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FAMOUS GRAVE TOUR – Valley Oaks & Simi Valley (Karen Carpenter, Ronald Reagan, etc.)


Welcome to Hollywood Graveyard where we
set out to remember and celebrate the lives of those who lived to entertain us,
by visiting their final resting places. Today we’re exploring Valley Oaks
Memorial Park and Simi Valley, where we’ll find such stars as Karen Carpenter, Artie
Shaw, Ronald Reagan, and many more. Join us won’t you? We’ve managed to find our way out of the
Twilight Zone and once again into Hollywood Graveyard. With our feet back
firmly on the ground we point our compass to the northwest and head to
Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, about 30 minutes up the 101. This
42 acres Cemetery was developed in the 60s and 70s. It features a cemetery
within a cemetery, hosting early pioneers of this valley who were relocated here
in 1969 after the Old Russell Cemetery fell into disrepair. And at the center of
the cemetery is the Garden of Valor honoring veterans and military families
with an eternal flame. Valley Oaks isn’t our only stop today.
While we’re in the neighborhood we’ll end our tour a few miles north in Simi
Valley. We’ll begin our tour just in from the
entrance on the left in the Beth Olam section. If you’re a fan of Marvel Comics
then you probably know the name Jack Kirby. Kirby entered the young comic book
industry as an artist and writer in the 30s. In 1940 he co-created one of comics
biggest heroes, Captain America. It was the start of the
career of one of the most influential figures in comics. In the years that
followed he would help create the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man,
the X-Men, Black Panther, Groot, and more, often working with another Marvel legend,
Stan Lee. Jack Kirby died in 1994. Little did he know that his creations would
become Hollywood’s most valuable franchise in recent years. The section
south of here is Garden of Serenity. All the way to the hedge is the king of pop
music of Iran, the Sultan of Persian jazz, Vigen Derderian. He was a pop singer and
actor well-known throughout the Near East, often called the Elvis Presley of
Iran. He’s notable for having introduced the
guitar into Iranian music. He left Iran and settled in California before the
1979 revolution, and despite the later ban of pop music in Iran his music
continued to circulate. In the 50s and 60s he also appeared in a
number of Iranian films. Vigen died of cancer at the age of 73. Just across the street West is the
Garden of Valor. In a short ways from the road is Ruth Hussey. She was an actress
who rose to prominence in the 30s and 40s and is perhaps best remembered for
her role as Elizabeth Imbrie in 1940’s The Philadelphia Story. The role earned
her an Oscar nomination and would make her one of the most popular stars in
Hollywood during that era. She also shone on stage, starring on
Broadway in the play State of the Union. Ms. Hussey lived to be 93. Let’s doubleback to the section north,
the Garden of Gethsemane. Here we find the grave of
Rafael Campos. He was an actor known for playing Ramon in the TV sitcom Rhoda, a
spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Among his films are Blackboard Jungle in
1955, and Astro-Zombies in 1968. Campos was just 49 when he died from cancer. A few rows north is the grave of
Graham Jarvis. He was a Canadian character actor
who made guest appearances on shows from MASH to the X-Files, and Star Trek: The
Next Generation. He also appeared in over 300 episodes of the satirical soap opera
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. On film he can be seen in a new leaf and misery his
final role was as Charles Jackson on 7th Heaven. He died at the age of 72
from cancer. Let’s head a little further west in this section
to the Garden of Remembrance. George O’Hanlon was an actor
and comedian. He’s perhaps best
remembered as the voice of George Jetson in Hanna-Barbera’s 60s animated series,
The Jetsons. He would reprise the character in a number of movies as well.
He also played the title character in Warner Brothers live action short
comedies Joe McDoakes, in the 40s and 50s. In addition to acting O’Hanlon was also
a writer, penning scripts for shows including Petticoat Junction and
Gilligan’s Island. After his death he was cremated, his ashes
reportedly scattered in this garden area. There is no marker. Along the back wall
of this garden we find the niche of Jerry Scoggins. He was a country-western
musician who performed on radio, television, and in film. He worked with
big names like Gene Autry and Bing Crosby, and is perhaps best remembered
today for singing the theme for the Beverly Hillbillies, “The Ballad of Jed
Clampett” performed with Flatt and Scruggs. Scoggins lived to be 93. Let’s head back to the lawn
just outside of this garden. Down the hill from the Jesus
in Gethsemane statue we find the final resting place of Virginia Mayo. She was a
popular actress of the 1940s starring with Danny Kaye and a number of musical
comedies. She can also be seen in the oscar-winning film The Best Years of Our
Lives, and alongside James Cagney in one of the great crime dramas of the 40’s,
White Heat. “Now tell me you’re glad to see me,
only say it slowly.” “All I wanted was for you to come back.
It’s the truth. I love you, Cody. I love you!” Virginia died of heart failure at the
age of 84. Virginia was married to Michael O’Shea.
He too was an actor. O’Shea played Jack London in the film about the American writer, and can also
be seen alongside Barbara Stanwyck in Lady of Burlesque. On television he
