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Hollywood Forever Cemetery Is LA's Latest Historic-Cultural Monument

Tombs and gravestones sit in the foreground with the Hollywood sign behind.
The "Hollywood" sign can be seen from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
(David McNew
Getty Images)
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Hollywood Forever Cemetery is now a historic-cultural monument.

The LA City Council approved the unanimous recommendation from the Cultural Heritage Commission.

Architectural historian Heather Goers said it’s exciting to see the city finally recognize the cemetery's historical significance.

“It's truly a special place on so many levels, both in terms of its architecture, and its landscape, but also in terms of the history that contributed to the development of this place,” she said.

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Goers said the cemetery was built at the end of the 19th century in what was then outside of the city limits. It became part of L.A.’s westward expansion.

The cemetery is the final resting place for many early Hollywood celebrities including Rudolph Valentino, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Cecil B. DeMille.

While it’s already a part of the National Register of Historic Places, Goers said the local designation can help preserve the property when future repairs or projects come up.

Among the notable sites within the cemetery is a pink marble obelisk erected in 1999 to honor Hattie McDaniel, the groundbreaking Oscar-winning actor. McDaniel asked to be buried at Hollywood Forever on her death in 1952 and was denied because she was Black. McDaniel was instead buried at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.

Hollywood Forever made LAist's 2017 list of the most iconic cemeteries in L.A. That review made the bold claim that "Hollywood Forever is one of the best cemeteries in the world."

It is a majestic park filled with palm trees and ponds, is the burial site of Hollywood icons like Toto and Mickey Rooney, and is filled with some pretty nuts and over-the-top mausoleums. It sits in the middle of the packed Melrose district just north of Paramount Studios. Where else can you wander among the gravestones of iconic Hollywood figures, just steps away from the center of a major city, with the sun beating down on a perfect Southern California day? It is also the site for one of L.A.’s most reliable summer activities: Cinespia film screenings.
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