Roy Orbison’s missing headstone a grave concern

January 30, 2010

Roy Orbison has spent the last 21 years in the company of Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood and Carl Wilson at a small cemetery in the Los Angeles suburb of Westwood.  But most visitors probably walk over his grave without realizing their proximity to the man behind “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “Only the Lonely.”

RoyOrbison_114_AJBOrbison’s family still has not got around to erecting a headstone, and it does not seem anything will be done in the foreseeable future. “It’s definitely not intentional,” Alex Orbison, Roy’s youngest son (pictured second from left with his brothers and mother), told Reuters on Friday. “It’s not like we don’t want people going by there or whatever. It’s been put to the backburner so long.”

His father died of a heart attack in 1988, aged 52, while enjoying a major comeback with the Traveling Wilburys and his own album “Mystery Girl.” His German-born widow Barbara and three sons, Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex, buried him at the Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, thinking that they might eventually relocate the plot, Alex said.

“And of course in the very beginning it was just too painful to deal with anything,” he said. He agreed with Internet chatter that Orbison deserves a headstone. “As my Mom would say, it’s always just something that’s in the works.”

The Orbisons, led by Barbara in a leopard-print top and black stretch pants, were present in Hollywood for the unveiling of Orbison’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, outside the Capitol Records tower. Also on hand were producer T-Bone Burnett, who described Orbison as “an amazing, amazing cat,” Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers, Chris Isaak, Dwight Yoakam, Traveling Wilburys bandmate Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, Eric Idle and director David Lynch, who helped the comeback process by using the Orbison song “In Dreams” in his 1986 film “Blue Velvet.”


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