played Denny Davis in the comedy series It’s a Great Life. He died suddenly of a
heart attack at the age of 67 It is so unbelievably hot today.
How about we take a moment to cool off? Ah, refreshing! At the top of the hill in the
center of the Garden of Gethsemane is the statue of Christ in Gethsemane. At
the southwest corner of the wall we find the grave of Keith Willingham. He was a
comic strip artist who wrote the newspaper comic Blast Blair from 1963 to
1964. It featured the adventures of an astronaut named Blast Blair. Fittingly a
strip is featured right here on his grave. West of here short ways is the
final resting place of musician Harry Nilsson. He was a Grammy award-winning
singer and songwriter popular in the 70s. His music has been featured in many film
and television programs over the years, perhaps most notably his rendition of
“Everybody’s Talking,” the theme from 1969s Midnight Cowboy. [music] Other of his hits include, “Without You,” “Coconut,” and “Remember,”
alluded to here on his marker. At the height of their career when the Beatles were asked to their
favorite American group was, their response was Nilsson. He was just 52 when he died of a heart attack. In 2010 a documentary was
released about his life, Who is Harry Nilsson
(and Why is Everybody Talking About Him)? Let’s head down the hill toward
the road to the west. Close to the edge is where we
find Eddie Dean. He was a country music singer,
songwriter, and actor lauded as one of the best cowboy
singers of the 20th century. He’s perhaps
best known for his hit “Hillbilly Heaven.” [music] He also starred in a number of western
films, like Tumbleweed Trail. Dean lived to be 91. Next we’ll head to the southern section
of the cemetery, the Garden of Reflections. In this westernmost garden
area we find Kristoff St. John. He was an actor best known for his long-running
role as Neil Winters on the daytime soap opera, The Young and the Restless, a role
which he held from 1991 until his death in 2019. He won two Emmys and was
nominated an additional seven times for the role. Other series he appeared in
include Generations, The Bad News Bears, and as young Alex Haley in Roots: the
Next Generation. St. John was just 52 when
he died of heart failure. He’s memorialized here with his son, Julian. Just east is a brick wall of
niches. Here is Steve Forrest. The actor was discovered by Gregory Peck and
became a star for his role in 1953s, So Big. He soon became an in-demand TV star,
playing lieutenant Hondo Harrelson on SWAT, and appearing in shows like Dallas,
and Murder She Wrote. He can also be seen in the Joan Crawford docudrama, Mommie
Dearest. Continuing east we reach Oak Knoll Mausoleum. On the right is the
crypt of Hoyt Curtin. He was the composer and songwriter best known for his work
in cartoon music. He was the principal music director at Hanna-Barbera, and he
would write the iconic themes for shows including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Josie and the Pussycats, The Smurfs, and Scooby-Doo. He died in 2000 at the age of 78. Near the middle of this structure is the
Oak Knoll Columbarium. On the left is
Josephine Dunn. The blonde beauty began her career as a chorus girl before
becoming a silent film actress. She can be seen in DW Griffith’s The Sorrows of
Satan, and Our Modern Maidens. When the talkies came around she landed a role
alongside Carole Lombard in Safety in Numbers. By the end of the 30s she had
retired from making movies. Let’s head now to the far eastern
wall of the mausoleum. Near the top is the crypt of Cesare Danova. The actor was born in Italy, and
after making several films in Europe immigrated to the United States in the
50s. His big break in Hollywood came in the role of Apollodorus in the 1963 film
Cleopatra. He would go on to star as Don Giovanni in Martin Scorsese’s Mean
Streets, and as mayor De Pasto in Animal House. He died of a heart attack at the
age of 66. Let’s cross the street north now
to Tranquility Gardens. A few spaces in from the road is
songwriter Joel Hirschhorn. As you can see here on his
marker he won two Academy Awards for his songs, “The Morning After,”
from the Poseidon Adventure. And the song, “We May Never Love Like This Again,” from The Towering Inferno. He was also nominated for Pete’s Dragon. Earlier in his career his songs
were performed by artists from Elvis Presley to Roy Orbison. He even wrote the book, The
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Songwriting. Next to Joel is another legendary
musician, Artie Shaw. Among the top names of big band leaders of the 30s and 40s, like Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington, was clarinet player Artie Shaw.
He had numerous hit records with his band including “Begin the Beguine.” [music] Shaw was the bandleader for the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show. He also
played himself in the film, Second Chorus. The music he contributed to that
film earning him two Oscar nominations. In the 50s he surprised audiences by all
but quitting music entirely. During his life he was romantically involved with
several of Hollywood’s leading ladies, including Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, and
Evelyn Keyes. He lived to be 94. Finally we follow the winding path north
to the Carpenter mausoleum. Herein lies Karen Carpenter. With her brother, Richard, the duo were known
as The Carpenters, one of the most popular music groups of the 70s.
Karen began her music career playing drums and soon discovered a talent for
