To be fair, not every celebrity on this list ended up choosing their final resting place, but in spite of that, they are, to be sure, strange and/or incredible places all the same.
Below is a diverse list of TV writers, novelists, actors, martial artists, musicians, fathers of musicians, royalty, journalists, businesswomen, and the creator of likely the biggest entertainment company in the world, if not at least the best known entertainment company in the world.
Each of these men and women— and one special dog— have either been made the lady of the lake, been given a gigantic new prescription for their glasses, stolen a man’s heart… literally, snorted or been smoked, traveled to outer space (or at the very least been blasted across the desert), and have appeared dead on screen… not to say they simply looked dead on screen, but the last anyone saw of them, they were on screen, and actually dead. So here are fifteen weird places celebrities have found themselves in death.
15. The Game Of Death
True, Bruce Lee‘s actual final resting place is in Seattle’s Lakeview Cemetery, where thousands of people go to visit him and his son, Brandon Lee (buried alongside his father), but there is a creepier, much more exploitative resting place of sorts for this martial arts master. Dying, shortly before the famed Enter The Dragon hit the box office, Bruce Lee appeared in several other films, post-mortem. Surely this is not an unusual occurrence, with partially shot films continuing production with stunt doubles, or just cutting with the footage they have, like in Brandon Lee’s final film The Crow, but there is something more sinister behind Bruce Lee’s final shots as a film star. The Game of Death, famous for the yellow jumpsuit that Uma Thurman similarly wears in Kill Bill, and for the epic fight between Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, got away with using actual shots of Lee’s corpse, from funeral footage, being cut into the film. So if one is ever looking for Bruce’s final film resting place, one need only watch Game of Death.
14. The Field Where Music Died
Buried in the Lubbock Cemetery in Texas, one might not know of Buddy Holly’s final resting place for all of the commotion over the Clear Lake, Iowa memorial, looking over the site of the infamous crash that killed Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly, on February 3, 1959— the day the music died. Along the sorrowful site, which includes an engraved guitar and record memorial, there is a gigantic tribute to Buddy Holly by way of his signature glasses. If one didn’t know any better, one might think that Buddy Holly wasn’t buried elsewhere at all, but left no remains in the crash and therefore had erected an enormous structure to remind people of the significance of his poor eyesight. Smack dab in the middle of farmer’s fields, one has to wonder if this symbol of tragedy is not taking up valuable real estate for the continued growth of that “American Dream” so readily believed in circa 1959.
13. Princess Diana’s Monumental Memorial Park
Buried in an Althorp estate in Northamptonshire, Princess Diana has become the mythical Lady of the Lake. Her resting place is on an island in Round Oval Lake, in a gigantic park (that the general public is allowed to visit one day out of every year), dedicated to the, for some reason, still adored face of the royal family circa the nineteen nineties. It’s not all that weird to have a resting place in a park, but in a park that people can visit only once every year; an enormous park, dedicated solely to her, with its own lake, riddled with ducks and four, specially placed black swans, topped off with an almost palace-like Grecian structure overlooking the island resting place from the mainland of the park… If not weird, it is at least a bit overzealous, to understate the enormity of the memorial. The royal family has not had any great significance since before the Great War, and Diana of all, was loathed by the majority of the royal family when she married into it anyway. Seems a bit weird.
12. George Harrison Takes A Dip In The Ganges
Once described as “liquid love of life”, the Ganges is a supposedly mystical river in India where good karma flows through the bodies of those who bathe in its waters; a gift from the almighty, graced upon believers and skeptics alike. Never quite escaping the Hare Krishna phase of the Beatles’ legacy, like the rest of his band mates had after the LSD wore off, George Harrison, after being cremated by the friendly folks at Hollywood Forever (facilitators of perhaps the most frequently visited cemetery in the world), was taken to the sacred river, and cast about its waters, as well as at Allahabad, where the Ganges and two other holy rivers converge. The Hindu belief is that spreading one’s ashes about holy waters aids in the process of releasing the soul from one’s body, and escaping reincarnation, to make the final journey to Heaven. Who knows where Harrison is now, besides mingled with the ashes of many others, but My Sweet Lord, he did go peacefully.
11. Blasted Across The Desert
One of the most famous funerals of the twenty first century, to be sure, after taking care of the planning, taking interviews about how his funeral would be carried out and how his remains would be disposed of, and then finally setting the phone down after chatting with his wife and blowing his brains out with a .45, while she was still on the line, Hunter S. Thompson ended his life, but not the significance of it. Shortly after his death, actor and good friend of Thompson’s, Johnny Depp set out to foot the bill for the great tower, atop which sat a double-thumbed fist, holding onto a button of peyote, and through which a cannon would fire the famed journalist’s ashes. With a fabulous fireworks display of red, white, and blue, Hunter’s remains went out the very same way he did: with a bang! The unfortunate missing part of the above video is the moment where, as the cloud of smoke and ash billows over the cheering crowd, one of the onlookers tells his friends to “breathe deep… breathe deep!”; so badly did he want Thompson to be a part of them.
