black Dahlia trip is pretty rad too. I hope to make the pilgrimage myself super soon!


    Veronica Vintage

  4. How interesting! I’m more for visiting interesting geology than interesting human history sites (although those are fun too) on my voyages, so it’s really interesting to see your explorations of some famous California places. In the year I lived in Southern California, I didn’t visit any of them!
    Also, your dress is outrageous, and it’s completely unfair that you look so good in chartreuse.

  5. I always love seeing your holiday snaps and all the great places you visit.I don’t think of it macabre so much as eirie. I’d love to take a peek in Westwood Village Memorial park too!
    Thanks for sharing all your pickies with us. xx Shauna

  6. Everybody can look good in vintage outfits, it seems, but NOT everybody has your morbid sense of adventure. It’s what I love most about your blog! Researching exactly where Elizabeth Short was found is, um, something I can identify with. I love these pictures.

    You rock.

  7. It’s funny (sad?) — I lived in Los Angeles for the first 22 years of my life and there is so so much I never saw or experienced. Now I feel like the next few times I visit home, I need to act a bit like a tourist and seek stuff like this out!

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