Monday, May 23, 2016

Filmmaker Simon Monjack 2010 Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery

Simon Mark Monjack (March 9, 1970 – May 23, 2010) was a British screenwriter, film director, film producer and make-up artist. He was the husband of American actress Brittany Murphy.[1][2]

Early life

Simon was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, to a Jewish family.[3] He grew up in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.[4] He attended Juniper Hill School, Flackwell Heath, then Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.[4] When he was 15, his father, William (1949–1986), died[4] of a brain tumour[5] in Oxfordshire.[6] His mother Linda (née Hall), a hypnotherapist,[7] lives in Bourne End.[8]


Monjack directed, produced, and wrote the B-movie Two Days, Nine Lives in 2000.[9] He received story credit for the 2006 biographical film Factory Girl about Warhol actress/model Edie Sedgwick.[10] Director George Hickenlooper contended that "Monjack had nothing to do with Factory Girl" and that "he filed a frivolous lawsuit against us [...] making bogus claims that we had stolen his script. He held us literally hostage and we were forced to settle with him as he held our production over a barrel." Monjack denied these claims.[11] In 2007, E! News reported that Monjack was slated to direct a film adaptation of D. M. Thomas's novel about Sigmund Freud, The White Hotel, with Brittany Murphy cast in a leading role.[12]

Personal life


Monjack married Simone Bienne in Las Vegas in November 2001;[13][14] they separated five months later,[14] and were divorced in 2006.[13] That year,[4] he met actress Brittany Murphy (although he claimed to have met her when she was a teenager and stayed in touch[15]). In April[16] 2007, they married in a private Jewish ceremony at their Los Angeles home.[1] The couple did not announce their engagement beforehand and rarely made public appearances together before their marriage.[12] On December 20, 2009, Murphy died after collapsing in their bathroom.[2] The cause was later revealed to be pneumonia, with secondary factors of iron-deficiency anemia and multiple prescription drug intoxication. [17]

Legal issues

In 2005, warrants were issued for Monjack's arrest in Virginia on charges of credit card fraud, but the charges were later dropped.[13]

In 2006, Coutts Bank successfully sued Monjack, who had been evicted from four homes, for $470,000.[13]

In February 2007, Monjack was arrested and spent nine days in jail, facing deportation, because his visa to the United States had expired.[13]


In January 2010, Monjack's mother, Linda Monjack, told People that her son was "unwell, and the doctors are carrying out tests. On whether he has a heart problem, it is not really for me to say, you must ask him, but yes, there have been health problems in the past. I believe it's common knowledge, and it's been in the press that he had a slight heart attack a week before Brittany's death."[18]

Monjack was found dead on May 23, 2010 in his house in Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Law enforcement sources say the Los Angeles Fire Department was called there for a medical emergency after Murphy's mother, Sharon, found Monjack unconscious in the master bedroom around 9:20 pm, and then called 911. Paramedics arrived; Monjack was pronounced dead at 9:45 pm after suffering a fatal heart attack.[19]

The coroner's report found the cause of Monjack's death to be acute pneumonia and severe anemia, similar to the causes attributed to his wife's death five months earlier in the same house.[20] He was buried next to Murphy at Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills.[14][21]


