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Unforgettable T


From gold-plated coffins to million dollar burial plots, a growing number of the rich and famous are making the passage to the afterlife with the best that money can buy. Farewell Magazine reports.


he famous and infamous often choose to enter the afterlife in a manner which truly befits their excessive mortal life.


From Michael Jackson’s $25,000 casket to


a parade of 16 white limousines transporting mourners during Elvis Presley’s funeral procession, celebrities and their families often spare no expense to leave a lasting impression on the departed’s fans and followers. While it is true that you can’t take it with you – these celebrities certainly gave it a good try.


MICHAEL JACKSON Michael Jackson’s funeral was probably the biggest in entertainment history, drawing tens of thousands of mourners and hundreds of millions of TV viewers. An estimated 1.6 million people entered a


lottery to win one of 17,500 tickets available to his memorial at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Tickets sold for upwards of $10,000 on eBay and the major television stations in dozens of countries aired the event live. The service was organised by Jackson’s


concert promoter and an estimated one million fans congregated outside the centre, policed by 3,000 officers, the largest LA security effort planned since the 1984 Summer Olympics. The service cost the city of Los Angeles, which is $530 million in debt, $1.4 million for police, litter pick-up, sanitation and traffic control. Michael Jackson’s brothers, each wearing one white diamante glove, began the memorial by wheeling his flower-laiden casket onto


62 Farewell Magazine


the stage. The closed, solid-bronze casket, plated with 14-carat gold and lined with blue velvet, was not originally expected to be at the memorial service. Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie,


Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Jermaine Jackson, and Shaheen Jafargholi, from Britain’s Got Talent, all performed. Brooke Shields and Smokey Robinson gave eulogies, while Queen Latifah read “We Had Him”, a poem written for the occasion by Maya Angelou. The people in the arena cheered as clips


of Michael Jackson’s life and music were played on big screens and tributes were provided by legends including former South African President Nelson Mandela and singer Diana Ross. Michael was eventually laid to rest in Forest


Lawn’s Glendale site, inside a mausoleum with replicas of the work of Renaissance greats, including Michelangelo’s David and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper recreated in stained glass. Dame Elizabeth Taylor, actor Macaulay Culkin and music producer Quincy Jones were among the 200 invited guests. Gladys Knight sang at the service, while civil


rights campaigner the Reverend Al Sharpton was one of the speakers. The ceremony began more than an hour


late, due to the late arrival of the singer’s family, who eventually arrived in a motorcade of 31 vehicles. Michael’s final resting place is suitably


starry. He lies alongside celebrities including Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Sammy Davis Jnr and Walt Disney.


ELVIS PRESLEY The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was only 42-years-


old when he suffered a fatal heart attack in the bathroom of his Graceland mansion on August 16, 1977 — the night before he was supposed to kick off a 12-city comeback tour. It took less than two days for 25,000 fans


PHOTO: Micheal Jackson Credit: landmarkmedia / Shutterstock.com


to surround his Memphis home, where they endured 90-degree heat. In fact, so many fans converged on Memphis that President Carter ordered 300 National


goodbyes


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