As a final act, Elizabeth Taylor is late for her own funeral

From her early days as a young actress at MGM to her zenith as Hollywood's biggest star, Elizabeth Taylor loved nothing more than to infuriate directors with her late arrival on set. So it was in death too.

In a typically playful final instruction the actress's flower-strewn coffin arrived at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, yesterday 15 minutes after the announced time, fulfilling, her publicist said, a wish "to be late for her own funeral".

The 79-year-old was buried according to Jewish custom within 48 hours of her death. She had died from congestive heart failure at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre surrounded by her four children.

Access to the cemetery was blocked by barricades while five stretch limousines conveyed nearly 50 members of Taylor's family and friends to the cemetery for the one-hour multi-denominational service led by the Rabbi Jerry Cutler. Mourners heard a reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo" by the actor Colin Farrell and a trumpet performance of "Amazing Grace" by her grandson Rhys Tivey.

Taylor's coffin was interred in the cemetery's great mausoleum beneath a marble sculpture of an angel.

Unusual last requests

Napoleon Written in exile on St Helena, Bonaparte's will was a complex document. The most unusual bequest on his death in 1821 was to "preserve my hair, and cause a bracelet to be made of it, with a little gold clasp, to be sent to the Empress Maria Louisa, to my mother, and to each of my brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, the Cardinal; and one of larger size for my son".



Benjamin Franklin Founding Father, scientist, writer and diplomat, Franklin was one of the towering figures of his age. More than 20,000 people attended his funeral when he died, aged 84, in 1790. But contained in his will was an unusual bequest for his daughter Sarah urging her to dissuade from "the expensive, vain and useless pastime of wearing jewels". It was a reference to a diamond-studded portrait of King Louis XVI which he wanted her to preserve intact.



Harry Houdini The escapologist spent much of his later life attempting to unmask fraudulent spiritualists – then very much in vogue. To prove the point he insisted his wife hold a séance each Halloween after his death from peritonitis in 1926, agreeing that the "real" Houdini – should he emerge – would announce his presence with the phrase "Rosabelle believe".



William Shakespeare The decision of the Bard in 1616 to leave to his wife Anne Hathaway only "my second best bed" has long puzzled Shakespeare scholars. Did it mean that the 34-year relationship was suffused with perhaps less passion that the poet's celebrated sonnets suggested?



Leona Helmsley The "Queen of Mean"made a $1bn fortune from her New York hotel and property empire. When she died in 2007 it emerged that one of the major beneficiaries from her will would be her beloved white Maltese pooch, Trouble, who was to inherit a $12m trust fund to keep him in the opulent lifestyle to which he had become. Two grandchildren got nothing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us