Beneath Los Angeles ARCHIVE~

The Tale of Jolly John

Hello, again, Fellow Historians:

It all started for me when I received an e-mail from a woman in Australia who was trying to research her once famous great-grandfather, an actor and vaudevillian named Jolly John Larkin. She had come across my web site and hoped I could help locate the grave of this man, whom her family had only recently become aware of through an old scrapbook found by her 83-year-old grandmother, the daughter of Mr Larkin, who had been raised by foster parents and had never known her father. Larkin, who made over 50 films for MGM and Paramount in the 1930's, died in Los Angeles in 1936.

Against all odds, I shared her request with a group of fellow historians and preservationists known collectively as "Hollywood Underground" (although the 200+ members are located all around the world). One member, Jim Lacy of Ohio, a collector of old Hollywood death certificates, actually had this man's death certificate in his collection, had in fact had it for 24 years. There were many different spellings of his name as we continued our research, including Larkins and even Smith, but this proved to be the right guy. This information led me to the grave site at Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, where I located his grave (very close to that of Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson). The discovery of this grave brought tears of joy to three generations of a family half a world away, including the now 83-year-old daughter of this once famous man, lost in time to history and to his own family.

The three generations of his descendants are now planning a pilgrimmage to Los Angeles in early 2006 to visit the grave of their long lost patriarch. They want to complete this journey together. News of the discovery gave new vigor to his daughter, and gave his granddaughter and great-granddaughter the ability to give her the most precious gift they could give, a connection to the father she had never known.

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(Published: Sun Feb 03 2019; Hits: 0)

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