Creeptastic: These Celebs Had Open Casket Funerals. #2 Might Give You Nightmares!

There are many reasons to have an open-casket funeral. Although the practice can make some people uncomfortable, saying goodbye to a loved one’s earthly remains can also help to give mourners the closure they need to go on with their lives.

Celebrities often have additional reasons for being displayed publicly. Open casket memorials are the ultimate way to honor their fans by giving them one last chance to pay their respects. And more gruesomely, some open casket funerals are done to prevent inaccurate death rumors from spreading. The famous people on this list all held very different positions in the public eye, but they shared one common grand finale: open casket funerals.

James Brown

A close-up portrait of musician James Brown
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

James Brown was “the Godfather of Soul,” a music legend and a larger-than-life character. Brown began his career in the 1950s and continued on until the end of his life.

He was also known for his social activism, involvement in the Civil Rights movement as well as the not-so-good aspects of his life including bad relationships and drug problems. Brown passed away in 2006 fro congestive heart failure, saddening the entire music industry.

A Number Of Celebrities Attended His Funeral

Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson pay their respects to the late James Brown
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Rick Diamond/WireImage

Celebrities who payed respect to the Godfather included Al Sharpton, 50 Cent, Joe Frazier, MC Hammer, Prince, Buddy Guy, Ice Cube, Ludacris, Dr. Dre, Little Richard, Dick Gregory, Jesse Jackson, Ice-T, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bootsy Collins, LL Cool J, Lil Wayne, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, Todd Williams and Don King.

Brown will always be remembered as one of the most influential musicians of his time, as well as one of the most misunderstood.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa pray
Michel SETBOUN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Michel SETBOUN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Mother Teresa, also known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, died in 1997, at the age of 87. After Mother Teresa’s death, her body lay in repose in St Thomas, Calcutta (India) for one week. Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun who achieved international fame for founding the Missionaries of Charity, a congregation which vows “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.”

She was born in Skopje, which is now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Teresa first took her vows at age 21. She went on to live a life of service to others and was particularly moved to help the poor and sick.

Leaving A Lasting Impression

Mother Teresa's body
DOUGLAS E. CURRAN/AFP via Getty Images
DOUGLAS E. CURRAN/AFP via Getty Images

She was mourned by millions worldwide, and she is set to be canonized (declared a Saint) in 2016. Even before her death in 1997, Mother Teresa was often spoken about in a saintly manner from Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

She was officially canonized in 2016 and is now known within the Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. In 2012, Mother Teresa was rank but Outlook India as the nation’s fifth greatest Indian.

Bruce Lee

Concord Productions Inc./Golden Harvest Company/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Concord Productions Inc./Golden Harvest Company/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In life, Bruce Lee was a larger-than-life figure – an actor, husband, father, and the master and founder of Jeet Kune Do. To many of his fans, he seemed invincible. To many of his modern fans, his on-screen vibrancy makes it seem as though he still lives.

Lee was extremely dedicated to being physically fit, which is why his death in 1973 at the young age of 32 came as an absolute shock.

One Last Look For The Fans

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Before Bruce’s body was flown back to Seattle to be buried, a public open-casket memorial was held for his fans. The service was attended by 25,000 people. He apparently suffered from cerebral edema, or swelling of the brain, after having an allergic reaction a painkiller he took for a headache.

There is still some dispute about whether the swelling occurred before or after he took the medication. Because of the strange and tragic manner of his death, there have been countless conspiracy theories surrounding the event, including that he may have been poisoned.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

Although the legendary blonde bombshell did have an open casket funeral, there are no photos of that event in existence. However, one artist created an amazing sculpture of the event. She now lies next to the late Hugh Hefner, whose casket was placed alongside hers.

Monroe passed away in August 1962 from acute barbiturate poisoning. There were empty bottles found next to her, leading people to wonder if she had taken her own life.

This Picture Is The Closest Thing To It

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It shows a sculpture of Monroe in her casket after her 1962 death from an accidental overdose. The sculpture was created by an Italian artist and was based on descriptions of the green Pucci dress, veil, and makeup Monroe wore for her burial.

While Monroe is still considered a cultural icon today, there is a conversation about whether her status is because of her movie career, or her off-screen exploits.

