Robert Walker, 32-year-old Ogden film star who died last Tuesday at the peak of his fame, was buried here today in quiet simple services.
The 400 at the rites were chiefly family friends. Approximately 2000 had already filed past his casket yesterday. Many were teen-agers - "probably just curious" - and others were former schoolmates from here and Salt Lake City.
The services for the movie actor were conducted at the Lindquist mortuary chapel by David S. Romney, former bishop of the L.D.S. Mount Ogden ward and ex-mayor of Ogden. The grave in Washington Heights Memorial park was dedicated by John G. McQuarrie, Walker's great-uncle of Salt Lake City. Pallbearers were members of the family, except for Charles E. Trezona, Jr., Walker's manager.
Mr. Romney said Walker had not lost the common touch, although he gained great fame. He compared him to the Savior who had also lived a full life in a short time and who had continually gone forth to new ventures. He said Robert was now going forth to a venture in faith.
"He is playing a far greater role than he ever played on the screen." Mr. Romney said.
He also said that it was Robert, Jr. who suggested that the service be held in Ogden rather than in Hollywood.
The peace and quiet which Bob Walker sought - but never seemed to find as a stage and screen actor - had come to him at last.
None of the glitter and trappings of Hollywood were present. The mortuary chapel liked just as it would for the funeral of another home-town boy. That probably came closest to the wishes of the rising young screen star. And was what his 11 and 10-year-old sons, Robert and Michael, wanted.
"He's no longer a Hollywood celebrity," Trezona said today. "He's just a home town boy who is being buried at home among family and friends."
Among the floral pieces was an all-white blanket piece made up of two sprays of gardenias, roses and chrysanthemums, sent by his first wife, Jennifer Jones, and their two children, Robert and Michael. At her request, the two floral pieces and a similar one from Walker's parents, were blended into one blanket, covering the casket.
Flowers also were received from Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien and Director Alfred Hitchcock.
Many floral tributes were ordered from Hollywood, but were accompanied mainly by cards bearing only first names and often the unfamiliar real names, rather than the screen names of film colony friends of Walker.
First announcement that services for Walker would be in Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, came through the supposition that most film personalities are buried there.
"Jennifer (now the wife of David O. Selznick) thought it would be nice if Bob were buried at home," Trezona explained, "but she didn't want to hurt Mr. and Mrs. Walker. Bob's parents thought the same thing but they wanted to respect Jennifer's wishes. That's how it stood until one of the boys said, "Why don't we take daddy home." When he said that everyone fell in with the idea."
The star's two sons expressed a wish to remember their father as he said good-bye to them last Tuesday morning. He died that night of a respiratory failure after the injection of a sedative to quiet his emotional state.
The children are now with their mother en route to Europe ant the Venice film festival. They were on a fishing trip with friends and were not a home at the time of their father's death, members of the family in Ogden, said. Upon their return, they were taken to the home of their mother and told of their father's death.
Most of Walker's Hollywood film friends had paid their respects to him at the Hollywood mortuary where his body was taken before being brought to Ogden, his manager said.
There was a profusion of flowers at the California chapel, Trezona said, and there were many personal visits from the stars.
Because most of
them were caught unawares by the change in funeral plans, they could not leave
Hollywood to come here because of picture commitments.
Copyright Ogden (Utah) Standard Examiner