Reburial Reunites Raymond Chandler And His Wife
After more than 50 years of separation, detective novelist Raymond Chandler and his wife Cissy were reunited in a Valentine's Day reburial ceremony at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.
Detective novelist Raymond Chandler was reunited with his wife Cissy in a Valentine's Day ceremony at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego. The two were separated by less than a mile for the last 52 years.
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Among the guests of honor were Chandler biographer Judith Freeman, actor Powers Booth, and Aissa Wayne, an attorney and the daughter of film star John Wayne. The latter helped secure the court order to allow the internment of Cissy Chandler's ashes.
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Raymond Chandler died in La Jolla and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in southeast San Diego.
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Around 75 friend and fans gathered at Mount Hope Cemetery for the ceremony. A dixieland jazz band performed.
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The new grave marker for the Chandler gravesite. It includes the names of both Raymond and Cissy, along with the line from the Chandler-penned novel "The Big Sleep": "Dead men are heavier than broken hearts."
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A hole was dug so that Cissy Raymond's ashes could be placed in the same burial plot with her husband Raymond Chandler's remains.
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The box holding the ashes of Pearl Chandler, who went by the name Cissy. The box was kept on a storage shelf at the Cypress View Mausleum for 57 years.
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Rev. Randal Gardner and Chandler historian Loren Latker arrive with Cissy Chandler's ashes.
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Actor Powers Booth entertained the crowd by sharing his favorite excerpts from Chandler novels. Booth played Chandler's famous private eye Phillip Marlowe in a 1983 television series.
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Rev. Randal Gardner leads the crowd in prayer after placing Cissy Chandler's ashes in a pre-dug hole at the Chandler gravesite.
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Aissa Wayne, daughter of film star John Wayne, and actor Powers Booth watch the ceremony.
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The crowd gathered around Raymond Chandler's grave as Rev. Randal Gardner prepared to place Cissy Chandler's ashes into a pre-dug hole.
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A parade of classic, antique cars drove Cissy Chandler's ashes from the Mausoleum to the Chandler grave.
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Cissy Chandler's ashes were kept in an urn at the Cypress View Mausoleum where they were left unclaimed since her death in 1954. The urn sat on a shelf in a back room with other unclaimed remains.
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The inside of the historic Cypress View Mausoleum in southeast San Diego.
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Cypress View has two mausoleums. The older, original building where Cissy's ashes were is under construction.
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Cissy Chandler, wife of detective novelist Raymond Chandler. Cissy lied about her age when they married. She said she was only 10 years older but she was actually 18 years his senior.
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Detective novelist Raymond Chandler. Though he remained married to Cissy for 30 years, he wasn't always faithful. However, he continually professed his love for her and was devastated by her death.
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Dr. Annie Thiel and Loren Latker secured the court order allowing Cissy's internment with Raymond Chandler and organized the Valentine's Day ceremony. They are both Chandler buffs.
Cissy's ashes were kept on a storage shelf in the Cypress View Mausoleum, despite her wish that they be placed with Chandler when he died. Chandler's grave sat just down the hill in the historic San Diego cemetery.
Cissy's wishes were finally honored in a ceremony attended by over seventy-five Chandler friends and fans.
After remarks by honored guests and live music from a Dixieland jazz band, Cissy's ashes were placed in Raymond's gravesite by Rev. Randal Gardner.
Actor Powers Booth played Chandler's wise-cracking private eye Philip Marlowe in a popular TV series. As the featured speaker, Booth entertained the crowd at Mount Hope by reading his favorite Chandler quotes, some of which represent the pulpiest prose in hard-boiled detective fiction.
Examples include: "He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on an angel food cake" and "I was as hollow and as empty as the space between stars."
Loren Latker is a Chandler buff and organized the day's events.
He said Cissy's ashes went unclaimed when Chandler fell into drunken despair after her death in 1954. They were placed on the storage shelf with other unclaimed remains.
Latker and his wife, Dr. Annie Thiel, made it their mission to reunite the two lovers.
Latker explains: "This was a great love that they had and I thought it was very, very important to bring them together again. I mean, someone should be where they could be honored."
An additional grave marker with both Raymond and Cissy's names was placed at the site. It also included a line from Chandler's "The Big Sleep": "Dead men are heavier than broken hearts."
The Chandlers lived in La Jolla during the 1950s and they both died in San Diego county. Cissy was 18 years older than Raymond, though he did not know that when they married. She told him she was only 10 years older. It's still unclear if Chandler ever knew Cissy's real age, though he certainly figured out she was older than she claimed when she began ailing earlier than expected.
If you want to read more about the Chandler marriage, I highly recommend the book "The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved," by Chandler biographer Judith Freeman (who was a guest on These Days on Monday). It's a really engaging look at their relationship, Chandler's work, and Southern California history.