River Phoenix

Actor River Phoenix attends the Fourth Annual American Museum of the Moving Image Salute to Sidney Poitier
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

After Stand by Me actor River Phoenix (big brother of Joaquin) died of a drug overdose in 1993, his body was displayed in an open casket private ceremony intended only for his closest friends and family. In the early 1990s, River Phoenix was the “It” boy of Hollywood.

He had it all: looks, fame, and youth. Many believe his career would have soared to massive heights if he had lived longer. Sadly, Phoneix partied far too hard one night and it took his life.

Break In

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Unfortunately, though, an unscrupulous photographer broke into the funeral home that was holding his body, took a photo of him in his casket, and sold it to (guess who) The National Enquirer for $5,000. Phoenix overdosed on cocaine and morphine. Sadly, he could not be revived and he died at the age of 23.

River’s brother would go on to have an amazing acting career, even winning an Oscar in 2020 for his lead role in Joker

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Black American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968) addresses crowds during the March On Washington
Central Press/Getty Images
Central Press/Getty Images

Iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down in 1968. After his death, King’s body was displayed in an open bronze casket in Memphis. The wound in King’s neck was still visible, and many mourners kissed the glass over his face. His “I have a dream” speech is still one of the most-quoted speeches of all time.

Sadly, at the height of his work and at the young age of 39, Dr. King was assassinated. One day before his death, he addressed the possibility of being killed in a speech called “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop.”

I Have A Dream

MLK casket
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

He was interred in Atlanta, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. His wife Coretta Scott King is also buried there. This is one of Mr. King’s greatest statements:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

John Lennon

John Lennon being interviewed on the street.; circa 1970;
Art Zelin/Getty Images
Bettmann via Getty Images

After the former Beatle’s tragic murder at the hands of a deranged fan, his widow Yoko Ono opted not to have a funeral. Instead, she asked his fans for 10 minutes of silence in remembrance of Lennon.

As a member of The Beatles, John Lennon helped revolutionize the music industry. His impact and legacy will last long after his early and tragic death. His children have also followed in his musical footsteps!

Central Park Gathering

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This photo depicts Lennon’s corpse in a body bag at an NYC morgue. Over 100,000 people gathered at Central Park to mourn the beloved musician.

Aside from his role in the music industry, Lennon acted in several films, both alongside his Beatles bandmates and by himself. One of his most famous roles was in How I Won the War from 1967, a British black comedy directed by the great Richard Lester.

Selena

Selena
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Rising Mexican-American pop star Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s family decided to have a public open-casket funeral to dispel rumors that the singer’s body was not in the casket. She was murdered by her obsessed agent in 1995.

Before her death, Selena was about to embark on a cross-over music journey with her first English language album. As a Mexican-American, she was particularly well-loved within that community and the loss was devastating.

One Crazy Fan

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An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people came to see and pay respect to Selena, who laid in an open casket. Despite being deeply grieved within her community, Selena’s talents surpassed race and ethnic lines and she became well-loved throughout the world for her beautiful voice.

Since her passing, Selena has been portrayed by several actresses on film – most famously Jennifer Lopez in the biopic Selena. Most recently, Netflix announced they would be making a television series based on the singer’s life.

Louis Armstrong

Armstrong
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dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Another great jazz performer, Louis Armstrong, also had an open casket funeral. Armstrong was one of the most influential and celebrated musicians of the twentieth century, not to mention one of the most beloved.

The trumpeter, composer, and singer, passed away from a heart attack on July 6, 1971, at the age of 69. He died after playing two weeks of back-to-back performances—no simple feat for a man of his age.

Legendary Pallbearers

Armstrong funeral
Fred Ihrt/LightRocket via Getty Images
Fred Ihrt/LightRocket via Getty Images

Louis Armstrong’s pallbearers consisted of many of the most legendary performers of his time. Present at his open-casket funeral were many iconic entertainers including Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, and Johnny Carson.

After his death, fellow jazz musician Duke Ellington gave this tribute: “If anybody was a master, it was Louis Armstrong. He was and will continue to be the embodiment of jazz.”

GG Allin

GG-Allin-singing
Frank Mullen/WireImage
Frank Mullen/WireImage

The original rock shocker, GG Allin died of an accidental heroin overdose in 1993. His corpse was unpreserved, and was dressed in his signature leather jacket and jockstrap. He was buried with a microphone, a bottle of Jim Beam, and a portable cassette player holding his album “The Suicide Sessions.”

His antics sometimes got him arrested. Allin also once claimed that if he were not a musician he would probably be a serial killer or murderer.

