When people think of places to visit, cemeteries aren’t usually what first pops to mind. But – unlike most cemeteries – Westwood Village Cemetery is a World Heritage Site (since 2003). It is understated and dignified, yet the final resting place of more celebrities than any other cemetery in the world.
From the crypts of Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Heffner (next to each other in death, although they never met in life) to the graves of Jack Lemmon and Carl Wilson (of the Beach Boys), wander a bit and there’s no telling who you’ll run across. Be sure to read the headstones – some are quite clever!
Several of the celebrities buried here are in unmarked graves. Frank Zappa is under the grassy spot next to actor Lew Ayres. Roy Orbison is buried next to Richard Dawson (of Hogan’s Heroes and Family Feud fame). Oscar winner George C. Scott has a headstone (just to the right of Walter Matthau) but it’s been left blank.
Not easy to find, take Glendon Avenue (a block east of Westwood Boulevard) south of Wilshire. Make the first left (there’s a sign but it’s easy to miss) and follow the drive behind the big building into the cemetery. Unless there’s a service going on, you can park anywhere in the circular drive.
In spite of all the famous residents, this is a quiet and peaceful place. When I was a student at nearby UCLA, I used to come here to study.
Here’s a MAP – although some names are missing.