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Forest Lawn Memorial Park is a privately-owned cemetery in Glendalemarker, Los Angeles, in the United States. It is the original location of Forest Lawn, a chain of cemeteries in Southern California (termed "memorial parks" by the company). The land was formerly part of Providencia Ranch.

History

Forest Lawn was founded in 1906 as a not-for-profit cemetery by a group of businessmen from San Francisco. Dr. Hubert Eaton and C. B. Sims entered into a sales contract with the cemetery in 1912. Eaton took over the management of the cemetery in 1917 and is credited as being the "founder" of Forest Lawn for his innovations of establishing the "memorial park plan" (eliminating upright grave markers) and being the first to open a funeral home on dedicated cemetery grounds. Eaton was a firm believer in a joyous life after death. He was convinced that most cemeteries were "unsightly, depressing stoneyards" and pledged to create one that would reflect his optimistic beliefs, "as unlike other cemeteries as sunshine is unlike darkness." He envisioned Forest Lawn to be "a great park devoid of misshapen monuments and other signs of earthly death, but filled with towering trees, sweeping lawns, splashing fountains, beautiful statuary, and ... memorial architecture" A number of plaques which state Eaton's intentions are signed "The Builder."

Most of its burial sections have evocative names, including Eventide, Babyland (for infants, shaped like a heart), Graceland, Inspiration Slope, Slumberland (for children and adolescents), Sweet Memories, Vesperland, Borderland (on the edge of the cemetery), and Dawn of Tomorrow. Packages for burial cover a wide spectrum of prices.

Statuary and art

The six Forest Lawn cemeteries contain about 1,500 statues, about 10% of which are reproductions of famous works of art, in various locations. Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper has been recreated in stained glass in the Memorial Court of Honor ‘in vibrant, glowing and indestructible colors.’ There are also a number of full-sized reproductions of other Renaissance sculptures, including Michelangelo's Davidmarker and Moses. This cemetery is the only place in the world containing a complete collection of replica Michelangelo's sculptures, which were made from castings taken from the originals and using marble from the same quarries in Carraramarker, Italymarker as used by Michaelangelo.

Locations

There are three non-sectarian chapels: ‘The Little Church of the Flowers,’ ‘The Wee Kirk o’ the Heather,’ and ‘The Church of the Recessional’, which are all exact replicas of famous European churches. Over 60,000 people have actually been married here (including Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman, and Regis Philbin and his wife, Joy). More than 250,000 people are buried at Forest Lawn, and over a million people visit it each year, including thousands of schoolchildren on field trips.

Some of the inspiration at Forest Lawn is patriotic rather than pious, such as the Court of Freedom, with its large mosaic of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence [26996] and a -high statue of George Washington. On display in the "Hall of the Crucifixion" is the panorama painting by the Polishmarker artist Jan Styka entitled "The Crucifixion." It is the largest permanently mounted religious painting in the world, measuring in length by in height. The main gates of Forest Lawn – Glendale are claimed to be the world's largest wrought-iron gates and are located at 1712 South Glendale Avenue, Glendale, Californiamarker.

The Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemeterymarker is a second park solely dedicated to the preservation of Americanmarker history.

Forest Lawn's of intensely landscaped grounds and thematic sculptures were the inspiration for the biting commentary of Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel The Loved One and Jessica Mitford's acerbic The American Way of Death. Many commentators have considered Forest Lawn to be a unique American creation, and perhaps a uniquely maudlin Los Angelesmarker creation, with its "theme park" approach to death.

Famous burials

Among those interred in the cemetery are many important personalities and famous people, including men and women from the entertainment industry and their relatives. Some final resting places, such as those of Humphrey Bogart, Lon Chaney and Mary Pickford, are secluded in private gated gardens with no public access. A number of interment locations are also kept from the public eye. The Court of Honor advertises that in some of the crypts beneath it are spots which are not bought, but individuals are "voted in" as "Immortals." In 2009 the cemetery became the focus of intense media interest surrounding the private burial of Michael Jackson.

Forest Lawn Museum

The Forest Lawn Museum at Glendale displays art and artifacts collected by Hubert Eaton representing specific locations and peoples from around the world. There are sections for India, Africa, the Middle East, East and Southeast Asia, the United States, South America, Australia and Europe. The collection includes paintings, stained glass, Western bronze sculptures, American historical artifacts, actual examples of every coin mentioned in the Bible, exact replicas of the British crown jewels, world cultural artifacts and one of the Easter Island statues, rescued from the bottom of a boat where it was used as ballast. It is named "Hubert".

List of notable and celebrity burials at Forest Lawn

(Those in non-public areas are marked †.)

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