As a final act, Elizabeth Taylor is late for her own funeral
Saturday 26 March 2011
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.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now'
4Chan 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...