Who’s in the Box?– A Quarter Century Old Mystery

17 Feb

It must be somebody famous. After all they have Milton Berle, Gene Barry, Gregory Peck and (maybe) Doc Simon and Georgie Jessel as pall bearers. The other pall bearers are probably producers, directors or other heavyweights of show biz. (No reverse pun intended.)

The big crowd in the background also gives weight (again, sorry) to the idea that this is a public figure almost certainly in the field of entertainment. But who?

The only clue other than celebrity pall bearers is the fact that this photo is from 1987. I’m not sure who all the pall bearers are either. (Is that Billy Wilder behind Uncle Miltie?)

I’m not sure how to solve this mystery. Is there a celebrity-pall bearers dot com? Dot org?

I suppose you could list all the celebrities that died in 1987. From these pall bearers the field of comedy also seems like a good bet. Then matching these two lists you might be able to use the process of elimination (kind of obscure pun) to track this guy down.

Would this make a good CSI or a terrible one?

With no way of knowing for sure I’m going to guess that it’s either George Burns or Walter Matthau.
So what do you think? Who’s in the box?

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11 Responses to “Who’s in the Box?– A Quarter Century Old Mystery”

  1. Jonathan Stark February 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM #

    I’m going to say Frank Sinatra

    • Jonathan Stark February 17, 2012 at 6:52 PM #

      No, that’s to late, Sinatra died in 1998. It’s gotta be Jackie Gleason he died around that time.

  2. SiouxP February 17, 2012 at 9:56 PM #

    This is going to drive me crazy—sooooooooo you better reveal the answer to your loyal fans if & when you get it! George Burns died in March 1996 & Matthau died in July 2000.
    Gleason died at home in Florida & the funeral & burial were in Florida in June 1987.
    Other ’87 celeb deaths: Danny Kaye, Dan Rowan, Ray Bolger, Lee Marvin, John Huston,
    Fred Astaire,Randolph Scott, James Coco, Richard Egan. Also Maria Von Trapp–I think we can rule her out. Sioux, 🙂

  3. Liza February 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM #

    Jack? AS in Jack Benny? I really don’t know, just thought it would be funny to say Jack is
    in the Box.

  4. Karen February 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM #

    I believe this was Danny Kaye’s funeral.

  5. Canda February 20, 2012 at 3:57 PM #

    Danny Kaye was buried in New York State in March, 1987. This looks like a California funeral.

  6. Canda February 20, 2012 at 4:08 PM #

    Dan Rowan died in 1987, but he was cremated. Fred Astaire also died in 1987, but requested a private funeral and no memorial service in his will. Might be an agent,
    or some entertainment executive.

  7. Canda February 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM #

    Okay. I think I’ve got a good guess. Dick Shawn died in 1987, and he and Berle were both in “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World”. Would make sense for Berle to be a pallbearer.

  8. Canda February 20, 2012 at 4:40 PM #

    I also think that’s Fred de Cordova, standing in front of Berle, and Dick Shawn appeared often on The Tonight Show. De Cordova was Exec. Producer.

  9. Don K. February 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM #

    That IS Billy Wilder behind Berle. Jessel died in 1981, so if this is really from 1987 he’s not there. In front of Berle is DeCordova. The man in the glasses two in front of Peck is Irving Fein, who at the time of 1987 was George Burns’ manager. He’s the only one alive out of the recognizable bunch here, but he’ll be 101 this June. According to Wikipedia though he’s living in West Hollywood and still “active”, whatever that means, so maybe he could help with this.

    This very well might be Dick Shawn’s funeral. He was buried at Hillside in Culver City, and the rolling hills in the background look similar to there. It could also be a service for Danny Kaye. There was a service for him at Hillside and then he was cremated. His wife kept the ashes and they were later interred with her in New York when she died four years later, according to Find a Grave.

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