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Shopping For Carole

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Funeral At Forest Lawn


Carole's fans were shocked and saddened when she died on July, 5, 1948. Tragically she had taken her own life at the young age of 29. Her married lover Rex Harrison discovered her body in her Pacific Palisades home. On Saturday, July 10, Carole was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. The service was held at 12:30 PM at Forest Lawn's Church of the Recessional. The small church was filled with flowers including a cross made of white gardenias, Carole's favorite flower, and a large bouquet of roses from her former boss Darryl Zanuck. Dorothy Ross, Carole's sister, greeted mourners as they entered the church while her ten year old niece, Diane Carole, knelt by the coffin and cried. Clara Ridste, Carole's mother, was inconsolable. She sobbed throughout the funeral and was heard saying "Oh my baby, I'll pray for you, everyday". When she saw Carole in the coffin she was so overcome by grief that she fainted. Carole's estranged husband Horace Schmidlapp, her brother Lawrence Ridste, and her father Alfred Ridste were also there. Alfred had a strained relationship with Carole and had not seen her in six years. Her close friends Cesar Romero and Pat O'Brien were pallbearers and they both cried during the funeral.

Cesar Romero and Eddie Sutherland                                                                          

Dick Haymes was supposed to be a pallbearer but he was delayed in Chicago. Dozens of Carole's friends attended the funeral including Van Johnson, her stand-in Florence Wasson,  actor Willard Parker, and director Eddie Sutherland. Rex Harrison and his wife Lilli Palmer arrived at the cemetery with two bodyguards. Lilli wore a dark blue dress because she felt it was inappropriate to wear black to the funeral of her husband's mistress. The couple refused to look at Carole in her coffin and left the service early. Carole had been raised a Catholic but she was denied a Catholic burial because she had committed suicide. The service was conducted by Bishop Fred L. Pyman of the Evangelical Orthodox Church in Santa Monica. In his eulogy Bishop Pyman said "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women in it players. People in show business have a peculiar philosophy, whether they be Catholic's, Protestants, or Jews, but Shakespeare was correct in writing these lines. Some of us make out entrances best. Some make out exits best. Some overplay, flub their lines. But this beloved star made her entrances perfectly. She did not overplay. Fellow troupers, you don't have to call a second time for people like our beloved friend.

Carole's mother and her niece Diane                                                                                

Whenever there was a call, she always came; witness her U.S.O. experiences entertaining troops in Europe and Africa and the Pacific. From the doors of Hell, deliver her soul. May she rest in peace." During the service Fred L. Scott sang "The Lord's Prayer" and "In The Garden". Carole's mahogany coffin was lined with peach silk cushions. She was buried wearing her favorite blue beaded dress. Carole had worn the dress while entertaining the troops during World War 2. She was also wearing her signature gold cross necklace and a religious medal. Carole had requested gardenias in her will but instead two blue orchids were pinned to her dress. A rosary and a bouquet of roses were placed in her hands. The roses had been sent by one of Carole's childhood friends. Her make-up was done by her longtime make-up artist Ben Nye. Thousands of fans came to the cemetery to watch the funeral. Many of them tried to get autographs from the celebrities who were there. Cesar Romero held onto Carole's mother to shield her from the emotional crowd. When the service was over the fans descended on Carole's grave and took all the flowers. Bishop Pyman said it was the most revolting thing he had ever seen.

Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              
The epitaph on Carole's tombstone was written by her sister Dorothy. It says "TO OUR BELOVED CAROLE WHOSE LOVE, GRACIOUSNESS AND KINDNESS TOUCHED US ALL - WHO WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US IN THE BEAUTIES IN THIS EARTH UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN". There are numerous Forest Lawn memorial parks in California. Carole is buried at the Forest Lawn in Glendale. It is located at 1712 S. Glendale Avenue. The cemetery is open every day from 8 AM until 5 PM (6 PM during the summer). Forest Lawn discourages celebrity grave hunters but you can still visit Carole's grave. Many of her relatives and fans bring flowers to her grave on a regular basis. You can get a map of the cemetery from the visitors center near the front gate. Carole's grave is in the Everlasting Love section. She is buried in plot 814. Her grave is next to the curb at the top of the hill. It is across the street the Cathedral Slope section. Broadway actor Robert J. Montgomery is buried in the grave next to her. You can also visit the Church of the Recessional which is up the road from her grave. Many other celebrities are also buried at Forest Lawn including Olive Borden, George Burns, Spencer Tracy, and Clara Bow.