A Fanny Brice mini-tour of L.A.
When actress Lauren Ambrose stars next season in the Broadway-bound revival of "Funny Girl" at the Ahmanson Theatre, she would do well to make pilgrimages to a few local attractions that will help her get into character as showbiz legend Fanny Brice.
Brice, a former burlesque performer who rose to become a Ziegfeld actress and eventually a Broadway star, is most often associated with the New York theater scene. But in the later part of her life, the actress lived in L.A. as she concentrated on radio work and -- rather unsuccessfully -- dipped her toes in the waters of television.
Fans of Brice can commune with her vivacious spirit in these choice spots around L.A. "Funny Girl" is set to open at the Ahmanson on Feb. 1.
Final resting place
Brice died in 1951 at the age of 59 of a cerebral hemorrage at what is now Cedars-Sinai. At the time, she was living in the Holmby Hills neighborhood near Beverly Hills. Brice was cremated and her ashes were interred at a Jewish cemetary in East L.A., but years later, they were moved to the Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park.
Visitors can see Brice's final resting place, which is located at the far southeast end of the cemetery. (Special thanks to reader Dan Morin.) Her remains are interred near those of her children, Frances Brice Stark, who died in 1992, and William J. Brice, who died in 2008.
Brice is one of the few showbiz veterans to have received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her star for her work in films -- she appeared in "The Great Ziegfeld," "Ziegfeld Follies" and "Everybody Sing" -- is located on Hollywood Boulevard, between Wilcox Avenue and Cahuenga Boulevard.
Her star for radio can be found on Vine Street, between Sunset Boulevard and Selma Avenue. Her radio career included the popular "The Baby Snooks Show," in which Brice voiced the character of an ill-behaved little girl.
Holmby Hills residence
Brice lived at a large estate at 312 N. Faring Road, just north of Sunset Boulevard. The actress moved there in 1938.
It was one of a few properties that Brice called home while in L.A., though Faring Road was to be her main residence. According to the biography "Fanny Brice: The Original Funny Girl" by Herbert G. Goldman, the actress also lived for periods in North Hollywood, Westwood and at a beach house in Malibu.
As it happens, the Holmby Hills property recently went on the market. The owners -- Richard King, a director of King World Productions, and his wife, Lauren -- are asking for $65 million. The property has been extensively remodeled since Brice's days and features eight bedrooms and amenities including a tennis court, swimming pool and a guest house.
-- David Ng
Photos: The final resting place of Fanny Brice at Westwood Village Memorial Park. Credit: David Ng / Los Angeles Times; Fanny Brice. Credit: Associated Press