LOS ANGELES (Dec. 21)
The last resting place for some of Hollywood’s famous Jews has been rescued from oblivion.
The cemetery holds the graves of actors Paul Muni and Peter Lorre; Mel Blanc, the voice of many popular cartoon characters; producers Harry Cohn and Jesse Lasky; composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold; and mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.
Beth Olam is the Jewish section of Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, which has been in bankruptcy for 18 months and earlier this month was close to being padlocked and abandoned.
Bankruptcy trustees had been fruitlessly seeking a buyer for more than a year and were ready to close down the cemetery when the Callanan Mortuary offered $375,000 for the memorial park and promised to refurbish the badly neglected grounds.
Actors Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Tyrone Power and John Huston; and director Cecil B. DeMille are buried in the general section of the cemetery.
The bailout came as a great relief to the city’s Jews, who feared that they might be prevented from visiting and tending some 20,000 graves. Others faced the loss of pre-paid burial plots, crypts and mausoleum vaults.