President John F. Kennedy
The assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, became one of the most important moments in the twentieth century. Kennedy rests near his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and his brothers Robert and Ted Kennedy, in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
His status as a President gave his family a lot of control over how they wanted his final resting place to appear, but Kennedy’s stone is relatively simple. It’s a marking stone next to his wife’s, with an eternal flame above and between them. While conspiracy theories abound, still, about his death, his gravesite is one of simplicity and class.
Beloved Merv Griffin
The man behind “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” media mogul and television host, Mervyn Edward Griffin Jr., lived quite a life. Before becoming the owner of two major television production companies, Griffin hosted “The Merv Griffin Show.”
The television host often joked that he wanted “I will not be right back after this message” written on his gravestone, and that’s exactly what he got. Though he passed in 2007, anyone can see Griffin on reruns of his beloved talk show.
“She Did it the Hard Way”
Bette Davis was a trailblazing actress known for her range of characters across a variety of genres. She is considered one of the most important leading ladies Hollywood has ever seen and holds several firsts in the entertainment industry.
She was the first person to earn ten Academy Award nominations and became the first female chairman of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, among many other things. Davis is living proof that hard work pays off.
A Colorful Gave
One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol was a prominent figure in the New York art scene from the late 1950s until his passing in 1987. Warhol was known for hosting various personalities in his art-house, from struggling artists to major Hollywood celebrities.
He would often declare them famous, increasing the use of the expression “15 minutes of fame.” When he passed, he was buried next to his parents in Pennsylvania. Unlike the artist and his work, the grave is simple but was decorated with many of Warhol’s famous pop-art items.
You know him from the smash stage musical, but have you ever visited his grave? It sits in the Trinity Churchyard of Lower Manhattan, New York City – the only active cemetery in Manhattan, which is also the final resting place of numerous other statesmen and veterans. America’s first treasury secretary died in a pistol duel with then-Vice President Aaron Burr.
Hamilton is also enshrined on the front of the ten-dollar bill, which is one of the more rare bills when you think about it. If he’s the one who came up with the monetary system we use now, you think he’d either be on a more common bill like the one or a bigger bill like the hundred.
Gravestones, even those for celebrities, don’t garner much controversy by poet and author, Sylvia Plath was a lightning rod for the stuff even after her passing. Buried in St. Thomas Churchyard in Heptonstall, England, the gravestone included Plath’s married surname “Hughes” at the request of her husband and fellow poet, Ted Hughes.
Some blamed Hughes for the tragedy, and the word was repeatedly chiseled off by visitors and mourners. Eventually, the managers had to cast the name in bronze to deter vandalism. If you’re in the area and want to respect this poet, just bring flowers and leave the stonework to the experts.
The Irish literature writer was surprisingly buried in Zurich. James Joyce left Ireland in 1902 because of political turmoil and in 1941 died after enduring ulcer surgery in Switzerland. He was quickly buried in the Fluntern Cemetery.
Joyce’s wife, Nora, tried to move her husband’s body to Ireland after being buried, but the Irish government denied her request. Joyce’s remains reside in a grave beside his wife and son, watched over by a small statue of the poet.
Louis Armstong, nicknamed “Satch,” “Satchmo,” and “Pops,” was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned from the 1920s to the late 1960s, during which Armstrong was considered a “crossover” entertainer, meaning his music united all people in a racially divided United States.
Though his gravestone is simple, engraved with one of these nicknames, his funeral was anything, but more than 25,000 people attended.
“Jack Lemmon, in”
Jack Lemmon left this world with a long list of accolades. Remembered for his roles in “Some Like it Hot,” “The Odd Couple,” and “The Apartment,” the actor had iconic wit and the most on-point comedic timing. Before arriving in Hollywood, the actor had an exceptional life; he had a Harvard degree and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Being the man that he was, Lemmon wanted to make one last mark before moving on. The comedic actor had his tribute inscribed, “Jack Lemmon in,” and then nothing but the ground. Lemmon always knew how to get the last laugh.
A Memorable Gravestone
Doc Holliday was born to a wealthy family in Griffin, Georgia, in 1851. John Henry Holliday initially pursued dentistry, which is what earned him the nickname, “Doc.” He left Georgia for the west after being diagnosed with tuberculosis, he thought that the warm climate would help him ease his symptoms, and instead, he found something much bigger.
