I recently acted in a funeral scene in an indie movie that was shot at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This cemetery is stunning. Most cemeteries are serene. It falls in line with the whole rest in peace thing. But the people in this cemetery are not only resting in peace they are resting in lavishness. I’ve never seen such elaborate tombstones. Not that I frequent cemeteries or have a large enough sample set to make my case. But that’s never stopped me in the past. Besides, my gut tells me the kind of coin it took to make some of the graveyard displays (calling them tombstones would be a disservice) could make a handsome down payment on a house. Many of the pieces had pictures of the departed on them reminiscent of the pictures you see of the writers in newspapers. Not that anyone reads newspapers anymore.
The Hollywood Cemetery is the resting place of many old school legendary Hollywood greats. So I don’t have a problem with it having an allure. It would have that without the eye grabbing displays. But this final resting place seemed to have the exact social dynamics of a night club: Invite a few famous people and watch everyone and their brother flock, draped in their best and trying to impress while “fitting” in with the people we’ve deemed stars.
But the problem it seems, even in death, is that those “famous” people typically have something that separates them that can’t be bought. A look, a talent, a mystique that all the bottles of Moet in the world can’t capture. Sadly, this cemetery seemed to have a few amazing Hollywood standouts surrounded by people looking over the velvet ropes trying to gain access, not to heaven, but to the heavenly VIP section.
Of course no disrespect to the fallen people or their loved ones. And I truly think all you could ever want is to love and be loved at some point during the ride. And I’m sure someone loved every person resting there. And if those remaining find some solace in burying a loved one in style, I have no problem with that. I just want to highlight that the love they had trumps any display or the prestige of the place where the empty vessel may rest.