Anne Yarbrough Graves died peacefully at Providence Saint Joseph’s hospital on December 26, 2016 after a valiant but mercifully short battle with cancer. She was 76.
Annie was born November 15, 1940 in Detroit Michigan where she was a child actress and the four year old spokesperson for the Pressel Sausage Company. Dreaming of stardom, her family moved to California in the 1940’s and settled in Culver City.
Attending Culver High in the 1950’s, Annie was known for being kindhearted and funny. Head Cheerleader, Girl’s League President, Homecoming Queen – she even dated the Captain of the football team thus sweeping the high-school Superfecta.
Always a hard-worker, she went on to a modeling career at Robert Hall while working as a floral designer. Along the way, she won several 1950’s beach pageant titles including Miss Culver City and Venice Surf Festival. Acting, modeling and flowers would be the hallmarks of her life and she made every setting she touched more beautiful, whether by her creative designs or her charming, witty presence.
While modeling, she worked as Miss Clairol, and most amusingly as “Miss Naugahyde” at the Los Angeles Auto Show, displaying with a graceful gesture (which she would later repeat to great comedic effect) “my hat is Naugahyde, my dress is Naugahyde, my shoes are Naugahyde and even my purse is Naugahyde!”
She earned small roles in several movies of the era including cult favorite “The Magic Sword” with Basil Rathbone and “Runaway Girl.” She had recurring parts on both Gunslinger and Bonanza and was killed by Indians a number of times before this sad and final departure.
In 1964 she met singer Glenn Yarbrough. They married in 1967, had one daughter, Holly, in 1969. By 1971 they had “quit the biz” to sail around the world on a ’55 foot ketch they designed and built. During those years as sea, Annie cultivated her talent for writing. Excerpts of her memoir of the trip were published in the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) magazine. She also wrote many rhyming stories for children and countless memorable poems for friends.
In the mid-1970’s Annie and Glenn co-founded one of the first artist-run labels: Brass Dolphin Records. Annie produced Glenn’s “Live at the Troubadour” album and singlehandedly maintained an international mail order company for a decade.
Later in the 1980’s, her many years of floral arranging inspired her to start one of the first dedicated custom gift basket stores in L.A. called “I’m a Basket Case” on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. Later, she enjoyed being one of the few female designers at the high-end Flower Basket next-door.
Since 1964 she lived in and lovingly cared for the Josef Van der Kar house in the Hollywood Hills. It was built by the architect for his own family in 1940 and Glenn and Annie were the second owners. Annie dedicated her life to the maintenance of the house and garden and her spirit will always dwell there.
Until his death in 2002, Mr. Van der Kar, who became a lifelong friend, always ribbed her about turning his home into a “Hollywood House” complete with an outdoor pool and lava-rock waterfall planter in his once spare living room design. But it was the mid sixties after all, and he lovingly absolved her of her architectural sins, often expressing gratitude at her adoration of the house and grounds and preservation of his work.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Luther Eldon and Marion Theresa Graves, her dear brothers, John Charles and Thomas Eldon Graves, her ex-husband and lifelong friend, Glenn Robertson Yarbrough, and her most beloved dog Nikolas.
She is survived by her daughter, Holly Yarbrough Burnett, son-in-law Robert Burnett, as well as many dear family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Annie’s memory to the Stanford Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford CA 94305. Funds designated in her name will be used to preserve the history of her beloved house in the permanent Van der Kar collection.
16 thoughts on “Remembering Annie”
Holly, you may have never heard of me but your mother was my “babysitter” when I was a baby. In fact, her name was my first words (“Anne ‘n Jack [her brother John]”). My family was good friends with Annie’s family, and I spent a lot of time at their house with my old friend, Tommy, her youngest brother.
Sadly, I just found out about Anne’s passing and I am so sad for you. Many years living on the East coast, I thought about someday trying to visit her. Unfortunately, I never made it. My deepest sympathies to you and apologize for not knowing and this being so late.
Holly, what a beautiful tribute to your Mother. Expressed with such love. It was a little after midnight when I put out the last of my 3 candles. Her journey was safe I am sure. It has been a difficult year for you. But the love and devotion you have shown for both Glenn and Annie has brought tears to my eyes over and over. I knew nothing of her many talents other than catching your dad’s eye. Her remarks on the Family Portrait cd I always thought were “cute ” but also so beautifully presented. I hope you are now back in Nashville feeling the comfort of being home with your husband and away from the outside world to rest and recuperate. Give yourself time to heal. If you go back to Hospice your beautiful voice will be a gift to everyone. The love of those of us in your outside circle will still be there in the coming year thinking of you and wishing you a time of peace.
Beautiful tribute Holly, so like you to honour your family with love.
Thank you for sharing this with all of us who love you like you were our own.
I wish you peace and rest, now it is time for you to heal. Your beloved parents are resting and in their soul family once more. Be gentle with yourself and live in Love.
Beautifully written about the “life and times” of Annie. So many wonderful things I didn’t know about her and some I was aware of. I also was born in Detroit but 8 years earlier and in the 1940s our family also moved to Southern California (definitely NOT to pursue any talent we didn’t have). But I do remember during our correspondence in the mid 1980s all about “I’m A Basket Case”. Something else that made us both laugh back then was that here we were corresponding on identical stationery that we both purchased from the same mail order company. She had a beautiful and long life before the nasty disease called cancer overtook. Both of your parents, Holly, left great legacies that are now turned over to you. You have taken care of each of them and you have shared all of it with all of us out here. May God Bless you and give you peace now.
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How beautiful to know of Annie’s love through this tribute you have written Holly and to know how Annie’s love has transitioned into your loving nature so that it will continue through you, for all of us. Thank you for your love Holly through your mom and now it is yours alone. That is a lot of love you now have along with your dads! The spirit of Annie will live forever and ever.
You have had a year of sweet, sad goodbyes. The talented, beautiful gene pool you came from explains why you are so amazing inside and out.
Thank you for sharing your family.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I am glad for her quick passing. Please don’t take that wrong. My father died of cancer and it took two years and that is the reason for my comment. I will have masses said for your mother as I do for your father. God bless you and help you find PESe.
My memories of and with Annie Fannie are too many to put into mere words but flood my soul with laughter and love and my eyes with tears. She will be with me always. Those memories will keep her alive in my heart.
Call/email whenever you wish. josh M
What a wonderful tribute to your Mom, Holly! You are in my prayers, dear lady. You came from some good stock! Your Dad’s music will be forever in my heart. Your Mom was talented in her own right. Together they were awesome!
Sorry Holly, I never met your Mom and only met your Dad one time. But, I was and still am a big fan of his.
You are in our hearts as we remember you and your wonderful parents. Your dad was an integral part of our musical history and your mom a driving force behind him. May the new year bring you peace and comfort.
My thoughts are with you Holly. I’ve been a devoted fan of Glenn since the mid 1950’s, have attended many of his concerts, and have received several notes from Annie over the years.
This has been a really difficult year for you, losing both parents one right after the other. Your dedication to them both is very obvious.
I wish you all kinds of wonderful things in your future. You deserve it.
She is with the angels now.
Holly, our prayer’s are with you, Glenn, and Annie. May they rest in peace.
A very informative and loving tribute.