He became a gambler, which in those times was a respectable profession. Sadly, Doc lost his fight with tuberculosis at age 36. Nobody knows exactly where he was buried, but his body is believed to be found somewhere in the Linwood Cemetry.
Back in the day, there was this band called “The Beatles,” and one of the members was a guy named John Lennon. We kid: He was one of the most important songwriters and musicians of all time thanks to his part in the band, and after he was murdered in 1980, his ashes were scattered across an area of Central Park now known as Strawberry Fields, after one of his songs.
Buskers play Beatles songs (no matter how much people ask them to stop), and people leave flowers at a memorial both here and where Lennon lived, the Dakota apartments.
A Suitable Resting Place
Growing up in South Africa guaranteed a tough upbringing for Joe Mafela, but he had already begun acting by the age of 22. With the arrival of South African television in 1986, Mafela quickly became a silver screen star. After a long and prosperous career, Mafela was killed in a car accident in 2017.
His exorbitant gravestone reflected his contributions to television and is rumored to have cost more than $20 thousand. The tombstone choice was controversial; some fans criticized the lavish resting place, while others defended it.
Adorned in Lipstick
Marilyn Monroe is perhaps one of the most famous names to come out of Hollywood. The actress was an idol of the 1950s and 60s. Despite her mental health struggles, the actress was so frustrated at being underpaid by film studio executives that she built her own studio in 1954, helping her take control of her career.
This was when Monroe starred in some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and memorable films, like “Some Like It Hot” and “The Misfits.” The iconic blonde’s gravestone has been kissed by countless fans and is now adorned in lipstick of eternal admiration.
Jackie Gleason’s brash visual and verbal comedy and on-stage presence on Broadway helped him catch his big break for the TV show “The Life of Riley” in 1949. He was a fan favorite, and he quickly caught the attention of major studios as well. After three years on “Life of Riley,” Gleason was given the show for which he is most remembered, “The Jackie Gleason Show.”
One of his most popular musical numbers on Broadway was “And Away We Go,” which became a trademark of his. “And away we go” became so linked to the comedian that it was inscribed on the stairs leading up to his gravestone.
Just as famous for his love of the outdoors as he is for his sparse prose style, Hemingway was a legendary figure in the literary world as soon as he began. Just like the man’s writing, it says only what it needs to and then moves on, bearing his full name and the span of his life.
It’s proper that this consummate outdoorsman is buried in Idaho’s Rocky Mountains alongside his wife, son, and granddaughter. There are no other decorations required for this simple man, and the stone is often covered by brush. People will sometimes bring bottles of alcohol, Hemingway’s true love, as gifts.
A Commemorative Raven
Edgar Allen Poe’s death was as complex as his life. He was originally buried in an unmarked grave in Baltimore in 1849. Fearing the community would forget where he was buried, a gravestone was ordered before it could reach the cemetery; however, it was destroyed in a freak train wreck.
So contributions were made, and a beautiful monument was designed for the late poet. The monument was a disaster; it mislabeled Poe’s birthday and was too big for the spot it was meant to be in. Finally, in 1875 the people gave up putting a gravestone and just moved the body to a different cemetery with a separate tombstone already waiting. Reportedly, the gravestone with the raven on it was placed to commemorate his original resting place…but is placed in an incorrect spot.
Jim Morrison was known for his wild and out-of-this-world performances. His fans fell in love with his unpredictable personality so much that the rock star became the human embodiment of the counterculture movement of the time. Unfortunately, Morrison passed away in Paris at age 27.
The cause of his death remains a mystery, and fans are left to contemplate the reason for his too-soon departure. Morrison was buried in Paris, and his gravestone has become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Fans leave everything from flowers to cigarettes, commemorating their beloved idol.
Few men did more to create adventure, literature, and joy in the eighteen hundreds than Mark Twain. Laid to rest among U.S. veterans and congressmen in Woodlawn Cemetery – which got its start as a Confederate prison camp – Twain’s headstone and the adjacent monument honor this witty and exciting writer and humorist.
Reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to your children is still a way to give them good lessons about respect, help them learn about adventure, and get them laughing. His headstone even features his birth name, Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Visitors often leave pennies on the headstone, as well as cigars – something Twain was known to enjoy during life.
The American mobster, criminal, and businessman, Al Capone, served time in prison for his crimes and was released in 1940 in poor health. He went through treatment at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore after other hospitals refused to accept him because of his reputation. His health continued to decline, and after examination, doctors determined that Capone had the mentality of a 12-year-old.
