Iconic Celebrity Gravestones That Made Lasting Impressions on Fans
| LAST UPDATE 05/08/2023
Even when they're no longer with us, some celebrities have made it their mission to keep their spirits alive through an unforgettable gravestone. From Bette Davis to Robert Frost, check out these iconic memorials.
Dee Dee Ramone Had To Run
When the famous musician, Dee Dee Ramone, passed away in 2002, he left behind a few relatively accurate words where his body lay to rest. Anyone who visits the beloved singer's grave will get the message he left, "O.K… I gotta go now."
Well, that's one way to get straight to the point; Apparently, he had better places to be. Dee Dee left the music world at age 50, as he was found unconscious in his L.A. apartment, and fans were devastated to lose such an icon.
Merv Griffin Stayed True To His Jokes
If you were a game show fanatic between the 70s and early 2000s, then chances are, you're quite familiar with Merve Griffin. This legendary TV personality was the host of Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, The Merv Griffin Show, and more, devoting his life to entertaining the audience.
As a host, he frequently said to his viewers, "I'll be right back after this message." However, Griffin loved to joke during interviews that when his time eventually came, it would only feel right for his gravestone to say, "I will not be right back after this message," and that's exactly what he left us with.
Billy Wilder Speaks His Truth
Billy Wilder was best known as a director, screenwriter, and producer, with a very successful Hollywood career. After spending over five decades in the film industry, he sadly passed away in 2002, but his legacy as one of the most brilliant filmmakers of the Golden Age lived on.
On his gravestone, he left us a little reminder, which wouldn't be complete without throwing in some sort of joke, of course. Indeed, Wilder's a great writer, and if he can't be deemed perfect, then no one else can either. So, in the wise words of Billy Wilder, "Nobody's perfect."
Bette Davis Was Tougher Than the Rest
American actress Bette Davis certainly didn't have it easy, establishing herself in Hollywood during the 30s, but she never stopped climbing toward the top until she sadly passed away in 1989. As one of Hollywood's most leading ladies, she made it known that she "survived because she was tougher than anybody else."
And Bette certainly never took the easy way; She was proud of the hard work she invested in her career. So, it only made sense for her tombstone to read, "I did it the hard way." Indeed she did, as she only made sure it was known that "old age is no place for sissies," hence why this absolute boss lives until age 81.
Dean Martin Loved to Love
Dean Martin, nicknamed "The King of Cool," thrived as a musician and comedian and was deemed one of the most famous entertainers of his time. If you're a fan of some of the iconic and original Christmas songs, then chances are, this guy's music is on your holiday playlist.
His career took a hit during the late 50s, but he indeed made a comeback in 1964 with his song Everybody Loves Somebody. And the lyrics to that very song stuck with him until the end, as his gravestone reads, "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime," highlighting his incredible comeback.
Frank Sinatra Wasn't Quite Done Yet
As one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra only had things one way, and it was My Way, as he sang in his world-famous album during his prime. Sadly, he was taken from us in 1998, but he left a critical message for his loved ones.
"The best is yet to come," read Sinatra's tombstone, which was an infamous line from one of his songs. And to top things off, the musical icon was supposedly buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a few other of his favorites. Sinatra indeed went off with optimism.
Emily Dickinson's Call Back
Emily Dickinson was a world-renowned American poet, but she didn't gain her reputation as one of poetry's most significant figures until after she passed. She grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts, where her family was very involved in the community, so Emily continued her legacy there.
When the writer sadly passed away in 1886, she was buried in her beloved hometown, Amherst, and her gravestone put a unique twist on the concept of death. It read, "Emily Dickinson… Called back May 15, 1886." And once she was "called back," her writing rose to fame, and her legacy lived on.
Elvis Presley's Mysterious Middle Name
Elvis Presley built himself quite the reputation as "The King of Rock and Roll." The world was devastated when this musical legend passed away in 1977, but Elvis still managed to cause a commotion even after he was gone. Specifically, with his gravestone, as it read "Elvis Aaron Presley."
