Celebrity cremations: TV stars, rockers, and writers who opted for the urn
"All he had said to me was that he didn't want to take up any ground on the face of this Earth for his bones to moulder."
– Keith Richards, on cremating his father
"Glee" star Cory Monteith's body was cremated days after his death, following a private viewing of his body by members of his immediate family and girlfriend Lea Michelle.
Monteith is one of a growing list of celebrities who was cremated. Among the celebrities who chose cremation, the list includes:
- Walt Disney, who, despite persistent rumors, was not posthumously frozen
- Amy Winehouse, singer-songwriter
- John F. Kennedy, former US President
- George Harrison, ex-Beatle
- Bram Stoker, "Dracula" author
- Tupac Shakur, rapper and actor; some of whose ashes were smoked by his friends
- Maria Callas, legendary opera singer
- Andre the Giant, wrestler and actor
- Ravi Shankar, composer, whose ashes are scattered in India and Southern California
- Johnny Carson, TV host whose ashes were scattered at sea
- Bea Arthur, TV star and former US Marine
- Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
- H.G. Wells, seminal sci-fi writer
- Richard Pryor, actor
- Stiv Bators, singer and guitarist of The Dead Boys; his ashes were sprinkled on Jim Morrison's grave in Paris.
- Gary Coleman, actor
- Marlon Brando, actor
- Woody Guthrie, folk musician and activist; his ashes were scattered in Coney Island, Brooklyn, where he lived
- Jessica Tandy, actor
- Christopher Reeve, actor
- John Lennon, ex-Beatle
- James Doohan, actor; some of the "Star Trek" star's ashes were flown into space aboard the Falcon 9 rocket
- Janis Joplin, singer-songwriter
- Rudyard Kipling, author
- Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator; his ashes were flown into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia
Bertrand Richards was not a celebrity, but his son certainly is. Shortly before scattering his dad's ashes over an oak tree, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards collected a few flakes of windblown remains on his finger and, on a whim, snorted them. As Keef later wrote, "Ashes to ashes, father to son. He is now growing oak trees and would love me for it."
Of coures, we cannot forget gonzo journalist and novelist Hunter S. Thompson. In a funeral orchestrated by Johnny Depp, Thompson's cremated remains were shot from a giant cannon as Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" played.