1. Fleeman, Mike (8 May 2007). "Brittany Murphy Marries Writer-Director". People. 
2. "Actress Brittany Murphy dead at 32". CNN. 20 December 2009. 
3. "England and Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005". 
4. Simon Monjack, Buckinghamshire husband of tragic Hollywood star Brittany Murphy found dead 
5. Simon Monjack: The short life and lonely death of a showbiz widower
6. Deaths England and Wales 1984–2006 
7. Brittany Murphy's Mother-In-Law: Simon Monjack Has Lost The Love Of His Life 
8. Has Mr Brittany Murphy got something to hide? 
9. Thomson, Michael (22 March 2001). "Two Days, Nine Lives (2001)". BBC. 
10. "Who Is Brittany Murphy's Husband?". Us Weekly. 22 December 2009. 
11. "Director: Brittany Murphy was warned about husband Simon Monjack but did not listen" New York Daily News. 27 December 2009. 
12. Serpe, Gina (8 May 2007). "Brittany Murphy Made a Missus". E!. 
13. MacIntosh, Jeane (22 December 2009). "Debts and Arrests in Husband's Dark Past". New York Post. 
14. Tragic actress Brittany Murphy's husband Simon Monjack found dead 
15. Transcript of CNN Larry King Live interview with Sharon Murphy and Simon Monjack 
16. Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack: A history of their romance 
17. Brittany Murphy's death ruled an accident 
18. "Brittany Murphy's Husband Found Dead". 24 May 2010. 
19. Shoard, Catherine (24 May 2010). "Simon Monjack, husband of Brittany Murphy, dies of heart attack". London: The Guardian. 
20. "Coroner finds Simon Monjack's death was similar to Brittany Murphy's". CNN. 21 July 2010. 
21. Johnson, Chris (28 May 2010). "Simon Monjack laid to rest next to wife Brittany Murphy in the Hollywood Hills.". London: Daily Mail.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Herbalife Founder Mark Reynolds Hughes 2000 Westwood Village Cemetery

Mark Reynolds Hughes (January 1, 1956 – May 21, 2000) was an American businessman who was the founder, chairman and CEO of Herbalife International Ltd, a legal network marketing business.[1][2][3] Hughes was born in California in 1956. Although he had only a ninth-grade education, he made a fortune through Herbalife and helped others do so as well. He was married four times, and died of mixing alcohol and sleeping pills and other medication in his Malibu mansion at 44 years old.[4]

Early life

Mark R. Hughes was born in 1956 in Los Angeles County, California to father Stuard Hartman (not "Stuart", per birth certificate) and mother Jo Ann Hughes (d. April 27, 1975). His parents divorced in 1970 and his mother retained custody of Mark. On April 27, 1975, when he was 19 years old, Hughes' mother was found dead in her apartment.[4] According to the autopsy report, several empty vials of prescription drugs were found beside her bed, and her doctor told the coroner she "was known to over ingest her prescription drugs."[4] Toxicological tests showed potentially lethal levels of the painkiller Darvon in her system.[5] At the time, Mark, a troubled 19-year-old with several drug busts, was staying at a drug institute called CEDU in the San Bernardino Mountains.


In February 1980, aged 24, Hughes founded Los Angeles-based Herbalife International. It has since become one of the world's largest distributors of herbal products through multi-level marketing, with sales of about $3.5 billion in 2007 and 2.1 million Independent Distributors. Now in 91 countries and achieving record retail sales of $7.5 billion in 2013 according to company statements.

In the mid-1980s, Hughes was sued by the Food and Drug Administration, the California attorney general's office, and the state Department of Health, over what they said were false health claims about Herbalife products and the various schemes used to market them. Health agencies accused the company of violating labeling standards and using improper sales practices.[4]

Regulators contended that the company was making medicinal claims. Medicines are regulated by the F.D.A., while nutritional supplements are not. Some health experts doubted the efficacy of Herbalife products, saying that in some instances they relied too heavily on laxatives and caffeine.[4]

In March 1985, the California attorney general and the state Department of Health Services charged him and Herbalife with making "untrue or misleading" product claims—primarily involving the caffeine content of some Herbalife products—and operating an "endless chain marketing scheme."[4]

Prompted by complaints alleging that Herbalife product users had suffered illness and death, a U.S. Senate subcommittee called Hughes before a hearing in May. Referring to a panel of nutrition experts who had criticized Herbalife in testimony the previous day, he asked the senators, "If they're such experts in weight loss, why were they so fat?"[4]

During the hearing, Hughes acknowledged that his own formal education stopped at the 9th grade. When asked during the hearing how he could be qualified to challenge leading medical experts, Hughes responded: "I defy anybody to be able to produce results as this company has."[6]

Hughes reached settlements with the regulatory agencies in 1986. To settle his problems with the state, Hughes agreed to pay $850,000. At the time, the California attorney general, John Van De Kamp, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying it was the largest settlement ever attained from a health products company.[5]