Record Viewing

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Punk musician GG Allin explored many taboo subjects in his music as well as in his performances which often included self-mutilation and other controversial acts. His antics sometimes got him arrested. The entire funeral was recorded, and is available for viewing online if you’re into that sort of thing.

Fair warning, watching the funeral is not for the faint of heart. He was a rock star after all, and he was celebrated in his passing the same way he lived his life.

Mickey Rooney

mickey-79991.jpg
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Comedic actor Mickey Rooney (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pete’s Dragon, Night at the Museum, and more than 300 others) died 2014, when he was 93 years old. He’d had a nine-decade run in the film industry.

Rooney’s career lasted fro 1935 until 2011, just a few years before his death. After living a full life, all that was left to do was to celebrate one of Hollywood’s greatest and most iconic faces.

One Final Photo

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Rooney’s sad final photo was taken in a casket at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The cemetery, which has become the final resting place for several hollywood legends, is also a bit of a tourist attraction in Los Angeles.

After his death, Vanity Fair called Rooney the “original Hollywood Train Wreck.” Despite his greatness on screen, off it he struggled with substance addiction and was married seven times! By the end of his life he was nearly broke.

Etta James

Etta James singer and songwriter seated in an elegant pose early in her career, March 10, 1962.
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

When blues and R&B musician Etta James died in 2012, her body was displayed publicly. This displeased many of her lifelong fans, who loudly complained online. Etta had a life marred by personal struggles which included fighting her way through heroin addiction, suffering physical abuse, and even going to jail.

However, she ultimately was able to make a comeback and her incomparable voice will never be forgotten – not today, tomorrow, or years from now.

No-Photo Request

Etta James casket is opened for a last viewing before burial in the City Of Refuge Church
Toby Canham/Getty Images
Toby Canham/Getty Images

In 2011, Etta was diagnosed with leukemia and she passed away from the illness one year later, not long before her 74th birthday. The Reverend Al Sharpton presided over her funeral and Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé each performed a tribute song during the services.

Journalist Anne Cusack, assigned to cover the “At Last” singer’s funeral, said she even set down her camera once a no-photo request was made.

Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim seen at the Playboy Club, Park Lane
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Eccentric “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” musician Tiny Tim was perhaps the world’s most famous ukulele player. First gaining notice in New York, famous film critic Roger Ebert once told this story:

“I first saw Tiny Tim very early in his career, in Greenwich Village in the winter of 1962–63. There was a convention of college newspaper editors, and a few of us – I remember Jeff Greenfield coming along – went to the Black Pussycat and found ourselves being entertained by a man the likes of whom we’d not seen before. He was already locally popular.”

Buried With His Ukulele

Tiny-Tim-funeral
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Tiny Tim died after suffering a heart attack, while onstage, at a concert in 1996. His public, open casket funeral was attended by an array of celebrities from Elton John to Howard Stern.

The tragic event happened during his last song near the end of the show. Prior to going out on stage, he told his wife he wasn’t feeling well but didn’t want to disappoint his fans. The rest is history.

Chris Kelly

Chris Smith and Chris Kelly perform
Prince Williams/Getty Images
Prince Williams/Getty Images

Chris Kelly, half of the rap duo Kriss Kross along with Chris Smith, died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2013. The duo were just young kids when their album first hit the airwaves in 1992 and they quickly became known for their eye-catching style of wearing their clothes backward.

He was only 34 years old when the tragedy happened. We still wonder what his future had in store for him if he hadn’t passed away so young. Pictured are Chris Smith (L) and Chris Kelly (R) at a reunion show in 2013, just months before Kelly’s death.

ATL’s Finest

Kelly-casket
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As Kris Kross began to fade from the spotlight over time, Kelly began to experience issues with drug addiction. Ultimately the illness claimed his life in 2013 at the young age of thirty-four years old. After his death, mega-producer Jermaine Dupri, who had worked with Kelly, tweeted that Kelly had been “the son he never had.”

His body was displayed in an open casket during a Baptist service. Afterward, Kelly was interred in Westview Cemetery.

Abraham Lincoln

Portrait of 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln.
National Archives/Newsmakers
National Archives/Newsmakers

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He led the United States through the Civil War and managed to preserve the Union, which came out victorious. He also paved the way for the abolition of slavery. While attending a play at Ford Theater, President Lincoln was assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth.

