Top 25 Famous Graves To Visit

Here are 25 famous celebrity gravesites that I have visited and that you can visit as well unlike some tombs like Michael Jackson, Helen Keller and many others that are closed to the public. It was tough to narrow down to just 25 famous graves from the hundreds on this site but you can’t go wrong with this cross-country and cross-genre selection of famous celebrity graves. 

#1 Elvis Presley

Rock Singer, Actor. His career reached such acclaim that he is now universally known as “The King of Rock and Roll”. During his career, he had 94 gold singles, three gold EPs, and over 40 gold albums. His 33 movies grossed over $180 million and millions more were made by the merchandising of Elvis products. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. Elvis died at Graceland. His death was attributed to congestive heart failure. Later it was determined that drug abuse may have been a contributing factor. He was an international sensation. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth-century popular culture.

Location: Graceland in Memphis

 

#2 Marilyn Monroe

Actress, Film Legend and Icon. Best remembered for playing comic “blonde bombshell” characters, she became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and was emblematic of the era’s attitudes towards sexuality. Although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade, her films grossed $200 million by the time of her unexpected death in 1962. More than half a century later, she continues to be a major popular culture icon. Her paternity remains an issue of debate to this day. Hugh Hefner is buried next to her. 

Location: Graceland in Memphis

 

#3 Lucille Ball

Comedienne, Actress. She is best known for the title role in the hit television sitcom of the 1950’s “I Love Lucy.” She was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. “I Love Lucy.” From 1951 through 1957, it was the most popular show on television, and Ball was at last firmly established as a megastar. 

Location: Jamestown, New York

 

#4 Bob Hope

Comedian, Actor, Entertainer. Legendary comic performer whose career spanned from the 1930s to the 1990s. One of the most beloved in American History, he has earned over 2,000 awards and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2 honorary Oscars, 2 Emmys, the National Medal of Arts (received from President Bill Clinton), 58 honorary degrees, and was knighted (honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II. He has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, more than any other actor.

Location: Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana Cemetery

 

#5 Walt Disney

Entertainment Magnate and Film Pioneer. Most remembered for creating Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and a host of other cartoon characters. He has won 32 Oscars, more than any other person, for his extraordinary achievements in films. In 1928, Walt created Mickey Mouse. His third Mickey Mouse film, “Steamboat Willie,” was the first cartoon to use synchronized sound and became an overnight success. Walt was the voice of Mickey for the first ten years of the cartoon. In 1934, Disney pioneered the first full length cartoon movie, “Snow White”, and again, critics were overcome by the sheer popular response of the public to the movie. In 1950, he produced his first live-action film, “Treasure Island,” and in 1955, he opened his first theme park, Disneyland. 

Location: Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)

 

#6 Bruce Lee & Brandon Lee

Martial Artist, Actor, Motion Picture Director. Balancing martial arts theory and film performance, Bruce Lee remains the most recognized martial artist of the twentieth century.

Brandon Lee. Actor. Born to Bruce Lee, creator of the Jeet Kune Do style of martial arts, and the German born American, Linda Lee Emery, in Oakland, California.

Location: Lake View Cemetery

 

#7 Chris Farley

Actor, Comedian. Known for his loud, energetic comedic style, he was a cast member of the NBC sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” between 1990 and 1995 and for the Movies Black Sheep and Tommy Boy.

Location: Resurrection Cemetery 

 

#8 Johnny & June Cash

Country Singer, Musician, Actor, Entertainer. Legendary Country Music Singer and songwriter who was known as “The Man in Black” for his trademark wearing of all black clothing. Contrary to his songs and image, he never spent time in prison (except to visit). Most remembered for the songs “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “I walk the Line.”

June Carter Cash. Country Singer, producer, author, actress. Born in Maces Springs, Virginia, on June 23, 1929, as Valerie June Carter, she was a member of the famous singing Carter Family. The Carter Family began recording country music in 1927 and continued until Maybelle’s death in 1978. The Carter Family Singers included members like ‘Mother’ Maybelle Carter, Anita Carter, and Alvin Pleasant ‘A.P.’ Carter, and of course June who would go onto a successful singing career herself.

Location: Hendersonville Memory Gardens

 

#9 John Wayne

Actor. He is noted mostly for his military and cowboy roles, and an American Icon. Fiercely patriotic and a staunch American, he represented an American ideal of rugged individualism. Politically conservative and hawkish, he was directly the opposite of many Hollywood stars, and often ridiculed for his political opinions.