In 1994, Mark and Suzan Hughes started the Herbalife Family Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping children. The Herbalife Family Foundation and its sister organization, the International Herbalife Family Foundation, have donated more than $5 million to children's causes worldwide. Created in 1994 by Herbalife Founder Mark Hughes, Herbalife Family Foundation (HFF) creates partnerships with charities to help meet the nutritional needs of children at risk. At the same time, HFF is there to provide funds to organizations assisting victims of natural disasters. HFF is a global non-profit organization working in communities around the world. In 2007 the Herbalife Family Foundation established the HFF Humanitarian Award to recognize Herbalife Independent Distributors who exemplify the foundation’s mission and, through their outstanding involvement and dedication, have made a significant contribution to changing lives though community service. The honoree is announced at the Herbalife Honors event.

Hughes often stated that his mother died of an accidental overdose of prescription diet pills when he was 18, which he claimed was the impetus for the founding of Herbalife. This is disputed by Hughes' father and the coroner's report.


On the night of Saturday, May 20, 2000, Hughes celebrated the 87th birthday of his maternal grandmother, Hazel (known as Mimi). It was a private gathering, with a few family members joining him at his mansion in Malibu for the evening. Out of the public limelight, Hughes drank white wine, smoked a cigar and played his drum set.

Hughes was trying to buy up all outstanding shares of Herbalife and take the company private once more. The stress and long hours had taken a toll on his health; he was recovering from a recurrence of pneumonia. The treatment involved corticosteroids, which made sleeping difficult. His physician prescribed the drug doxepin, a tricyclic antidepressant, for the insomnia.

On May 21, 2000, authorities said that Mark Hughes died of an accidental overdose after mixing alcohol with a "toxic level" of antidepressants. Scott Carrier, of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, said final autopsy results found that Hughes, 44, had ingested a toxic combination of alcohol and Doxepin, an antidepressant he was taking to help him sleep.[5] His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.21, more than 2 1/2 times the legal limit for driving.[7]

Before his marriage to LaPier, Hughes was married to Suzan Hughes for 10 years. Suzan is the mother to their only son, Alexander.

Following Mark Hughes' death, his attorney, Conrad Klein, assumed control of all Hughes' ventures including Herbalife, The Herbalife Family Foundation and The Mark Hughes Trust.

In 2006, The Los Angeles Superior Court suggested the potential removal of the Custodian of The Mark Hughes Trust, Jack Reynolds, for the possibility that he may have ceded control of $40,000,000 to Conrad Klein.[8] His son Alex will inherit most of the $400 million estate (as of 2006) when he turns 35.

Mark Reynolds Hughes is buried at Westwood Village Cemetery


1. La Roche, Julia (12 March 2014). "FTC OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO HERBALIFE — SHARES PLUNGE". Business Insider. 
2. McCrum, Dan (12 March 2014). "Herbalife hit by US ‘pyramid scheme’ probe". Financial Times. 
3. Vardi, Nathan (12 March 2014). "FTC Launches Herbalife Inquiry, Shares Fall". Forbes. 
4. [1] 
5. [2] 
6. [3] 
7. Autopsy on Herbalife founder finds death caused by accidental overdose 
8. Judge Fires Custodian of Herbalife Heir's $40 Million.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cowboy Stuntman Montie Montana 1998 Oakwood Cemetery

Montie Montana (born Owen Harlen Mickel; June 21, 1910 – May 20, 1998),[1] was a rodeo trick rider, actor, stuntman and cowboy inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1994.

He was born in Wolf Point, Montana. He was a perennial participant in the Tournament of Roses Parade until his death in Los Angeles in 1998.[2] TV viewers know him from more than 60 appearances, waving to the crowd from his silver saddle. He can be seen as a contestant on the May 7, 1959 TV broadcast of You Bet Your Life, along with his horse Rex.[3]

Montana would go to elementary schools and perform with Rex. He was at Camellia Avenue Elementary School in North Hollywood, CA in 1959, and he would talk about the rubber horseshoes Rex would be fitted with so Rex would not slip on the asphalt playground while Montie was riding Rex. He performed rope tricks on and off of Rex, and would pass out photos of him and Rex to the students at the end of his show.

