When Evel Knievel died in 2007, the 17,000 attendants of his funeral most likely expected a stunt or two. They probably didn’t imagine just how much of a spectacle the proceedings would be. The service included both fireworks and a eulogy delivered by Matthew McConaughey. Knievel, ever the showman, had made particular requests for how he wished to be buried. A celebration of his daredevil life, he had organised a funeral befitting of the patron saint of the deathwish.
Knievel is not the only celebrity to go out in style. Each one of the following figures had the star power (and imagination, more importantly) to plan their ideal send-off.
Upon her death in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor left behind a legacy as a 20th Century cultural icon. Taylor pioneered many of today’s celebrity behaviours, such as marrying with every new moon. None of them she embodied more, however, than that of being ‘fashionably late.’
When Taylor died at the age of 79, her final wishes specified that her casket arrive at the funeral 15 minutes late. It was a tongue-in-cheek touch to an otherwise grand and elegant funeral. Of course, her publicist was told to say she was even late to her own funeral. We’re just glad she didn’t choose to be rolled out of a carpet like she was in the 60’s classic Cleopatra.
You probably haven’t heard of Fredric Baur, he’s undeniably the world’s most famous food storage technician. In other words, he invented the Pringles can. Since this was his life’s proudest achievement (inventing freeze-dried ice cream was a distant second), you probably won’t need three guesses to identify what he wanted to be buried in.
When Baur died in 2008, his children honoured his request for his ashes to be stored in a giant Pringles can. Evidently, ‘once you pop you can’t stop’.
When someone dies, it’s often said that they leave a piece of themselves with their loved ones. We don’t mean this literally by the way. Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur’s friends were much more tasteful. They settled for smoking his ashes instead.
Shakur’s career was tragically cut short when he was killed in a drive-by shooting at the age of 25. Legend has it that Shakur’s ashes were rolled into a joint which was smoked by his friends at a BBQ. A fitting tribute that we’re sure Tupac would’ve approved of.
“He loved explosions.” This was the explanation given by Hunter S. Thompson’s widow behind the extravagant way his ashes were scattered.
In 2005 Thompson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 67. The gonzo journalist and all-around-debauchee requested his ashes be shot out of a cannon. The funeral cost $3m and was funded by colleague and long-time-friend Johnny Depp.
The ashes were shot from a height of 47m above a crowd of friends, family, and stars including Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn. If you want to see how a funeral is really done, you can watch an excerpt here.
One of the things Star Trek was most known for was the iconic salutation ‘live long and prosper.` James Doohan certainly did both. Playing the role of Scotty and passing away at 85, Doohan left a legacy that spanned lightyears. Doohan was part of a show that inspired a generation to develop a passion for space travel. Therefore, it seemed fitting upon his death in 2005 for his ashes to be launched into space.
Doohan’s life may have been defined by Star Trek but what about his death? More like Lost in Space unfortunately, for even after three attempts in 2008, Doohan’s dust remained on his home planet. Luckily, in space, no one can hear you spinning. Finally, in 2012 with the launch of SpaceX, a portion of Doohan’s remains finally entered the final frontier.