In another of our regular features, we take a look at the lighter side and list 5 of our favourite celebrity headstones. Hopefully, they’ll make you laugh and give you something to think about!
Headstones have existed for centuries, evolving from simple wooden or stone markers near to settlements to elaborate designs that commemorate the rich, poor, famous, infamous, loved and lost. Many cultures have variations on headstones. Jews, for example, place stones rather than flowers as marks of respect on gravestones.
In this blog, we take a short look at 5 famous headstones that hopefully will make you smile.
You might not recognise his name, or even a picture of him, but children all over the world know who Mel Blanc is because of his extraordinary vocal gifts. The Man of 1,000 Voices created the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Taz the Tasmanian Devil and Fred Flintstone’s best friend Barney Rubble, amongst others. He’s buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and his gravestone reads “That’s All Folks!” the catchphrase of the beloved Porky Pig.
Known as Deano to his legion of fans, Martin is arguably one of the coolest men to ever have lived. Starting his career as the straight man to the wisecracking Jerry Lewis, he soon found his way into Frank Sinatra’s infamous Rat Pack, who dominated the Las Vegas strip in the late 1950s until the early 60s. Martin was such a Vegas legend that upon his death the lights of the strip were dimmed in his honour. He’s buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in LA, and his gravestone has a quote from one of his best-loved songs, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes”.
Deano’s partner in crime, Frank Sinatra is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable singing voices in the world. One of the best selling artists of all time, it’s estimated that he’s sold over 150 million records worldwide. Alongside Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Jackson he’s one of the most influential artists in history, winning 11 Grammy’s, an Oscar, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Honour. And it seems from his tombstone that Frankie was expecting the afterlife to be even more exciting! He’s buried under the name Francis Albert Sinatra, along with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a pack of cigarettes and a Zippo lighter. His stone reads, “The Best Is Yet To Come!”
A star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Bette Davis often played unpleasant characters who were difficult to root for, but in real life she was the epitome of the underdog who fought back. Widely regarded as one of the best American female actresses of all-time, she was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, won two and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. By the 60’s however, critics were declaring her “washed up”, but she went on to see success on television and on screen. She was the subject of a tell-all book, written by her daughter that alleged she was an abusive mother, a fact that has been strongly denied by her friends, and indeed her fourth ex-husband. She died of breast cancer in 1989, and is buried with her mother and sister. Her epitaph reads, “She Did It The Hard Way.”
The man who gave us phrases such as “all that glitters isn’t gold,” “it’s all Greek to me” and “a laughing stock” amongst others, as well as writing over 30 plays that are still performed around the world today, is buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon. His grave features a strange message – “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones.” When Shakespeare was buried it was common for bodies to be exhumed for medical research. Many people were buried with iron weights over their body, to make it difficult for grave robbers to steal their bodies. In true Shakespeare fashion though, the bard left a poem over his body with a simple plea to leave his remains alone.
We hope this blog has made you smile, and remember that no matter how rich and famous we are, time passes and we all have to think about the hereafter.