Today, Lincoln is remembered as one of the country’s greatest Presidents, and he has even been memorialized with a show at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

The Lincoln Special

Lincoln-casket
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After his death, Lincoln’s body was carried by a train called “The Lincoln Special” through 180 cities on its journey back to his home state of Illinois. At each stop, the coffin was taken off the train and his body displayed to the public.

Lincoln’s lasting impact on society can still be felt today. Not only did he end slavery, but he also helped the country recover after a devastating civil war.

Hank Williams

American country singer-songwriter Hank Williams (1923 - 1953) with his family, in Nashville Tennessee,
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Hank Williams, pictured here with his family, is regarded as one of the most important people to ever contribute to country music. He is also recognized for his contributions to music across the board and has been inducted into multiple Halls of Fame, including the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Williams died of a heart attack from a mixture of alcohol and morphine in 1953. The “Hey, Good Lookin’” performer was honored in Montgomery, Alabama, in front of over 2,000 mourners.

Lifelong Back Pain

Mourners pass by the coffin containing the body of country singer Hank Williams
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Williams was born with spina bifida which caused him lifelong back pain. Ultimately, he turned to substances to deal with the severe pain he felt. Unfortunately, this turned into a severe addiction. Williams tragically died at 29 years old due to a heart attack, which many suspect was due to his addictions.

His body was displayed first at his mother’s house, and then later moved to the Montgomery Auditorium before being buried in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex. His son, Hank Williams Jr. and grandson, Hank III, have gone on to follow in his footsteps as musicians.

Elvis Presley

American singer and actor on the set of Viva Las Vegas, directed and produced by George Sidney.
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, is still heralded as one of the most important figures of all time in music. He was one of the first to bring “rock” to the mainstream, during a time when he even the gyrating of his hips was considered to be indecent.

Despite many parents’ initial views of him, he became well loved around the world and also released his own gospel albums.

The King

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He also starred in tons of films as the romantic leading man. Like so many others in the industry, Presley struggled with drug addiction that he couldn’t recover from.

Toward the end of his life, Presley looked physically different than the stunning young man of his twenties, which can be blamed on his problems with drugs. He began to struggle immensely with his health and died due to cardiac arrest at age 42.

Grace Kelly

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Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images
Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty Images

Iconic American actress and future Princess of Monaco was killed in 1982, in a car accident as a result of a stroke she suffered while driving. After leaving acting, Kelly became a princess, marrying the Prince of Monaco.

At one of her several memorial services, actor James Stewart said, “You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I’ll miss her, we’ll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace.”

Huge TV Audience

Monte Carlo, Monaco: Princess Grace of Monaco, laying in state in open wooden coffin
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

Close to 100 million television viewers, as well as heads of state, celebrities, and fellow royals watched Kelly’s funeral on live television. She was interred in the same cathedral in which she had her fairy-tale wedding to Prince Rainier in 1956.

Kelly’s initial service was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate in Monaco-Ville. The event was star-studded, with the likes of Cary Grant, Danielle Mitterrand, Princess Diana, Nancy Reagan, and others showing their respects.

Marvin Gaye

Gilles Petard/Redferns
Gilles Petard/Redferns

Sultry “Let’s Get It On” crooner Marvin Gaye was murdered by his own father on April 1st, 1984. The shocking and heartbreaking murder was one of the most unexpected events of the era.

After a fight with his dad, Marvin told his mother, “I’m going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I’m never coming back.” His dad shot and killed him moments later.

Gone Too Soon

The funeral of singer Marvin Gaye (1939 - 1984), 5th April 1984.
Kypros/Getty Images
Kypros/Getty Images

His body was displayed at the Forrest Lawn Memorial Park before eventually being cremated. Surprisingly, Hollywood has been unable to pay tribute to Gaye with a biopic.

Several attempts have been made at turning Marvin Gaye’s life into a movie. Directors such as F. Gary Gray and Cameron Crowe have been attached. Gaye’s family, however, has always shown opposition to seeing his life turned into a nostalgia cash grab for the movie industry.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol at Studio 54
Robin Platzer/Twin Images / Contributor
Robin Platzer/Twin Images / Contributor

Pop artist Warhol died in 1987, from complications from a routine gallbladder surgery at age 59. Warhol, of course, was famous for his art. One of his most iconic pieces in the Campbell’s Soup can that turned the normal, everyday food into something magical.

