Yet another “exotic” tomb!

This one-of-a-kind mausoleum is the resting place of prolific silent film director J.Gordon Edwards. Canadian-born Edwards was one of the most prominent movie directors in the silent film era. He began his career as a stage actor and director and then in 1914, he made his film debut as director of St. Elmo. Not long after his debut, he became a director at Fox Film Corporation (Fox merged with Twentieth-Century Pictures in 1935 to become Twentieth-Century Fox). From St. Elmo in 1914 until his last film, It is the Law, in 1924, Edwards directed over 50 films. He is best known for directing the original Cleopatra in 1917, The Queen of Sheba in 1921, which contained an enormous chariot race and for all of Theda Bara‘s films from 1916 to 1919 (including her most noted role in Cleopatra). Theda Bara said that Edwards was the kindest director she had ever worked with.

Edward’s wife, Angela, commissioned the mausoleum some years after Edwards death, and it is an homage to the exotic high-production period films Edwards directed. The twin minarets were originally wired for electricity. Inside the mausoleum are a number of movie props, including chairs and a tiger-skin rug. Often Angela would visit the mausoleum and read while seated in one of the chairs. When she died in 1965, she directed that she be cremated and her ashes be mingled with her husband’s. Their ashes are sealed in one of the crypts, which is inscribed with the last line (Canto XXXIII, line 145) of The Divine Comedy Part III Paradiso by Dante Alighieri: “L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stele” (“The Love which moves the sun and the other stars”). Gordon Edwards was the step grandfather of director Blake Edwards (July 26, 1922 – December 15, 2010).

Stories in Stone. New York. A Field Guide in New York City Area Cemeteries and their residents. By Douglas Keister.

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