In 1996, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[4] He was buried at the Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, California.[5]


Arizona Bushwhackers (1968) 
The Young Rounders (1966) 
Hud (1963) (uncredited) 
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) (uncredited)


1. "Inductees". ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2007-01-03. 
2. Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Montie Montana". Great Falls Tribune. 
3. "Montie Montana, dead at 87". Variety. 1998-05-26. 
4. Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated 5. Montie Montana at Find a Grave

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Lost Horizon" Actor Ronald Coleman 1958 Santa Barbara Cemetery

Ronald Charles Colman (February 9, 1891 – May 19, 1958) was an English actor, popular during the 1930s and 1940s.[1] He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for A Double Life (1947) and received nominations for Random Harvest (1942) and Bulldog Drummond/Condemned (1929, nominated for his work in both). Colman starred in several classic films, including A Tale of Two Cities (1935), Lost Horizon (1937) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1937).

Beau Geste (1926)

A Tale of Two Cities (1935)

Lost Horizon (1937)

A Prisoner of Zenda (1937)


Ronald Colman died on 19 May 1958, aged 67, from acute emphysema in Santa Barbara, California, and was interred in the Santa Barbara Cemetery. He had a daughter, Juliet Benita Colman (born 1944), by his second wife Benita Hume.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Trader Horn" Actress Edwina Booth 1991 Woodlawn Cemetery

Edwina Booth (September 13, 1904 – May 18, 1991) was an American actress. She is best known for the 1931 film Trader Horn, during the filming of which she contracted an illness which effectively ended her movie career.

Early Life

Born Josephine Constance Woodruff was born in Provo, Utah on September 13, 1904 to James Lloyd Woodruff and Josephine Booth Woodruff. She was the oldest of their five children. Her father was a doctor.[1] She suffered from hypoglycemia, which left her with little energy and kept her from completing any full year of school. Her family moved to Venice, California in 1921 due to her father contracting influenza. As a young adult, Woodruff watched many movies during her free time.[2]

Her stage name was Edwina Booth: her favorite granduncle was named Edwin and her grandfather's last name was Booth.[2]


Booth was discovered while sunbathing on a California beach by director E. J. Babille. He gave her a business card and she went to the Metropolitan Studio to take her first screen test a few days later. She got her first part in 1926 in a silent film.[1] In 1928, Booth was cast in the Dorothy Arzner-directed Manhattan Cocktail. She was on vacation following a 1927 stage appearance when film director E. Mason Hopper saw her and offered her a part in a Marie Prevost picture. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) was impressed with her, and cast Booth in supporting roles.

Her chance for stardom came when the studio cast her in its new jungle epic Trader Horn opposite Harry Carey. MGM gave the production a fairly large budget, and sent cast and crew on location in East Africa. Until 1929, the only films shot in Africa were travelogues, but MGM was hoping the idea of "location shooting" might increase the film's commercial appeal. The crew was inexperienced and ill-equipped for filming in Africa, a problem exacerbated by MGM's last-minute decision to shoot the film with sound.[2]

When Booth left the United States, she had a fever of 104. In Africa, she had to cope with the heat and insects, and she got cut by elephant grass. while shooting the film, she wore clothing made of monkey fur and lion's teeth.[1] Booth contracted malaria during shooting.[3] Booth also suffered a sunstroke and fell out of a tree.[1] (In an interview with Dick Cavett in the 1970s, Katharine Hepburn said Booth contracted schistosomiasis.) Her role in the film as "The White Goddess" required her to be scantily clad, likely increasing her susceptibility. Production went on for several months (much longer than average production time in those days), and the film wasn't released until 1931. Despite many problems with the film's production,[2] Trader Horn was a success, securing an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.[1]

Booth fared much worse; it took her six years to fully recover physically. She sued MGM for over a million dollars, claiming she had been provided with inadequate protection and inadequate clothing during the African shoot.[4] She claimed she had been forced to sunbathe nude for extended periods during filming. The case received a lot of attention in the tabloids and was eventually settled out of court. According to some sources, the terms were not disclosed;[4] however, Brigham Young University archives indicate she settled for $35,000.[2] [5] amounting to at least $600,000 in today's money. [6][7]

Booth's acting career never recovered from the MGM debacle. Neither MGM nor the other major studios had any intentions of employing her, which created an opportunity for producer Nat Levine of the low-budget Mascot Pictures. Levine saw a chance to capitalize on the success of Trader Horn by reuniting its stars Harry Carey and Edwina Booth for two adventure serials, The Vanishing Legion and The Last of the Mohicans. The films were successful within their limited market, but failed to propel Booth's movie career forward.