His body was returned to Pittsburgh for its burial. One of Warhol’s cousins took a photo of the body in his casket, putting it on sale for $900,000.

No Trademark Sunglasses

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The cousin also removed Warhol’s trademark sunglasses for the shot, giving attendees a more personal look into the lost life of one of America’s greatest artists.. This watermarked copy is the only known print. Oddly enough, the watermark is fitting considering the style of Warhol.

Warhol, who once said “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment'” was buried in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.

B.B. King

BB King
Harry Herd/Redferns
Harry Herd/Redferns

Blues legend B.B. King died in 2015, at the age of 89. King is credited for introducing a more sophisticated style of soloing with string bending on his guitar then artists before him.

His fans lined up to view his open casket at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. King was dressed in a purple satin shirt and a floral tuxedo jacket, with two black Gibson guitars by his side.

A Letter From The President

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President Obama honored King in a letter: “B.B. may be gone but that thrill will be with us forever. And there’s going to be one killer blues session in heaven tonight.”

King’s funeral procession was led down Beale Street in Memphis. A brass marching band played in front of the hearse while thousands of people lined the street to pay their respects. The procession ended at Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church, where the service was held.

Bela Lugosi

: Bela Lugosi and Helen Chandler in
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

Legendary horror actor Lugosi died in his sleep in 1956, and the body was discovered by his 5th wife, Hope.

He was buried in his Dracula costume, per the request of his ex-wife Lillian and son Bela Lugosi Jr.

Dracula

Bela-casket
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willcrawford397/Pinterest

This post-mortem photo was taken by a close family friend, David Katzman.

The costume really makes this one especially creepy!

Sam Cooke

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Sam Cooke
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Soul singer Sam Cooke was shot in the chest at the young age of 33. He was attacked at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles in 1964 and died from his wounds.

The young entrepreneur and singer-songwriter was buried after an open casket funeral.

Attended By Thousands

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Despite Cooke’s young age at the time of his death, he was already wildly popular and his career was on the rise. He had a funeral service in Chicago which was attended by thousands of his fans.

Cooke had 30 U.S. Top 40 hits before his death, and three more after. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of soul music.

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

Bill Robinson, aka Mr Bojangles, on a film set with child actress Shirley Temple, January 23, 1936.
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Bill Robinson was one of the most famous African American performers of the early 20th century. He was the first African-American to headline a mixed-race show on Broadway.

He is also well known for his many performances in Shirley Temple movies where his dancing abilities were prominently featured.

Mr. Bojangles

Visitors passing the open coffin of Bill Robinson Bojangles entertainer actor and dancer at his funeral, New York City, New York, March 12, 1949.
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images
Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

When he died of heart failure at the age of 71, he was so well known and respected that Ed Sullivan made the funeral arrangements.

Thousands of people walked past his casket in order to pay their final respects.

Bonnie Parker

Portrait of American bank robbers and lovers Clyde Barrow (1909 - 1934) and Bonnie Parker (1911 -1934), popularly known as Bonnie and Clyde, circa 1933.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Notorious outlaw Bonnie Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, died at the young age of 24.

Bonnie and Clyde roamed the central United States during the Great Depression, robbing people of their money and valuables, until they were ambushed in 1934 and killed by members of law enforcement.

Buried One Day After Clyde

muddbosss/YouTube
muddbosss/YouTube

Their crime spree was so notorious that newspapers bearing tales of their exploits made a lot of money. Bonnie was buried just one day after Clyde, and many people sent flowers to the funeral which was held in Dallas, Texas.

One of the largest wreaths sent was from the paper boys of Dallas who were grateful for the good business Bonnie and Clyde brought them.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela outside his Soweto home three days after his release
Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images
Gideon Mendel/Corbis via Getty Images

Former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away in 2013, though many people mistakenly think he died while in prison for his role as an anti-apartheid revolutionary.

He was the country’s first black head of state and was the first head of state to be elected in a democratic election.

An International Hero

South African Naval personnel guard the coffin with former South African President Nelson Mandela, as Mandela lies in state
MARKUS SCHREIBER/AFP via Getty Images
MARKUS SCHREIBER/AFP via Getty Images

Mourners at his funeral included dignitaries, presidents, as well as his many admirers. Thousands of people gathered to pay their respects to the man who helped to end apartheid.

Today, Nelson Mandela is remembered as an international hero. His body was guarded at his funeral by members of the military.

