Gravesites of departed stars

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda -
Someone said that the rituals of the living are for the dead. Today, All Saints’ Day, people troop to the cemetery to pay respects to the dead. Because from our dear departed, we see our own mortality.

And for many, All Saints’ Day is one big picnic at the park. Streets are congested with heavy traffic of people and cars going to the cemetery. Some visit their dead, a day earlier to avoid chaos and stampede. All Saints’ Day is also a reunion of sorts for some who only get to see long lost relatives on occasions like this. Some people visit mausoleum of famous people – stars and celebrities – who wield great influence in their lifetime. Some gravesites have become tourist attractions like Elvis Presley’s in his Graceland.

At the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque one of the most visited gravesites in the country is that of Ninoy Aquino. People from all walks of life come to visit the final resting place of the fallen hero. Helen Vela, Rico Yan, Rene Requiestas also occupy significant places at the memorial park. However, veritable names in society and business also have their imposing figures inside the park. The Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina is also celebrity filled. There are Nida Blanca, Jon Hernandez, Julie Vega, Jay Ilagan, Amado Cortez, Rogelio de la Rosa, Jaime de la Rosa, Mina Aragon, Anthony Alonzo, Chuchay and Georgie Quizon, among others. At the North Cemetery, the who’s who in politics is found – President Roxas, Claro M. Recto, Ramon Magsaysay, Sergio Osmeña, among others. Fernando Poe Jr. is also buried at the North Cemetery.

But around the world, it is perhaps the Pére LaChaise cemetery in France that is the most visited around the world. It has become a tourist destination attracting people from all over the world. It is the gravesite to many famous artists and writers. Among them are Honore de Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Georges Bizet, Alexander Brogniart (architect of the cemetery), Ettore Bugatti (the car manufacturer), Maria Callas, Frederic Chopin, Paul Dukas, Isadora Duncan, Rene Lalique (the artist in glass), Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliere, Yves Montand, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Emilie Schindler (wife of Oskar Schindler), Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Heloise and Abelard, among others.

Another famous cemetery where notable names in the entertainment industry lay buried is the Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California, USA. Among them are Jim Backus, Truman Capote, Eva Gabor, Armand Hammer, Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Walter Matthau, Marilyn Monroe, Heather O’Rourke, Donna Reed, Mel Torme, Carl Wilson.

At the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale California, USA are the tombs of Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Gracie Allen (Gracie Allen died 32 years before her husband, George Burns, who lived to be a very old guy), and husband George Burns. On the other hand, Fred Astaire and screen partner Ginger Rogers are buried in Oakwood Memorial Park, Chatsworth, California, USA.

P.T. Barnum (Phineas T. Barnum) of the famous Barnum Circus wrote in his tombstone at Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA "Not my will, but Thine."

Charles M. Schulz, creator of Peanuts comic strip lies at Pleasant Hills Cemetery, Sebastopol, California. Laurence Olivier is with the kings and queens in Westminster Abbey, London, England while James Dean is at Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Indiana, USA.

For Diana, Princess of Wales, who died on a Sunday, Aug. 31, 1997 following a car crash in Paris, eternal resting place is at the Althorp in the Spencer estate in England. One former employee even lamented that the People’s Princess is buried among dogs because Althorp used to be a pet cemetery. The family of the late Princess claims that they simply wanted some privacy for their beloved Diana. Diana was buried Sept. 6, 1997.

John Lennon, shot four times by madman Mark Chapman was cremated. There was no funeral for John but instead it was a silent vigil to pray for his soul. Lennon was shot four times while walking back to his apartment with wife Yoko Ono. The killer who had earlier asked for his autograph approached him and said "Hey John" then fired the shots. Chapman had in his hand a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, a novel by J.D. Salinger.

Chairman of the Board Frank Sinatra who died of heart attack at 82, rests where his mother Natalie "Dolly" Sinatra, and father, Anthony Martin Sinatra, are buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City near Palm Springs. Kurt Cobain, front man of the rock group Nirvana had his ashes spread in different parts by wife Courtney Love. Cobain must have reached nirvana by now. And Anna Pavlova, who in her last words said, "Get my swan costume ready," must be dancing with the angels in heaven. Pavlova died in Netherlands while touring, a few days before her 50th birthday. She was cremated and buried at the Golders Green Cemetery in London. In 2001 her remains were moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

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