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Elizabeth Taylor fans and media descend on Forest Lawn

March 24, 2011 |  2:04 pm


Dozens of media, including at least one news helicopter, have flocked to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, where the Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor is scheduled to be interred Thursday afternoon, a day after she died of congestive heart failure.

A small family ceremony will be held at the cemetery's Great Mausoleum, where other film stars, such as Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, are also interred. It's also the same building where her friend, Michael Jackson, was interred in 2009.

Access to the building and immediate surrounding area is also cordoned off, and fans trying to get into the cemetery were being turned away.

Sylvia Radic, 69, drove to the cemetery with her husband, Nikola, from their Mount Washington home after learning of the plans on television.

She said she grew up watching Taylor on film.

"I wanted to see how it was," Sylvia Radic said. "Obviously, we're not allowed in."

There are no street closures in the area, but Glendale police have brought in additional officers to assist students as they exit Cerritos Elementary School nearby, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. Class gets out at staggered times between 2:15 p.m. and 3 p.m.

"Everything's going smoothly," he said.

After reading posts on Facebook, two men who feared that protesters may arrive from the controversial Westboro Baptist Church drove to the cemetery to counter-protest should the group show up. The church, of Topeka, Kan., is known for sending anti-gay protesters to picket funerals of U.S. troops with signs reading, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and other slogans.

Scotland Beavers, 47, left work after telling his friend, "We need to get there and try to block them." They had umbrellas at the ready should protesters show up, although he said the protesters would most likely picket Taylor's public memorial.

–- Jason Wells and Kelly Corrigan, Glendale News Press/Times Community News

Photo: Fans gather to pay their respects at Elizabeth Taylor's Hollywood star. Credit: Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times