Calvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery

Calvary is a beautiful Roman Catholic cemetery located in East Los Angeles. It dates back to the late 1800’s and that is evident. Unlike most of the cemeteries which were usually all flat headstones with the occaisonal elaborate memorial, this cemetery was filled with gorgeous tall monuments.

Calvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery

My main reason for venturing here was to find Clark’s first wife, drama coach Josephine Dillon. When we arrived, we located the name of the lawn she was buried in and the area was huge. We set ourselves for another long search, but it turned out to only take about two minutes; we had no trouble finding it because the headstone is HUGE. I am 5’9 and this headstone went to my shoulders.

Josephine Dillon

Josephine Dillon Calvary Cemetery

Josephine Dillon Calvary Cemetery

Josephine doesn’t have an individual marker; she is buried in the Dillon family plot.

Calvary Cemetery Josephine Dillon

Now, this cemetery, while gorgeous, isn’t in the best area, being in East LA. So we didn’t want to wander aimlessly around here too long. We headed straight into the massive mausoleum.

Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum

This place kind of gave me the creeps because it seemed endless. Every time you turned, it would be another hallway with rows and rows of uniform nameplates, all in gold lettering. The bottom level was especially off-putting, as the corners were very dark and it was so very quiet. Finding people was a challenge as we had the plot numbers, but they weren’t easy to follow.

Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum

Here is Lionel Barrymore, the man we can credit with starting Clark’s film career by suggesting him for an MGM screentest. He starred with Clark in A Free Soul and Lone Star.

Clark shows his Oscar off to Lionel Barrymore

Lionel Barrymore Calvary Cemetery

Below him is a space for his brother John Barrymore, with the inscription “Good Night, Sweet Prince.” I was surprised to find John below Lionel; it hadn’t been mentioned in the research I had done on the cemetery. Turns out he is not actually interred there; he is buried in Philadelphia. Not sure what the story on that is.

Lionel Barrymore John Barrymore Calvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery

John and Lionel’s sister Ethel is interred in the mausoleum as well, but we couldn’t find her.

Nearby is comedienne Irene Dunne. Irene never starred with Clark or Carole but she struck the champagne bottle that launched the USS Lombard and…she’s delightful. She’s here next to her husband Francis Griffin, a doctor.

Clark and Irene Dunne launch the USS Lombard in 1944

Irene Dunne Calvary Cemetery

Irene Dunne Calvary Cemetery

Both Lionel and Irene were very close to the beautiful chapel on the second floor.

Calvary Cemetery chapel