Eva Peron

Portrait of First Lady and Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina Maria Eva Duarte de Peron
PhotoQuest/Getty Images
PhotoQuest/Getty Images

The Argentinian singer turned politician was one of the most beloved first ladies in Argentinian history.

The story of her life inspired the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, Evita, which featured the hit song “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and starred Madonna in the title role.

Body Was Stored For 20 Years

The embalmed body of Argentinian politician Eva Peron
Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

After Eva Peron’s death in 1952, millions of Argentinians paid their respects to the beloved first lady, after which her body was stored in hiding for 20 years.

Her body was once again placed on display for people to see in the 1970s, before finally being laid to rest in her family’s mausoleum.

Chris Henry

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry
Derick Hingle/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
Derick Hingle/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry had a promising career which was tragically cut short at the young age of 26. The athlete had fallen out of a pickup truck which his fiancee was driving. during a domestic dispute.

He had previously experienced legal troubles including drug possession, driving without a license, and multiple gun charges.

Another Victim Of CTE

Seini Tonga walks up to the casket of Cincinnati Bengals player Chris Henry during his funeral
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It was later revealed that Chris Henry had a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy resulting from multiple hits to the head during his football career.

His organs were donated for transplant by his mother and his corneas, lungs, kidneys, heart, pancreas, and liver were transplanted. The lives of four people were saved.

Jesse James

Portrait of American outlaw Jesse James (1847- 1882), late 1870s.
Kean Collection/Getty Images
Kean Collection/Getty Images

Jesse James is one of the most notorious outlaws of all time.

While the number of people he robbed might suggest a long criminal career, he was murdered in 1882 at the young age of 35, although many rumors at the time claimed that James somehow faked his own death.

Packed In Ice

American outlaw Frank James (second from left) and others pose over the dead body of his brother, Jesse James
Authenticated News/Getty Images
Authenticated News/Getty Images

Perhaps to disprove such rumors, Jesse James’ body was packed in ice and displayed in Saint Joseph, a town in his home state of Missouri, where people lined up to take pictures with him.

It was widely circulated that his mother made a living by charging people a quarter each to take a penny from his grave as a memento.

Rick James

Rick James
Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Soul singer Rick James was a Motown artist who released his debut in album in 1978, selling two million copies and launching his career.

He is perhaps best known for writing the MC Hammer hit “U Can’t Touch This.” He had to sue Hammer to be credited on the wildly popular song.

Can’t Touch This

Rick-James-casket
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While he had a moderately successful career, it was severely damaged by addiction and legal troubles. He spent three years in prison for kidnapping two women.

Rick James died at the age of 56 from heart failure. While he lost fans due to his criminal career, people still came to his open casket funeral.

June Carter Cash

Johnny Cash und June Carter 1980
Willy Spiller/RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Willy Spiller/RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images

June Carter Cash, a member of the performing group the Carter Sisters. She was married to country music sensation Johnny Cash. She passed away in 2003 following complications after a heart valve replacement surgery.

Her husband, Johnny Cash, passed away just four months after his wife. Tragically, June’s daughter Rosie (with her second husband) died not long after.

Buried With Johnny

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jill5/Pinterest

Both June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash were buried at Hendersonville Memory Gardens in Tennessee.

June had an open casket funeral which was open to the public so that her adoring fans could gather to pay their respects to the beloved singer-songwriter, author, and actress.

Billie Holiday

Billie
Gilles Petard/Redferns
Gilles Petard/Redferns

Legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday died at the young age of 44 from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver.

As she was dying, she was arrested and handcuffed in her hospital bed for drug possession and police guard.

Transformed The Music Industry

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funeralsource/Pinterest

In her thirty-year career she transformed the music industry and contributed many songs which are now considered to be jazz standards.

Her funeral was held at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan. People lined up to pay their respects at her open-casket funeral mass. Billie was later buried in the Bronx at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery.

Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Ilich Lenin, Russian Bolshevik leader, Moscow, Russia, 28 November 1921
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The Russian political theorist and communist revolutionary was head of the Russian Republic, and later the head of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and eventually the Soviet Union.

He developed the political theories which are now known as Leninism.

Body Still On Display

Embalmed Body of Lenin at Red Square
Georges DeKeerle/Sygma via Getty Images
Georges DeKeerle/Sygma via Getty Images

Lenin not only had an open casket funeral, but his body is still on display at the Lenin Mausoleum. There is some discussion of removing his body from display in recent years, particularly since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

While Lenin was once regarded as a national hero, his popularity has diminished following the collapse of the Soviet Union and his theories are now regarded as controversial and divisive.

