Kurt's Historic Sites

Gracie Allen and George Burns

Gracie Allen

Interment Location Visited  
Glendale, CA April 2, 2023  

Photographed April 2, 2023.

If you want to say “Goodnight” to comedienne Gracie Allen, head to the Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. Upon entering the front doorway, turn right. A few rooms down the corridor, on the left hand side, is the Sanctuary of Heritage, where Allen is interred with her comedic and life partner, George Burns. The duo brought their act to vaudeville, radio, the movies, and the small screen, with their eponymous television show airing on CBS from 1950 to 1958.

This stone book at the Sanctuary of Heritage entrance conveys a passage of scripture from the Book of Psalms: “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.” One could expect that Allen, in her zany and often-literal stage persona, would remark that nobody in the mausoleum is upright. Her comedic dialogue generally was in the realm of silly and “inside out logic.” For example, in the couple’s “Lambchops” routine, George asks Gracie if she could eat two big lambchops alone. “Alone?” Gracie replies. “Oh, no, not alone. With potatoes I could!” Earlier, when George remarks that Gracie is too smart for one girl, Gracie responds that she’s more than one — “My mother has a picture of me when I was two.” The line that Allen is most remembered for saying throughout her career, though, is something she didn’t actually say. When George ended their programs by uttering, “Say goodnight, Gracie,” she never took his direction literally and said, verbatim, “Goodnight, Gracie,” contrary to popular belief — merely “Goodnight.”


Photographed April 2, 2023.
Photographed April 2, 2023.

It has not been uncommon historically for show business performers to alter their year of birth in order to seem younger. When she died in 1964, the New York Times reported that Gracie Allen was 58 years old, having been born in 1906. The year on her gravestone — presumably provided by Burns — lists the year as 1902. Yet Allen appears in the 1900 census, with an indicated birth year of 1895. Per the Hollywood Walk of Fame website, “Allen used to claim that she was born in 1906 but, when pressed for evidence, she would say that her birth certificate had been destroyed in the earthquake” that famously devastated San Francisco that same year. “When the person she was telling pointed out that she was born in July but the earthquake was three months earlier in April, she would simply smile and say, ‘Well, it was an awfully big earthquake.'”

Burns and Allen formed their comedy partnership in 1922 and continued to entertain together until Gracie stepped away from the spotlight in 1958, with the intent of dedicating herself to homemaking and gardening. “She deserved a rest,” Burns said of his wife. “She had been working all her life, and her lines were the toughest in the world to do. They didn’t make sense, so she had to mem­orize every word. It took a real actress. Every spare moment—in bed, under the hair dryer—had to be spent in learning lines. Do you wonder that she’s happy to be rid of it?” Allen suffered a series of angina episodes and heart attacks until her death in August 1964, a mere nine days after she attended the wedding of actress Edie Adams to photographer Martin Mills. Since Burns died in 1996, he and Allen have been together again, as the inscription on their vault says.

Photographed April 2, 2023.

Fast Facts

Born: July 26, 1895 in San Francisco, California

Spouse: George Burns (m. 1926-1964)

Died: August 27, 1964 in Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

Age: 69

Interment: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California

"The on­stage Gracie may look poised and steady but the real Gracie is shy, a little self‐conscious, and before every performance of my life, panicky."
- Gracie Allen
Photographed March 30, 2023.

Gracie Allen and George Burns have neighboring stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6672 Hollywood Boulevard. Allen’s star bears a television insignia, while Burns’s star sports comedy and drama masks.

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Burns, George. Gracie: A Love Story. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1988.

The George Burns and Gracie Allen Fan Club. “TV Land Legends Special Ed Bradley Interviews George Burns (2004).” YouTube video, 21:26. March 16, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ranXqsw3bSk.

Hollywood Walk of Fame. “Gracie Allen.” Accessed June 19, 2023. https://walkoffame.com/gracie-allen/.

New York Times. “Gracie Allen Dead.” August 29, 1964. https://www.nytimes.com/1964/08/29/gracie-allen-dead.html.

Join a community of water activists
Join a community of water activists