Sunday, August 19, 2007

BOOK: "Laid to Rest in California," by Patricia Brooks and Jonathan Brooks (Insiders' Guide, $15.95)

TARGET AUDIENCE: Epitaph hounds.

Dean Martin's epitaph reads, "Everybody loves somebody sometime," Mel Blanc's says, "That's all folks" (without the stutter) and Rodney Dangerfield's warns, "There goes the neighborhood." This surprisingly entertaining (if occasionally flip) guidebook to the "final addresses" of the rich and famous gives specific directions to celebrity graves throughout California, as well as mini-biographies of the most notable occupants, mainly from the entertainment industry.

Thus, Los Angeles area graves get top billing: Glendale's famous Forest Lawn (Errol Flynn, Sammy Davis Jr., Humphrey Bogart, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and many more) and places such as Pierce Brothers Westwood Village, with "more famous bods per square foot than any other cemetery." Marilyn Monroe rests there, along with Roy Orbison, Mel Torme, Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor and George C. Scott. Nearly 1,000 decedents are mentioned, many in frustratingly brief blurbs. But as Billy Wilder's headstone reads, "I'm a writer, but then nobody's perfect." -- Jerry V. Haines

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