It may seem ironic, but whether you’re saying goodbye to a celebrity or to a member of your own family, being present for the funeral is one of the best ways to begin the healing process through mourning. It serves as a way for family and friends to find closure through one last viewing of the deceased’s body. Many dead celebrities have chosen to have open casket funerals for a variety of reasons. Some do it as a way to give one last goodbye to their fans, and others, like Emmett Till and Martin Luther King Junior, had open casket services as a way to make a final statement, even after they’d passed. This list of celebrity open casket funerals is not for the faint of heart, but these photos of celebrity dead bodies, and the stories behind them, are as tasteful as possible.
Whether you came to this list of deceased celebrities as way to learn more about the final moments of your favorite celeb, or you were simply looking to see famous people in open caskets, you've found the list that will help you find closure. Through painstaking research, we’ve verified these photos - and the stories behind them - as some of the most famous open casket funerals.
Some of the photos on this list, like the picture of Elvis, and of Andy Warhol were taken clandestinely, but most of them were taken a photographer hired to cover the event, and they’re all as classy as possible. Keep in mind that this list is not for the squeamish. Check out this list of famous dead bodies in open casket funerals below.
When Elvis died in 1977, a photo from his funeral appeared on the cover of The National Enquirer. The legend of the photo is that Ian Calder, editor of the paper at the time, bribed Elvis' cousin, Bobby Mann, with $18,000 to take the photo. The picture was snapped on an Arco Flex spy camera, and is now valued at $1 million.
Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "the King". Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and when he was 13 years old, he and his family relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. His music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was an early popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who ...more on Wikipedia
#58 on The Coolest Actors Eversee more on Elvis Presley
In 1973, Lee died of cerebral edema while completing the ADR for his final film, Enter the Dragon in Hong Kong. Before he was flown back to Seattle to be buried, a public mourning was held for his fans, and close to 25,000 people attended a public viewing of his body.
Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong American martial artist, Hong Kong action film actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, filmmaker, and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-Chuen. He is widely considered by commentators, critics, media and other martial artists to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time, and a pop culture icon of the 20th century. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films. Lee was born in Chinatown, San Francisco on November 27, 1940 to parents from Hong Kong and was raised in Kowloon with his family until his late teens. He was introduced to the film industry by his ...more on Wikipedia
#32 on The Coolest Actors Eversee more on Bruce Lee
After Whitney Houston's funeral photo leaked in 2012, her friends and family were mortified. But The National Enquirer's publisher, Mary Beth Wright, said that she felt that the photo "was beautiful." The photo was published without a credit, and the magazine refused to release details on how they received it.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170-200 million records sold worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston's crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for "How Will I Know", influenced several African American women artists who follow in her footsteps. Houston is the only artist to ...more on Wikipedia
Also Rankedsee more on Whitney Houston
After River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993, his body was displayed in a private ceremony for 60 of his friends and family. However, a photographer broke into funeral home that was holding his body, took a photo of him lying in his casket, and sold it to the National Enquirer for a reported sum of $5,000.
River Jude Phoenix was an American actor, musician, and activist. He was the older brother of Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Summer Phoenix, and Liberty Phoenix. Phoenix's work encompassed 24 films and television appearances, including the science fiction adventure film Explorers, the coming-of-age film Stand by Me, the action sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the independent adult drama My Own Private Idaho. Phoenix's rise to fame led to his status as a "teen sensation". Phoenix began acting at age 10 in television commercials. He appeared in diverse roles, making his first notable appearance in the 1986 film Stand by Me, a coming-of-age film based on a novella by Stephen King. ...more on Wikipedia
#10 on The Greatest '80s Teen Starssee more on River Phoenix