Location: Pacific View Memorial Park

 

#10 Mel Blanc

Voice Actor. His career spanned radio, movies and television starting in the early 1930’s and even continued after his death into 2000.  The rarely seen voice innovator even did sound effects. He literally performed in over a thousand shows. Some of the cartoon characters he voiced…Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Tweety Bird, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, The Tasmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzalez, Elmer Fudd, Barney Rubble, Dino and Heathcliff. He was born Melvin Jerome Blank in San Francisco to Frederick and Eva Blank, managers of a women’s retail clothing business but was raised in Portland, Oregon from an early age. He attended Lincoln High School and was constantly in trouble becoming the class clown mimicking foreign accents resulting in admonishment by the teacher using his name to degrade him. He began to spell his name Blanc and later changed it legally. A poor student, however, very popular with his classmates but often annoyed his teachers and principals. He loved doing voice exercises in the school hallways because of the echo. A cackle imitated here became the hallmark for Woody Woodpecker. Mel had his eye on the theatre as he constantly skipped school to attend vaudeville shows. After high school, he drove to Hollywood to try his luck which was dismal. However, he found a wife and returned to Portland landing a radio job with local station KGW and even given his own show called “Cobwebs & Nuts.” The couple moved back to Hollywood and tried again. Mel landed a job with Disney, doing the voice of the cat in the movie Pinocchio. He was a natural for radio which was at its peak. His ability to create voices for multiple characters landed him a job on the Jack Benny Program. He performed various roles including Benny’s Maxwell auto in desperate need of a tune up. Mel joined Leon Schlesinger Studio’s (subsidiary of Warner Brothers) which produced animated cartoons. He had arrived, his wild mimicking crazy childhood had led him to a career which would last the rest of his life. At Warner’s, Mel was the first to receive a movie credit. It was a landmark innovation as it not only gave recognition to him but others who labored behind the cameras. During his days at the studio, they earned five Oscars for cartoons he was involved with. The first award came in 1947 for “Tweety Pie.” By the time Warner Brothers closed its animation shop in 1969, Blanc had performed around 700 human and animal characters and created voices for 848 of the studio’s 1,003 cartoons. Blanc’s last original character was an orange cat called “Heathcliff” and as his career wound down due to age, he continued to voice his famous characters in commercials and on TV specials. He died at age 81 in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from emphysema and heart failure. “That’s all, folks!” (Tag line of every WB cartoon) became the epitaph on his headstone. Legacy…For his contribution to radio, Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His autobiography, “That’s Not All, Folks” was published in 1988. He received the Legion of Honor in 1966 and was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame in 1987. Mel Blanc called the 1957 Oscar wining cartoon “Birds Anonymous” his all-time favorite and producer Eddie Selzer bequeathed the statue to him upon his death. (cartoon Oscars are only awarded to producers) In a bit of trivia…A near fatal car accident in 1961 narrowly missed taking his life. Many cartoon productions required his services. He fulfilled his contracts by doing his character voice in a full body cast from his hospital bed and continued the process while convalescing at home with recording equipment crowded into his room.

Location: Hollywood Forever

 

#11 Wright Brothers

Orville Wright. Inventor. The younger of the two brothers who would invent the airplane and start the aerial age, he outlived his brother Wilbur by 36 years. After the successful four flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they returned to Dayton and continued their experiments at Huffman Prairie. They were awarded a patent in 1906 and started trying to attract potential customers with demonstration flights in Europe and elsewhere. With orders in hand including a contract to build planes for the United States Army, Wilbur and Orville started the Wright Company and began filling orders, but upon the early death of Wilbur, Orville, discouraged, sold the business in 1912 and retired. The two had been very close, lived at home and never married.

Wilbur Wright. Inventor, Aviation Pioneer. He was the older of the Wright Brothers, the siblings who are credited with inventing the first practical airplane and starting the aerial age. Along with his brother Orville, the pair started a printing business in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio which soon expanded to a bicycle shop.

Location: Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum

 

#12 Benjamin Franklin

Declaration of Independence Signer, Continental Congressman, US Diplomat, Printer and Inventor. Published the “Pennsylvania Gazette” and “Poor Richard’s Almanac”. Famous for his confirming lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a thunderstorm. Invented bifocals, Franklin Stove and other inventions. Served as a Delegate from PA to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776. Signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Served as U.S. Minister to France during the Revolutionary War. Instrumental in encouraging France to side with the U.S. One of the main negotiators of the peace treaty with Britain. Signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783. His son William Franklin was the last Royalist Governor of New Jersey, remained loyal to England and died in London. Uncle of Revolutionary War New Jersey Militia Major General and US Senator Franklin Davenport. 23 U.S. States have counties named after him. Image is on the current U.S. $100 dollar bill. One of the most famous and well known 18th Century thinkers, Renaissance men and Revolutionary Patriots.

