MARIE MAROLDO (1901-1979), born in France, was a singer and actress who used her stature as a "little person" to lands gigs on vaudeville stages (where she performed a reportedly disturbing burlesque act) and in several movies, most notably in The Wizard Of Oz (1939) as one of the singing Munchkins. Sometimes billed as "Lady Little," she married fellow midget Johnny Winters and retired to live near downtown, where she worked for a time in a bookstore. She's interred at Greenwood Memorial Park on Imperial Avenue (Cathedral Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Dawn, crypt 25, tier D).
JOSEPH FREDERICK RUTHERFORD (1869-1942) was a member of a religious group called the Russellites -- they eventually were known as Jehovah's Witnesses. He rose in the ranks to lead the group after the death of founder Charles T. Russell in 1916, becoming the second president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Deciding to give himself the title of "judge," he moved to San Diego in 1919 after contracting pneumonia, hoping the climate would improve his delicate health. In 1929, he commissioned construction of a lavish ten-room mansion on Braeburn Road in Kensington called Beth Sarim ("House of Princes" in Hebrew), deeded to none other than King David of Israel, Moses, Abraham, Gideon, Isaac, Barak, Joseph, Samson, Jacob, Jephthae, Samuel, and various other ancient Biblical figures mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, all of whom Rutherford insisted would return from the dead to live at Beth Sarim. The deed specified that Rutherford could live in the house until they arrived. Of course, the ancient prophets never showed up, and so Judge Rutherford resided in the mansion until his death, while his followers lived in poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Jehovah's Witnesses quietly ceased teaching of the imminent return of their Hebrew heroes after the house was sold in 1948. Judge Rutherford is said to have been illegally buried on the property, at least according to many Jehovah's Witnesses, though this has never been proven.
FRANK EARL CURRAN (1912-1992) was Mayor of San Diego from 1963 to 1971. His election was earmarked by a contentious civic struggle over city planning. During his terms, he was responsible for building City College's Curran Plaza and walkway, constructed so students wouldn't have to cross the busy street between classes. He was re-elected in 1967, but in 1970 he and seven current or former city council members were indicted for bribery and conspiracy over allegedly taking bribes in exchange for supporting a rate increase for the Yellow Cab company. Curran was acquitted, but he lost his bid for re-election. Eight years after his 1992 death, when his wife Florence passed away in 2000, it was discovered he'd left their estate -- worth approximately $1 million dollars -- as a surprise bequest to City College, where he'd taken classes when it was called San Diego Junior College. He's buried with his wife at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside.
BILLY DANIELS (1915-1988), real name William Boone Daniels, had his own 1952 TV show on ABC, The Billy Daniels Show. The 15-minute Sunday night show was the first network TV variety program hosted by an African American. During every episode, he sang "That Old Black Magic" by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. The show only lasted thirteen weeks but he turned up often on other variety programs like The Colgate Comedy Hour. He later became a Broadway actor, co-starring in Golden Boy with Sammy Davis, Jr., beginning in 1964 (the show ran for 568 performances, not counting previews), and receiving second billing behind Pearl Bailey in a revival of Hello, Dolly! He's buried at El Camino Memorial Park in La Jolla (Madonna lawn section, lot 360-D).
JOHNNY MOREY DOWNS(1913-1994) appeared as "Johnny" in around two dozen of Hal Roach's Our Gang comedies between 1923 and 1927. As he grew older, he began singing and dancing on vaudeville stages and on Broadway before returning to Hollywood in 1934. He appeared in several "college musical" films, usually playing jocks in movies like Hal Roach's All American Co-Ed (1941). He returned to Broadway in the hit play Are You With It but found roles becoming scarce. After moving to San Diego, he hosted regional kiddie shows on TV but eventually retired and launched a successful career as a real-estate investor. He died of cancer and was cremated, with his ashes interred at Holy Cross Cemetery on Hilltop Drive (St. Elizabeth Urn Garden, plot 278, grave 3-G).
ULYSSES S. GRANT, JR. (1852-1929) was the second son of the eighteenth U.S. President. Born when his father was an Army lieutenant in the Fourth Regiment, Junior became a New York lawyer in 1876. In the early 1880s, he was a partner in the investment firm of Grant and Ward, a company he convinced his father to invest capital in. Unfortunately, the firm was a swindle sham cooked up by one Ferdinand Ward. When it collapsed in 1884, the entire Grant family became impoverished. After doctors recommended he live in a warmer climate, he moved to San Diego in 1893 with his wife Fannie Josephine and their young children, getting involved in local real estate. Among his construction projects was the U.S. Grant Hotel on Broadway, downtown, which opened in 1910. He worked for his father as a secretary for 18 months during the senior Grant's second term and ran for U.S. senator in 1904 (he lost). A heavy smoker, he died from throat cancer (which also killed his father) shortly after returning from a trip abroad. Grant's tomb, or at least his gravesite, is at Greenwood Memorial Park on Imperial Avenue. Fannie and his second wife, America, are buried next to him, while his and Fannie's children (and the childrens' spouses) surround them.
ALONZO HORTON (1813-1909) arrived in San Diego at age 54 with his fourth wife, Sarah Babe Horton, in 1867. With an investment partner, the former lumberjack, basket maker, grocer, cattle dealer, and furniture-shop owner purchased roughly 900 acres of waterfront land for around thirty cents an acre. After having the land surveyed, he mapped out planned city blocks 300 x 200 feet, with lots 50 x 100 feet. Two years later, he paid $4,000 for another 160-acre parcel needed to fully own the part of town he decided to call the Horton Addition. In 1869, he spent about $50,000 to build a wharf at the end of 5th Avenue. By 1870, he'd constructed the town's first public theater -- Horton Hall at 6th and F -- as well as its first bank (which he became president of). In 1894, he sold to the city the half-block area now known as Horton Plaza Park, with the stipulation that it must forever remain a park. Surviving into his mid-nineties, he ended up losing most of his properties through tax sales and foreclosures, after a depression hit the area and the population dropped from around 40,000 to about 16,000. He was married five times, though most published records only mention three or four of his wives. He did not have any children. Horton died at the Agnew Sanitarium and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery on Market Street (division 1, section 1).