17 Photos From Celebrity Open Casket Funerals
It may seem ironic, but whether you’re saying good bye 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 can serve as a way for family and friends of the deceased to find closure. There have been many celebrity open casket funerals, though the reasoning for them is not always known.
It may seem morbid or gruesome to look at these celebrity death photos. However, some may do it as a way to say good bye to fans, while others may have wanted 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 final images - and the stories behind them - are often important to remember. These are real photos, so if you are a bit weary about dead people, namely, celebrities in caskets, you might want to check out this list of celebrity last words instead.
Pictures of dead celebrities can be hard to look at, but remember the good reasons behind open caskets. Many of these celebrities probably wanted the many fans who loved them to be able to say farewell. In lieu of a final message, fans and loved ones can take a moment to look at or pay their respects to the body.
Even if you simply came to this list to learn more about the final moments of your favorite celeb, you may find a bit of closure as well, but keep in mind that photos of dead bodies are sometimes difficult to see.
- Photo: Bruce Lee - The Legend
In 1973, Lee died of cerebral edema after completing 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 20,000 people attended a public viewing of his body.
- Age: Dec. at 32 (1940-1973)
- Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
- Photo: Keystone / Getty Images
After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his body was laid in an open casket in Atlanta on April 9, where over 1,000 mourners came to pay their respects to the civil rights leader. While the body lay in state in Memphis days earlier, the wound in King's neck was still visible, and many mourners reportedly kissed and touched King's face.
- Age: Dec. at 39 (1929-1968)
- Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
- Photo: Everett Collection / Shutterstock
In 2006, a number of celebrities, including Michael Jackson, paid their respects to James Brown at his funeral. Jackson was just one of the thousands who gathered around Brown's 24-karat gold coffin.
- Age: Dec. at 73 (1933-2006)
- Birthplace: USA, South Carolina, Barnwell
- Photo: Bettmann / Getty Images
After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while driving through the hills of Monaco, Grace Kelly died in a car crash and was committed to her final resting place in the Grimaldi family vault. Kelly, also known as Princess Grace of Monaco, drew film stars and royalty to her funeral in Monaco's St. Nicholas Cathedral.
- Age: Dec. at 52 (1929-1982)
- Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America
- Photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
After dying from a mixture of alcohol and morphine, Hank Williams was laid to rest in Montgomery, Alabama, in front of over 2,000 mourners. His body was shown in Montgomery, AL, where the famous photos of the country legend in his casket were taken.
- Age: Dec. at 29 (1923-1953)
- Birthplace: Mount Olive, Alabama, United States of America
- Photo: Kypros / Getty Images
Marvin Gaye's career was cut short when he was shot by his own father on April 1, 1984. His funeral was held at the Forest Lawn Cemetery and reportedly drew many of his fellow performers.
- Age: Dec. at 44 (1939-1984)
- Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA