Biggest Celebrity Funerals

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2009 6:04 PM CDT
Biggest Celebrity Funerals
Eleven-year-old Joe Simone touches Babe Ruth's plaque while passing through Monument Park before a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008, at Yankee Stadium in New York.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The numbers of those who watched on TV or the Internet aren't yet crunched, but it's safe to say that Michael Jackson's funeral will rank up there with the biggest celebrity farewells. Time rounds up others:

  • Rudolph Valentino, 1926. A superstar of the silent era, Valentino’s sudden death drew nearly 100,000 to his funeral procession on New York City streets. The organizer later admitted paying people to exaggerate their grief.
  • Babe Ruth, 1948. 75,000 people descended upon St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York to bid farewell to the legendary slugger.

  • Elvis Presley, 1977. The other king's death drove 25,000 fans to swarm his Graceland mansion, even though the funeral was closed to the public.
  • John Lennon, 1980. Yoko Ono asked fans to partake in a global simultaneous prayer, spurring more than 100,000 people in Central Park alone to observe 10 minutes of silence.
  • Princess Diana, 1997. Di’s coffin passed by 1 million mourners on a 4-mile funeral route; an estimated 2.5 billion watched on TV.
Click the link for the complete list. (More funeral stories.)

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