Six famous grave sides

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Unlike most local graveyards - places of calm reflection and remembrance – some cemeteries attract thousands of visitors every year. And the people paying their respects are not the usual friends or family; the graves of departed celebrities are becoming magnets for curious tourists and adoring fans alike

Celebrity Cemetery

The Pére-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, established in 1804 by Napoléon Bonaparte, houses the remains of dozens of celebrated artists, writers and musicians.

Oscar Wilde

Author Oscar Wilde was initially interred in Bagneaux Cemetery outside Paris, but moved to Pére-Lachaise in 1909. Now, more than one hundred years’ after his death, fans of his plays and poetry visit the grave of the famous Victorian wit in staggering numbers. Until recently, the tomb was easy to spot from the lipstick marks left by visiting admirers, but in 2011, it was cleaned and a glass barrier installed to prevent further ‘kisses’ being left.

Jim Morrison

Also buried in the Pére-Lachaise  cemetery in Paris is Doors’ front man and original Rock n’ Roll wild child Jim Morrison. The singer died in Paris in 1971, aged 27, and his grave is permanently covered with flowers and photos left by adoring fans. A suggestion to move the musician’s remains to the Florida town where he was born, was met with a less than positive response. “This is just a bunch of silliness,” said the manager of Morrison’s estate, and the thousands of fans that visit his Paris grave every year would no doubt agree.

Crypt 24

"DiMaggio, who sent red roses to Monroe’s crypt three times a week for 20 years, blamed the entertainment industry for Monroe’s demise."

Marilyn Monroe

To avoid the attention of a celebrity funeral, Marilyn Monroe’s former husband, baseball player Joe DiMaggio, chose to have her buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery in Los Angeles. Westwood is now the final resting place for a Who's Who of Hollywood names, but at the time of her burial in 1962, it was a quiet, out-of-the way cemetery.

DiMaggio, who sent red roses to Monroe’s crypt three times a week for 20 years, blamed the entertainment industry for Monroe’s demise. He wanted a simple private service for the tragic actress and the remains of one of the brightest stars Hollywood ever knew were laid to rest in the prosaically named ‘Crypt 24’ in Westwood.

Ayrton Senna

Even more low-key, the final resting place of Brazil's best-known racing driver, Ayrton Senna, is marked by a simple brass plaque on a circular lawn in Sao Paulo's Morumbi Cemetery. The only real sign that it is the burial place of someone special is the steady stream of visitors. Senna is fondly remembered as national hero, a shining light during a difficult time in Brazil’s history. The three-times F1 champion was killed in a racing accident aged just 34 and his state funeral brought the country to a halt, with a million people lining the route to pay their respects.

Long-distance Pilgrimage

"The star of ‘Enter the Dragon’ and ‘Fist of Fury’ died suddenly, aged just 32, killed by an allergic reaction to aspirin."

Bruce Lee

The distance record for fans wishing to pay their respects to their departed hero has to go to three pilgrims from Mongolia, said to have trekked almost 4,000 miles to visit the grave of Martial-arts legend Bruce Lee in Seattle's Lakeview Cemetery. On the verge of international stardom when he died, Lee’s grave has become a place of pilgrimage for Kung Fu fans from all over the world.

The star of ‘Enter the Dragon’ and ‘Fist of Fury’ died suddenly, aged just 32, killed by an allergic reaction to aspirin. Unwilling to accept this pedestrian reason for the Kung Fu master’s death, fans cling to rumours that say he was the victim of a curse that also killed his son Brandon 20 years later.

Elvis Presley

The original Rock ‘n’ Roll legend, Elvis Presley, has had two grave sites since his death in 1977. Dying from an overdose of prescription drugs, The King was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee, but over-enthusiastic fans and souvenir seekers damaged the grave, where his mother Gladys, was also buried. Following an attempt to steal his body, the remains of Elvis and his mother were moved to their current resting place at Presley’s Graceland mansion. Over half a million people a year now visit the King’s grave as part of the Graceland tour.

Pre-paid funeral plans

"If funerals continue to rise, the average cost of a funeral in 2018 could be £4,260, rising to £4,944 in 2022."

Since tracking began in 2004, funeral costs have increased year on year, and this is expected to continue. When looking at the rate of increase in costs such as petrol, electricity, house prices and weekly wages, the rate of increase in funeral plans is high in comparison. If funerals continue to rise, the average cost of a funeral in 2018 could be £4,260, rising to £4,944 in 2022.

By purchasing a funeral plan, you can rest safe in the knowledge that you have secured your funeral at today’s prices (dependent on payment method). To find out more about pre-paid funeral plans please fill in the form below and an info pack will be sent to you within 5 working days.

Reader's Digest work with Golden Charter, who have supported more than half a million customers in their funeral planning arrangements. With the largest network of funeral directors acros the UK and a range of funeral plans to suit your needs, you can be sure your loved ones will receive the professional care and support they need during a difficult time.