Capone contracted pneumonia and died from cardiac arrest shortly after. He was originally buried in Chicago but was eventually moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery, located in Hillside, Illinois, along with his father and his brother.
Although he’s been gone for nearly 40 years, martial-arts guru Bruce Lee remains the genre’s most prominent symbol. His grave draws fans from all over the world. Born in San Fransisco, the kung-fu teacher was known for his strength and stature and broke box-office records with his films.
He was on his way to becoming an international star when he unexpectedly died at age 32. Though the official cause of his death was an allergic reaction to aspirin, fans insist that he died due to an evil curse.
Founding Father. Pioneering inventor. Politician. Writer, statesman, diplomat, and more. Benjamin Franklin did it all. If you need a hero to look up to help you get your life on track, start reading about how this austere dude lived his life, and you’ll have a chance. Franklin is buried at Christ Church Burial Ground in Pennsylvania, under a piece of marble with a humble inscription.
One of Franklin’s memorable statements was “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and visitors will often spend a penny to honor this great man. Management has asked visitors to stop the tradition, as it can damage the stone.
A Loving Tribute
Peter Falk had so much experience in the entertainment industry that he was a gift that kept on giving. Director Steven Spielberg once said of the actor, “I learned more about acting from him at that early stage of my career than I had from anyone else.”
Falk a successful actor, but he was also fortunate in love. In 1977, he married actress, Shera Danese. After he passed, Falk left his wife a $5 million estate and, more importantly, this touching tribute on his stone.
Many details about Sacagawea are uncertain, from her death date and year to where she’s actually buried, but it’s well-known that she helped lead Lewis and Clark across the untamed western wilderness in order to reach the Pacific Ocean. There is a marker in the Sacajawea Cemetery in Fort Washakie, in Wyoming’s Wind River reservation, which bears her name and the details of her life.
Whether or not she’s actually buried there, the headstone is there alongside those of her family, and if you’re a fan of western history or want to honor someone who helped forge this nation into what it is today, it’s worth a visit.
A Curse Engraved
William Shakespeare’s last wish was that nobody would move his bones since grave robbing was a common crime of the era. After the world-famous playwright died, his tombstone issued a warning. In a nutshell, anybody who touches Shakespeare’s bones will be cursed.
Even when his grave underwent repairs in 2008, workers made sure not to move anything, ensuring they didn’t disturb one of history’s most important authors.
After he died in 1979, the grave of American film icon John Wayne sat untouched for nearly 20 years. According to his son, the actor initially requested that his gravestone read “Feo, Fuerte y Formal,” which translates “Ugly, Strong and Dignified.”
Despite the late actor’s request, his legacy later engraved the stone with a memorable quote Wayne gave in a 1971 interview. “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives, and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
“We Live to Love You More…”
Jayne Mansfield is remembered as one of Golden Age Hollywood’s most iconic beauties. The actress was famous for films like “The Girl Can’t Help It” and “Too Hot To Handle.” She is also remembered for her publicity stunts and turbulent personal life. Sadly, at the young age of 34, Mansfield lost her life in a car accident. Though she was buried in Pennsylvania, her fans in California had a different idea.
They placed a cenotaph in Hollywood Forever Ceremony, deliberately inscribing her birth year incorrectly. They listed it as 1938 rather than 1933, a tribute to the actress known for lying about her age.
Johnny Cash had a tough life until he found love and serenity through his wife and fellow country star, June Carter. Cash’s bluesy genre of music inspired many throughout the world, and though he’s been gone for nearly 20 years, his name is one that is still cherished today.
Cash passed away at age 71 in 2003; his death transpired just four months after Carter’s death, which led fans to believe that his death was partly due to a broken heart. The country couple was buried next to each other in Hendersonville, Tennesse.
When you’re the one and only Elvis Presley, you are praised with two gravesites after your death. The King of Rock and Roll died of a prescription drug overdose in 1977 and was initially buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee.
Due to vandalism, Elvis and his mother were moved to their current memorial in Graceland. To visit the legend’s grave, you must purchase tickets to tour Graceland itself. Fans from across the globe make their way to Graceland to pay tribute to Presley to this day.
Seeing as how Austen is the author of enduring pieces of work like “Pride and Prejudice,” many visitors who travel to see her gravestone in Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England, are surprised to find that it bears no mention of her writing. Her identity as the writer of her works was kept a secret, and the books were published having been written by “A Lady.”
More than fifty years after her death, in 1870, her nephew paid for a bronze plaque to be placed in the cathedral to acknowledge her body of work. Further investigation made it clear that, yes, Austen was the author.
Charlie Chaplin took the industry by storm in the silent film era, enduring a career that lasted decades. By the 1970s, Chaplin’s health was declining, having suffered several strokes during those years. Towards the end of his life, he got to a point where the entertainer needed someone to care for him 24/7, and on Christmas morning, 1977, he passed away after suffering a final stroke in his sleep.
His last resting place is in the Corsier sur Vevey, located in Switzerland. A few months after his burial, he was dug up and stolen by a pair of criminals. He was eventually recovered and reburied in the same cemetery, only this time he was surrounded by reinforced concrete.
The King of Cool
Dean Martin was a small-town boy who made it to the top of the Hollywood heap and passed at age 78 in his Beverly Hills home overlooking Los Angeles. In 1964, Martin released his classic, “Everybody Loves Somebody.”
Acknowledging the fact that Martin had started fading at that point, industry insiders believed that he would never be able to compete against modern musicians. Still, the song reached number one on Billboard. It even knocked The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night” down to number two. This triumphant moment will forever be remembered as it is engraved on his gravestone.
Laurel & Hardy
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, the comedic duo better known simply as Laurel and Hardy, were the talk of the town during the Classical Hollywood Era of the late 1920s to the early 1940s. Before they started working together, they were already well-known comedians.
Together they starred in more than 107 films and continue to be an inspiration to countless following comedians. They may now have been buried together, but their fans made sure to unite them with what was written on their tombstones.
Perhaps the most famous magician of all time, Harry Houdini, and his amazing illusions and tricks changed magic as we know it today. He performed for audiences all around the world during the late 1800s and early 1900s. At age 52, his life came to an end from inflammation of the abdominal wall and ruptured appendix, known as peritonitis.
He was buried at the Machpelah Cemetery in Glendale, Queens, New York. What makes Houdini’s resting place so unique is that it was engraved by members of the Society of American Magicians.
In Paris, there is a famous graveyard that features many stones and markings of both the famous and the common, but all of them are beautiful, thanks to Père Lachaise. One of the most famous names that are part of this yard is none other than Frederic Chopin, the legendary Polish musician, and composer.
His gravestone is watched over by a weeping, mossy stone sculpture of Euterpe, the Greek muse of music, holding a broken instrument. The stone also features a profile of Chopin and is often bedecked with flowers from fans even to this day. There’s nothing like some sad Chopin for visiting a graveyard.
If there was one thing Frank Sinatra did through and through, it was making sure he did things his way. Selling more than 150 million records worldwide, Sinatra is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He was a true triple threat; he could sing, dance, and act, and to top it all off, he was pretty darn handsome.
In 1998, the artist passed away at age 82 and was buried in a cemetery near Palm Springs. It is said that the late singer was buried with a pack of Camel cigarettes and a bottle of Jack Daniels. He was right, “The Best Is Yet To Come.”
Anna Nicole Smith
Anna Nicole Smith never did anything small. Larger than life in many ways, this model and reality TV star was in the tabloids constantly up until the day of her death and beyond, following her shocking death (most likely) due to prescription drugs just five months after the birth of her daughter Dannielynn.
She rests in Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Nassau, Bahamas. For the sunny and energetic celeb who always brought her vivid personality wherever she went, wanted or not, being buried in a perpetually sunny place like the Bahamas is a good fit. Visitors cover the grave in flowers when they stop by.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Few civil rights leaders are more treasured and beloved than Martin Luther King Jr. He made numerous memorable speeches, including the one that includes “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty I am free at last.” His grave is in National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and fellow activist Coretta Scott King.
The shared headstone has a Bible verse about the greatness of love, but it also includes that famous King quote you just read. The importance of King can’t be overstated – how many other people on this list have their own holiday?
Billy Mays and His Blue Shirt
Billy Mays made a name for himself with his appearances on the Home Shopping Network and later with his company, Mays Promotions, Inc. His voice, beard, and distinguishing attire could often be seen and heard in advertisements for OxiClean, Fix-It, and Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, to name a few.
In 2009, the beloved salesman died in his home from heart failure. Paying their last respects to the Mays, the pallbearers at his funeral wore Mays’ blue shirts and khaki pants.
Despite being one of Britain’s most famous and treasured poets, this writer not only doesn’t have a grave in the United Kingdom, but the stone also doesn’t even bear his name. Keats relocated to Rome, hoping that the milder climate would improve his failing health. It didn’t, and he passed at the young age of twenty-five, also believing the critics that his work wasn’t worth the time he had given it.
For this reason, he insisted that his tombstone not have his name on it and instead read: “Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water” – a phrase that here means “nothing” or “won’t come true.”
Situated near fellow scientist Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey is famous English naturalist, scientist, and philosopher Charles Darwin. His most famous contribution to the scientific community is his book “On the Origin of Species,” which transformed the thought of how species develop and lead directly to the theory of evolution as the dominant theory on how life developed on our planet Earth.
The simple marble gravestone has the scientist’s name, his birth date, and his death date. The scientific community owes much to him, and a classy marble stone that tells us where his final resting place is the perfect way to remember him.
As poets do, Robert Frost left behind a piece of his soul when he died in 1963. His award-winning poetic works carry his name to this day; the most notable of his collections include “North of Boston” and “A Boy’s Will.”
The famous line “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world” appears in his poem, “A Lesson For Today,” which he wrote in 1941. The poem’s final words were requested by Frost to be engraved onto his tombstone.
“Baby Girl,” Aaliyah
Aaliyah’s death in 2001 was one no one could have foreseen. The R&B singer was flying back from the Bahamas with members of her record company after filming a music video for one of her songs. Shortly after the plane took off, it crashed and exploded, killing all eight passengers on board.
The singer was only 22 years old when she passed, cutting what was destined to be an outstanding career short. She left behind a simplistic, thoughtful tomb engraving, one which fans still pay tribute to today.
Sir Isaac Newton
When it comes to Newton, we don’t really know where to start. His discoveries on the law of motion and gravitation published in “Mathematical Principles of Natual Philosophy” may be his most impressive accomplishments.
Newton died in 1727 at age 84 and was given the honorary distinction of being buried at Westminster Abbey. The late scientist’s statue depicts him realizing underneath a globe, perhaps finally taking a break after all his progression.
Susan B. Anthony
For women voters, the gravesite of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony has become a place of pilgrimage, especially on Election Day. Anthony fought to give women the chance to make their voices known and join the men in the voting booth.
One of the most common things to leave on or near her grave in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York, is “I Voted” stickers. The site also has plenty of Anthony’s family nearby, but they are always overshadowed by the woman who paved the path for women everywhere.
President Abraham Lincoln
As the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln grew from the humblest of homes, a small log cabin, and not only became President but is remembered as one of the greatest presidents to ever live. He is buried next to his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and their four children in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.
The tomb includes an obelisk, steps, and statues, as befitting one of the greatest men in the history of the United States. A bronze sculpture of Lincoln’s head marks the entrance to the tomb – visitors rub its nose for good luck.
“I May Be Gone, But…”
John Belushi rose to fame during his four-year run on “Saturday Night Live.” He was famous for his impressions, though producer Lorne Michaels wasn’t a big fan of him initially. Throughout his career, Belushi struggled with substance abuse, which would ultimately claim his life.
He was a fan favorite, and even though he’s been gone for quite a while, it seems like they wish they had the chance to share a drink with the famous comedian. His gravestone reads, “I may be gone, but Rock and Roll lives on,” and is often surrounded by empty bottles.
Jimi Hendrix’s Shrine
When he was a teenager, Jimi Hendrix started playing guitar. At age 27, he was the world’s highest-paid performer and the headliner at the Woodstock Music Festival. A year later, Hendrix died from substance abuse and went down in history as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
In 2002, Hendrix’s remains were secretly moved from Renton, Washington, to this legendary artist’s shrine.
Bob Marley is hands down the most famous reggae artist of all time. He was known for his unique style and voice and the fact that he was always having a good time. Marley passed away at the age of 36, after a four-year battle with melanoma that eventually spread to his brain.
After his passing, Bob was buried in Jamaica, where the government made his birthday (February 6th) a national holiday. On this day each year, fans from around the world celebrate the holiday with a music festival that takes place near the mausoleum where his body was buried.
Ready to Meet His Maker
Before his burial, Churchill’s coffin was taken up the river Thames, where the dockyard operators had arranged that the cranes dip in salute before reaching Waterloo station.
