From the very first page, the breezy tone of this book put me off. It’s written in a cheerful star-stalker paparazzi style that doesn’t take the concept of poking around graveyards respectfully enough for my taste.
Even so, it is a surprisingly comprehensive guide to the famous dead of California. Ranging beyond the Forest Lawns and Hollywood Forever, the guide pokes into Angelus-Rosedale (one of my favorite Southern California cemeteries), visits the crypt of the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, and explains how to get into Westwood Village Memorial Park, which is not nearly as easy as it should be.
Leaving LA behind, the book covers new ground by featuring graveyards in Malibu, Santa Monica, San Diego, and the desert. Those instances are worth the price of the book to me.
In comparison, the Northern California part of the book is condensed to less than 50 pages, so it feels tacked on. This material is much better covered by books focusing on Colma or the California Missions.
If you’re interested in old movies and keep a tab permanently open to IMDB, this is the cemetery guide for you. Otherwise, you may discover (as I did) that there are a whole lot of people you’ve never heard of buried in California. More photographs would have helped.
You can get your own copy on Amazon: Laid to Rest in California: A Guide to the Cemeteries and Grave Sites of the Rich and Famous
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