ANDREW PHILLIP CUNANAN (1969-1997) graduated from La Jolla's Bishop's School in 1986 with his yearbook photo captioned "most likely to be remembered." He briefly studied history at UCSD and worked at California Cuisine on University Avenue. A gay gigolo who frequented Hillcrest bars, he became the subject of a nationwide manhunt after killing four people (the first two were former lovers of his who'd hooked up and moved to Minneapolis). He was the first person from San Diego to be placed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list and organizers of the 1997 Gay Pride Parade in Hillcrest held a public forum to discuss additional security measures, in case Cunanan were to show up. While hiding out in Florida, he took a fifth victim, Italian designer Gianni Versace. It's now believed there may have been an earlier victim too -- Cunanan was linked in a recent FBI report to the June 1992 death of Todd Loren, founder of Revolutionary Comics. Cunanan shot himself to death on a Florida houseboat and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery on Hilltop Drive (Rosary Chapel 6, upper, niche area, unmarked).
TODD S. LOREN (1960-1992), real name Stuart Shapiro, founded Revolutionary Comics in 1989, published out of Hillcrest. His best known title Rock 'N' Roll Comics broke indie comic book sales records in the early 90s. When not being sued by the New Kids On The Block and other celebrities over his unauthorized illustrated biographies, he managed to release around 200 comic books. The New Kids lawsuit, which he won, established (for the first time) First Amendment rights for comic books. His murder was unsolved for many years -- however, Loren was apparently (according to friends, family, and a recent FBI report) romantically involved with future serial killer Andrew Cunanan. Loren was stabbed and his head bludgeoned in the bedroom of his Hillcrest condo, and his car was stolen, fitting the M.O. Cunanan later established. His headstone in the Mount Shalom section of El Camino Memorial Park on Carroll Canyon Road reads "Beloved Son, Infinite One."
KATE MORGAN (1868-1892), whose ghost allegedly haunts room 302 (now 3312) of the Hotel Del Coronado, was a pretty 24-year-old woman when she checked in alone (as "Lottie A. Bernard" from Detroit, Michigan) on Thursday, November 24, 1892. Five days later, she was found dead on an outside staircase leading to the beach, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, though some speculate that she was murdered by her gambler husband. Many hotel guests claim they've seen objects move by themselves, lights flicker, and TVs turning themselves on and off in the room where Morgan stayed. She's buried at Mount Hope Cemetery on Market Street.
BEST PAL (1988-1998) was the most winning California-bred racehorse ever. In six years of racing, he earned over $5.5 million dollars for his owners at Golden Eagle Farm in Ramona. In his first race in May 1990 at Hollywood Park, his odds were 9-2 and he won by a half-length. He went on to win the first Pacific Classic at Del Mar in 1991 (a million dollar purse), finished second at the 1991 Kentucky Derby and won the 1993 California Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. In all, he won 18 of 47 starts until he retired in 1996, third on the all-time racehorse money-earners list. Best Pal died of apparent heart failure two years later while being ridden at a Ramona training track. He's buried at Golden Eagle Farm, in a plot near the ranch office building. A pyramidal boulder marks the grave with an inset plaque reading "Best Pal 1988-1998."
RAYMOND CHANDLER (1888-1959) popularized the detective story, first in pulp magazines and then with his first novel in 1939, The Big Sleep. Creator of the "Philip Marlowe" character, he also wrote screenplays for films like The Blue Dahlia (1946), The Big Sleep (1946), and Strangers On A Train (1951). He and his wife Cissy moved to La Jolla in 1946, settling into a white stucco cottage he called Camino de la Costa, where he lived out most of the rest of his life. Cissy died in 1954, the same year he completed his last novel, The Long Goodbye. Chandler began drinking heavily and spent time in a Chula Vista sanitarium after trying to commit suicide, in what friends characterized as an attempt to join his wife in death. "Anything else I did in life," he once wrote, "was just the fire for her to warm her hands at." He died of pneumonia while hospitalized at Scripps Clinic. Several of his letters and smoking pipes are on display at the La Jolla Library. He's buried at Mount Hope Cemetery on Market Street (division 8, section 3).
DICK WESSEL (1913-1965) was an actor on stage, screen, and television who spent World War II as a Marine. Between 1933 and 1965, he appeared in dozens of films, including the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup (1933), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), An American in Paris (1951), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), and the monster classic Them! (1954). He's best known as the titular bald villain in Dick Tracy VS. Cueball (1946), and he played "Carney" on the 1959 TV show Riverboat. Wessel's last role was as the frenetic delivery man in Disney's The Ugly Dachshund (1965). He died of a heart attack and is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (section PS-3, lot 370-E).
JOSEPH COORS, SR. (1917-2003) was born in Colorado into the family who owned the Coors Brewing company, founded by his grandfather. He began working at the plant as technical director in 1946, becoming Executive Vice President in 1975 and President in 1977. While serving as Chief Operating Officer from 1985 to1987, he bitterly fought labor leaders over unionization of the plant. A staunch conservative, he was friends with Ronald Reagan and became a member of the President's so-called "kitchen cabinet" advisory board. He died of cancer (lymphoma) in Rancho Mirage in Riverside County and is buried in El Camino Memorial Park in La Jolla, with his gravestone reading "His vision lives on through his works."