This was mind-blowing to many people, as his middle name had supposedly been spelled "Aron." So, what exactly happened here? Apparently, Elvis decided to change the spelling of his middle name later in his life, while his birth certificate still read "Aron." Proving that he'll always be full of surprises.
Mel Blanc Signed off in Style
Mel Blanc will always be remembered as an absolute legend both in radio and in Hollywood, as his one of a kind voice opened countless windows of opportunity. The iconic voice actor's radio career spanned over 60 years before he made his Hollywood debut in one of America's favorite cartoons.
You might recognize his voice as he played Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and other Looney Tunes characters. Both Mel and Bugs made such an impact that they were each given their own Hollywood star. And when he left us in 1989, Blanc signed off with his noteworthy line, "That's all folks."
Jimi Hendrix Was Secretly Moved To His Shrine
While his music career only lasted a few years, Jimi Hendrix blew fans away whenever he performed, and some of his most loyal listeners never stopped being there for him, even after he passed. Hendrix died after suffering from substance issues in 1970, a year after Woodstock, and he was initially buried in Renton, Washington.
However, his body was later secretly moved to what appears to be a shrine of the iconic guitarist by fans who felt he was better-suited laying in this magnificent structure, located in Seattle, Washington. No matter where he's resting, though, Jimi will forever be remembered as one of the most legendary guitarists to exist.
Robert Frost's Love Affair With the World
Robert Frost always has been and always will be a man of many words, as a noteworthy American poet. His poetry was his pride and joy, so when the time came for Frost to pass on, he left precise instructions: "And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone."
"I had a lover's quarrel with the world." This line came from his 1941 poem, titled A Lesson For Today, and it was crucial that the poet have these words lay with him for eternity. A documentary about his life was eventually created and named after his infamous love affair with the world.
Sir Isaac Newton Finally Took a Rest
Sir Isaac Newton was declared one of the most influential scientists of all time, and he practically never took a break from his ground-breaking work. So, when he passed away at the age of 84, he was honored with this beautiful sculpture after living an incredibly impactful and meaningful life.
To make up for his lack of rest during his lifetime, Sir Isaac Newton was placed sitting under the globe, finally letting others take on some of his work. He was buried at Westminster Abbey, which was an extreme honor, and he's been resting in this monumental spot ever since.
Oscar Wilde Never Feared Feelings
This Irish poet and playwright was never afraid to challenge morals during his time, which he proved in some of his noteworthy novels. His book The Picture of Dorian Gray was considered 'indecent' by many, eventually leading to his arrest for charges related to homosexuality, which was illegal in the U.K. at the time.
Still, Wilde continued to follow his heart and expressed all of his feelings. So, when he passed away in 1900 in Paris, France, his tombstone was engraved with the phrase, "A kiss may ruin a human life." Many of his supporters kissed his grave to honor his life meaning, and French authorities eventually blocked it off with a barrier.
Jack Lemmon Wrapped up His Final Role
As an Academy-award winning actor and musician, Jack Lemmon's life was nothing short of extraordinary. Before making his Hollywood debut, Lemmon graduated from the prestigious Harvard University and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy; He was indeed a hard worker.
Without a doubt, this guy was determined to make an everlasting impression on the world and wanted to give his loved ones something to smile about even after he was gone. When he was buried in 2001, Jack's grave contained his final credits, "Jack Lemmon in," which essentially wrapped up his very last role.
Sonny Liston Is a True Man
Charles "Sonny" Liston never failed to amaze his audience when he stepped into the boxing ring, earning the Heavyweight Champion title in 1962 after winning a match against Floyd Patterson. Throughout his career, Sonny was known for his toughness and powerful punches.
He also fought Muhammad Ali, and overall had a remarkable career. Unfortunately, he was found unconscious in his Las Vegas home in 1970, and when he was buried, his gravestone emphasized that no matter what happened to him, Sonny Liston was "A Man," as written on the stone.
