Birth: July 26, 1895
San Fransisco, Ca
Death: August 27, 1964
Beverly Hills, California
Cause: Heart Attack
Burial Location: Freedom Mausoleum
Directions: Enter the cemetery gates and follow the signs to the Freedom Mausoleum. Park and walk up the stairs to the front entrance of this building. As you enter the building, turn to your right and walk along this corridor to the third hall on your left. Enter this hall and walk to the back, on the right side just at eye level is the crypt on Gracie Allen and George Burns.
Biography: Gracie Allen, born Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen, there is a discrepancy on the year of her birth, either 1902 or 1905 since her birth certificate was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, but the date is July 26th in San Francisco California. She was always elusive about the year of her birth. When the 1900 census became public in 1972, her birth year was said to be 1895. You decide for yourself.
She was born to Edward Allen and Margaret Darragh with one green eye and one blue eye. Her father was an entertainer in vaudeville and Gracie debuted on the stage when she was three years old. Edward abandoned his family when Gracie was only five years old and left her Mother with their four children, Gracie never spoke to him again. As a child, Gracie spilled a pot of boiling water on her arm, leaving a nasty scar. For the rest of her life, she never wore sleeveless gowns.
She was educated in a catholic girl school but left at age fourteen to join her sisters onstage. The Allen sisters signed with the Larry Reilly Company. After several seasons of touring, she left the group over disagreements with billing.
While attending school in 1922, Gracie learned that the comic duo of George Burns and William Lorraine were breaking up. Gracie went to the theater that evening to ask Lorraine to give her a chance as his partner. Gracie failed to realize she had in fact approached George Burns instead and he did not correct her. Three days later, George confessed to Gracie his true identity and a new comedy team was born.
Burns realized immediately Allen was a natural comic and wrote the funny lines for her, while keeping himself the straight man. Gracie used her natural dancing and singing talents in the act also. Gracie Allen was engage to be married to another man but, after traveling together for four years, George finally convinced her to break the engagement and proposed. They were married on January 7, 1926 in Cleveland Ohio.
Burns and Allen continued their success signing a five year contract with the Keith theater chain receiving top billing. As the Vaudeville era began to wan, Eddie Cantor approached Allen and asked her to appear on his radio program. She was hugely successful and was asked to appear on other radio programs. Finally, on February 15, 1932 Burns and Allen appeared on the Guy Lombardo’s Musical Variety Show, within a year, Guy Lombardo took a secondary role and the show became the Burns and Allen Comedy Show.
By the late 1930’s, the Burns and Allen show was ranked as one of the top three shows in the country. Gracie even ran for president in 1940 under the surprise party. Her theme was “My girdle is killing me!” Her most famous line began, “I realize the president of today is merely the postage stamp of tomorrow.”
Burns and Allen lived in Beverly Hills California and adopted two children. They tried their hand a motion pictures but this was no match for their radio show. In 1950, Burns and Allen moved their show to television. They continued many years of modest success with the television show and, in 1958, Gracie Allen decided to retire from show business.
On August 27, 1964, Allen died of a heart attack in Los Angeles.
She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale California in the Freedom Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Heritage.
The words "Together Again" are engraved on she and George's stone at the cemetery in which they are buried. She is buried above him because George "wanted her to have top billing."