Resting Places of Horror Film Icons, Part One

In my other life, outside the cemetery, I write horror stories. Many of horror’s literary forebears have monuments we can visit, where we can thank them for their inspiration. I’ve written about them before:

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of many for our favorite horror movie actors and directors.  Too many of them do not have gravesites – or I couldn’t determine the disposition of their remains.  I wish we horror writers could find some appropriate way to honor them.

What follows is a listing of actors gathered from the Horror Writers Association Facebook page and conversations with both my local HWA chapter and others.  I’ve included all the burial places I could find.

Part 2 of my list will appear in tomorrow.  If I’ve missed anyone that should be included in this list, please drop me a note below and I’ll put together a Part 3.

One of the most important actors, directors and producers in Mexican film & TV, Ernesto Alonso starred in EL MALEFICO. He was buried at the Church of San Antonio de Padua in Mexico City.

British actor Lionel Atwill starred in 50 movies in the 1930s and 40s, including SON OF FRANKENSTEIN and MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM. His ashes were placed at the Chapel of the Pines in Pacific Palisades, California in 1946.

Director of BLACK SUNDAY, THE MASK OF SATAN and KILL, BABY, KILL, as well as 70-some other giallo films, Mario Bava was buried in the Monumental Cemetery of Verano. He died in 1980 of a heart attack.

Ingmar Bergman, the director who brought us a chess-playing Death in THE SEVENTH SEAL was buried beneath a boulder in Faro Churchyard in Gotlands län, Sweden.

A prolific Shakespearean actor who appeared in HOUSE OF DRACULA, VAMPIRE HOOKERS, and a host of other B movies, John Carradine died of natural causes at the age of 82 in Italy. He was given a naval burial at sea off the coast of Catalina, California.

Known best for playing Mina Seward in the Bela Lugosi version of DRACULA, Helen Chandler died in 1965 after surgery for a bleeding ulcer. She was cremated at the Chapel of the Pines in Los Angeles, California. Her ashes are shelved in a section of the columbarium not open to visitors.

The original Lawrence Talbot in THE WOLF MAN, Lon Chaney Jr. went on to play Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy Kharis, and Dracula, along with many other roles in horror and western films. He died of alcohol-related health problems at the age of 67 in Orange County, California. He donated his body to science. He doesn’t even have a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Lon Chaney, the Man of 1000 Faces, played Quasimodo in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and the Phantom in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA before he died of throat cancer at the age of 47. He was buried in the Sanctuary of Meditation at the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.

Arguably the most influential Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Colin Clive died of pneumonia at the age of 37.  His ashes were scattered at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles, California. He is remembered on a cenotaph in the Garden of Memories.

After playing both Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Van Helsing for Hammer Studios, Peter Cushing went on to play both Dr. Who and Grand Moff Tarkin.  Cushing died in Canterbury, England after a long battle with prostate cancer and was cremated. The disposition of his ashes is unknown.

Rhoads Bette DavisAlthough she had a long and illustrious career, I include Bette Davis here for WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE and HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE. Davis died of cancer at the age of 81 and was buried in the Court of Remembrance at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Burbank, California.

Yvonne DeCarlo will be remembered for originating the role of Lily in THE MUNSTERS. She died in 2007 at the age of 84 in Woodland Hills, California. She was cremated and her ashes given to a friend.

Dominique Dunne was best known for playing Dana Freeling in POLTERGEIST. At the age of 22, she was murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend. She was buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Chosen by Mel Brooks to play Igor (it’s pronounced Eye-gore) in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Marty Feldman died of a massive heart attack at the age of 48.  He was buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Jonathan Frid played the vampire Barnabas Collins on the soap opera DARK SHADOWS. He died at the age of 87 in Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. He was cremated. The location of his ashes is unknown.

Known for playing both Renfield in DRACULA and Fritz (the quintessential Igor) in FRANKENSTEIN in 1931, Dwight Frye was a devout Christian Scientist who hid his heart condition until it killed him on a bus at the age of 47. He was buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.

A gentle giant who played Herman in THE MUNSTERS and the kindly neighbor in PET SEMETARY, Fred Gwynne died in 1993 of pancreatic cancer.  He was buried in an unmarked grave in Sandy Mount United Methodist Church Cemetery in Finksburg, Maryland.

Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ ranked #4 on the American Film Institute’s list of The Greatest Screen Villains. She died of a heart attack at the age of 82 and was cremated. Her ashes were scattered over her property in Dutchess County, New York.

