October 10, 1924 - October 10, 1978
"One is always considered mad when one perfects something that others
Ed liked to dress in women's
clothing and Ed liked to make BAD films. He is
largely responsible for the last years of Bela Lugosi's life, being reasonably
happy ones (as in Not Forgotten). We like Ed. The film Ed Wood,
that Johnny Depp starred in, was great. One of the best films about Hollywood
ever made, right alongside Sunset Boulevard.
For many years, Ed lived in an apartment on Yucca, in Hollywood. The address
is 6383 Yucca, and you couldn't pay me to go back there for a
photograph. Findadeath.com friend, Chad Jones, braved the
neighborhood for these snaps. Unfortunately, they are doing work on Ed's
old building, but this
You literally have to wade through the crack
dealers and risk
people trying to get in your car as you drive by. Honest, it's
happened to me. They say that when this
7-11 was opened next door, it really caused the neighborhood to change, for
I heard that more people get killed at that 7-11 than any
other. I don't doubt it. Just around the corner is the Pla-Boy liquor store.
They used to cash Ed's checks for
him because he
bought all his booze there. Across from Ed's old place is a building called
Lido. It had a bar in it, and Ed liked bars. A lot.
Ed eventually moved to an apartment building on
Canyon Boulevard, in the valley.
building was located at 5636 Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
Here's the front
door, and here's a
Ed continued making films and writing for most of his life, eventually
stooping to porn - with an edge. People doing it in caskets, etc. His drinking
became legendary. Eventually it all came to an end on December 10th,
1978 in this
According to the book, Ed
Wood, The Nightmare of Ecstasy, by Rudolph Grey: He
was living with his wife, Kathy, when he had a heart attack. (I'm positive that it
was brought on by years of heavy drinking, although that isn't mentioned on his
death certificate). Ed's friend, Peter Coe, was over and Ed, Kathy and Peter had
a few drinks. Peter was insisting that Ed go into rehab and he had to stay
semi-sober or they wouldn't admit him. Ed decided to go into a bedroom and
By 11am, he had at least 4 shots of
vodka and said, "I
feel sick," and then fell asleep. A while later, more friends arrived,
including a nurse called Beulah Ames. Beulah asked after Ed and Peter told her,
"Ed's in the bedroom, resting." Beulah entered the bedroom and
screamed, "Oh, my God. Eddie's dead!" Peter and Kathy went into the
room and found Ed lying there with his eyes open. They called an ambulance,
and, according to Peter Coe, they removed Ed's body in a garbage bag. He was 54
Ed was cremated (he had a fear of burial) at the Utter - McKinley funeral
home, and scattered at sea. There was a memorial service, attended by Criswell,
Paul Marco, Buddy Hyde and David Ward.
Trivia: Regarding The
Lido - "Fernwood Flasher" Victor Kilian was
killed in the Lido.
Also, the interiors from the Eagles Hotel California album, were the interiors of this old Hollywood landmark.
January '07 update: Ed's offices were in the
building, just above the Vista Theater on
Sunset, where coincidentally
- they premiered the movie Ed Wood, and the stars
left their footprints.
More Trivia: Tim Burton offered Johnny Depp the role of Ed Wood, in the Formosa Cafe in Hollywood. According to Vince, the owner and a bud of mine, they wrote out
the contract on cocktail napkins. By all means, GO to the Formosa. They have the
best damn drinks in town and the coolest staff. If you see Vince or Cass (the
hostess with the mostest), please tell them that Scott, "the death
guy," says HI! If you are lucky, they'll seat you in Marilyn's old booth,
or the booth that Richard Burton used to pass out in.
A little more Trivia: A lot of the film Ed Wood takes place in
the old Brown Derby restaurant. The actual Derby shape of the restaurant has
been preserved, although it is now
painted silver and above a Korean restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard. Better than it being gone forever, I suppose.