singing. In early performances with her brother she only played drums, but her
distinctive voice would soon become the sound of The Carpenters. They had a
number of chart-topping hits, including “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Top of the World,” and “Close to You.” Karen suffered from what was then a
relatively unknown disease, anorexia nervosa. It affected her career and she
underwent treatment. Sadly her health continued to deteriorate, and on the
morning of February 4th 1983 her heart gave out. She was just 32. Karen was originally interred at
Forest Lawn in Cypress, but in 2003 was relocated
here with her parents. Her death brought public awareness to
anorexia and her family started the Karen A Carpenter Memorial Foundation to
support research into eating disorders. Since her death Karen Carpenter has been
considered among the greatest singers of all time. That concludes our tour of
Valley Oaks, but we have two more stops before the day is through. Just a few
miles north of here is Simi Valley. This area, just west of the San Fernando
Valley, has been a popular location for film and TV productions including
Gunsmoke, MASH, Little House on the Prairie, Poltergeist, and many more. Here in Simi Valley is
Assumption Catholic Cemetery. Across the street north of the mausoleum
is the Our Lady of the Assumption statue. Just beyond that we find the grave of
Raoul Walsh. He was an actor, screenwriter, and one of the great directors of early
Hollywood. As an actor his most notable role was perhaps as John Wilkes Booth in
DW Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation in 1915. In the years that followed he
directed a number of films now considered classics. He directed John
Wayne in his first leading role in The Big Trail, Gloria Swanson in Sadie
Thompson, Humphrey Bogart’s and Ida Lupino in High Sierra, and James Cagney
and Virginia Mayo in White Heat. Walsh was also one of the founding
members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You probably noticed
the eyepatch he wore. He lost his right eye in 1928 while filming In Old Arizona,
when a jackrabbit crashed through the windshield of his car. He died of a heart
attack at the age of 93. For our last stop of the day we head a
short distance west, not to a cemetery, but to a Presidential Library. The only
President of the United States who began his career as the Hollywood star was
Ronald Reagan. After moving to California from Illinois in 1937 Reagan did a
screen test for Warner Brothers and began making movies. He had smaller roles
in the late 30s and by the early 40s had become one of the most popular young
stars in Hollywood. In 1940 he starred in Knute Rockne: All American, playing the
role of George “the Gipper” Gipp. From that movie came a nickname he
held the rest of his life: the Gipper. Other films include The Killers, Bedtime
for Bonzo, and what many consider to be his best movie, Kings Row. “We were going
to run away. She’d been getting out to meet me
for a long time. I need to say anything more?” “Did Doctor Tower know anything about
this?” “I guess I wouldn’t be here today if he had.” On television he became the host of
General Electric Theater, a popular series of weekly dramas. And during his
military service Reagan produced around 400 training videos for the Armed Forces. In the late 40s Reagan also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. By the 60s Reagan had shifted his focus entirely from acting to politics. He
served as governor of California from 1967 to 1975, and in 1980 was elected as
the 40th President of the United States, serving two terms until 1989. During his presidency he
survived an assassination attempt, spurred the war on drugs,
implemented economic policies known as Reaganomics, helped bring an end to the
Cold War, and famously called on Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, a piece of which can be seen
here at the Reagan Library. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Historians and the public generally place
Reagan in the upper tier of American Presidents. In 1994 at the age of 83
Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The disease led to cognitive
decline until his death in 2004 at the age of 93. He would lie in state in the
Capitol Rotunda before being laid to rest here. Resting alongside President
Reagan is his second wife, actress and First Lady, Nancy Davis Reagan. Her acting
career began in the 40s, first on stage then on the big screen in films
like The Next Voice You Hear, and Night Into Morning. Nancy met Ronald when he
was president of the Screen Actors Guild. They would later marry, and even star in a
film together, Hellcats of the Navy, in 1957. She eventually retired from the screen to focus on being a wife and mother, and
support her husband’s political career. She would become first lady of
California and First Lady of the United States, remembered for her “Just Say No,”
drug awareness campaign. After her husband’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s she
became a strong advocate for research to find a cure, including stem cell research.
Nancy died of heart failure in 2016 at the age of 94. And that concludes our tour. What are some of your favorite memories
of the stars we visited today? Share them in the comments below, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe for
more famous grave tours. Thanks for watching!
We’ll see you on the next one. We’ve made a lot of animal friends over
the years, including geese here at Valley Oaks. But up in Simi Valley there’s one
I’m glad we didn’t run into… Yikes!