The original Leatherface in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, Gunnar Hansen died of pancreatic cancer in Northeast Harbor, Maine, at the age of 68. The location of his grave is unknown.

Julie Harris played the tormented wallflower in THE HAUNTING, based on Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Harris died of congestive heart failure in West Chatham, Massachusetts at the age of 87. The disposition of her ashes is unknown.

Disfigured by a pituitary disorder possibly caused by his exposure to mustard gas in World War I, Rondo Hatton was called “the monster who needed no makeup.” He played villains in B movies in the 1930s and 40s. After his death in 1946, he was buried in the American Legion Cemetery in Tampa, Florida.

Alfred Hitchcock, director of PSYCHO and THE BIRDS, died of heart failure at the age of 80.  He requested that his ashes be scattered.

Irish actress Valerie Hobson played Elizabeth in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and appeared in WEREWOLF OF LONDON, both in 1935. She died at the age of 81 and was buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Surrey, England. She shared the grave with her second husband, politician John Perfumo.

Tobe Hooper, director of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and POLTERGEIST, died in August 2017 of natural causes at the age of 74. I haven’t been able to determine what happened next.

In a career that spanned from ALIEN to 1984 to DR. WHO, John Hurt was nominated for Oscars for THE ELEPHANT MAN and MIDNIGHT EXPRESS.  He died in January 2017 of pancreatic cancer. He was 77. No burial site has been announced.

Michael Jackson, included here for the short movie THRILLER, died in 2009 of an overdose of anesthetic. He was 50.  He is buried in a locked chapel in Forest Lawn’s Great Mausoleum in Glendale, California.

Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson appeared in a number of films, but is best remembered for PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. He died at the age of 67 and was buried in Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall, California.

Duane L. Jones made history when he appeared in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. He was the first African American actor to star in a horror movie. When he died of a heart attack at the young age of 51 in 1988, his ashes were given to his family.

When Bela Lugosi refused to take a role in which his face would be unrecognizable, Boris Karloff became a star even though he didn’t receive screen credit in the initial release of FRANKENSTEIN.  Karloff died at home in England from emphysema at the age of 81.  After his cremation at Guilford Crematorium in England, Karloff’s ashes were buried under a rosebush in the Garden of Remembrance at Mount Cemetery. He deserves a grander monument.

German actor Klaus Kinski was captured by the British on his second day of combat in World War II. He appeared in a spectrum of movies including NOSFERATU THE VAMPIRE before being diagnosed with psychopathy. He died of a heart attack in Lagunitas, California in 1991. His ashes were scattered over the ocean.

Director of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, THE SHINING, and 11 other films, Stanley Kubrick died of a heart attack shortly before the release of EYES WIDE SHUT. He was buried on his estate near St. Albans in England. The boulder marking his grave is inscribed, “Here lies our Stanley.”

Fondly remembered for playing both Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and the monster’s bride in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Elsa Lanchester died at the age of 84 in Woodland Hills, California. She was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.

Director of M, METROPOLIS, and DR. MABUSE, Fritz Lang fled Nazi Germany for the US. He died at age 85 in 1976 and was buried in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Rhoads Brandon LeeKilled by a mis-loaded prop gun on the set of THE CROW, Brandon Lee was buried beside his father Bruce near the crest of Lake View Cemetery in Seattle, Washington.

From Dracula to Saruman, Christopher Lee was a towering figure in horror films.  He died of heart failure in June 2015 at the age of 93. One report says he was buried in Karoro Cemetery in Greymouth, New Zealand, but I cannot confirm it. Findagrave reports that his ashes were scattered over the Surrey Hills in Englang.

Janet Leigh said she was never able to take a shower again after starring in PSYCHO. After her death at the age of 74 in 2004, she was buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Cast as the psychopathic child murderer in M by Fritz Lang, Peter Lorre started on a career of playing villains and outcasts. He died in 1964 from a stroke. His ashes were interred in the Cathedral Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever. Vincent Price read his eulogy.


Bela Lugosi’s gravestone in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City. Photo by Loren Rhoads.

After a successful run of DRACULA on Broadway, Hungarian-born Bela Lugosi became a star in Hollywood. He died during the filming of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Frank Sinatra paid for Lugosi’s grave in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.  Lugosi was buried in one of his black opera capes. I wrote about visiting his grave here:

If you find an error or think of anyone I’ve missed, please drop me a note. Part 2 will go up tomorrow!

3 responses to “Resting Places of Horror Film Icons, Part One

  1. Pingback: Cemetery Press in 2018 | Cemetery Travel: Your Take-along Guide to Graves & Graveyards Around the World

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