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 can serve as a way for family and friends to find closure. Many celebrities (or their family members) have chosen to have open casket funerals for reasons that are often unknown. Some may do it as a way to say goodbye 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.
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.
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.
Lee Jun-fan (Chinese: 李振藩; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), known professionally as Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍), was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that is often credited with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Lee is considered by commentators, critics, media, and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in ...more on Wikipedia
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.
Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Born in Atlanta, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, tactics his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi helped inspire. King led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and in 1957 became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the nonviolent 1963 ...more on Wikipedia
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.
James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul". In a career that lasted 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres.Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He joined an R&B vocal group, the Gospel Starlighters (which later evolved into the Famous Flames) founded by Bobby Byrd, in which he was the lead singer. First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of the singing group The Famous Flames with the hit ...more on Wikipedia
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.
Grace Patricia Kelly (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an American film actress who became Princess of Monaco after marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956. After embarking on an acting career in 1950, when she was 20, Kelly appeared in New York City theatrical productions and more than 40 episodes of live drama productions broadcast during the early 1950s Golden Age of Television. In October 1953, she gained stardom from her performance in director John Ford's film Mogambo starring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner, which won her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination in 1954. Subsequently, she had leading roles in five films, including The Country Girl (1954) with Bing ...more on Wikipedia