Born: June 16, 1903, Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: February 11, 1955, New York City, New York, United States
Buried: Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA, Plot: Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 8, Tier Y, Column G, Niche 5
Find A Grave Memorial# 4749
Spouse: Eugene Berman (m. 1949–1955), Stewart McDonald (m. 1941), Edward Buzzell (m. 1927)
Ona Munson was an American actress perhaps best known for her portrayal of prostitute Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind (1939). When David O. Selznick was casting his production Gone with the Wind, he first announced that Mae West was to play Belle, but this was a publicity stunt. Tallulah Bankhead refused the role as too small. Munson herself was the antithesis of the voluptuous Belle: freckled and of slight build. Munson’s career was stalemated by the acclaim of Gone with the Wind; for the remainder of her career, she was typecast in similar roles. Two years later, she played a huge role as another madam, albeit a Chinese one, in Josef von Sternberg's film noir The Shanghai Gesture. Her last film was The Red House, released in 1947. She was married three times, to actor and director Edward Buzzell in 1926, to Stewart McDonald in 1941, and designer Eugene Berman in 1949. These have been termed "lavender" marriages, in that they were intended to conceal her bisexuality and her affairs with women, including filmmaker Dorothy Arzner and playwright Mercedes de Acosta. Munson has been listed as a member of a group called the "Sewing circle", a clique of lesbians organized by actress Alla Nazimova. In 1955, plagued by ill health, she committed suicide at the age of 51 with an overdose of barbiturates in her apartment in New York. A note found next to her deathbed read, "This is the only way I know to be free again...Please don't follow me.“
Dorothy Arzner (January 3, 1897 – October 1, 1979)
Ona Munson (June 16, 1903 – February 11, 1955)
Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum is located in the hamlet of Hartsdale, town of Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Midtown Manhattan. It was founded in 1902, and is non-sectarian. Ferncliff has three community mausoleums, a crematory, a small chapel, and a main office located in the rear of the main building.
Address: 280 Secor Rd, Hartsdale, NY 10530, USA (41.02737, -73.83234)
Type: Cemetery (open to public)
Phone: +1 914-693-4700
Ferncliff Cemetery has three community mausoleums that offer what The New York Times has described as "lavish burial spaces". As of 2001, a standard crypt space in the mausoleums was priced at $15,000. The highest-priced spaces were private burial rooms with bronze gates, crystal chandeliers, and stained-glass windows, priced at $280,000. The Ferncliff Mausoleum, aka "The Cathedral of Memories", is the cemetery's oldest mausoleum, constructed in 1928. It has classic architecture, but the corridors are dark without glass panes to admit natural light. Judy Garland, Ed Sullivan, and Joan Crawford are three of the most famous interments in the main mausoleum. The Shrine of Memories is Ferncliff's second mausoleum and was constructed in 1956. "Shrine of Memories" is a more contemporary structure than "Ferncliff Mausoleum." It has many panes of glass to admit natural light, and there is a large frieze of Christopher Columbus in the main hall of the building. Basil Rathbone is one of the most famous interments in "Shrine of Memories." Rosewood is Ferncliff's most recently completed community mausoleum, having been constructed in 1999. Aaliyah and her father Michael Haughton have a private room in Rosewood. Cab Calloway is interred with his wife Zulme "Nuffie". The cemetery is also known for its in-ground burials in sections located in front of the mausoleums. Ferncliff is one of the very few cemeteries that does not permit upright headstones in its outdoor plots. All outdoor grave markers are flush with the ground. This feature facilitates maintenance of the cemetery grounds. However, there are several upright headstones that were placed before this policy was instituted. Malcolm X is one of the most famous ground burials, in plot Pinewood B.
Notable queer burials at Ferncliff Cemetery:
• James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987), novelist, essayist
• Joan Crawford (c. 1905–1977), actress
• Alice Delamar (1895-1983), heiress and socialite, cremated here but buried in Palm Beach
• Judy Garland (1922–1969), singer, actress
• Moss Hart (1904–1961), playwright and director
• Alberta Hunter (1895-1984), blues singer
• Elsa Maxwell (1883–1963), columnist, society figure
• Ona Munson (1910–1955), actress
• Basil Rathbone (1892–1967), actor. In 1924 he was involved in a brief relationship with Eva Le Gallienne.
• Paul Robeson (1898–1976), actor, singer, and civil rights activist.
Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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