October 1, 2000 - Trivia from Jon C. Darby
regarding Criswell, in Ed's stable of stars: It's no secret that Mae West was a notorious fag hag, but she had an odd relationship with one minor celebrity
pooftah (gay person). The Amazing (ly Inept) Criswell, Ed Wood's perennial star, was her "psychic advisor" until he finally admitted he was as full of shit as Elvis after a nine week barbecue and cheese binge.
They remained friends and in a DRIVING MISS DAISY twist, whenever Mae bought a new limousine she sold her old one to buddy
Criswell for $1. (Criswell spent his entire adult life sleeping in caskets; it wasn't because he was a fore-runner of the Goths, but because as the abandoned bastard grandchild of a Mid-West undertaker, he spent his childhood sleeping in the family
showroom and was never comfortable in a bed.)
The stories of Criswell's conquests are perhaps the only stories less sexy than his turn in ORGY OF THE DEAD.
Last Trivia: For what it is worth, this quote is in the book: "According
to Ed, he knew every famous drag queen in Hollywood - Milton Berle, Jack Benny,
Dan Dailey, Cary Grant. Ed would use that if anyone made a remark - that they
always had women's underwear on.
July 2003 - first hand info: a new buddy of
mine, Peter Coe (son of the man mentioned above) got in touch to let me know
that the photograph I have of Ed's last home, is wrong. Right building,
wrong unit. Upon getting the clarification, he shared this:
Hi Scott, What's so funny is that I drove past
the building the other day, and thought about bringing the digital video camera
down for a quick shoot. I don't give that building much longer with all the redevelopment in the area, so thought it might be nice for the record. I don't
know who lives there now, or if they would even let me take some views, or even
if it would be a safe thing to do these days.
My father was on a binge at the
time of Ed Wood's death. Before my parents divorced, his (my dad's) whole
retinue of lost souls (Ed Wood and several Hollywood down and outs) would hang
out and drink with my dad at our pool in Northridge. Sometimes Ed was in drag.
My mom was away working, and I just figured that this was typical family life.
After the divorce (I was five), I visited my father as infrequently as possible,
because he was usually drunk, and surrounded with people like Ed Wood and Paul
Marco. Actually, these people were always nice, but kind of hard to take for a
By the mid-1970's my dad and I grew closer. I came to visit him on a
Saturday night during my late high school years. I wasn't feeling too well and
wasn't too happy to find Ed and Kathy Wood at the apartment (remember, it was a
one bedroom place) when I arrived. They were completely bombed and after I went
to sleep, Ed stumbled over and shattered my dad's glass cocktail table in the
wee hours on his way to the loo. That was all I needed, so I left.
The next day,
my father called in tears to tell me Ed had died. I wrote extensively about the
funeral for a creative writing class at the time and wish I could find it now.
Many of the facts have faded from memory, but I remember taking my father to the
event and finding it fascinating, long before there was any public interest in
Ed Wood. After my father died, I found Ed Wood's presidential/veteran death
certificate in his belongings.
My dad was a strange anomaly. He went from a
peasant child in Yugoslavia to Hollywood via the Royal Academy in London. He was
under contract to Universal and worked with many of the biggest stars of the
golden era. He had a bad temper and drank too much, and made some stupid
decisions along the way.
He was "out" of Hollywood circles by the
mid-1960's, relegated to various television character roles. By the 1970's, it
was much worse. His friends like Ed Wood would come and drool over him, and tell
him what a great star he once was. I guess this made him feel good.
liked Ed, though. Although my dad really thought his movies were bad, he liked
Ed's loyalty and kindness. He saw through the tragedy and took him in despite
(or rather because of) his sorry state.
Fortunately, I became very close with my
dad in his final years. He brought up Ed many times, and was pissed at Blake
Edwards (another old Hollywood comrade) for not acknowledging Victor
Victoria was inspired by Glen or Glenda, whether it was true
or not. You can imagine how ironic it was for me when the Ed Wood
Take care, Peter
One of the greatest films about Hollywood ever
made, and it's inspiration: