Terry Burnham's Memorial marker in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Long Beach. Placed on Saturday, 1 October, 2016. It is in the Benevolence Section, Slot 1202, Space 3 (inside front gate on San Antonio Dr., to the left of the chapel.)
A brief biography:
Elizabeth Teresa "Terry" Burnham was born in Los Angeles on August 8, 1949, the only child of Guy & Betty Burnham. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Long Beach. At a very early age, Terry displayed her acting talents and began working in TV (series as well as commercials) and in film. Her appearance as an uncredited extra on I Love Lucy was one of her first on TV. She then got much more substantial roles, including her career-defining appearances as Markie on the Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare as a Child" (1960), and opposite Lana Turner in "Imitation of Life" (1959). She quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest working child actors in Hollywood of that time, known for her ability to play characters ranging from simple to complex. Terry graduated from Lakewood High School in 1967 and was president of the Lakewood Folk Music Association. She attended Long Beach City College and worked in Hollywood until 1971. Terry passed away in Long Beach on October 7, 2013. Her legacy endures, with fans and followers around the world.
Some History on the Project:
In late 2015, The Twilight Zone Museum was notified that Terry Burnham's remains were being held in the LA County Crematorium, and were about to be discarded into an unmarked "common" grave. Although we chose not to acquire the remains, we knew that Terry needed a memorial marker of some sort. But what would it be? A posting was made on our Facebook page about raising funds for the marker. Within 2 months, more than $1,500 had been raised, and the Long Beach Press Telegram and LA Daily News decided to do an article about it which you can read: Page 1 Page 2. But, the question remained - where would the marker be placed? One of the staff of Forest Lawn Cemetery contacted the LBPT newspaper and asked about how I could be reached. They contacted me and reported that Terry's parents had already made a provision for her in their cemetery campus on San Antonio Dr. in Long Beach. But, the provision was only a "holding" of the space where her remains and headstone would eventually go. The fundraiser generated just over the target amount of $3,500, from approximately 100 donors who donated anywhere from $5 to $300 apiece. A headstone was purchased and eventually placed in October 2016. Hopefully, at some time in the future, Terry's cremated remains will be buried there, as they rightfully should be. If you are a fan of Terry's work in TV and film and happen to be in the Long Beach area, you can stop by and pay tribute to this great actress.
With Heartfelt Thanks to Our Donors - Who Made It Possible
SPONSORS (over $100)
SHELLEY McKAY YOUNG
CINI GANNON ROBB
ANONYMOUS (4 individuals)
Marc Martin, Byron Lang, William Bozarth, Daniel Moraglia, Janet Kulakowski, John Harding, Wayne Clauss, Andy Polak, Elena DeGarmo, Jonathan Dodd, Steve Godrich, Adam Mell, Charles McClelland, Colleen Hillerup, Roger Scarlett, Guy Charlebois, Greg Holcomb, Roman Silva, Derek Kelly, M. Cunningham, Vikki McAllister, Justin Pisciotta, Renate Valencia, Richard Riis, Stephen Gruenling, Karen Neko, Kurt Roderick, Chris Burns, Roxanne Kaplan, Terence Winkless, John Carroll, Ginger Brining, Leith Adams, Barbara Guarnaccia, Bill Hutton, Daryl Metzger, Morgan Brittany, Barbara Rew, Mark Davison, Christopher Morando, Phillip Paradowski, Jerry Martinez, Greg Antoniono, Bill & Eileen Mumy, Michael McGreevey, Eric Block, Crystal Woods, John Schmeyer, Heidi Romano, Tony Fornaro, Johnny Holmes, David Cimini, Philip Sternenberg, Carol Troxel, Mike Austin, Bob VanVooris, Michael Gallagher, Meredith Wendell, David LaGreca, Paul Gallagher, Oscar Angel, Bob Pond, Peter Blinn, James Blinn, Mike Palmatier, Bill DeVoe, Tristan Velasquez, Jane Kominiak, Scott Marks, Leon Lee, Alma Wilson, Sue K., Anonymous (12 individuals).
VERY SPECIAL THANKS
Officer Byron Lang
Forest Lawn Cemetery, Long Beach - Nickol Ladd, VP and Director
Lakewood High School Alumni Association - Margie Smuck, Lillian Zelmer, Kham Brown
Josh Dulaney, Long Beach Press Telegram
Shelley McKay Young, Twilight Zone Online
The Rod Serling Memorial Foundation
YouCaring.com, Compassionate Crowdfunding
*All names except for Anonymous donors are listed in order of donation date. The fundraiser ran from December 1, 2015 until November 30, 2016. We even had donations coming in after the headstone was placed!
