What would you like to say on your tombstone?
For decades, celebrities have been asked that same question, but when it’s “their time”, what is really put on their tombstones? These celebrities, as well as their tombstones, are worth remembering.
Some say that George Reeves is the original Superman, playing him on the 1950s television show Adventures of Superman. In 1959, all were shocked to learn that “Superman” shot himself and died. His inscription was lovingly written by his father and says, “My beloved son ‘SUPERMAN’”.
Ernie Kovacs was an over the top comedian from the 1950s that made him famous (and infamous to some) for ad-libbing, using props in comedy, and just being as goofy as possible. There was nothing Kovacs wouldn’t try for a laugh; the sky was the limit. Tragically, he died in an automobile accident at the age of 42, but his legacy lives on as several shows even today are influenced by his style. His tombstone reads, “Nothing in Moderation – We all loved him”.
We decided to put these two actor/ comedians together since they are best known as a comedic pair. Starting out in the era of silent films, Laurel and Hardy began their long career that would span over 30 years in the film industry, creating countless films together. It’s fitting that the sayings on their tombstones are similar in nature: Stan Laurel’s reads, “A master of comedy, his genus in the art of humor brought gladness to the world he loved” and Oliver Hardy’s says, “A genius of comedy, his talent brought joy and laughter to the world”.
You may not be familiar with Wynn due to the time period he was in show business; Ed was a comedian and an actor in the 1910s through the 1960s. He not only played funny character roles in films but also wrote comedy as well. He’ll always be remembered as a funny man, as it reads on his tombstone, “Dear God: Thanks” followed by his signature.
John Wayne was an American icon and played the starring role in 142 films which spanned over fifty years. He was best known for his role in the western films, and was recognized by his distinct voice, speech patterns, and the stride in his walk and his very tall stature. There are many that would have been appropriate quotes for his tombstone, yet it was unmarked for twenty years.
Now it is engraved with a quote from a controversial interview he did with Playboy in 1971. The quote says, “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”
Rita Hayworth is most notable for being a sex symbol in the 1940s, though she was a film actress from 1934 to 1972. She’s famous not only for her acting, but also for her beautiful singing voice. The inscription on her tombstone doesn’t mean much to the general public, but it’s obvious that she was loved very dearly as it reads, “To yesterday’s companionship and tomorrow’s reunion”.
Jackie Gleason was a very talented comedic actor best known for his role of Ralph Kramden on the hit sitcom of the 1950s The Honeymooners. Gleason also performed in many other projects besides The Honeymooners, but Ralph would always be his trademark. There are a few sayings that could have made sense to be put on Gleason’s tombstone, but by far the best one was chosen: “And away we go”, coming from one of his signature sayings (he would always comedically draw out the second “a” in the word “away”).
An accomplished and well respected actor, Lorne Greene was best known for playing the role of Ben Cartwright on the long time television show Bonanza. His grave stone gives tribute to not only him as a person, but also as most best knew him – Ben Cartwright. The inscriptions reads, “LORNE H. GREENE: The world’s best loved father. BEN CARTWRIGHT: The great voice of Canada finally stilled but silenced never. The dear voice of our loving husband, father, and grandfather will sing in our hearts forever.”
Perhaps you would know this celebrity best as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, or Porky Pig. Blanc quickly earned the nickname “The Man with a Thousand Voices” for his unique but awesome talent. He portrayed many voices of cartoons for us over decades of entertainment. His nickname could have been appropriately put on his grace stone, but instead he chose something a bit more profound. Form the immortal words of Porky Pig, Blanc chose “That’s all folks”.
Most noted in the 1930s, 1940s, and even 1950s, Bette Davis was a very successful and versatile actress that played roles in films ranging from romantic dramas to comedies. She’s regarded as having a wide range in acting abilities. It was actually mentioned in her memoir Mother Goddam and she said that someone had suggested it to her. Her tombstone reads “She did it the hard way”, which is quite fitting since no one was very receptive to Davis when she first tried to break into the Hollywood scene.
In case you were too young to remember, Sammy Davis entertained the world for decades, but not just doing one thing. This multi-talented performer could dance (tap dancing was his specialty), sing, do impressions, was a comedian, and could also play several different musical instruments. You name it and Sammy could probably do it and do it better than most. On his tombstone, it very appropriately says, “he did it all”.
Active in the film and television industry for well over 50 years, Eve Arden put an everlasting mark on the world. She was most well known for her many film roles in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, but continued her acting career until 1987. Because of her years of longevity, her tombstone appropriately reads, “the world will remember”.
