Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Hazzard County Graveyard

The Dukes of Hazzard.  One can't discuss 1980's television without eventually coming around to this landmark series about two good ol' boys, their sexy-as-hell cousin Daisy, and their souped-up Dodge Charger the General Lee.  While it's come under fire in recent years for its use of confederate heritage, it still remains the most heavily merchandised TV series to date.  As actor James Best once put it, "I always felt CBS was embarrassed by Dukes because it was a southern show.  But boy they took the money quick enough."

While there are countless blogs devoted to the series itself, none have ever documented where the stars were laid to rest.  Until now.  I love it, I love it!

Sorrell Booke of course, played the conniving Boss Hogg, a character that became so popular he once appeared on the CBS sit-com Alice.  Don't believe me?  See it here.  Booke was an established Broadway star and TV character actor before accepting the role that would quite literally follow him to the grave.  He was the first to pass, on February 11, 1994, after a long battle with cancer.

  Booke and co-star Denver Pyle (below) were the only two actors to appear in all 147 episodes of the series.  While Booke passed in 1994, his surviving castmates reunited three years later in the television movie Reunion in Hazzard.  The film was dedicated to Booke, though shockingly, his name was misspelled.

Hillside Memorial Park, Los Angeles
Plot: Court of Dedication, Block 2, Plot 72, Space 4B (right under a tree)
GPS: 33.9796906, -118.3911133 (hddd.dddd)

The inscription on Booke's grave reads:
"Beloved Pa, Grandpa, Brother and Boss."

Denver Pyle was cast as the Duke patriarch, Uncle Jesse, a phrase in existence long before the series Full House.  Pyle was so revered in the series that he even served as narrator of its Saturday morning cartoon counterpart, The Dukes.  In 1983, he married his second wife, Tippie Johnston.  Years later, upon his death in 1997, he was buried in an unmarked grave in Forreston, Texas, next to his in-laws.

Trivia: Pyle was an established Hollywood fixture for more than 50 years before finally receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an event that wouldn't happen until December 12, 1997 - two weeks before his death.  His appearance as Uncle Jesse in the 1997 television movie Reunion in Hazzard was his final role.

Location: Forreston Cemetery, Forreston, Texas
Plot: Look for the Johnston stone.  You can't miss the thing.

Waylon Jennings served as the Balladeer, or as folks up North called him, the Narrator.  Waylon was given free reign by series creator Gy Waldron to take his scripts and "Waylonize" them, giving the words a more down-home feel.  Take this scene here for instance.  Here's another fine example. While Waylon is beloved by Dukes fans the world over, it was his country music career that he is best remembered for, after passing from diabetes on February 13, 2002.

Waylon was the only billed star to appear as himself in the series, in a final season episode called, appropriately, "Welcome, Waylon Jennings."  He originated the role in 1975's "Moonrunners," the film on which Gy Waldron later based the series.

Location: City of Mesa Cemetery, Mesa, Arizona
Plot: Section 766, Lot 1, Grave 6
GPS: 33.43812, -111.83554

Waylon's headstone bears two passages:
"I am My Beloved's, My Beloved is Mine.  A Loving Son, Husband, Father and Grandfather."
"A Vagabond Dreamer, A Rhymer and Singer of Songs.  A Revolutionary in Country Music Beloved by the World."

Peggy Rea had a recurring role as Boss Hogg's wife Lulu, older sister to Sheriff Rosco.  She originated the part in the early episodes filmed in Georgia, then joined the rest of the cast when they moved production to Burbank.  While Boss himself never got to drive the General Lee, Lulu did on one occasion, outrunning her brother and jumping over a barn.  Rea died of heart failure on February 5, 2011. 

Rea was simultaneously on CBS's other southern family drama The Waltons.

Location: Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California
Plot: Columbarium

Parley Baer also had a recurring role on the series, in the form of local physician Doc Appleby.  We're guessing that Doc was his given name, considering that his real name was never given.

In 1997, Baer suffered a stroke, permanently ending his career.  Five years later he'd suffer an additional stroke, which ultimately ended his life on November 22, 2002.

Despite a television career of nearly 50 years, Baer is best remembered for having provided the voice of Ernie, the Keebler Elf.

Location: Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills
Plot: Court of Liberty, Gardens of Heritage, Lot 1101, Space 1
GPS: 34.1441574, -118.3163757 (hddd.dddd)

Cremated Cast Members

James Best, who portrayed Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, died on April 6, 2015.  In the years leading up to his death, he was a regular at Dukes of Hazzard fan events, including the popular "DukesFest" hosted by series regular Ben Jones (Cooter).  In 2009, he published his autobiography, Best in Hollywood: The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful.  He also self-produced a biographical documentary entitled Rosco Remembers, which you can view in it's entirety here.

Christoper "Chip" Mayer portrayed replacement Duke Boy Vance throughout most of season 5, during a hotly contested walkout by series stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat.  After his dismissal from the series, he had a modestly successful Hollywood career, mostly during the daytime, and in endless guest appearances on 80's favorite The Love Boat.  Mayer passed quite suddenly from a brain aneurysm on July 23, 2011. 

It was initially reported that he'd been buried in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.  Through diligent research however, the team here at Six Feet Under Hollywood eventually confirmed he'd been cremated and given to his father in New Jersey.

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