15 Photographs of celebrities who had open-casket funerals


Most celebrities choose to be buried in private ceremonies, but few had open-casket ceremonies that allowed their fans one last glimpse.

Millions die each day, and we don't stop to mourn any of them; why would we, death is, after all, a part of the vicious circle of life. However, when a famous personality or celebrity passes away, television coverage shows us people from all around the world mourning their death - tears streaming down their faces, sheaths of flowers placed under marked memorials and fits of hysteria.

It's most possibly because we have attached these celebrities to memories that have come to define who we are. A strong nostalgia factor ensures that we genuinely feel the pain of their passing. While most were buried away in private ceremonies, some had open-caskets, allowing us one last glimpse of our heroes after their deaths. 

#15 Boris Yeltsin

(Source: Wikimedia)

Those subjected to Vladimir Putin's propaganda will mostly not be aware of Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin's personality was a polar opposite to that of Putin and he will forever hold the honor of being Russia's first ever democratically elected president. Following his death in 2007, he was given an open-casket service which was attended by many former and current world leaders. The iconic shot above was captured by photographer Alexander Zemlianichenko mid-ceremony.

#14 Tiny Tim

(Source: Reddit)

Not many can hold a candle to Tiny Tim's ukulele playing skills and he's undoubtedly the most famous ukulele player who has ever lived. Tim, unfortunately, passed away after suffering a heart attack onstage at a benefit at the Women's Club of Minneapolis. His funeral was open to the public and was attended by everyone from Elton John to Howard Stern. Aptly, Tiny Tim was buried with a ukulele placed on his chest.

#13 Bill Robinson

(Source: Twitter)

More popularly known as 'Bojangles,' Robinson was arguably the most prominent African-American performers of the 20th century, appearing in numerous films with Shirley Temple. He died when he was 71-years-old from heart failure and his funeral arrangements were made by Ed Sullivan.

Estimates suggest 32,000 people paid their last respects to Robinson, with the above photo of Bojangles in his casket obtained fromLife Magazine's historical archives.

#12 Grace Kelly

(Source: Wikimedia)

Grace Kelly had a stellar acting career and the honor of being a real-life princess. She became the Princess of Monaco after marrying Prince Rainier III in April 1956. She died at the age of 52 a day after suffering a stroke while driving through the hills of Monaco and suffering a horrendous car crash.

The iconic photo above was taken by Jean Guichard at the Palace of Monaco, where she had married the prince in 1956.

#11 James Brown

(Source: Wikimedia)

Brown's career lasted 50 long years, with his work earning him the title of the 'Godfather of soul.' After his death, his relatives, a host of celebrities, and thousands of fans gathered for a public, open-casket service at the Apollo Theater in New York City on 28 December 2006. The above snap was captured by Robert Sabo for NY Daily News and shows Michael Jackson paying his tributes to brown.

Other prominent celebrities who attended the funeral include 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and MC Hammer.

#10 Nelson Mandela

(Source: Wikimedia)

The leader of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, his passing in 2013 triggered mourning across the country and the world, with foreign dignitaries and presidents alike paying their respects to the great man. The former president's body was visible through a glass lid and mourners were allowed to pass the casket and pay their final respects to the man who had paved the way for the country's freedom from British rule. Unsurprisingly, security was strict, with members of the military guarding his casket at all times.

#9 Jesse James

(Source: Pinterest)

Jesse James's notoriety meant that he attracted just as much attention in death as he did in life: a lot. The world's most famous outlaw was murdered in 1882, with rumors suggesting that James' mother charged people a quarter if they wanted to take a pebble from his grave. Soon, rumors began making the rounds that Jesse had even faked his own death.

Those rumors finally came to an end when his body was packed in ice and displayed at Sidenfaden's Funeral Parlor in Saint Joseph, Missouri.