Grave Sightings: Jack Lemmon

Stacy Conradt
Stacy Conradt / Stacy Conradt

Every time we so much as touch a toe out of state, I’ve put cemeteries on our travel itinerary. From garden-like expanses to overgrown boot hills, whether they’re the final resting places of the well-known but not that important or the important but not that well-known, I love them all. After realizing that there are a lot of taphophiles out there, I’m finally putting my archive of interesting tombstones to good use.

Judging by Jack Lemmon’s tombstone at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in L.A., the actor was anything but a Grumpy Old Man.

Lemmon starred in Grumpy Old Men in 1993 with Walter Matthau, of course, and its sequel, Grumpier Old Men, in 1995. But before that, he was known for a wide variety of roles both comedic and dramatic. He co-starred with Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot, and took home a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 1955 for Mister Roberts. He flexed his dramatic muscle in films like Glengarry Glen Ross and Missing, and rounded out his Oscar collection when he won Best Actor for Save the Tiger in 1973.

Despite his dramatic skill, it was Lemmon’s humor that came through even as he was battling colon cancer and metastatic cancer of the bladder. He passed away on June 27, 2001, at the age of 76, but arranged to have the last laugh by specifying what he wanted his epitaph to be: A final marquee. On the day Lemmon passed, Larry King had some of the actor's coworkers and best friends gather on-air to talk about the legendary actor. Kevin Spacey mentioned that Lemmon had confided his wishes for his final farewell: “This is great and it sort of illustrates the kind of person he was and how he viewed life. He wants it to say ‘Jack Lemmon In.’" His instructions were followed to the letter—not even dates of birth or death accompany the simple statement.

Peruse all entries in our Grave Sightings series here.