Location: Christ Church Burial Ground

#13 Frank Sinatra

Entertainer. Regarded by many as the greatest popular singer of the 20th Century, he was nicknamed “The Voice”, “Ol Blue Eyes” and “Chairman of the Board”. Born Francis Albert Sinatra in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son and only child of an Italian immigrant fireman, his mother Dolly was a midwife. Legend has it that one day he heard Bing Crosby singing and decided this would be the career path he was to embark upon. His initial break came in 1935, when he received first prize in a radio contest. He eventually caught the attention of bandleader Harry James, resulting in their collaboration, which included his first recordings in 1939 and moved onto the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with whom he recorded the hit “I’ll Never Smile Again” (1941). He would also marry his first wife Nancy and their union produced his children Nancy, Frank, Jr. and Tina. By the second half of the decade, he launched his Hollywood career with singing and dancing, as well as acting roles in several memorable pictures including “On the Town” (1949), co-starring with Gene Kelly, which featured the score “New York, New York”. In 1950, his career endured a major setback, when he suffered a hemorrhaged vocal cord due to his extreme concert schedule, which resulted in his hiatus from singing for a period. Sinatra turned what could have been a detrimental blow to his career into a positive, as he focused on his acting skills. During that time, he divorced Nancy and married one of Hollywood’s top actress Ava Gardner. His breakthrough role as an actor would be his playing the doomed Angelo Maggio in the Oscar-garnered “From Here to Eternity” (1953), for which he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and earned respect as an accomplished dramatic performer. This was followed by “Guys and Dolls” (1955), “The Man With the Golden Arm” (1955, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor playing heroin addict Frankie Machine), “The Joker Is Wild” (1957), “Pal Joey” (1957) and “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962). His singing career was also back on track, this time with a richer vocal style heard in the hits “In the Wee Small Hours” (1956), “Come Fly With Me” (1956), “Nice n’ Easy” (1960), “My Way” (1969) and “Theme From New York New York” (1980). By the end of the 1950s, he had divorced Ava Gardner and established an exclusive circle of friends unofficially called “The Rat Pack”, which included Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop (among the films they starred in are the original “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960) and Sergeant’s 3″ (1962), becoming a bill-topping act in Las Vegas. During this period, Sinatra established the Reprise record label. He received Grammy Awards for the singles “It Was a Very Good Year” (1966) and “Strangers in the Night” (1967), also for the albums “September of My Years” and “A Man and His Music” (1967). While filming “Von Ryan’s Express” (1965), he met actress Mia Farrow, whom he married in 1966 (until 1968). He had a brief retirement during the early 1970s, only to return and marry Barbara Marx (who was formerly married to Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers) in 1976. In 1988, there would be a brief reunion and tour of the “Rat Pack” and during the 1990s more success with his “Duets” recordings. Not long after celebrating his 80th birthday in 1995, his health began to decline as he suffered a heart attack in November 1996 and a fatal one on May 14th, 1998.

Location: Desert Memorial Park

#14 Harry Houdini

Entertainer. A legendary magician and escape artist, he was born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary, the son of a rabbi and religious teacher. When he was about four, his family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where he grew up. When he was about 8 years old, he sold newspapers and worked as a bootblack to help support his poor family. When his father took him to see a traveling magician, his interest in magic and in performing took off, and shortly after his family moved to New York City, he began to study magic. After reading about the famous magician, Robert-Houdin (1805 to 1871), he took the stage name, Harry Houdini, in honor of Houdin. When his father died in 1890, Harry Houdini began working full time at amusement parks, museums, and theaters, trying his hand at magic and escape attempts. In July 1894, he married Beatrice “Bess” Raymond, a struggling singer and dancer, and she became the love of his life. After perfecting many escapes, he began to work the vaudeville theaters, and proving to his critics that he could escape any restraint. Adding danger to his escape increased the audience suspense, and he took risks that most escape artists would shy away from. This only increased the audience’s appreciation of his work. Many of his tricks involved being cast under water, with the threat of suffocation, but he always came through. Many of his greatest escapes still defy explanation even today. In the last years of his life, he formed the Houdini Motion Picture Corporation, which made numerous silent films, many of them featuring Houdini in one of his escapes. 

