- Nov 06, 2012
Everyone’s looking to save money in this economy, and with the price of many types of funerals being relatively high, saving on funeral costs is common today, with pre-paid funerals being a popular option. But these celebrities and famous historical figures had no expenses spared in their memorialisations; not even pre-paying could have made these services affordable for the remaining 99% of us. Funeral planning itself for these events probably cost several times what the average wealthy person’s entire funerals cost today.
The king of pop and one of the most heavily scrutinized public pop-culture icons of the past century was famous for not only making big money, but also for spending it extravagantly. His funeral was no exception.
Like an MJ performance, the service was something of a spectacle. Held on July 7, 2009, the service was broadcast on TV for a world-wide audience to mourn his loss, pay tribute or just enjoy as a showcase. The event, though only barely topping ten figures, featured big name musicians, athletes, actors and other performers giving eulogies and even putting on performances for the occasion. By the standards of the following funerals, however, MJ’s service may have been lush, but it wasn’t excessive.
The death of “Lady D” became less a matter of loss and more a matter of novelty over the months – and even years – following.
The procession was a grand one, traversing the streets between Westminster Abbey and Kingston Place with those fancy British royal guards promenading all the way. Topping around $5,000,000, the event was similar to Michael Jackson’s funeral in that it became a worldwide spectacle. About two-and-a-half billion people watched the ceremony on television across the globe, no matter what time zone they were in.
But the event turned out to be a force of good as well. Elton John famously performed a re-adapted song of his own during the ceremony, which would eventually become the highest grossing song world-wide, and the proceeds all went to various charities Lady D was actively involved in during her life.
Pope John Paul II
This one cost the Vatican over nine million euros, vastly overshadowing pretty much any funeral ever.
The service required almost a week of funeral planning following the death of one of the most canonised religious figures in modern history, and brought together not only just about every political figure you’ve ever heard of short of King Nebuchadnezzar, but around 4,000,000,000 regular people in Rome, plus about half that in broadcast viewers. The attendance was double the television audience. And to align with Catholic ideals for humility, he even requested to be buried in a modest casket, showing how much the rest of the world thought of him above how he thought of himself.
Anna Nichole Smith
The former Playboy model and media object suffered a troubling death, but her funeral turned out to be something akin to an excessive circus event.
Buried in a rhinestone blanket within a casket constructed of rich mahogany, the event of her funeral seemed largely a media event as even cameramen were charged four figures just to be there.
Marilyn Monroe … Sort Of
While Monroe’s private funeral in a relatively unknown cemetery in LA wasn’t extravagant on its own, the aftermath has proven to be exceedingly more expensive than the average person’s.
It’s well-known that her second husband, Yankee Hall of Fame and general baseball hero Joe DiMaggio had three bouquets of roses sent to her resting place every week for 20 years, while long-time admirer Hugh Heffner reportedly continues to have roses delivered to her plot daily, though he never actually knew her personally. Considering the quality of flower the two of them likely deemed fitting for the star, these costs probably run up to some people’s total yearly salaries.
Additionally, as the cemetery only became a coveted resting place after her death, there were a number of plots available surrounding Monroe’s, which come with ten-figure price tags. Heffner already has his.