Monday, July 6, 2009

Wee Kirk of the Heather - Chapel for the Stars

Wee Kirk of The Heather at Forrest Lawn Glendale
Above is a vintage postcard I picked up recently of the Wee Kirk O'The Heather chapel located in the vast Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. The chapel and the grounds around look nearly the same today. This quaint chapel, which is a replica of a European church, has many old Hollywood connections.

Ronald Reagan & Jane Wyman Wedding 1940
The actor turned president, Ronald Reagan, married actress Jane Wyman at this chapel in 1940. The two met while filming the Warner Brothers picture, "Brother Rat."

Clark Gable & Carole Lombard at Jean Harlow Funeral
But there are also funerals at the chapel. Above is a photo from 1937 of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attending Jean Harlow's funeral. Gable was Harlow's costar on the then unfinished film, Saratoga. Harlow's funeral was a huge event, like one of the big musicals her studio MGM would create. At the funeral MGM stars Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy sang Harlow's favorite song, "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life." Harlow was later buried in the Great Mausoleum also located on the Forrest Lawn grounds.
Five years later Carole Lombard would be back at Forrest Lawn for her own funeral. Her funeral, unlike Harlow's was a small private event. Lombard and Gable are also buried at Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale.
If you haven't been to Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale it is definitely worth visiting. The grounds are beautiful and there are numerous old stars buried here. Some others include Irving Thalberg, Red Skeleton, Walt Disney, George Burns, Gracie Allen, and Errol Flynn to name a few. And if you go soon you can still check out the "Fine Art of Marc Davis" exhibit being held at the Forrest Lawn Museum. The exhibit, featuring artwork by Disney animator Marc Davis, runs until July 26, 2009. See me my post on that here.


Diane said...

I have just recently found your blog and it is already a favorite of mine. I love seeing the old photos and the updates of the same locations today. We just returned from a trip to Hollywood and I already want to go back to discover all the wonderful places you are talking about. I can dream! Thank you for your posts.

Marie Reed said...

How nice that you've graced this fascinating post with such a nifty vintage postcard!

I think that you would dig this European film star blog too!

Robby Cress said...


Glad you have found your way over to Dear Old Hollywood. Hopefully, on your next trip, you'll have time to explore some of the locations that are posted on this blog. Finding these places and experiencing them in person is the best part.

Marie Reed,

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Raquel Stecher said...

I've always wanted to visit this cemetery. It's definitely a place on the top of my list to go to whenever I get out to California (one day!!).

Juliette. said...

Thank you for sharing the picture of Carole and Clark-- I'd not seen that one before.

I've just joined this site, and your blog has quickly become a favorite.

VP81955 said...

Excellent blog; you do a splendid job of uncovering Hollywood history.

One reason Lombard's funeral was at such a comparatively small scale was that she had wanted it that way. Carole was reportedly so uncomfortable with the spectacle of a funeral MGM put on for her close friend Harlow that she instructed Gable that in the event of her passing, her funeral be a low-key one. (That her death came after a war-related function, a bond rally, only 40 days after Pearl Harbor also undoubtedly had something to do with it.)

Anyone who wants to learn more about Carole Lombard in particular and classic Hollywood in general is invited to visit (and join) my community, "Carole & Co.", at

George Vreeland Hill said...

The chapel is breathtaking and holds so much history.
There is more Hollywood in this area than there is in Hollywood.
You could spend a day here.


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