Location: Machpelah Cemetery

 

#15 Judy Garland

Actress. She began performing at the age of two and a half, and from 1924 to 1935 she and her older sisters performed as a singing trio that toured all over the country. In 1935, the group split up due to marriage by the oldest sister in the group. This was not exactly unwelcome news, since reviews of the trio always singled out the youngest, Judy, with lofty praise. She was billed as “the little girl with the big voice,” and soon drew the attention of casting agents. In September of 1935, she signed with MGM, and went on to be their biggest female star. Her time at MGM produced the studio’s greatest musicals, such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Meet Me In St. Louis,” and “Easter Parade.” She also appeared with Mickey Rooney in a dozen films. She would go on to make some critically acclaimed films (such as the 1954 remake of “A Star Is Born”), but her first love remained the live concert stage, despite making over 30 films in her lifetime. From 1963-64 she hosted her own weekly television series. From 1964-69 she became primarily a live performer, peppering her live concerts with television appearances. In the last two years of her life she completed 120 concerts. 

Location: Hollywood Forever

 

#16 Whitney Houston

Singer, Actress. Regarded as one of the finest female vocalists of her generation, she began her musical career singing as a member of the New Hope Baptist Church junior gospel choir. She is credited with inspiring the successful musical careers of Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson among others. In February 1985 her debut album “Whitney Houston” was released to the general public, eventually reaching the top spot in the album charts, where it remained for a record 14 consecutive weeks. The album produced three number one Billboard Top 100 singles “Saving All My Love for You,” “How Will I Know” and “You Give Good Love,” with sales topping 25 million copies worldwide. Two years later, her second album “Whitney” became the first album by a female to debut at the top of the Billboards 200 albums list. She made her motion screen debut in 1992 opposite Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard.” Her other screen credits include “Waiting to Exhale” (1995), “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996), “Cinderella” (1997), and “Sparkle” in post-production at the time of her death. She was the recipient of two Emmy Awards and six Grammy Awards. Her other notable accomplishments included 30 Billboard Music Awards, seven consecutive number one hit single releases, 22 American Music Awards and several platinum selling albums. By the end of 2009 she had sold an estimated 170 million records.

Location: Fairview Cemetery 

 

#17 Don Knotts

Actor, Comedian. Born Jesse Donald Knotts in Morgantown, West Virginia, he is best known for his roles as ‘Deputy Barney Fife’ in the 1960s television series the “Andy Griffith Show,” and as landlord ‘Ralph Furley’ from the late 1970s television situation comedy series “Three’s Company.” He began his career as a ventriloquist and comedian in his local hometown of Morgantown. Following an unsuccessful career launch in New York, he returned home to attend West Virginia University. He entered the United States Army following his freshman year and served in the Pacific Theater entertaining troops in a variety show called “Stars and Gripes.” Following the war he returned to college, graduating in 1948 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. After completing college he moved to New York City where he became a regular on several radio and television programs, including the “Steve Allen Show.” In 1955 he made his theatrical debut on Broadway, appearing in the comedy “No Time for Sergeants” along with Andy Griffith. In 1959 he moved to Hollywood where he joined Griffith on the “Andy Griffith Show.” He appeared on the series from 1960 to 1965 as a regular cast member, earning five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performance as a Supporting Actor. In 1965 he left the show to follow a film career. Over the next two years he returned periodically to the “Andy Griffith Show” in numerous guest appearance roles. Following a successful career in low-budget films which lasted late into the 1970s, he returned to television as the leisure-suit clad landlord in “Three’s Company.” He appeared on the series from 1979 to 1984. His notable TV and film credits include “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” (1963), “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” (1964), “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (1966), “The Reluctant Astronaut” (1967), “The Shakiest Gun in the West” (1968), “The Love God” (1969), “The Don Knotts Show” (1970), “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), “Gus” (1976), “Return to Mayberry” (1986), “Matlock” (1986), “Pleasantville” (1998) and numerous voice over characterizations on animated films.

Location: Westwood Memorial Park

 

#18 Louis Armstrong

Jazz Musician. Born in the slums of segregated New Orleans. His biggest hits as a recording artist came late in his life: “Mack the Knife” (1956), “Hello, Dolly!” (number one hit 1964), “What a Wonderful World” (1968) and “We Have All The Time In The World” (20 years after his death. He performed during the 1960s doing a string of performances in which he barely played the trumpet, mostly singing and talking to the audience between numbers. 