Although Waterloo was out of the way, Churchill had asked that his coffin passes through there if the President of France outlived him as a jab towards his former ally. Before his death, Churchill is described as saying, “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”
Decorated with Kisses
There is a deep irony when it comes to the playwright and author Oscar Wilde’s tombstone. The writer challenged the moral awareness of the time and was later convicted for charges relating to homosexuality, which was illegal in the United Kingdom.
His incarceration for following his heart was acknowledged on his headstone, which reads, “A kiss may ruin a human life.” This is where the irony comes in. Supporters of the author have since decorated his grave with kisses, causing the stone to decay. As a result, a barrier was put up, and a fine of 9,000 euros is given to anyone caught kissing the stone.
Walt Disney was the first of his kind; he helped produce some of the most recognizable cartoon characters in history. Disney was a pioneer in the animation industry, opened the most famous theme park globally, and still holds the record for most Academy Awards won by a single person.
In 1966, the legend passed away due to complications arising from lung cancer. Despite his loving and charismatic persona, he was a very private man. His funeral was open to just family and friends.
While there’s no quote from Dickinson on her minimalist headstone, it still states that she was “Called back” and then states the date of her death. Situated in Amherst West Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts, there isn’t much else to see for this early-American literary great.
A black iron fence surrounds her family’s plot, and fans still leave bundles of flowers and honor a woman who forged a path for female poets and authors long before she could even vote. Her often spiritual work is still a boon to those suffering, and the beauty of her words and phrases can still be found if you have the chance to read them today.
While Elizabeth Taylor is buried among fellow greats like Walt Disney, Michael Jackson, and Nat King Cole, this member of Hollywood’s Golden Age has her own opulence to greet visitors. This famous gravesite features Taylor buried beneath an open-armed angel, with the simple words “In Memoria” etched above the angel in Gothic script.
While the angel is certainly eye-catching – much like Taylor herself – the gravesite as a whole is a bit simpler than you might imagine. While Taylor wasn’t simple, she was always classy, and her final resting place evinces that. Beauty, but without being overbearing. Classy and calm.
Except for his former partner Mary Austin, no one knows where Freddie Mercury’s ashes are really buried. Yet, there is still a place for fans to pay their respects in Montreux, Switzerland, overlooking Lake Geneva. It’s where the singer and songwriter spent many of his final days before passing.
The impressive statue is of Mercury hitting one of his memorable poses, jacket flaring out behind him and fist thrust high. The outer walls of his Garden Lodge mansion in London is also a popular place for fans to visit, and they’ve become a public shrine full of graffiti messages to the departed rocker.
Charles Lindbergh took to the skies and paved the way for the rest of us to join him. As the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, he saw more of our world than people might have thought possible at the time.
His scenic gravesite can be found on the island of Maui in Hawaii behind the Palapala Ho’omau Church, the first place on the island to see the sunrise each morning. The stone itself bears the inscription: “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea…”
Iconic Outlaw and Devoted Husband
Perhaps one of the most infamous outlaws, Jesse James, was known for robbing stagecoaches, banks, and trains. By the time of his death in 1882, he was already a celebrity in the Wild West. Fellow outlaw Robert Ford killed James, and after his death, crowds gathered in the small house in St. Joseph, Missouri, for the last look at James’ body.
His memorable gravestone was written by his mother and reads, “Murdered Apr. 3, 1882, By a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is Not Worthy to Appear Here.”
When you’re as big as Michal Jackson, you don’t need your name or anything witty written on your tombstone. After the King of Pop’s sudden death in 2009, his remains sit unmarked at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in California.
Though there’s nothing that suggests that this is Jackson’s grave, it is filled with flowers and fans’ gifts. Rather unsurprisingly, the area is blocked off from visitors and protected by security at all times.
Country legend Buck Owens was probably one of the most celebrated musicians of the genre in the 20th century. Owens’ trademark riffs and unique voice turned him into a country legend.
Of course, being the royalty that he was, his mausoleum looks like it was built for a king. Owens passed in 2006 after suffering a heart attack and was buried in Bakersfield, California.
By the age of twenty-four, James Dean was an iconic Hollywood actor and a young adult idol that was becoming a household name. In 1955, he went to his death in a car accident, and he’s now buried in Fairmount, Indiana, in Park Cemetery. While Hollywood had claimed him, his hometown was still in Indiana.
