1. Marilyn Monroe
Photo by Arthur Dark via CreativeCommons
An undisputed icon of the silver screen, Marilyn was just 36 when she died in 1962. Her wall vault at Westwood Village Memorial Park in L.A. still receives flowers and lipstick kisses from devoted fans today.
2. Elvis Presley
Photo by Mark Gstohl/FlickrCC
The King’s final resting place in the Graceland estate, Memphis, is one of the most visited celebrity graves in the world, with around 600,000 people paying their respects every year since his death in 1977. His parents, Gladys and Vernon, and his grandmother Minnie Mae are also buried there.
3. John F. Kennedy
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JFK lies in peace alongside his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, their stillborn daughter Arabella and son Patrick, who died just 39 hours after being born. At Jackie Kennedy’s request, an eternal flame was designed for the President’s famous grave, which burns continuously in Arlington National Cemetery, where he was buried after his assassination in 1963.
4. Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee
Photo by Joe Mabel/WikimediaCommons
After his sudden death in 1973, martial arts legend Bruce Lee was laid to rest at Lake View Cemetery, Seattle. Pallbearers at his funeral included Steve McQueen, Chuck Norris and George Lazenby. In 1993, his 28-year-old son, Brandon Lee, was laid to rest beside him, after an accident on the set of The Crow that took his life.
5. Herman Melville
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The famous Moby Dick author was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, New York, when he died in 1891. Melville’s famous grave, carved in the shape of a scroll, is next to that of his wife, Elizabeth, who died in childbirth. People regularly leave whale-related tokens on his grave, in reference to Melville’s most famous work.
6. Louis Armstrong
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Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong was one of jazz music’s most charismatic and influential figures. The honorary pallbearers at his funeral in 1971 included some of music’s greatest stars: Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Sinatra to name but a few. He is buried at Flushing Cemetery, New York City.
7. Babe Ruth
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George Herman Ruth Jr., better known as Babe, is a true legend of baseball. His death in 1948 from cancer, aged just 53, shocked the United States, and 77,000 fans came to see him lying in state at the Yankee Stadium. His famous gravestone in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, New York, still receives gifts of baseballs, caps and flags.
8. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
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The 32nd President of the United States is buried with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at their lifelong home in Hyde Park, New York. At the time Roosevelt died in 1945, he had been sitting for a portrait that would never be finished.
9. Susan B. Anthony
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The famous grave of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony has become a place of pilgrimage for voters on Election Day. In tribute to the hard-won rights that she tirelessly fought for, voters place their ‘I Voted’ stickers on and around her grave in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York.
10. Orville and Wilbur Wright
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Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio, is the final resting place of aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. The famous brothers invented, built and flew the first successful aeroplane, ushering in a new era that would revolutionise not just America, but the world.
11. Elizabeth Taylor
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One of Hollywood’s greatest stars, Elizabeth Taylor died aged 79 in 2011. Her family held a private funeral, followed by interment in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California. At her own request, she arrived fashionably late for her own funeral, with the ceremony beginning 15 minutes behind schedule.
12. Martin Luther King Jr.
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Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King is remembered and honoured as an icon for freedom and change. He shares his final resting place at the National Hostorical Park in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, activist Coretta Scott King. His epitaph reads: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.”
13. Benjamin Franklin
Photos by Brian Dunaway and David W. Tucker/WikimediaCommons
Founding Father, pioneering inventor and politician, Benjamin Franklin’s grave at Christ Church Burial Ground, Pennsylvania, is marked by a marble slab with a humble inscription. People throw pennies onto the gravestone for good luck, although recently visitors have been asked not to join in this tradition, as it’s damaging the stone.
14. Abraham Lincoln
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The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and their four children all lie at rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln’s cortege traveled by funeral train, the Lincoln Special, after his assassination in 1865. A bronze sculpture of Lincoln’s head marks the entrance to the tomb and visitors rub its nose for good luck.
Photo by Paul Hermans/WikimediaCommons
As a young woman of the Lemhi Shoshone tribe, Sacajawea led the Lewis and Clark Expedition of the early 1800s across the western United States. Accounts of her later life are conflicting, with some saying she died in 1812, others claiming she lived to a riper age. This burial ground in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, is one of the places claiming to be her final resting place.
16. George Washington
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The first President rests in peace in the Washington Family Tomb at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Outside the tomb are the memorial grave markers of his brother, John Augustine Washington, and his nephew, Bushrod Washington.
17. Thomas Edison
Photo by Bogdan Migulski/WikimediaCommons
Great inventor Thomas Edison is credited with the invention of the motion picture camera, the light bulb and fluoroscopes for X-rays. He died aged 84 in 1931, and was buried with his wife behind their home in West Orange, New Jersey. A test tube in the Henry Ford Museum, Detroit, is said to contain Edison’s last breath, collected by his son, Charles, as Edison died.
18. Emily Dickinson
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Reclusive poet Emily Dickinson kept writing poetry right up until her death in 1886. At her funeral service, a poem by Emily Bronte, No Coward Soul is Mine, was read aloud, and Dickinson’s coffin was carried through a field of buttercups to her grave at West Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts.
19. Frank Sinatra
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One of the greatest music stars of the 20th Century, Sinatra was laid to rest in Desert Memorial Park, Cathedral City, California, in 1998. He was buried with mementos from close family, including Tootsie Rolls, a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, Camel cigarettes and a roll of dimes.
20. John Wayne
Photo by Thomas Schuster/WikimediaCommons
Actor John Wayne delivered some famous lines during his movie career, but his grave marker is engraved with a life-philosophy of his own. Taken from an interview he gave a few years before his death in 1979, it reads: “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.”