Michael Landon, a very talented actor, was best known for three long-running television shows, and was also a talented director and producer. His long time television career spanned over more than three full decades as he portrayed Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza form 1959 to 1973, Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie from 1974 to 1983, and Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven from 1984 to 1989.
Upon his death in 1991, of course his family and close friends mourned the most, but the general public mourned as well as a legend and well loved actor had died. The phrase on his tombstone is very fitting as is says, “Devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He seized life with joy. He gave to life generously. He leaves a legacy of love and laughter.” The message not only has meaning for his family but also for his devoted fans.
Though it’s not what he’s most known for, Bert Convy got his start in show business through singing, then moved on to Broadway before he became a famous game show host. Bert is best known for hosting the game shows Password Plus, Tattletales, and Win, Lose, or Draw. His tombstone reads something very touching that probably means a lot to his loved ones and was obviously thought of by them. It reads, “His star will forever shine”.
George Burns is a comedic legend of stand-up comedy as well as an actor and writer who spent years doing radio performances, television, and film.
Back in his earlier years, he teamed up with Gracie Allen, who would later become his wife. Their antics together were amazing and in some ways she stole the show. Allen died in 1964 and Burns still professed his undying love and devotion for her. Though he lived thirty-two years after her death, he never remarried and still publicly mentioned her and how much he still loved her. It’s not too surprising to learn that nothing funny is on his grave stone. He’s right beside Gracie and the inscription reads, “Together again”.
Roy Rogers will be remembered for decades to come as one of the very few cowboy actors that made it big. He starred in over 100 movies and was active in show business from 1935 until 1998 when he died. He very appropriately has a “cowboy prayer” on his tombstone.
It says, “The Cowboy’s Prayer: Oh Lord, I reckon I’m not much just by myself. I fail to do a lot of things I ought to do. But Lord, when trails are steep and passes high, Help me to ride it straight the whole way through. And when in the falling dusk I get the final call, I do not care how many flowers they send – Above all else the happiest trail would be for you to say to me, ‘Let’s ride, My friend.’ Amen”.
Billy Barty, an accomplished actor, is perhaps better known for his size. Barty had dwarfism and was most likely the best known dwarf actor in history. He played many roles in several different genres in movies and on television, and was very versatile. His headstone is appropriately marked with, “In loving memory of Billy Barty who always thought big”.
A long time comedic actor that was in over 60 films, Jack Lemmon truly had a funny life from start to finish. His parents should have known he would be a joker – he was born in the elevator of a hospital. Lemmon’s tombstone is one of the most unique you’ll ever see. All it says is “Jack Lemmon”, then on the next line it says “in” which is centered as if he’s headlining in a major production – classic!
A very funny and successful actor, John Ritter was most famous for his role as Jack Tripper on the 1970s sitcom Three’s Company. He was actually on another sitcom at the end of his career, playing father John Hennessey on 8 Simple Rules. John made us laugh for years, but unfortunately died of a heart attack while at rehearsal for 8 Simple Rules.
Though we know him best for his comedy, it’s obvious that he had a deeper side. His grave stone doesn’t read anything comical at all, but rather has a segment from the lyrics of a Beatles song The End (1969). It reads, “‘and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make’ The Beatles”.
Best known for his comedy, Rodney Dangerfield performed stand up comedy as well as appearing in movie and guest starring on television. If you’re familiar with Dangerfield’s work you probably wouldn’t be surprised if “I don’t get no respect” was engraved on his tombstone, as this was his catch phrase that became synonymous with him. Don’t be disappointed, but that’s not what’s on his grave stone. It’s better – it simply says, “There goes the neighborhood”.
Tom Poston was a very talented comedic actor. He mainly was known for smaller roles in many television sitcoms over the years, but he was a true entertainer. Poston was also truly loved by his family as is evident from this inscription on his grave stone: “Warrior, artist, beloved husband and father”.
Merv Griffin was not only a talented actor and television personality, but was also responsible for two popular game shows that are still on the air today: Jeopardy! And Wheel of Fortune. It’s very fitting that his tombstone reads, “I will not be back after these messages”. It has a hilarious connotation since he quite literally won’t be coming back, but this was also a famous and redundant announcement that he made on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Who didn’t love George Carlin? This brilliant comedian performed standup comedy as well as acted in movies for over 50 years. He was most know for his standup comedy and for his colorful language: sometimes crude, but hilarious musings. His tombstone reads, very fittingly, “#$%& @!&% #?!$% @?*&!@^#!* @*$! &!%?”.
Latest posts by John Fitzgerald (see all)
- Who Can Tame Abi Titmuss? - August 27, 2010
- The Super Hot Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, Without Her Wings - June 25, 2010
- License To Drive Katie Richmond - June 16, 2010