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Andrew Ramage, I am the founder and curator of The Twilight Zone Museum.com website and associated Facebook page, and I have been involved in "Twilight Zone"-related projects for the past fifteen years, when Bill DeVoe and I coordinated the world's first-ever "Twilight Zone" Convention, which happened in Los Angeles in 2002. That convention, and the ones that followed on the east coast, were attended by a combined total of about three-thousand friends and fans of "Twilight Zone", but that's a very small number compared to the countless millions who watch the reruns regularly. My latest project, on my long list of "Twilight Zone" activities, has been the memorial of Terry Burnham, whose most memorable credit happened to come with a starring role on an episode of that TV show. I didn't grow up on "Twilight Zone." Like so many people from my generation, I discovered it in reruns. And I never dreamt that I would help give Terry Burnham her final sendoff. So, I'm glad I was able to do it, although I had significant help!
We are here today to belatedly pay our respects to a very special person. Before we do that though, I would like to personally thank everyone, most of whom could not attend today, who has supported this effort to finally secure a permanent memorial for Terry Burnham. A lot of people, hundreds of people, if not into the thousands, looked for her for decades. Some went to her old addresses, some searched for her online...none to any avail, unfortunately, at least not that I know of. A lot of those people are here with us today - in spirit. Thanks to the fact that her parents made a provision for her, right here at Forest Lawn, in the family plot in the Benevolence section of this campus, she will finally have a monument, where people can come and pay tribute, for all eternity. This memorial service and Terry's monument, would not have come to fruition without the financial support of people who revered and respected Terry.
She was born with a great talent, which thankfully was realized in the work that she did on the big screen, and the small screen. She may not have left behind a lifetime of work, but everything she did, literally, was superb, otherwise she wouldn't have the kind of following she does today. Good art always outlives its creator. Elizabeth Teresa Burnham The Second (her mother was the first, Terry senior, who was known as Betty) was born on the eighth of August in 1949 in Los Angeles, and moved at the age of four, here to Long Beach. She lived in or near Long Beach for the rest of her life. She left us on October 7th, 2013.
Everyone, it seems, who knew Terry, as a personal friend, classmate at Lakewood High School, Bancroft Junior High School, St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, or as a fellow coworker on the soundstages of Hollywood - continues to extol her virtues. She was warm-hearted, caring, un-Hollywood (thankfully!), vibrant, enthusiastic - choose any positive adjective and it probably describes Terry. She was indeed a child prodigy, and later, as she approached adulthood, admitted that her life as an actress wasn't an easy one. And, as often happens with very gifted children, they often don't successfully make the leap into adult actor from child actor. She eventually left the soundstages of Hollywood and resumed a normal life offstage, having left a very distinguished mark for herself in all of the roles that she did on TV and the several films and TV movies that she did, in addition to a good number of commercials for Kellogg's cereals, among them. She was a starlet - by rights, she should have done more. In Hollywood, if you're over about 30 years old, you're no longer on the cutting edge unless you really get lucky.
She attended college for one or two years in the late sixties, and her last appearance in Hollywood came in 1971. Terry went her own way and fell silent. It can only be assumed that she retired to take care of her aging parents and attempt to maintain her own health, which was unfortunately marginal throughout her life.
Not a day goes by that someone, somewhere in the world, doesn't see the episode of "Twilight Zone" entitled "Nightmare as a Child", which many of you know very well. That was Terry's episode, written by none other than Rod Serling. Most actors who appeared on that show just made one starring appearance, and that was hers. She outperformed the two lead actors - Janice Rule and Shepperd Strudwick, who were very good actors, but Terry outdid them because she understood her role substantially better. I seriously doubt there is anyone who, after seeing the episode for the first time, can't say they weren't in some way moved, or affected, by Terry Burnham's Emmy-caliber performance as Markie. Thank you, Rod Serling, for creating that TV show, and writing that story idea into an episode, so Terry could display her acting talents and take her place as one of the most memorable characters in "Twilight Zone" history. Terry was just one of many actors whom everyone remembers for their "Twilight Zone" roles, over and above the hundreds or thousands of other things they did. Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Martin Landau, Leonard Nimoy, Dennis Hopper, Carol Burnett - "Twilight Zone" was one of the first things they did in their very long and distinguished careers. So Terry is a member of that very large fraternity.
There's no doubt that Terry Burnham helped make "Twilight Zone", arguably the greatest TV show ever produced, into what it still is today. Having talked to well over one-hundred actors who appeared on "Twilight Zone", most of them said the same thing - "They only hired the very best actors for that show. You'd come in and read for the parts and the casting people and the director who was to direct that episode really listened to how we delivered the lines, and if you couldn't cut it, you didn't get hired. It was one of the shows 'TO GET' if you were a working actor, because the quality and the production values were so high." And the fact that so many Hollywood writers steal from "Twilight Zone", to this day, is a testament to what kind of show it was and how much it influenced our popular culture. So, Terry was quite clearly the chosen one to play the role that made her so famous in the genre of sci-fi and fantasy - or at least famous in "Twilight Zone" land. As my old friend, the late and great writer George Clayton Johnson - who wrote the original Ocean's Eleven and wrote for "Twilight Zone" alongside Rod Serling, said at one of the Twilight Zone Conventions, "I know that I'm immortal. "The Twilight Zone" will never die. It may not continue to be re-made, but it will never stop being watched." So thankfully, Terry Burnham is immortalized too and will ALWAYS be on TV. And for that we're very grateful. And now, she is out in that magnificent landscape of shadow and substance, along with Rod and all the others.