10. You Know I Snorted My Father, Right?
Alright, so this isn’t a celebrity resting place by any direct means, in that Keith Richards has not yet, however surprisingly, been found dead. That being said, this is still the case of a celebrity resting place because while his father was no celebrity, Keith certainly is, and he is now, himself, at least partially, the resting place of his father. “I opened my dad’s ashes and some of them blew out over the table, just because of the suction of the lid, you know what I mean? I looked at my dad’s ashes down there and— what am I gonna do? ‘Do I desecrate them with a dustbin and broom?’ So I wet me finger and I shoved a little bit of Dad up me hooter.” That’s right! Keith Richards snorted his father with, upon further elaboration in an interview, a bit of cocaine because let’s be honest, if you’re already a drug fiend, and you’re already putting your father up there, you may as well get a fix at the same time. Not having snorted the entirety of his father’s ashes, Richards put the rest “round an oak tree, which is coming up a treat.” So a celebrity resting place in a sense, Keith Richards continues to boggle minds.
9. Just About As Ugly As Ichabod Crane…
Making it all the way to the ripe old age of eighty seven (well past ripe in her case), Leona Helmsley was once as big a mogul in the business world as Donald Trump, if not even bigger. Instead of bankrupting herself so many times as Trump, she was caught evading taxes, since “Only the little people pay taxes” according to her view of the world. This billionaire, dubbed “The Queen of Mean” for her incredibly bitchy persona, Helmsley only served twenty one months of her sixteen year sentence, paid her seven million dollars in fines, and had her employees do her pot-prison community service for her. Amazingly not dying of a heart attack at her sentencing in trial, she did eventually suffer from heart failure, leaving twelve million to her dog, and nothing for her grandchildren. Where would such a monster end up? Well, many likely wishing her headless, and absolutely more hideous to look at than Ichabod Crane, Helmsley was laid to rest in Sleepy Hollow, in a 1.4 million dollar mausoleum. It’s doubtful that Washington Irving ever expected such a hideous creature to truly come to the little township North of New York City.
8. In The Vault, Like So Many Classics
What’s weird about this one, is how very not weird it is. The lavish, luxurious Marilyn Monroe, known the world over by men and women alike (and known very well by a number of famous men), after all of her flash and pizzazz, was laid to rest in the Westwood Memorial Park Cemetery, and while she is accompanied by some greats like Dean Martin, Peter Falk, and Frank Zappa, it does seem like a less than lavish way to go, being stuck in a wall of vaults, surrounded by other corpses of former glory. That being said, Monroe’s presence along the crypt wall has certainly raised the price of real estate there, causing a bidding war that jacked the price of the vault above her to a staggering 4.6 million dollars. Surely many wanted to be on top of Marilyn in her time, but in death it seems a steep price to pay for such an honour. All the same, visitors to the site adorn the vault with well-plied, lipstick kisses, which makes one wonder… were there that many women who really loved her, or are there that many men willing to make a last impression?
7. Shelley & Her Lover’s Heart
It’s not so much the resting place here, as it is what is in the resting place. Famed author Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), was buried in St. Peter’s Church in Bournemouth, U.K., way back in 1851. Nothing weird about that. What is weird, however, is what Mary took with her when she died. Having drowned many years before Mary’s death, the famed poet Percy Shelley was cremated… all but his heart turned to ash. Unscathed (speculating calcification from TB saving it from the flames), the heart was turned to Mary, who kept it with her in a silk shroud. Unfortunately here is where the story deviates, depending on who is telling it, but the story once went that, wrapped in paper, Percy’s heart was placed in the casket with Mary Shelley. Unfortunately this incredibly romantic story turns out to be a poetic fantasy as the poet’s heart was interred with his son’s body, wrapped in the pages of Adonais (one of Percy’s last poems) in the family vault. So in a sense, his heart was reunited with his wife, but not until some time after her death.
6. Sewn Into A Pillow
After an incredible number of years, toting around a jar of ecstasy pills, snorting cocaine off any surface possible, and indulging in a big breakfast of anti-depressants, it’s no wonder that Michael Hutchence of INXS fame was found dead, hanging behind the main door of his hotel room. Whether auto-erotic or not, Hutchence died of asphyxiation, and thus ended an incredible career of excess. After very publicly and dramatically accusing ex-husband Bob Geldof of murdering Hutchence, and declaring that she would dye her prospective wedding dress black for Michael’s funeral, love Paula Yates attempted suicide, hooked up with a heroine addict in rehab, then fought for the ashes of Hutchence. Split between three urns: one for his mother and father respectively, and one for Paula, Hutchence was morbidly carried around everywhere that Yates went, until she finally sewed his ashes into a Gucci pillow of hers, so that she could still sleep with him. And who knows: maybe some of the prozac, booze, cocaine, and prescription meds are still in the ashes to help comfort her. As for the rest of poor Hutchence, he remains in his mother’s home, and in the ocean blue in the Sydney harbour in Australia.