He’s buried beneath a simple headstone that has his name and his birth and death dates. The headstone is also covered with lipstick kiss-marks from adoring fans. We kind of hope they wash it frequently…but we also kind of hope they don’t. The cemetery holds a festival every year in his honor.
Known as Babe, George Herman Ruth Jr. is one of baseball’s most legendary players. His death at the age of fifty-three from cancer came as a big shock to baseball fans in 1948. While he was lying in state at Yankee Stadium, more than seventy-seven thousand people came to see him.
He’s buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York, and his gravestone attracts crowds of Yankee and baseball fans. Visitors will often leave gifts of baseballs, caps, and flags. The gravestone has a large relief of Christ and a child, and other than the standard details, it doesn’t boast.
People are quite divided on Marx. Some believe him to be a man of the people that helped save millions from their overlords; others consider him the founder of an ideology that resulted in the deaths of many, many, many more millions of people. Regardless of your opinion, there’s no denying his gravestone is a grand affair.
The German philosopher had an enormous impact on modern history, and though he died statelessly, he was laid to rest in England’s East Highgate cemetery. The site has a large tombstone that is topped with his famously stern and hirsute countenance. If you visit, just know that he’s judging you.
“That’s All Folks”
Mel Blanc is the talent behind the voices for some of the most beloved cartoons of all time. His talent for cartoon voice-overs earned him the moniker “The Man of a Thousand Voices.” The actor made such an impression on American culture that he and his character Bugs Bunny were both given stars on Hollywood Boulevard.
One of Blanc’s most famous lines, and the one that was etched onto his headstone, was delivered by quite a few of Blanc’s characters, including Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and Porky Pig: “That’s all folks!” A send-off was usually followed by a smile and a wink.
Ed Wynn was a trailblazer in the field of entertainment radio. He insisted on performing his radio skits in front of a live studio audience and eventually transitioned into television. Wynn provided his talents to many Disney films; he portrayed Uncle Albert in “Mary Poppins” and contributed the voice for the Mad Hatter in “Alice and Wonderland.”
At age 79, Wynn died from throat cancer. His tombstone was simple, a bronze marker that reads “Dear God: Thanks, Ed Wynn…” It was said that his death was the only time he ever managed to make anyone sad.
Orville and Wilbur Wright
Tons and tons of aviation pioneers came from Ohio, for some reason, and that includes men who would eventually stand on the moon. The Ohioans that got things rolling were Orville and Wilbur Wright, who were the first men to fly in a self-propelled airplane.
They designed, invented, built, and flew it together in North Carolina in 1903. They ushered in a new era of transportation that made travel much easier, faster, and cheaper. They share a single gravestone in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio, where pilots, aviation fans, and more visit regularly.
Even if you haven’t been able to get through the famously-intricate prose, you certainly know about Herman Melville’s magnum Opus “Moby Dick.” This whaling author was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York after he died in 1891. His famous grave is in the shape of a scroll and is situated next to his wife Elizabeth, who died in childbirth.
People who visit the gravesite often leave whale and whaling tokens, a reference to a novel that is still being taught in high schools and colleges even today. Want to tackle this tome? Just try one chapter a night.
John Wilkes Booth
He was a famous stage actor, but one fateful day tied him to a president. On April 14th, 1865, John Wilkes Booth snuck into the private box of President Abraham Lincoln and shot him. Lincoln died soon after, and Booth was tried and found guilty and shot dead on April twenty-sixth of the same year.
He rests in his family’s plot in Baltimore’s Greenmount Cemetery. Visitors to the gravesite will often leave a little monetary gift atop his headstone – pennies, which feature the austere head of the man he murdered. Take that, Booth.
President George Washington
The first President of the United States is one of those historical figures that almost everyone – both in and outside the United States – remembers. He defeated the English to help create America and became the nation’s first president, setting the stage for democracy and representative republics. The first president rests in the Washington Family Tomb at Mount Vernon, Virginia, where he lived after becoming president.
Outside of the tomb are grave markers for his brother, John Augustine Washington, and his nephew, Bushrod Washington. The structure of the tomb is simple brick, which looks perfect for the first president.
Rodney Dangerfield is most remembered for his roles in “Caddyshack” and “Easy Money.” As a performer, he reached to the irony of his surroundings with a deadpan delivery and a straight face.
Aside from film, Dangerfield’s late-night television monologues were filled with lines that had audiences laughing. An example of one such line is, “My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Even in death, Dangerfield couldn’t help but crack one final joke!