I never knew Terry, but I'm glad I had the chance to get to know her a bit better, indirectly of course, through this project. I wish I had known her, as a lot of people still do, because she was obviously very intelligent and she knew the fine - and complicated - art of acting on camera - extremely well. It's not easy to be a good actor! Anyone can try to act, but obviously, not everyone can act. She was known for being able to handle very tough roles very well and BECOME those characters she played. I think she would've been a good acting teacher. I'm not sure if she ever studied acting - and if she didn't, then that is even more of a testament to her talent.
It's very touching that so many people who knew her and lived out part of their lives with her, still have the fond memories of the time they spent with her. She was never forgotten, and will never be. I'm sure that Terry held onto those memories of days gone by as well. She was a very private individual, and it was thanks only to a former classmate of hers, who had access to a governmental database, who emailed me through the website about six months after she passed away. Many people didn't believe she was gone since the news of her death never reached the media - and was it the same Terry? Some further research on the part of the classmate revealed that, sadly, yes it was. We're very grateful to the Long Beach Press Telegram and Josh Dulaney for the fine article they published about it this past February. It was the first time in almost 50 years that Terry was in the paper.
So now, we're starting a new chapter. Terry's passing in 2013 closed a chapter, and this 'in between' period of time, has now concluded. Today we're officially paying tribute to her life, and celebrating her life and her achievements and what she brought to the world, and giving her a monument. And no doubt, people will come and pay Terry a visit and leave some flowers. So Terry, wherever you are right now, and if there is a hereafter, we hope you're looking down or looking in on us and realize just how much you have brought to our lives...and will continue to bring. Always. And we were so glad to do this for you, after all you've done for us. We're definitely indebted. And as George Clayton Johnson also said, "As long as people talk about you, you're effectively still living."
We're not going to forget Terry, and...I'm not sure if the mayor of Long Beach ever proclaimed a Terry Burnham day, but today, October 1st, 2016, is Terry Burnham Day as far as we're concerned. Thank you very much.
IN PRAISE and REMEMBRANCE OF TERRY (and this project):
The Terry Burnham Memorial Project resulted in many people - dozens and dozens - who knew Terry Burnham during her formative years. Their memories of her were all very touching. Here are a few that I managed to copy and paste, and save, from Facebook and various messages and postings on our fundraiser forum.
"She was my lab partner in chemistry class."
"She was a very quiet but kind girl."
"Yes I remember her playing hop scotch and her pretty dresses & Patton leather shoes. None of us dressed up like that for school! Her hair was also colored!"
"She and I were in the 6th grade together at Mark Twain Elementary, not the same class but the same grade. I never saw her at Bancroft Jr. High but did run into her a few times at Lakewood.....never did figure out how she got a year ahead of me between 6th grade and graduation from high school. If today hadn't been my wife's birthday I would have stopped by to pay my respects. I have no clue what if anything "comes next" but if there is something more I hope she finds the peace that seemingly escaped her in this one. RIP Markie."
"She and I were good friends at one time in the far past...I want her to have this monument."
"Even though she was one year ahead of me, we shared a few classes together at Bancroft (Jr High back then)"
"Just saw her in "Boy Do I Have a Wrong Number", she was so good!"
"I was in a club in high school (Lakewood) called the Lakewood Folk Association...we met after school in the cafeteria for folk music. Terry was in the group, I remember one time singing Hava Na Gila and dancing around the cafeteria conga style. Sad news."
"I was a very close friend of Terry's when we attended LBCC in 1968-69. I lost touch with her after I was drafted into the Army. I always wondered what happened to her."
"I think she's wearing an outfit that we made in Home Ec class! The look with the belt is cute!" (in reference to one of her photos)
"She and I met when we worked together at Long Beach Memorial Hospital."
"She was an incredibly sweet person. She and I had the same birthday, which brought us closer together I think. I'm just so sorry we did not stay in touch. Thank you again for what you've accomplished."
"Terry and Michael [McGreevey] and I worked together on the Disney Show. She was very talented and a lot of fun." -Bill Mumy, actor
"I know you worked hard on [this project] so congratulations." -Don Murphy (Executive Producer, "Transformers" films, after Terry's headstone was placed in Forest Lawn.)
"I knew Terry very well when we worked together during those years! Loved her!" -Morgan Brittany (formerly Suzanne Cupito)