Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrity Grave: Silent Screen Actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. 1939


Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (May 23, 1883 – December 12, 1939) was an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as The Thief of Bagdad, Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro. An astute businessman, Fairbanks was a founding member of United Artists. Fairbanks was also a founding member of The Motion Picture Academy and hosted the first Oscars Ceremony in 1929. With his marriage to Mary Pickford in 1920, the couple became Hollywood royalty with Fairbanks constantly referred to as "The King of Hollywood," a nickname later passed on to actor Clark Gable.


In December 1939, at 56, Fairbanks had a heart attack in his sleep and died a day later at his home in Santa Monica. By some accounts, he had been obsessively working out against medical advice, trying to regain his once-trim waistline. Fairbanks's famous last words were "I've never felt better." His funeral service was held at the Wee Kirk o' the Heather Church in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery where he was placed in a crypt in the Great Mausoleum. He was deeply mourned and honored by his colleagues and fans for his contributions to the film industry and Hollywood.


Two years following his death, he was removed from Forest Lawn by his widow, who commissioned an elaborate marble monument for him, with long rectangular reflecting pool, raised tomb, and classic Greek architecture in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The monument was dedicated in a ceremony held in October 1941, with Fairbanks' close friend Charles Chaplin reading a remembrance. The remains of his son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., were also interred here upon his death in 2000.





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