John Wayne's Words Were Ignored
American actor John Wayne always knew what he wanted, including the words which would eventually be written on his tombstone. He gave his family strict instructions to engrave the words "Feo, Fuerte y Formal," which translates to "Ugly, Strong, and Dignified."
However, his family refused to follow these instructions and left the grave unmarked to prevent it from becoming a shrine. In 1998, years after he'd been buried, Wayne's family added this bronze plaque to his grave but still did not write the words that the actor had wished for.
Marilyn Monroe's Many Admirers
Like Oscar Wilde, Marilyn Monroe continued to receive kisses from some secret admirers even after passing away in 1962. This beauty queen was a significant sex symbol of the 50s and 60s, so it doesn't come as much of a surprise that her fans never stopped loving her.
The iconic blonde bombshell was an actress, model, and singer and truly helped change people's outlook on sexuality during her entire career. While Monroe left us far too soon at the age of 36, she was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery with a simple plack, but anyone who visits her grave shows their love.
James Joyce Was Forbidden From His Country
Regarded as one of the 20th Century's most influential writers, James Joyce was best known for his dozens of publications during the early 1900s. The Ireland native left his country in 1902 because of certain political situations and headed to Zurich, Switzerland, where he'd spend the rest of his life.
Sadly, he passed away in 1941 after complications from a surgical procedure, and he was instantly buried in Zurich. However, his wife requested that his body be moved to Ireland, but the Irish government refused to allow him back in, dead or alive. So, the statue of Joyce sits peacefully in Zurich, with a book in hand.
John Belushi Will Never Stop Rocking
John Belushi was a man of many talents, as he was one of Saturday Night Live's original cast members, a comedian, and a singer. He was the life of the party, both on and off the stage. John had a sense of humor like no other and loved to enjoy nights out with his buddies.
Unfortunately, Belushi lost his life to substance abuse in 1982, and his body was buried in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. But he preferred fans to look on the bright side, reminding them, "I may be gone, but Rock and Roll lives on." Those who visit his grave often leave empty bottles to honor his elaborate life.
Jayne Mansfield Lied About Her Age Till the Very End
Plenty of people out there prefer to lie about their age, and legendary actress Jayne Mansfield had a reputation of doing so herself. She was tragically killed in a car accident in 1967, and Hollywood was absolutely heartbroken to lose such a magnificent woman.
Manfield was buried in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, next to her father. But when it came time to create her memorial in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, some of her loyal fans made a slight mistake. Jayne was born in 1933, but to honor her hatred of getting older, her birth year was written as 1938.
William Shakespeare Cursed Those Who Stole His Body
When the infamous English playwright passed away in 1616, he wanted to make things very clear to those who visited his tombstone. Since grave robbing was reasonably common at the time, his tombstone read, "Good friend for Jesus sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here."
"Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones." Shakespeare made it quite clear that anyone who attempted to dig up his grave and move his body would be cursed. And considering his tendency to write about tragedy, he very well may have been serious.
Rodney Dangerfield's Still Looking for Some Respect
Jack Roy, more commonly known as Rodney Dangerfield, was a comedian, actor, producer, writer, and producer, so he essentially did it all! With his witty sense of humor, Dangerfield frequently repeated his memorable catchphrase, "I get no respect!" to his audiences.
And that wasn't his only noteworthy line; Mr. Dangerfield also yelled out, "when I was born, I was so ugly that the doctor slapped my mother!" in one of his monologues. Even when he passed away in 2004, his jokes weren't over, as his gravestone read, "There goes the neighborhood."
Leslie Nielsen Will Forever Be a Prankster
Leslie Nielsen rarely failed to give the crowd a good laugh, considering his memorable roles in numerous comedies. While Nielsen did anything possible to make people laugh, he especially thrived off slapstick comedy, specifically when he could incorporate flatulence.