76 Comments

  1. Andrew Brackney Author

    Also Cameron Boyce died in los Angeles is from Disney channel is no cemetery but actually cemetery. I don't no with cemetery though his Ashes there

    Reply
  2. Guy Conklin Author

    Its hard to believe that just one man wrote such epic famous cartoon songs, The Flintstones, Jetsons, Josie & Pussycats, Scooby doo,, i grew up with all those shows. Thank You for covering such a great unrecognized man!

    Reply
  3. Magpie One Author

    I wasn't a big fan of the Reagans, but I gained so much respect as they went through Alzheimer's together.Was happy to see Virginia Mayo,Jack Kirby & Steve Forrest too.All together,a fantastic video!

    Reply
  4. Cuddy Fox Author

    I just watch your food episode. You really need to do a episode of retail. A lot of owners like Sam Walton, JC Penney, Frank Woolworth and James Turner need to be shown on here.

    Reply
  5. jec1ny Author

    Great video as usual Arthur. Having Ronald Reagan show up in a video surprised me, though it shouldn't have. He was a well known figure in Hollywood if not quite on the A list. I turned 18 in 1984 and he was the first person I ever voted for. I appreciate your avoiding any political editorializing in your "just the facts" run down of his career.

    Reply
  6. Thomas Welcomer Author

    I'm curious if an episode solely of musicians is thought about? With the passing of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek still fresh, I wondered about others who have gone on to the next performance….

    Reply
  7. Iissafaith Author

    I know how much work these are so, I know all those who follow your channel really appreciate them. I jumped on this when I saw it pop up on my YouTube list! When I first discovered you, I did nothing but watch them until I saw them all. Thanks again, for these and for showing me my lifelong fascination for prowling through graveyards isn’t so crazy! : )

    Reply
  8. kimma508 Author

    I love your videos! Thank you so much for creating them and for educating us as well. The Carpenter mausoleum is beautiful. It’s a fitting tribute to such an amazing singer. Seeing where President and Mrs. Reagan rest was very nice. A piece of the Berlin Wall definitely deserved to be placed with President Reagan.

    Reply
  9. Zachary Lewis Author

    Harry Nilsson's The Point! was a formative experience in my childhood. If you've seen it, you should share it with a young person to help pass on the message of hope, tolerance, and respect that it embodies.

    Reply
  10. Bill Hughes Author

    Fantastic work as always Arthur!! I just finished watching all the content up to the Twilight Zone one just a few weeks ago. I’m part way through that one and will finish it this week! By far the best YouTube channel and content on here. Happy to like and support it!

    Reply
  11. Apex Gemini Author

    I wonder if these laser etched grave stones will weather better than, or as well as, 200 and 300 (and more) year old stones that are still legible today. There's a lot of factors involved, but has the technology of cutting stone advanced in ways that will actually extend a marker's longevity? Despite man's efforts, nature always seems to take them back eventually.

    Reply
  12. Jose Lizarraga Author

    Hollywood graveyard is the best channel ever on YouTube with a lot of history, thanks Arthur for your work. Those idiots that put dumps down on your channel can burn in hell they don't understand this amazing work you do.

    Reply
  13. Ivan Dalmatinac Author

    Thanks Arthur. I'm too far to visit the resting sites of these amazing people but you make it feel like I'm really there. What I like most of all is that you do it respectfully and in the way that would please those that you commemorate.

    Reply
  14. mortygal Author

    I worked at forest lawn cypress for the last few years Karen Carpenter was interred there. Got to hear stories about her services from people who were working there when it occurred. And hear some interesting stories like how her brother insisted she be removed from the crypt when each of their parents passed to ensure she was always at the front of the crypt. She always had the craziest fans around, one that even threatened my church group at the time that was meeting on the church in the grounds there. When her and her parents were being moved to their current location, my sis was working with me and saw all of caskets being moved.

    Reply
  15. jeffrey mcfadden Author

    just today we were on the way to town and a 2.5 ft long black snake was leisurely crossing the road.
    I patiently waited for it to cross the road.
    A voice next to me said "kill it, run over it."
    I just laughed.

    Reply
  16. Linda R Author

    Yay,for Arthur!! New video, a million thanks! BTW, every time I see someone comment ( I was first!) reminds of kids arguing over who was first in line ,while lining up to go to the cafeteria. Lol!

    Reply
  17. lovinmytunes05 Author

    Wonderfully done, Sir. These videos absolutely break my heart. Karen Carpenter's story rips me apart. Gone way too soon. Such a mindless tragedy.

    Reply

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