Whether in the arts, sports or politics, celebrities experience life on a grand scale. Some may relish riches and fame; some may shy from the spotlight. When celebrities pass, memorialization is as much a reflection of their personalities as it is an expression of love and respect from those that admired them.
One of the most famous burial sites belongs to the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. At the time of his death in 1908, he was interred in a cemetery outside Paris. Anonymous donations, however, funded a specially commissioned new tomb and monument in the largest Parisian cemetery. For a century, fans would leave imprints of kisses with lipstick on the stone until it was finally enclosed in protective glass in 2011.
Other celebrity burial sites are not so public. The final resting place of Princess Diana of Wales, who died in 1997, is located on her family’s estate in Northhampshire, England. While a shrine is open to visitors, no one is allowed access to an island in the center of a lake on the property where an urn is just visible from the shore.
Several celebrity burial sites are personalized with simple markers, yet meaningful tributes to those individuals’ legacies. Frank Sinatra’s gravestone features lyrics from one of his songs: “The best is yet to come.” The gravestone of President Calvin Coolidge is only inscribed with his name, date of birth, date of death, and the Great Seal of the United States.
No matter how celebrities personalize their burial sites, one thing is certain: Cemetery plots nearby are highly sought-after. When Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36 in 1962, she was buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. For 20 years, her ex-husband, New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio, is said to have sent red roses three times a week to adorn her crypt. The space adjacent to hers is vacant and received a bid of almost $5 million at auction.