Whether you're goth or you just dig celebrity graves (that's "dig" as in "enjoy"), you might be interested to know of these famous former neighbors entombed at a gravesite near you.
BOBBY DRISCOLL (1937-1968) starred as the plantation boy in Song Of The South (1946), becoming the first child actor signed to an exclusive contract by the Disney studio. After winning a special Oscar for his role in the thriller The Window (1949) and voicing Disney's Peter Pan (1953), he left show business in the mid-fifties. In later years, he was arrested for drug possession, assault, and forgery, serving six months in prison and spending time in a mental institution. He died from complications related to hepatitis (heart attack from liver failure and advanced arteriosclerosis) and was found by children playing in an abandoned New York City tenement building. He was buried in an anonymous grave in Potter's Field on Hart Island until his identity was discovered a year later. His family removed his remains and interred them next to his father (who died in 1969) at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside (Calvary section, block 243, lot 7).
AMELITA GALLI-CURCI (1882-1963), born in Italy, was a leading soprano of her day. She specialized in coloratura (singing elaborate ornamentation with improvised or written-out passages), earning up to $2,500 per performance by 1920. Discovered by famed composer Pietro Mascagni, she sang opposite Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli before developing a throat tumor in 1935 (surgeons removed a six-and-a-half-ounce goiter) and retiring. Fondly recalling San Diego and her performances at the Savoy Theater on 236 C Street, she moved to Rancho Santa Fe with her husband in 1949. They hoped the local air would help her mate's asthma, though he died in 1956. Moving to La Jolla in 1961, she designed her home to resemble a Tuscan villa and told friends she liked to "converse with and caress trees." After developing an interest in occult subjects like palm reading, she became friends with Paramahansa Yogananda, leader of Encinitas' Self Realization Fellowship. She died of respiratory failure and was cremated, with her ashes interred at Cypress View Mausoleum and Crematory (Imperial Avenue at 40th Street).
ERNESTINE SCHUMANN-HEINK (1861-1936), born in Prague, also sang with Caruso and was considered a virtuoso contralto (lowest pitched female voice) singer. She was best known for American performances of "Stille Nacht" ("Silent Night" by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber) and Brahms' "Wiegenlied" which popularized those songs in the States. Up until the year of her death, she performed in concerts, operas, and on vaudeville stages as well as releasing several albums for Victor Records and appearing in one movie, 1935's Here's to Romance. While touring California in January 1910, she paid $20,000 for 500 acres of land in Grossmont and El Cajon, building a house on one of the Grossmont lots. At the 1915 San Diego Panama-California Exposition, she performed for over 27,000 people at the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion. When the Exposition closed at midnight, January 1, 1917, she sang "Auld Lang Syne" for the crowd. On Christmas Eve 1918, she performed dual shows at San Diego City Plaza and at Camp Kearny; both audiences wore face masks due to an influenza outbreak. In 1922, she bought a three-story, gray stucco mansion in Coronado from John D. Spreckels. She died of leukemia and is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park on Imperial Avenue (Cathedral Mausoleum, Corridor Of Sunshine). Her son Ferdinand Schumann-Heink, an actor who appeared in around 65 films, including Hell's Angels and Blonde Venus, is buried next to her.
BUM, THE TOWN DOG (1886-1898) was a community-pet St. Bernard who lived downtown circa the late 1800s. A puppy when he stowed away on a steamer in San Francisco, he disembarked in San Diego and quickly became a local celeb of sorts. He fled all attempts to adopt him, preferring to sleep on the sidewalks and forcing pedestrians to step over or around him. He made daily rounds among butchers and restaurants for scraps and was so well known that many eateries displayed signs reading "Bum eats here." He often rode with firemen in fire wagons and appeared in parades, drawing cheers with each public appearance. When San Diego began requiring dogs to be licensed with fees, the City Council declared Bum exempt and even imprinted his image on the earliest licenses manufactured. As he grew older, he suffered from rheumatism, becoming so crippled that the city Board Of Supervisors granted him a home at the now-defunct County Hospital, located at the end of Front Street on "Pill Hill," where he died a few months later. He was buried on the grounds, but no memorial plaque was made and his gravesite is now covered in cement.
BILLY VAUGHN (1919-1991), born in Glasgow, was a jazz and classical musician known for playing two saxophones at the same time. Starting out as a singer for the vocal quartet the Hilltoppers ("P.S. I Love You") in 1952, he went on to serve as music director for Dot Records, arranging dozens of pop music hits in the '50s and early '60s, including many "cleaned-up" rock-and-roll songs for Pat Boone. The multi-instrumentalist released many albums of orchestral and easy-listening instrumental music, scoring a number-two hit in 1954 with "Melody of Love" and seeing 36 of his records enter the U.S. album charts between 1958 and 1970, when his last album was released. In all, he received 11 gold and two platinum records; it says so right on his tombstone. He died in Palomar and is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido (section 11, lot 437, grave 3).
JACK DALTON HOGG, aka "CURLY" HOGG (1915-1974) was a member of the Americana/cowboy music group the Sons Of The Pioneers and acted in several bit roles on TV and in films. He's buried at Glen Abbey Memorial Park Cemetery in Bonita (section 72, lot 3, grave 123).
VICTOR BUONO (1938-1982) was born in San Diego, graduating from St. Augustine High School. Taking up acting, he spent his 18th summer onstage at the Old Globe Theatre. He made his first network TV appearance at age 21, playing hip beatnik "Bongo Benny" on 77 Sunset Strip. Best known for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962) and playing King Tut on the Batman TV series, he also released a record album in 1972 (Heavy, Dore Records LP-325) with titles like "Someday When I'm Skinny," "Fat Man's Prayer," and "You Don't Have to Be Fat to Hate Rome." Buono was overweight most of his life and he died of a heart attack at his ranch in Apple Valley and is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park on Imperial Avenue (Lily Lake crypt 1, tier A).