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A cenotaph is a posthumous monument to an individual who is being memorialized, but whose remains have either been moved to another location, or have been interred somewhere else entirely.

One of Academy Award winning actress Hattie McDaniel’s last wishes was to be buried at Hollywood Memorial (now Hollywood Forever).  However, because of the backward attitude of people in authority at that time toward African Americans, her wish was denied and she was instead buried at Angelus Rosedale in  another part of Los Angeles.

It’s interesting to note that a serious crisis involving Hollywood Memorial ultimately led to the creation of this monument:

Because of serious mismangement issues, which resulted in the property falling into terrible disrepair, Hollywood Memorial was sold for $375,000 to a 27 year old man named Tyler Cassity, with the promise of his investing some $7,000,000 (yes, that’s seven million dollars) to restore the landmark to its former glory. 

Dismayed at the denial of Ms McDaniel’s last wish, one of Mr Cassity’s first acts upon taking possession of the property was to have this cenotaph installed and dedicated to Ms McDaniel. 

I always make a point of visiting this monument to a very fine actress when I visit Hollywood Forever Cemetary.

A cenotaph to punk rocker Johnny Ramone rests not too far from Ms McDaniel’s memorial.  His earthly remains were cremated, but this cenotaph was erected not too far from where his bandmate Dee Dee Ramone , who predeceased him, lies.  He stands mid-riff with his guitar held in his hands, forever playing to a captive audience.

The day I came and shot these photos, some previous visitor had inserted a cigarette between the fingers of Johnny’s left hand.  I suppose no rock guitarist of The Ramone’s generation is complete without the ever-present cigarette as part of the visual presentation.

Rest well and peacefully, the both of you.  You’ve most certainly earned it.

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