Westwood Memorial

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Westwood Memorial/Pierce Brothers is a relatively small plot of land nestled in the concrete maze of growing big business known as Westwood. The grounds are beautifully manicured and, somehow, (I think it’s magic) there is always a cool breeze. The rules of heat and humidity do not apply here. When I need peace, I go there and sit or walk for a while. Marilyn Monroe, perhaps larger in death than she even was in life, is buried at Pierce Brothers.

The grounds are also home to a diverse group of family and other Hollywood names. Iranian and Jewish surnames and headstones blend seamlessly with unmarked graves and those that have been weathered and nearly sanded over completely over the space of a century. Farah Fawcett, Walter Matthau, Merv Griffin and Don Knotts all mark the perimeter of the cemetery as well (with Marilyn). Beyond the known stories, the quiet history behind each grave and tomb always fascinates me. I am contemplating a project where I can research the stories of the non-Hollywood and put those on paper (aka: online) too (… to be continued).

This sacred land is particularly significant for me because my uncle Jon is buried there. The tour groups clearly aren’t going to visit him; importantly, my uncle specifically wanted to be buried near Marilyn. I didn’t know the full story (i.e. where he was buried) until I moved to LA 17 years after he had passed away. He was just shy of his 40th birthday then – a fact I think about all the time when I visit him and contemplate my time in LA and not quite being at the 40 mark myself. There is something profound in the parallel(s) in our lives, having Westwood Memorial to visit and the several connections that have helped me to close many loops, personally. I talk about those parallels and Jon’s Story in one of my earliest posts: Jon’s Story. Jon is my celebrity.

But you can see Marilyn and all of her (and their) other neighbors and their special resting place in the pictures below.

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