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Famous author's true love story now has happy ending

By News 8 Reporter Jeff Zevely

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - La Jolla resident and mystery writer Raymond Chandler wanted to be buried next to his wife Cissy in 1959. It took more than 50 years to make that wish come true.

It was the funeral procession that never happened in 1959. Aissa Wayne, the daughter of John Wayne, was the attorney who convinced a judge that Raymond Chandler and his wife Cissy should be buried side by side.

"He loved her unconditionally," Wayne said.

Raymond Chandler historian Loren Latker discovered the mix-up. He says Cissy Chandler died in 1954, but her urn was never picked up.

"All we knew was that she was in a closet or she was in a storage locker or on a shelf with other unclaimed urns and we didn't know until we saw it, what it was really like, and we were appalled," Latker said.

Chandler was a famous novelist and screenwriter who crafted big-name movies like "Double Indemnity" and "The Big Sleep". Actor Powers Boothe portrayed Phillip Marlowe in a TV series and said some of Chandler's most famous lines.

"After all of this time, to stand here by his grave and be a part of this ceremony, more than a little overwhelming," Boothe said.

Some of Chandler's writings made it clear he wanted to be buried next to the love of his life.

"Cissy was 18 years older than Ray and when asked at Paramount by Billy Wilder why are you with someone who is old enough to be your mother, Raymond replied 'Because she is irresistible,'" fan Anne Thiel said.

Fifty-seven years later, Chandler fans say they can finally rest in peace knowing Cissy and Raymond are together at last.

"I think it's the most romantic thing I could do this Valentine's Day," a fan said.

About 100 people attended Monday's ceremony that could have easily never happened.

Cypress View Mausoleum could have legally thrown away Cissy's unclaimed ashes in 1955, but held on to them out of respect for the dead.

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