Later years

In 1935, Booth and her father went to Europe to seek medical treatment. When she returned to the United States, she was confined to a dark room.[1] She refused to talk of her time as a movie star later in her life.[5] Booth withdrew completely from the public eye, although she continued to receive fan mail for the rest of her life. She declared that she would be dedicating all of her future leisure and a large proportion of her earnings to the alleviation of human suffering, "My years of illness have not been wasted," she informed the local press. "I have learned to love mankind." She became more active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and worked in the Los Angeles California Temple.[1]


Booth was married three times. Anthony Shuck, her first husband, had their marriage annulled soon after her return from Africa.[3] She married her second husband, Urial Leo Higham on November 21, 1951; he died in 1957. Her third husband was Reinold Fehlberg. They were married from 1959 until his death in 1983. There were many false rumors and reports of her demise[2] until her actual death in 1991. She had no children. 


She died of heart failure May 18, 1991 in Long Beach, California.[1] and is buried in Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery.


Year Film Role Notes

1928 Manhattan Cocktail
1929 Our Modern Maidens Undetermined role Uncredited 
1931 Trader Horn Nina Trent, the White Goddess
         The Vanishing Legion Caroline Hall (serial) 
1932 The Midnight Patrol Joyce Greeley
         The Last of the Mohicans Cora Munro (serial) 
         Trapped in Tia Juana Dorothy Brandon Alternative title: Her Lover's Brother


1. Black, Susan Easton; Woodger, Mary Jane. Women of Character. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, Inc. pp. 30–33. ISBN 9781680470185. 
2. "Edwina Booth". Utah History to Go. State of Utah. 
3. "Medicine: Trader Horn's Goddess". Time magazine. May 28, 1934. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. 
4. "Edwina Booth, 86; Actress Who Won Fame Due to Illness". Associated Press (The New York Times obituary). May 24, 1991. 
5. D'Arc, James V.; Gillespie, John N. (2002). "Edwina Booth papers". Manuscript Collection Descriptions. Brigham Young University. 

Further Reading

Parish, James Robert. The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More than 125 American Movie and TV Idols. Contemporary: New York, 2002. ISBN 978-0809222278 

Monday, May 16, 2016

L.A. County Sheriff Eugene W. Biscailuz 1969 Woodlawn Cemetery

Eugene W. Biscailuz (March 12, 1883 – May 16, 1969)[1] organized the California Highway Patrol, and later became the 27th Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California, serving in that capacity for 26 years.

Family and early life

Biscailuz was born in Boyle Heights on March 12, 1883. Sheriff Biscailuz's father, Martin V. Biscailuz, was an attorney of French-Basque descent. His mother, Ida Rose Warren, was a descendant of Spanish pioneer Jose Maria Claudio Lopez, a soldier at the San Gabriel Mission. Her father William Warren was an early Los Angeles city marshal killed in a gun battle in 1870.[2]

Biscailuz attended St. Vincent's College (now called Loyola Marymount University), later earning a law degree from the University of Southern California.[3]

In 1902, Biscailuz met and married Willette Harrison, whose father was a captain at San Quentin State Prison and later the sheriff of Marin County.[2]


After working briefly as a shipping clerk in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Biscailuz was appointed as a foreclosure clerk by Sheriff William A. Hammel in 1907. His law background helped him rise in the ranks until he was appointed undersheriff in 1921.[3]

Biscailuz first came to public attention in 1923, when he was asked to accompany the District Attorney to Honduras to bring back convicted murderer Clara Phillips, who had escaped from the County Jail after her conviction. His wife accompanied him on the trip, and contracted a tropical infection from which she never fully recovered. 

