Celebrate Halloween by touring celebrities’ Seattle gravesites

  • By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
  • Friday, October 26, 2012 6:24pm
  • Life

They were larger than life.

Now they’re sought-after stiffs.

Kurt Cobain, Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix put the Seattle area on the graveyard map.

Fans seek out the haunts year-round to connect with the dead icons.

What better way to celebrate the Halloween season?

Dare to imagine Lee bolting out of his grave in Capitol Hill’s quaint Lake View Cemetery, then kung fu-ing around the hillside of tombstones.

Come as you are to the de facto bench memorial in the city park by the home where Cobain took his life.

Feel the mojo of Jimi Hendrix in the purple haze mist around the pillared monument arching over a Renton cemetery.

It’s proof that you’re never too old — or too dead — to rock ‘n’ roll.

Kurt Cobain

Birth: Feb. 20, 1967

Death: April 5, 1994

Kurt Cobain went from being some wiry kid in Aberdeen to the grunge king of Seattle.

He had it all: fame, talent and a hot wife. He also had a heroin addiction and depression.

At age 27, he shot himself in the head in a room above his garage near Viretta Park on Lake Washington.

The building has since been razed, so Nirvana fans pay tribute around a park bench festooned with graffiti and carved messages.

Cobain’s ashes were scattered in the Wishkah River in Aberdeen, where the welcome sign says, “Come As You Are,” in his honor.

Bruce Lee

Birth: Nov. 27, 1940

Death: July 20, 1973

It’s not just another case of a former student at the University of Washington who done good.

After dropping out, Bruce Lee went on to become a renowned actor, philosopher and founder of Jeet Kune Do martial arts.

He was making movies in Hong Kong when he died, possibly from a reaction to a painkiller. Depends on what you want to believe. It’s often summed up as a “death by misadventure.”

He was 32.

Lee is known as Hong Kong’s favorite son, but he still packs a punch in Seattle.

A pilgrimage of fans stop by his grave in Lake View Cemetery, leaving notes, oranges, wine and flowers for their fallen master.

Sayings by Bruce Lee:

• “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

• “Be happy but never satisfied.”

• “Boards don’t hit back.”

Brandon Lee

Birth: Feb. 1, 1965

Death: March 31, 1993

Brandon Lee was only 8 when his dad died. Twenty years later, the son was interred by his father’s side.

Brandon, an actor, was doing a scene on the set of “The Crow” when another character shot him with what was supposed to be a blank. The bizarre shooting was ruled an accident.

Jimi Hendrix

Birth: Nov. 27, 1942

Death: Sept. 18, 1970

Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix was born to rock. As a tyke, he strummed a broom like he was playing a guitar.

So his dad got him an old one-string ukulele. From there he advanced to a $5 acoustic guitar.

The rest is history.

Hendrix made the rounds of venues in Greenwich Village. Then it was off to England to form a new band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

He died in London at age 27 from a drug overdose.

To this day, his renegade version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock resonates with the stoned and sober alike.

Other Hendrix hits: “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Foxy Lady.”

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.

Where to go

• Kurt Cobain: Viretta Park, 151 Lake Washington Blvd. E., Seattle

• Bruce Lee and Brandon: Lake View Cemetery, 1554 15th Ave. E., Seattle

• Jimi Hendrix: Greenwood Memorial Park, 350 Monroe Ave. NE, Renton

For more information: www.findagrave.com

Cemetery tour podcast

Death is a lively topic for Everett Public Library historian David Dilgard.

His 69-minute podcast narrates a walking tour of 52 graves at the Evergreen Cemetery, with vivid details of the famous and infamous citizens who helped shape the city’s history.

Photos and a map can be viewed with the podcast on the Everett Library site: www.epls.org/podcast.

The map can be used for self-guided walking tours. The cemetery is at 4504 Broadway, Everett.

The cemetery is the final resting place for about 50,000 souls.

Correction: The caption for the photo of Kurt Cobain’s park bench for an earlier version of this story gave an incorrect time frame for Cobain’s death.

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