Hector “Macho” Camacho

Camacho
Al Bello /Allsport
Al Bello /Allsport

Hector Camacho was a very popular Puerto Rican boxer who competed for three decades and became a three-weight world champion.

With fights against Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, and Oscar De La Hoya, Camacho put together an impressive career in the ring.

Shot Outside The Bar

Camacho funeral
Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/LatinContent via Getty Images
Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/LatinContent via Getty Images

On November 20, 2012, Camacho was shot and seriously wondered while sitting in a car outside a bar.

He died only four days later, and this photo was taken of his body.

Boris Yeltsin

Yeltsin
Shepard Sherbell/Corbis via Getty Images
Shepard Sherbell/Corbis via Getty Images

Boris Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, passed away from congestive heart failure in 2007 at the age of 76. He was the first Russian head of state to be buried in a church ceremony in 113 years, as the Soviet government did not support organized religion.

His funeral was declared a national day of mourning, and mourners gathered to pay their respects to the former head of state.

A Message From Gorbachev

The body of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin lies at his state funeral
Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images
Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said, “I express my profoundest condolences to the family of the deceased, who had major deeds for the good of the country as well as serious mistakes behind him.”

“It was a tragic destiny,” he continued.

Dinah Washington

Dinah
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

One of the most famous female singers of the 20th century, Dinah Washington was the most popular African-American artist of the 1950s.

Her most iconic songs include classics such as “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes) and “Mad About the Boy.”

Accidental Overdose

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narvelan/Pinterest

She accidentally ingested a lethal dose of sedatives at the young age of 39, an overdose which led to her death.

She had an open casket funeral, and fans and admirers gathered to pay their respects to the singer who was displayed wearing a chiffon evening dress, white mink stole, opera gloves, and a diamond tiara in a solid bronze casket.

Rudolph Valentino

Valentino
Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images
Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images

Valentino was a star of the 1920s and considered an early pop icon, starring in several silent films such as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, and Blood and Sand.

Valentino was hospitalized and diagnosed with appendicitis and gastric ulcers, and after surgery, he developed peritonitis. His condition would worsen and he slipped into a coma.

Mass Hysteria

Valentino funeral
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

His death at the age of 31 caused hysteria amongst his fans, and an estimated 100,000 people attended his Manhattan funeral.

This would lead to a number of incidents, with windows being smashed by fans trying to get in and an all-day riot, resulting in 100 mounted police officers being deployed.

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig, first baseman for the New York Yankees, poses for a portrait in the dugout
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images

A New York Yankees icon, Lou Gehrig is regarded as one of the finest baseball players to every play. He played his entire 17-year career for the Yankees, winning two American League MVPs and six World Series championships.

He had a career .340 batting average, and was the first MLB player to have his uniform number retired by a team.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Babe Ruth sorrowfully pays his last tribute to Lou Gehrig in front of Gehrig's flower-banked casket
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and would end his career with his famous “The luckiest man on the face of. the Eart” speech.

Gehrig’s teammate, Babe Ruth, is pictured attending his open casket funeral after his death on June 2, 1941.

Mahatma Gandhi

Ghandi
Bettmann / Contributor
Bettmann / Contributor

Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of. the Indian independence movement against British rule, and would lead India to independence through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.

Gandhi would challenge the British-imposed salt tax with a 250 mile Dandi Salt March, and would frequently be imprisoned for his acts of protest.

Three Bullets To The Chest

Gandhi funeral
Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Britain would eventually grant India its independence, but with a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan, religious violence broke out.

Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, why Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse fired three bullets into his chest. Godse made no attempt to escape, and would be tried and executed in 1949.

James Dean

Actor James Dean poses for a Warner Bros publicity shot
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

James Dean was an American actor and cultural icon thanks to his portrayal of troubled teenager Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause.

The American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star of Golden Age Hollywood on their 100 Years… 100 Stars list.

A Love For Autoracing

james-dean-open-casket-102957-71531.jpg
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twilawalker/Pinterest

Dean would become interested in developing an auto racing career, and would compete in a few professional bouts. His movie career would force him to put his racing career on hold while shooting.

Dean would die in a car accident on September 30, 1955. While Dean would not have an open casket funeral, he did pose in a casket just months earlier.