Later, Biscailuz was involved in the 1927 manhunt for child kidnapper and murderer William Edward Hickman, and led raids that eventually helped bring an end to the gambling empire of Tony Cornero.[2]

In 1929, Governor C.C. Young asked Biscailuz to reorganize the old State Motor Patrol. He was appointed the first Superintendent of the new California Highway Patrol (CHP), where Biscailuz organized the Highway Patrol system, then a new but separate law enforcement agency. Having finished his work for the CHP, in 1931 he resumed his post as undersheriff of Los Angeles County.[3]

In 1932, after Sheriff William Traeger stepped down to run for Congress, the Board of Supervisors appointed Biscailuz Sheriff in 1932 with Traeger's endorsement and supported by thousands of signed petitions. He later ran unopposed for six terms. As sheriff, he pioneered a practice of putting well-behaved prisoners to work on "honor farms" in hopes of rehabilitating them.[2]

After the Long Beach earthquake of 1933, Biscailuz was called upon to send fire fighting personnel and equipment, but needed more information about where to send them and what was needed. There were also rumors that the city had been struck by a tidal wave, and that Catalina Island had sunk 369 feet. Phone lines in the region had been knocked out by the quake, and the roads were nearly impassable because of debris and fallen power lines. Biscailuz asked a friend, C. N. (Jimmy) James, a pilot of Western Air Express, to fly an open cockpit plane over Long Beach to gather more information. James was able to determine that the rumors about Catalina and the tidal wave were not true, and that there were only two small fires burning in Long Beach. The entire flight took approximately 30 minutes. Biscailuz revamped the Sheriff Department's aero squadron to include private pilots flying their own planes to assist in aerial searches and rescues. This unit later evolved into the Sky Knight project of 1966, and is now the LASD Aero Bureau.[4]

Upon his retirement in 1958, the Board of Supervisors named him "sheriff emeritus for the rest of his life." [2]

Planning commission

He was a member of the city's first planning commission in 1920, which at that time was composed of 51 members appointed by the City Council "to work out an organized, comprehensive plan of city development." Other notable members were Charles A. Holland, C.J. Colden, Evan Lewis and W.H. Workman Jr.[5]


Sheriff Eugene W. Biscailuz is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, California. 


1. Finding Aid of the Eugene Biscailuz scrapbooks 0216 
2. Rasmussen, C. (October 21, 2007). "L.A. Then and Now: Long arm of this lawman bridged a city's history; Eugene Biscailuz was descended from settlers; his long, colorful career as sheriff was marked by modernization". Los Angeles Times. 
3. Sutherland, Henry (May 17, 1969). "Former Sheriff Biscailuz Dies; Held County Posts 50 Years". Los Angeles Times. 
4. Spicer, R. (October 18, 1987). "Aerial Reconnaissance Long Beach Earthquake Left a Legacy". Los Angeles Times. 
5. "City Planners' Progress Told," Los Angeles Times, April 13, 1920, page II-8

Golden Gate Bridge Engineer Joseph Strauss 1938 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery

Joseph Baermann Strauss (January 9, 1870 – May 16, 1938) was an American structural engineer who revolutionized the design of bascule bridges. He was the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge.

Life, beginnings and death

He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to an artistic family of German ancestry, having a mother who was a pianist and a father, Raphael Strauss, who was a writer and painter.[1] His pianist mother had an unfortunate accident which ultimately ended her concert career. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1892. He served as both class poet and president, and is a brother of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Strauss graduated with a degree in civil engineering.

Joseph Strauss had many hobbies. One of these included poetry. After completion of the Golden Gate Bridge he returned to his passion of poetry and wrote his most recognizable poem "The Mighty Task is Done." He also wrote an awe-inspiring poem "The Redwoods." His moving poem "Sequoia" can still be purchased by tourists visiting the California redwoods.