5. To Infinity And Beyond
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, as well as, eventually, actor James Doohan (Scotty), had the journey of a lifetime, after their deaths, continuing as they did in their work lives: among the stars. Celestis, a company that capitalizes on the grieving families of the deceased, offers the chance for the dead to “experience” space travel. Of course services are given on a sliding scale starting from “missions” to space that then return to Earth ($1,295), to Earth orbitals ($4,995), to Lunar orbitals ($12,500), and finally journeys to deep space ($12,500). Again, these prices are all “starting from”, so the more money you pay, the more fun your loved one’s ashes will likely have in space. Regardless of the ridiculously priced comfort people pay for in terms of grieving, there is certainly no better way for the likes of Roddenberry (his wife also) and Doohan to go than out into deep space, where they spent so much of their lives pretending to be. Though one might wonder what becomes of all of this space junk (especially to those in orbit), since what goes up, must eventually come down, as society has learned one too many times with satellites, and the like.
4. There’s No Place Like Hollywood…
The lovable Terry (Toto), was a Cairn terrier, with a not-so-original name, likely based simply on her breed. That’s right, HER breed. Born at the outset of World War II, and dying shortly after its end in 1945, Terry had performed in nearly a dozen movies with Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy and, of course, the tragic Judy Garland. After her death, Terry was buried behind owner Carl Spitz’s property, where a number of other four-legged stars were laid to rest (Spitz being one of the forerunners for animal training in Hollywood). During the expansion of the Ventura Freeway, the property was purchased, and the burial grounds were destroyed, and one can only hope that the pet cemetery haunts motorists to this day on the massive freeway. Regardless of the fact that Terry’s remains were disturbed, and covered over with concrete, she remains immortalized as her most famous, male persona with an erected monument to Toto in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
3. Give Me To The Highest Bidder
Novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and actor Truman Capote, one of America’s most celebrated (especially for the renowned Breakfast At Tiffany’s), is perhaps one of the first deceased celebrities to be able to claim (if he were alive) to have had his remains sold off. Yup, Capote, after his death, was given to best friend Joanne Carson (Johnny Carson‘s ex-wife). Carson died only last year, and plenty of items went up for auction, including the remains of Truman Capote, packed neatly away in a beautifully carved Japanese box. Not wanting to merely sit on the shelf in death, it seems Capote will be getting his wishes, as the successful bidder for his ashes intends to travel with him, for sure. After his cremation in 1984, Truman was valued at $6000, but just last year was sold at auction for $45,000! A number of other Capote items went on the block as well ranging from clothing, to ice skates, and even prescription bottles that Carson had for some reason, that left the auction for $5000. Always living large, it seems that Truman Capote is still worth quite a bit to people, and will not find some new home in the arms of an anonymous bidder.
2. Tupac Got Smoked… Literally
Tupac‘s remains went just as Tupac himself did: he was smoked. Granted, when Tupac died it was because he was smoked by bullets in a drive-by shooting, but this grandiose hip-hop artist, riding with Death Row Records run by the absolutely, certifiably insane Suge Knight, was hit four times: twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh, as he stood out the sunroof of the car he was in. The crime still remains unsolved, and while Notorious B.I.G. was accused of being involved in the shooting, he denied everything, swore he was in the studio recording that night, and was himself, a year later, shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. Dealing with the thug life, as well as the drug life, it’s no wonder that Tupac Shakur, upon being cremated, was partially divvied up among friends, rolled up with some primo ganja, and smoked. Made ever closer to his friends, Tupac went out in both the thug life and the drug life, smoked both ways in the end.
1. A New Meaning To Disney’s Frozen
Resting in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, it is indeed very sad to learn that the claim that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen is in fact false. How perfect would that have been? That being said, the reason that there are so many claims about Walt being frozen is because of the claims of Bob Nelson, president of the California Cryogenics Society. Before Disney died, rather quickly, of lung cancer, it is claimed that he was in discussion with Nelson about wanting to be preserved until such a time that he might be cured, and then continue to live on (in spite of how shady the workings of cryonics are, even to this date, never mind how they were in 1966). Realistically, Walt Disney Sr. was cremated, and not frozen, no matter how perfect that would have been for Disney today, given all of the hype, even still, over Disney’s Frozen. I suppose we’ll just have to “Let It Go”.