If you’d like to see Mae West’s false teeth, Karen Carpenter’s sink, parts of the bed Rock Hudson died in, the hotel room door where drag icon Divine died, and a tile from the Ambassador Hotel where Robert F. Kennedy was shot, this morbid museum is a must-visit.
Artifacts at Dearly Departed, Hollywood’s death museum, include funeral programs, posters, pictures, kitsch, and souvenirs from L.A.’s glitzy and gruesome history.
The crown jewel here is the rusted, smashed wreck of a vintage blue Buick Electra, the very car that blonde bombshell actress Jayne Mansfield (and her boyfriend and the driver) were killed in on a foggy night in 1967. Faded, off-brown streaks on the passenger door is the blood of Mansfield, who was virtually scalped when the roof was nearly sheared clean off.
The museum also gives tours, visiting the homes, murder sites, and graves of deceased celebrities both notorious and beloved, from Manson to Marilyn. The tours, while macabre, are deeply researched journeys given by lifelong aficionados.
Update as of March 2020: Although the museum is closed, tours will operate from the building.
Know Before You Go
The museum is right opposite Hollywood Forever, the large and flamboyant cemetery that’s the resting place of Cecil B. De Mille, Judy Garland, Mel Blanc, Rudolph Valentino, Anton Yelchin, and countless other notable names.