He died in Los Angeles, California, just one year after the Golden Gate's completion. His statue can be seen on the San Francisco side of the bridge. He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) in The Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Meditation, Crypt 6281.[2]

Early career and the Bascule Bridge

He was hospitalized while in college and his hospital room overlooked the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. This sparked his interest in bridges. Upon graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Strauss worked at the Office of Ralph Modjeski, a firm which specialized in building bridges. At that time, bascule bridges were built with expensive iron counterweights. He proposed using cheaper concrete counterweights in place of iron. When his ideas were rejected, he left the firm and started his own firm, the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company of Chicago, where he revolutionized the design of bascule bridges.[3][4][5]

Bridge designs

Strauss was the designer of the Burnside Bridge (1926) in Portland, Oregon and the Lewis and Clark Bridge (1930) over the Columbia River between Longview, Washington, and Rainier, Oregon. Strauss also worked with the Dominion Bridge Company in building the Cherry Street Strauss Trunnion Bascule Bridge in Toronto. in 1912 he designed the HB&T Railway bascule bridge over Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas (now hidden under an Interstate 69 bridge in the shadow of downtown Houston).

Golden Gate Bridge

As Chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Strauss overcame many problems. He had to find funding and support for the bridge from the citizens and the U.S. military. There were also innovations in the way the bridge was constructed. It had to span one of the greatest distances ever spanned, reach heights that hadn't been seen in a bridge, and hold up to the forces of the ocean. He placed a brick from the demolished McMicken Hall at his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, in the south anchorage before the concrete was poured.

Strauss was concerned with the safety of his workers. He required that a net be installed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge during construction. This net saved a total of 19 lives.[6]

In actuality, Charles Alton Ellis was chiefly responsible for the structural design of the Golden Gate Bridge. Because of a dispute with Strauss, however, Ellis was not recognized for his work when the bridge opened in 1937.[7] A plaque honoring Ellis is set to appear in 2012 for the first time.[8]

Other works

Isleton Bridge 
Johnson Street Bridge 
Kinzie Street railroad bridge 
Mystic River 
Bascule Bridge 
St. Charles Air Line Bridge 
Thames River Bridge (Amtrak)


1. "Two of San Francisco's best-known landmarks were built by Germans: Joseph Strauss designed the 1937 Golden Gate Bridge, and Bernard Maybeck, son of a German immigrant, designed the Palace of Fine Arts," according to "10 great places to toast German heritage". USA Today. October 5, 2006.
2. "Joseph Baermann Strauss (1870 - 1938) - Find A Grave Memorial". 
3. Hittleman, Jerry and Smith Jr., Larry (January 1995). "Henry Ford Bridge (Badger Avenue Bridge) Written Historical and Descriptive Data" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. National Park Service. pp. 6–7. 
5. "Eighth Street Bridge over Passaic River" (PDF). Historic Bridge Survey (1991-1994). New Jersey Department of Transportation. 2001.  J. B. Strauss (1870-1938) invented the pivoting counterweight linkage used at the Eighth Street bridge, and he applied for a patent in 1905, the same year the first bridge of this type was built in Cleveland. That year he also founded the Strauss Bascule and Concrete Bridge Company in Chicago to market his bridge designs. Strauss went on to become the most widely respected moveable-span bridge engineer of the pre-World War II era. Strauss reasoned that if, unlike the traditional trunnion bridge, which operates like a seesaw and moves in a vertical plane on a horizontal steel pivot, the entire weight of the counterweight could be concentrated at the end (tail) of the moveable leaf, it would then be possible to use a lighter counterweight. Such an arrangement also meant a shorter tail end to the leaf, thus saving on materials that the "counterweight could be made in such shape that no pit is required to receive it when the leaf is in the upright position'" (Waddell, p. 704). The patented linkage, or arms, ensures that the counterweight will always move in a series of parallel positions and thus maintain the position of the weight at the tail end of the leaf. 
6. "Maintenance and Operations". Golden Gate Bridge Research Library.  
7. "Biography: Charles Ellis". The American Experience, PBS. 
8. Robert Reid. "15 things you didn’t know about the Golden Gate Bridge". Lonely planet. 

Further reading

Strauss, Joseph B. (1938). The Golden Gate Bridge Report of the Chief Engineer to the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District. San Francisco, Calif.: Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District.