One of the things I absolutely love about Grave Hunting, and being a taphophile. Is the assortment of books available for people who are into this sort of thing. Most of the books you’d find related to cemeteries and grave hunting are geared towards a geographic region. Being that I’m heading to Los Angeles again for the third time in October. I thought I’d write an article related to some of my personal favorite grave hunting books related to California grave hunting. In this article I’m going to discuss in my opinion, five of the best books in print, related to grave hunting in California. The books I’ve included below are listed in no particular order of importance. All of the books I’ve mentioned have something unique to bring to grave hunting, and are definitely worth obtaining for those interested in getting into the hobby, or adding to your collection of grave hunting/cemetery books. So let’s get started.
1. Hollywood Remains To Be Seen – Mark Masek.
The first book that gets the utmost honorable mention in the Grave Hunting Books – SoCal Style article, is “Hollywood Remains To Be Seen: A Guide to The Movie Stars Final Homes.” This book is considered by many to be the “Bible” when it comes to books on southern California cemeteries. According to the Amazon.com production description “Hollywood Remains to Be Seen is a fascinating, gossipy guide to the fourteen most significant Hollywood-era cemeteries and the final resting places of the movie stars who are buried in them. Arranged as an easy-to-follow tours of the properties, the fourteen chapters-one for each cemetery-include histories of the cemeteries, directions for finding them, and a detailed listing of exactly where more than three hundred stars, and a detailed listing of exactly where more than three hundred stars are buried.” So it’s seriously no wonder that this book is at its rightful place at the top of this list. If your just getting started in the fun-filled insanity known as grave hunting. This book should really be near the top of your list of books to buy. I HIGHLY recommend it.
2. LA’s Graveside Companion – Steve Goldstein
The next book on the must have books related to L.A. grave hunting list is “L.A.’s Graveside Companion: Where The VIP’s RIP” by Steve Goldstein. Steve Goldstein is an ongoing contributor to The Gravecast Blog, not only that he’s the co-host of The Gravecast Podcast which you can find past episodes of right on this blog. According to the Schiffer Publishing website “L.A. ‘s Graveside Companion is an informative guide to a dozen Los Angeles cemeteries that locates the 400 most interesting gravesites in Southern California. Over 270 black & white photos, informative text, and driving directions guide readers to the graves of L.A.’s most famous and influential citizens.” So this book should be another book near the top of your list of books to get.
3. Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory – Allan Ellenberger
Moving along, any visit to L.A. for the sole purpose of visiting the graves of your favorite celebrities. Would not be complete without the inclusion of “Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory” by Allan Ellenberger. According to the Amazon.com product description “Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries in accord with the fascination that surrounds Hollywood celebrities and the increasing popularity of celebrity grave-hunting, this book serves as a guide to the final resting places of the many celebrities who are buried in Los Angeles County, California. It is arranged by cemetery, and provides the following information for each person: age at time of death; date and place of birth; date and place of death; cause of death; obituary headline of the deceased; inscription on grave marker; location of grave; and a film that the celebrity appeared in. Includes appendices, web site information, bibliography, and index.” So it’s seriously no wonder this book plunked itself down in the third spot of this list. This book might be small, but as you can see it packs a lot of punch.
4. Final Resting Places: Orange County’s Dead & Famous – Michael Thomas Barry
If your going to be visiting southern California anytime in the foreseeable future, and you’re looking for a different approach to the cemeteries, and memorial parks in the Los Angeles region. Look no further than “Final Resting Places: Orange County’s Dead & Famous” by Michael Thomas Barry. According to the Amazon.com product description you will “Tour the graveyards of Orange County, California. Photos help identify burial locations of luminaries such as President Richard Nixon, murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson, famed aviator Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, Olympic hero Florence Griffith-Joyner, and John Wayne. Also featured are numerous founders of Orange County, victims of true crime, sports stars, politicians, and legends of entertainment. Read their informative stories, and follow step-by-step directions to their graves.” To be honest I was unsure of where to place this book on the list. With so many great books for you to choose from I settled for the forth position on the list. This book truly packs a ton of info. I’ve used it during the last two trips I’ve made to SoCal while visiting the various Orange County, California cemeteries.
5. Forever L.A.: A Field Guide To Los Angeles Area Cemeteries & Their Residents – Douglas Keister
The next book that should be included in your SoCal, Grave Hunting book collection is “Forever L.A.: A Field Guide To Los Angeles Area Cemeteries & Their Residents” by Douglas Keister. This little pocket size book packs a ton of punch for a small book. According to the Amazon.com Production Description Forever L.A. includes stunning photographs, fascinating text, and easy GPS directions for finding gracious architecture, fabulous artwork, and memorable gravesites of famous Los Angeles “residents.” This book might be small compared to the others. The beautiful photos alone should definitely be the reason you add this book to your collection.
6. The Stars of Hollywood Forever – Tony L. Scott
The second from last book to make The Gravecast Blog’s list of SoCal grave hunting books is “The Stars of Hollywood Forever” by Tony L. Scott. According to the product description on the official Stars of Hollywood Forever book website “The book lists over 1500 notables who are enjoying their final rest at this infamous Hollywood cemetery. Founders and early pioneers of Los Angeles, film actors, actresses, directors, producers, cinematographers, composers, writers, editors along with a few gangsters, a murderer, some scandals, unsolved deaths, mysteries and some every day people.” This book is similar to “Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory” when it comes to an encyclopedic format. However it’s chock full of well researched biographical information. The detailed biographical info is one of the reasons I wanted to include this book on the list. It’s definitely well worth the price in gold.
The last book that makes the cut on The Gravecast Blog’s list of SoCal grave hunting books is “Laid To Rest In California: A Guide to The Cemeteries and Grave Sites of The Rich and Famous” by Patricia Brooks. According to the Amazon.com product description Laid To Rest In California is a scintillating who’s who and who’s where of California’s dearly departed. You’ll find movie stars, sports greats, musical geniuses, eccentric personalities — more than a thousand of the state’s rich, famous, and interesting. This book not only covers SoCal cemeteries, and the residents buried in them. But also covers NorCal cemeteries as well. On a more personal note. This book was actually one of the first I bought midway through my grave hunting adventures. Laid To Rest In California has plenty of beautiful black & white photos, and concise biographical overviews of select celebrities, and other California notables. This is another book I highly recommend.
So there you have it. The Gravecast Blog’s Grave Hunting Books – SoCal Style list. If you have any questions about any of the books featured on this list. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, and I’ll promptly reply. All of these books are definitely worth buying for your grave hunting/celebrity death, or cemetery library.