July 23, 1900 - January 4, 1998
Jules Hine Frederick Roth died in his sleep January 4th, 1998. No obituary appeared in the Los Angeles Times. His body was dumped in an unmarked grave on a rainy night, later to be moved to a marked crypt near his parents. Roth's claim to fame is owning the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles California.
Jules Roth, a rather colorful and somewhat unsavory character who spent the Great Depression in San Quentin, took over the cemetery after his release from prison. Roth was also involved with a woman named Alta Phillips. Alta was very attractive, young, red-haired daughter of the cemetery superintendent. She was a trained paralegal who had already assumed a key management role withing the cemetery. She and Roth quickly became an item, and she taught Roth much of what he knew about cemeteries. In the end their romance spanned over five decades.
In 1952, despite her expressed wish, Roth would not allow the actress Hattie McDaniel, best known for her role of Mammy in the movie Gone with the Wind, for which she became the first African American to win an Academy Award, to be buried at Hollywood Memorial. At the time of her death, Hollywood Memorial, like other cemeteries, was segregated (the cemetery was desegregated in 1959).
Also an employee of Roth’s reported a yacht scam Roth was running to the IRS, resulting in Roth being forced to sell off portions of the cemetery’s buildings along Santa Monica Boulevard. Roth had argued the yacht was for scattering the ashes of clients (further claiming it as a tax deduction), but which had mostly been used to entertain himself and various women. Truth is, Roth had been siphoning money. It was rumored that he kept a fully stocked wet bar in his office, and also a large pornography collection. He also spied and kept records of all his employees. We may have found the founding father of the Patriot Act.... Anyway, what disrespectful way to treat a cemetery where some of the most famous figures of the 20th century are buried.
As the cemetery fell into disrepair, headstones, crypts crumbling, an earthquake suddenly struck. The 1994 Northridge earthquake, which left potholes and open crypts in its wake. Interments at Hollywood Memorial had then fallen to as few as 60 a year. Sadly some years the cemetery made more money disinterring people than burying them.
Below Is a video of the damage done to the cemetery after the earthquake.
Some families actually paid to have their loved ones removed from crypts and graves. The heirs of well-known makeup artist Max Factor, moved his and other Factor family remains after the mausoleum sustained water damage that discolored the walls. In 1986, a Los Angeles woman and 1,000 other plot owners filed a class action lawsuit against the cemetery for invasion of privacy after they discovered that Roth allowed employees of Paramount Pictures to park in the cemetery while the studio's parking structure was undergoing construction.
In late 1997, Roth became ill after he fell in his Hollywood Hills home. He had been embroiled in a scandal regarding another cemetery he owned, Lincoln Memorial Park, in Carson, California. At this time he was broke. Several months before his death, Roth was bedridden and disoriented. It is said during this time his will was changed to provide for his business associates and maid, who were the only witnesses to his signature. His relatives were written out. Jules Roth died on January 4, 1998, and he was interred next to his wife Virginia, his father, and his mother in the Cathedral Mausoleum. You guessed it....At Hollywood Forever Cemetery!
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