Do you remember trying to prank your friends and family by putting a whoopee cushion on their seat? Well, even as a grown man, Nielsen still pulled that trick out of his sleeve. He actually promised that when it came time for him to pass, his tombstone would honor that unique humor, so it read, "Let 'er rip."
Harry Houdini Comes Back Every Halloween
There's no doubt that magic would be nothing without the legendary Harry Houdini, an illusionist and stunt performer known for his unbelievable escape acts. Houdini often challenged the authorities to keep him locked up with his knack for breaking out of handcuffs.
After this mysterious man passed away on Halloween in 1926, he was buried in one of New York's "spookiest" cemeteries. But Houdini's spirit lived on long after his death; Countless brave souls visit his grave each Halloween to pay their respects and make him offerings, in hopes of good fortune.
Babe Ruth Will Never Strike Out
George Herman Ruth Jr., better known as the one and only Babe Ruth, was one of the greatest legends to ever play in the MLB. His career spanned 22 seasons, as he played for multiple teams and was surely a fan-favorite. He even coined the term, "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
The loss of Babe was absolutely devastating to baseball fans, and many paid their respects by visiting his New York grave, a statute of Jesus putting his arm around the young player. The sculpture inspires countless baseball players and individuals every year, and fans frequently leave bats, balls, and even hot dogs at the memorial.
Mozart's Unsolved Mystery
Today, Mozart and Beethoven's graves lay side by side, along with countless other famous composers in Austria, but that wasn't always the case. When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart passed away in 1791, he was buried in a communal cemetery with a simple marking, and that's when the mystery began.
Almost 20 years later, Mozart's wife tried to locate his grave but couldn't find it. It was then declared that his remains could not be found, after many searches, so a memorial was created to honor Mozart's life in Austria, but his body wasn't actually buried here.
Edgar Allan Poe Remained Mysterious
Edgar Allan Poe never failed to bring mind-blowing mysteries into his readers' lives, and it turned out that his life was also somewhat mysterious until the very end. After the writer passed away in 1849, his body was buried under an unmarked grave in Baltimore, Maryland.
So the community didn't forget his remains were there, a personalized tombstone was ordered, but it was ruined in a train wreck and never made it to the cemetery. After many donations, the community built a new stone, but it read the incorrect birth date, so a new tombstone was eventually created, but it was put in a new location.
Peter Falk Isn't Where You Thought
Award-winning actor Peter Falk was quite the jokester, and even being buried in the ground couldn't take that quality from him. He was a Hollywood legend, and Steven Spielberg once admitted, "I learned more about acting from him at that early stage of my career than I had from anyone else."
But he didn't only succeed in his career; He married the woman of his dreams, Shera Danese, who he would never be ready to part ways with. So, it only made sense for his tombstone to remind people of that, saying, "I'm not here, I'm home with Shera." Now that's true love!
Rick James Did It All
James Ambrose Johnson Jr., commonly known as Rick James, was one of music's original "super freaks" after releasing his first album, titled Street Songs, in 1981. That's when the world was mesmerized by his song Super Freak, and his career was looking promising.
Sadly, the icon passed away in 2004 after suffering from heart failure, but his grave highlights all of his good times. "I've had it all. I've done it all. I've seen it all. It's all about love. God is love," his tombstone read. Even though he was in poor health towards the end of his life, he was satisfied with all he'd done.
Doc Holliday's Buried Somewhere Around Here
The famous American gambler John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc, was always on the move, possibly explaining why his body was never found. After leaving his home state of Georgia due to his tuberculosis diagnosis, he moved out West as he thought the climate would better suit him.
Sadly, Doc passed away at age 36 during his travels, and that's where his mystery began. Where in the world was Doc Holliday? It's believed that he spent the last chapter of his life in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Hence, his gravestone reads, "This memorial dedicated to Doc Holliday, who is buried someplace in this cemetery."