Location: Flushing Cemetery

 

#19 Laura Ingalls Wilder

Pioneer, Author. Born Laura Elizabeth Ingalls in Pepin, Wisconsin, the second daughter of Charles and Caroline Quiner Ingalls. The Ingalls family traveled by covered wagon to short residences in Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas, before settling in DeSmet, South Dakota, one of two families who founded the town.  During World War I, Laura became a columnist for The Missouri Ruralist , with the popular and thoughtful weekly, “As A Farm Wife Thinks”. In 1932, she began writing the “Little House” books, an 8-part series, hand-written over 11 years, and delightfully illustrated by Garth Williams, based on her pioneer childhood and youth. In her books, Laura stressed the importance of family, faith, simple values, and self-sufficiency. The books have remained enduringly popular, continuing to be published and read worldwide today.

Location: Mansfield Cemetery

 

#20 Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds. Actress. Perky and multitalented, she experienced success on stage, in films and on television. She will perhaps be remembered for playing ‘Kathy Selden’ opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). After winning the ‘Miss Burbank’ beauty contest, she was spotted by Hollywood talent scouts. This led to her motion picture debut in the Warner Brothers film “June Bride” (1948) which was followed with the a string of musicals including “The Daughter of Rosie O’Grady” (1950) and “Three Little Words” (1950). Further films include “The Affairs of Doby Gillis” (1953), “The Tender Trap” (1955, opposite Frank Sinatra), “Tammy and the Bachelor” (1957), “It Started with a Kiss” (1959) and “The Rat Race” (1960, opposite Tony Curtis). In 1955 (divorced in 1959), she married singer Eddie Fisher and their marriage produced their children, actress Carrie Fisher and TV director Todd Fisher. She received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of the title role in the film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964) and had additional memorable credits with “The Singing Nun” (1966), “Divorce, American Style” (1967) and “How Sweet It Is” (1968). Her own TV series “The Debbie Reynolds Show” ran for one season (1969 to 1970). 

Carrie Fisher. Actress, Author. The daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she will be remembered for playing ‘Princess Leia’ in the “Star Wars” film franchise. She followed her parents into the entertainment industry and made her professional debut in the TV-Movie “Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children” (1969). In 1973, she co-starred opposite her mother on the Tony Award garnered play “Irene”. After this experience, she studied at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. This was followed with her motion picture debut in “Shampoo” (1975). In 2008, She received an Emmy Award nomination for an episode from the series “30 Rock”. Her 1987 novel “Postcards from the Edge” was made into a 1990 motion picture adaptation which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, she went on to become an advocate for mental health issues. Additionally, she battled drug addiction during part of her career. She was briefly married to singer Paul Simon from 1983 until 1984. Her daughter Billie Lourd went on to become a successful actress in her own right. Fisher suffered a serious heart attack onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles and died four days later. Her book “The Princess Diarist” was released just prior to her death.

Location: Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)

 

#21 John Wilkes Booth

He was outspoken with his devotion to the South, and his virulent distain for President Lincoln and the North. In 1864 he formulated a plan to kidnap the President, but it did not go beyond any talking and planning stages by the time Abraham Lincoln was re-elected in November 1864. After that point the plot changed from kidnapping to assassination. During this period he would recruit the figures that would be forever linked to the Lincoln Assassination – Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlen, Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and John Surratt. They often met at the boarding house of John Surratt’s mother, Mary Surratt. The plan coalesced after President Lincoln’s 2nd Inauguration, fueled by Booth’s increasing hatred of the President, especially in the face of comments Lincoln made about granting suffrage to the freed slaves. On April 14, 1865, while President Lincoln was attending a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, Booth leveled a single shot derringer pistol at the back of Lincoln’s head and fired, mortally wounded him. He then jumped from the Presidential Box on to the stage, infamously shouting “Sic Semper Tyrannis!” (“Thus Always to Tyrants!”). He escaped on a previous placed horse, and became the subject of the largest manhunt in American history up to that point, especially after President Lincoln died the next morning. 

Location: Green Mount Cemetery

 

#22 Buffalo Bill Cody

Western Frontiersman, Entertainer, Indian Wars Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.. Born in Scott County, Iowa, his family moved to Kansas when he was eight. During the Civil War, William Cody joined a Jayhawk group, fighting the Confederacy via guerilla style raids in the South, and later served as a Union scout. After doing some railroad construction work, he became a buffalo hunter, supplying buffalo meat to the railroad gangs building the Transcontinental Railroad. It is said that he killed 4,000 buffalo in just 18 months. His skill with a rifle earned him his lifelong nickname “Buffalo Bill.” In 1868 to 1872, he served as a civilian scout for the United States Army, during the Indian Campaigns. In late 1883, he formed up a “Wild West” Circus to tour the United States and Europe. The show included mock Indian battles and demonstrations of shooting skill, and became one of the widest known and successful entertainment endeavors in the late 19th and early 20 Centuries. After 1894, Cody moved to a ranch in northwestern Wyoming, but died while visiting Denver.

