Since news of Prince's death broke on Thursday, April 21, the world has been in mourning. While it's true that few of us knew him personally, his death has had a profound impact on millions. On one hand, news of a celebrity death is humbling. It's a reminder that while our icons seem larger than life, they, like all of us, will eventually pass away. On the other hand, losing someone like Prince is like losing a small piece of yourself. Even if you never met him face-to-face, his music, art, and legacy are woven into the fabric of our lives, memories, and milestones. We didn't know him, but he helped us to better know ourselves.
It's the same reason we mourned (and are still mourning) legends like Robin Williams and David Bowie here at Wimp. What would our lives be like if we'd never heard “Space Oddity” or “Purple Rain,” or never met Mrs. Doubtfire, bang-a-rang Peter, or the Genie? Certainly, we'd be different people. “It's just entertainment,” some might argue, but isn't the best entertainment supposed to touch our souls and influence our lives?
The 20 iconic celebrities whose grave sites are featured here certainly did just that. Each one is gone but, even in death, they continue to inspire the masses. From pop star Elvis Presley to man of science Sir Isaac Newton, each of their final resting places pays homage to the legacies they left behind.
1. Author Mary Shelley, best known for Frankenstein, is buried at St. Peter's Church in Bournemouth, England. The bodies of her parents, philosophers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, were exhumed and reburied at her side.
2. Jules Verne, the author of adventurous classics such as Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, was entombed at the Cimetière de la Madeleine in Amiens, France in 1905.
3. Silent film star Charlie Chaplin's grave is located in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, but his final resting place has been far from peaceful. In 1978, his body was stolen by grave robbers and his family ransomed. After the robbers were caught by police, Chaplin's body was reburied and surrounded by reinforced concrete.
4. Notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone is buried at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.
5. Harry Houdini, legendary escape artist and illusionist of the 1920s, was laid to rest beneath this epic monument in Queen, New York. For decades, doctors and historians have debated whether his death was caused by a simple case of appendicitis or a beating that he received by student J. Gordon Whitehead days earlier. To this day, there's no way to be entirely sure.
6. Every year, thousands of visitors pay homage to the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Aaron Presley, at his grave site and home in Graceland, Tennessee.
7. James Dean, an actor famous for his good looks and role as a troubled teen in Rebel Without a Cause, is buried in Fairmount, Indiana. As you can see, Dean lived a tragically short life, dying in an auto accident at the age of 24.
8. To this day, Sir Isaac Newton is recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and is most famously remembered for discovering the law of universal gravity. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1727.
9. On Dean Martin's crypt at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California is a line from one of the entertainer's most popular songs: “Everybody loves somebody sometime.” He died of lung cancer on Christmas Day in 1995, at the age of 78.
10. Author Edgar Allen Poe died in 1849, after being found drunk and delirious on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. Since 1949, a mysterious “Poe Toaster” has left flowers and trinkets at his grave site at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, Maryland.
11. Jimi Hendrix, a singer, songwriter, and world-famous guitarist, doesn't just have a grave site – he has a full memorial, located at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton, Washington. The memorial was funded by Jimi's father, Al Hendrix, who said, “I hope that in the years to come, both my family and Jimi's fans will find peace, remembrance, and inspiration from this memorial.”
12. If ever there was a name that needs no introduction, it's Walt Disney. Disney was a heavy smoker who famously despised filtered cigarettes, a habit that led to lung cancer and eventually death in 1966. His body was cremated and the ashes interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
13. American poet Robert Lee Frost is buried next to his wife at Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont. While he chose the words “I had a lover's quarrel with the world” for his epitaph, most people remember him from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
14. Billy Wilder was a versatile writer, whose talents included screenwriting and journalism, and is remembered in Hollywood as the first person to ever win an Academy Award as director, producer, and screenwriter for his film The Apartment. He's interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles, not far from the crypt of Marilyn Monroe.
15. Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian who couldn't resist getting in one last joke, even in death. He passed away just shy of his 83rd birthday, and was also buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park.
16. Poet Emily Dickinson died of kidney disease in 1886 at her family home at the age of 55. Ever the homebody, she requested to be buried at the Dickinson family plot at West Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts. While she was shy and reclusive by nature, her poetry continues to touch hearts and lives around the world.
17. H.P. Lovecraft, a horror and sci-fi writer who would inspire the genres for decades to come, did not achieve notoriety until after his death in 1937. The phrase “I am providence” is a reference to a line in one of his personal letters.
18. Country music star Cindy Walker's gravestone, located at Mexia City Cemetery in Mexia, Texas, is a site to behold. She died at the age of 87 in 2006, just weeks before Willie Nelson was set to release the tribute album: You Don't Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker.
19. Jim Morrison, best remembered as the lead singer of The Doors, died in 1971, presumably of a drug overdose. Like so many great artists, including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse, the “Lizard King” was only 27 years old at the time of his death. His grave site at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France is still well-tended by fans.
20. Merv Griffin, media mogul and creator of popular game shows such as Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, definitely had a sense of humor. His gravestone, which reads “I will not be right back after the message,” can be found at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
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