Forest Lawn Cemetery
Among those interred in the cemetery are many important personalities and famous people, including men and women from the entertainment industry and their relatives. Some final resting places, such as those of Humphrey Bogart, John M. Stahl, Lon Chaney, Errol Flynn and Mary Pickford, are secluded in private gated gardens with no public access. A number of interment locations are also kept from the public eye, and only to be chatted about on a private Hollywood tour. The Court of Honor advertises that in some of the crypts beneath it are spots which are not bought, but individuals are “voted in” as “Immortals.” In 2009 the cemetery became the focus of intense media interest surrounding the private burial of Michael Jackson.
Forest Lawn was founded in 1906 as a not-for-profit cemetery by a group of businessmen from San Francisco. Dr. Hubert Eaton and C. B. Sims entered into a sales contract with the cemetery in 1912. Eaton took over the management of the cemetery in 1917 and is credited as being the “founder” of Forest Lawn for his innovations of establishing the “memorial park plan” (eliminating upright grave markers) and being the first to open a funeral home on dedicated cemetery grounds. Eaton was a firm believer in a joyous life after death. He was convinced that most cemeteries were “unsightly, depressing stoneyards” and pledged to create one that would reflect his optimistic beliefs, “as unlike other cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness.” He envisioned Forest Lawn to be “a great park devoid of misshapen monuments and other signs of earthly death, but filled with towering trees, sweeping lawns, splashing fountains, beautiful statuary, and … memorial architecture” A number of plaques which state Eaton’s intentions are signed “The Builder.”
Most of its burial sections have evocative names, including Eventide, Babyland (for infants, shaped like a heart), Graceland, Inspiration Slope, Slumberland (for children and adolescents), Sweet Memories, Vesperland, Borderland (on the edge of the cemetery), and Dawn of Tomorrow. Packages for burial cover a wide spectrum of prices.