Princess Diana’s death shook the world, affecting millions around the world. She was killed in a car accident in Paris, which is speculated to have been caused by paparazzi. The beloved Princess of Wales was only 36 at the time of her accident.
Her body now rests on the Spencer family’s estate in North Hampshire, England. Her memorial lies on an island in the middle of the lake, Round Oval. You can see an urn and shrine dedicated to the princess, but there is no tombstone or grave to be seen.
“Let ‘er Rip”
Actor Leslie Nielsen made his acting debut in 1950, appearing in 46 live television programs a year. Nielsen’s forte was depicting characters oblivious to and complicit in their ridiculous surroundings.
By the end of his career, he had acted in over 100 films and 150 television programs. In an interview, the comedic actor promised that his memorial would reference his love of flatulence and whoopee cushions. As we can see, Nielsen fulfilled that promise.
“It’s All About Love”
James Ambrose Johnson Jr., or better known by his stage name, Rick James, released his most famous album in 1981. Unfortunately, the singer had to pause his career after various health problems forcing him into early retirement. Only a few years later, in 2004, the singer sadly died from heart failure.
The original super freak wanted the world to know that he would continue partying in the afterlife and had himself etched into his gravestone, looking as funky as ever.
Few people were so pioneering in the world of punk music as Johnny Ramone, who formed a band you may be familiar with if you’re into the genre. An eight-foot statue of the guitarist, frozen forever in a sick solo, sits atop his headstone in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, which is also the final resting place of names like Anton Yelchin, Mickey Rooney, and Mel Blanc.
The cemetery holds an annual memorial tribute to Ramone to benefit cancer research. Ramone himself died after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. He died doing what he loved – recording music and hating socialism.
Samuel Burl Kinison
Comedian Sam Kinison started his career perhaps a little unexpectedly; he was a Pentecostal preacher. His “fire and brimstone” style of preaching went on to influence his comedy routine. His stand-up was largely influenced by his former job, and he went all out, poking jabs at the Bible and Christianity.
In 1992, Kinison was involved in an automobile accident that took his life. Other comedic colleagues paid homage to their late friend in subsequent performances.
Humble and Humorous
Billy Wilder got his start in the late 1920s; he escaped Berlin for Paris before moving out west to Hollywood. Wilder became a successful writer and director, directing major motion pictures like “Some Like It Hot” and “The Apartment.”
His comedy writing was so admired that he was awarded both an Oscar and a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work. His last joke, perhaps one of his best, ensured that he’d be recognized in death just as he was when he was alive – full of humor.
“O.K… I Gotta Go Now.”
The Ramone’s bassist and occasional lead singer Dee Dee Ramone was most well-known as one of its founding members. The musician had a hard time singing and playing bass simultaneously; he is credited for writing some of the most popular punk rock band’s songs.
Sadly, Dee Dee Ramone died before his time due to developments related to substance abuse. Ramone was beloved by fans, and his gravestone is often covered with kisses. His engraving was short and sweet and read, “O.K…I gotta go now.”
In Honor of His Work
One of the most influential French authors, poets, and playwrights, was Jules Verne. Her works held major importance in the surrealism and avant-garde literary genres. The author was known for carefully researching his subjects before writing about them, so much so he became “Father of Science Fiction.”
Verne is buried in the Cimetiere de la Madeleine in Amiens, France. His gravestone depicts the writer bursting out of his grave. Perhaps an ode to one of his most memorable works, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
Credited with inventing oodles and oodles – and also shocking an elephant to death, that was fun – Thomas Edison is buried with his wife behind their home in West Orange, New Jersey. He lasted all the way until age eighty-four, passing in 1931, living to see his inventions become world-changing developments.
That’s not the only place to see Edison’s final resting place, in a way. A test tube in the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit is said to contain Edison’s last breath, collected by his son, Charles, as Edison breathed his last.
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
When the thirty-second President of the United States died, he was sitting for a portrait that would never be finished. This president, as well as his wife Eleanor, are buried at their lifelong home in Hyde Park, New York. A simple marble headstone has names, birth dates, and death dates set in a finely-manicured lawn.
These Roosevelts helped get America through one of the darkest times in the last hundred years and died mere months before the end of one of the world’s greatest conflicts. Suffering from polio for most of his life, it’s thought that Eleanor guided him at the end of his life in matters of state.
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist who wrote the monumental novel “À la recherche du temps perdu,” published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927.
He is considered by critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.
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