Howard Washington, who started his career at Warner Bros. in 1929 and worked off and on at the Warners parking garage until his retirement in 1994, died of pneumonia on Jan. 15 in Los Angeles. He was 98.
Born in Narco, LA, he was raised in Chicago, left home at age 16 and moved to Los Angeles. He began his long career at Warner Bros. Studios in 1929, where he and his staff provided services including car washes and shoe shines.
Washington served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. After the war, he returned to Warner Bros in the parking facility until 1958, greeting stars from Joan Crawford to Bette Davis to Ronald Reagan. In 1951 he had a small speaking part as a waiter in the Alfred Hitchcock film “Strangers On A Train.”
Although he became a successful real estate broker, he returned to Warner Bros. in the 1960s, missing the daily interaction at the studio. He had a small garden on the lot where he grew eggplant, cantaloupe, tomatoes, artichokes, string beans, peppers, petunias and marigolds. He also developed a reputation as the go-to person who was able to cut through bureaucratic red-tape and secure that impossible last minute item that was needed for a photo or video shoot or special occasion.
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In 1989, he was surprised with an 80th birthday party at the Records building hosted by David Lee Roth, attended by Randy Crawford and John Fogerty. He was presented with a platinum record featuring his now-famous sayings as the song titles — “You Can’t Park Here,” “Park On The Street,” “This Lot Is Full,” “They Didn’t Tell Me You Were Coming” and the long version of “I Don’t Care Who You Are.”
Despite his gruff exterior, those who spent time talking to him found a warm and gregarious philosopher, especially about money, women and divorce, since he had been married five times.
He is survived by his companion, Eunice Glover; a son; a daughter; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 10:00 a.m. at Angelus Funeral Home, 3875 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles.
Donations may be made to the UNCF in memory of Howard Washington and mailed to Margo Thomas – Regional Director, UNCF, 3699 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 675, Los Angeles, CA 90010.