Location: Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum

 

#23 Al Capone

Organized Crime Figure, Chicago Gangster. This is Al Capone’s original burial site. Probably the best known of the 1920s gangsters, he controlled Chicago until brought down by FBI Agent Elliott Ness. Ness later wrote a book “The Untouchables” which detailed his efforts to jail Capone. Capone was the largest of the racketeers, and captured the American public’s imagination as few ever did. His first murder occurred in 1924, for which he was found innocent when the eyewitnesses were bribed. In March 1925, Torrio quit the business to retire to Florida, and gave his entire empire to Capone. Killing other gang members to build his empire, Al Capone’s violence peaked with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, 1929 when seven members of Bugs Moran’s gang were murdered. This murder brought the attention of the Federal government, who swore to get Capone off the street and into jail. In 1931, he was indicted and convicted of Income Tax evasion and sentenced to eleven years in jail. 

Location: Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery

 

#24 Fred Rogers

Educator, Television Show Host. He hosted the educational children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” from 1968 to 2000. His show was watched by millions of children over the years, and was repeatedly hailed by parents and critics for his simple, positive, educational messages. Born Fred McFeely Rogers in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, he was a graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He attended the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and was ordained into the Presbyterian Church in 1963. He began his work in children’s television programs in 1953, with “The Children’s Corner” for WQED TV in Pittsburgh, where he was the show’s producer, as well as its puppeteer and musician. Continuing his work, in 1968, he began “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” to help children learn how to cope with such issues as anger, fear, jealousy, and other emotions. Each show would include adults, children, and puppets, each interacting with each other to convey the universal theme of accepting and loving each other as individuals. Fred Rogers often composed his own songs for the show, including his trade mark song “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. He was also noted for beginning each show by going into his living room, putting on sneakers and a cardigan sweater. One of his cardigan sweaters now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution. In 1999, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In addition, he has received two George Foster Peabody Awards, several Emmys, and over 35 honorary degrees. In July 2002, President Bush presented him with the Medal of Freedom, the highest possible award for a civilian. Shortly after being diagnosed with incurable stomach cancer, he made his last appearance as the Grand Marshal at the 2003 Tournament of Roses parade. He passed away quietly in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in February 2003.

Location: Unity Cemetery

 

#25 Lizzie Borden

Alleged Murderess. At the age of 32 she was accused of the double homicide of her father and stepmother. On August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden and his second wife Abby (Durfee) Borden were killed in their family home at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts. Although it was Mr. Borden that was the initial victim discovered, Mrs. Borden died first at approximately 9AM from receiving 19 blows with a heavy bladed object in an upstairs bedroom to be followed by her husband who is estimated to have been killed two hours later by receiving 11 blows with a similar weapon. No murder weapon was officially confirmed however a “handleless hatchet” later discovered to be tainted with cow’s blood spurned the conception of Lizzie Borden as an ax murderess. The murders have never been solved and due to extensive media coverage (Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial made world news and was followed by the media daily in media across the country and the world) and horrific nature of the crime this case has gone down in history as being a fascination to academians and amateur sleuths alike. Many movies, plays and books have explored various theories as to the identity of the killer. The only person to ever be arrested and stand trial, however, was Lizzie Borden herself. The trial lasted from June 5, 1893, and the jury reached a verdict on June 20. In 15 days, she was acquitted. Upon hearing the verdict Lizzie Borden simply stated, “Please take me home, I wish to go home now.” While she was found innocent by the jury, polite society condemned and shunned her. She moved to “Maplecroft” a house in the “Highlands” portion of Fall River (a more upscale section of town) with her sister Emma and despite sharing the dwelling, Lizzie and Emma never spoke again. She was noted to “take up” with theater people (considered very low class in that era) and was especially fond of actress Nance O’Neill who lived out her years as her companion. Lizzie Borden is remembered most by the school yard rhyme which erroneously states: “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one”. From the lips of schoolchildren to the mouths of scholars, this case has lived on in history as the most fascinating, gruesome, unsolved murder in Fall River History and that of Victorian America.

Location: Oak Grove Cemetery

 

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