Unorthodox Celebrity Funerals
Celebrity funerals that weren’t entirely in despair:
It’s always a visceral feeling when someone you know dies. Funerals are a way to give closure to the death and to address your feelings. Commemoration also brings additional meaning to the deceased’s life and shows that you value him or her. These celebrity funerals are good examples of how joy can be brought to a dark time.
Rudolph Valentino is considered Hollywood’s first star and sex symbol. His films in the ‘20’s cemented him as a mainstay in show business, but his untimely death at the age of 31 abruptly ended his stardom and potentially prolific career. He had two funerals: one in New York with almost 100,000 riotous fans in attendance fought tooth and nail just to get a glimpse. His second funeral was in Hollywood, again with thousands present. A small plane flew overhead at this funeral, raining down thousands of rose petals.
Andrew ‘Old Hickory’ Jackson was known for his bullheaded resolve and rugged nature. He lived with countless bullets from duels and wars. In one duel, he offered his opponent the first shot. Bad health and no doubt the amount of lead streaming through his body, contributed to his death in 1845. His parrot was in attendance just before the service commenced, and it was said to have been loudly swearing to the point where it had to be removed from the premises.
The Muppet creator had specific instructions for his funeral: that no one wears black and that a jazz band be present. Two funerals were held, both were open to the public, and both had Muppet performances. The Muppets and jazz band played and sang numerous pieces during the ceremony. One reported commented, “The only sadness about the memorial service for Jim Henson was that no one televised it.”
The Red Baron
Manfred Von Richthofen aka “The Red Baron,” was credited with at least 80 dogfight victories and so empirically making him the best fighter pilot in WWI. He was shot through his heart and lung over the skies in Northern France, but was still able to land his plane before dying. The Allies only had great respect for him so much so that they rewarded him with full military honors and decorated his coffin with a wreath that read, “To our Gallant and Worthy Foe.”
Hunter S Thompson
Dubbed “Billy the Kid of American Literature,” creator of “gonzo journalism,” best known for his Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas work, Thompson took his own life in 2005. Johnny Depp coordinated a funeral that would aptly reflect the gritty and iconoclast lifestyle Thompson was so famous for. A 150 foot, 2 and a half ton rocket designed in the shape of a clenched fist launched into the night sky and created a boom of almost sonic proportions.
These celebrity funerals can help remind us that it’s not all glum and morose at the loss of a loved one. Remember to be happy for them and the life they lived, just as they’d want you to be.