Elizabeth Taylor’s last request: show up fashionably late to her own funeral


All of the great Elizabeth Taylor stories begin with Elizabeth being late. She was compulsive about it – she would never show up anywhere on time, even if it was just breakfast with her family. So Elizabeth requested something special for her funeral – that she would could show up “fashionably late” – 15 minutes after the funeral was supposed to start. That’s really cool. Also, the funeral took place so quickly because Elizabeth was Jewish – she converted for Mike Todd and Eddie Fisher, and she loved her adopted faith. When Richard Burton bought her the Krupp, which had once been owned by a Nazi, Elizabeth said it was wonderful that it now belonged to “a nice Jewish girl.”

She was a Hollywood original to the end.

Elizabeth Taylor was laid to rest Thursday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., in a small, private funeral attended by friends and family that began 15 minutes after schedule – under instructions she left.

“She even wanted to be late for her own funeral,” a family rep said in a statement.

Taylor’s casket was closed and draped with gardenias, violets, and lily of the valley. She was interred in The Great Mausoleum, the same resting place for her longtime friend Michael Jackson.

The one-hour, multi-denominational service officated by Rabbi Jerry Cutler included a reading by actor Colin Farrell, a friend of Taylor’s, of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo.”

Taylor’s son Michael Wilding, her daughter Liza and her grandson Tarquin Wilding also read selections, and her grandson Rhys Tivey performed a trumpet solo of “Amazing Grace.”

The acting legend died Wednesday at the age of 79.

[From People]

I wonder if Colin Farrell was the only big star there? Elizabeth survived most of her contemporaries, true, but she still had a lot of friends amongst the current Hollywood crowd. I love that Colin did a reading. I would have loved to see the two of them having lunch together – Colin would have been right up Elizabeth’s alley. Rest in peace, Elizabeth!

Sidenote – In the funeral plans I’ve drawn up (in my mind) for my own service, my urn is carried out to the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You”. Isn’t this a great final song?






Photos courtesy of Fame.

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39 Responses to “Elizabeth Taylor’s last request: show up fashionably late to her own funeral”

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  1. Nibbi says:

    shoot, which husband is that in the third picture from the bottom? cuz, deeyamn

  2. Kaiser says:

    Nibbi – That’s Montgomery Clift! He was Liz’s gay BFF, and she even saved his life when he was in a horrible car wreck.

  3. brin says:

    She was truly one of a kind….a very beautiful and kind star.
    “Miss You” is a great funeral song!

  4. Nibbi says:

    ah thanks kaiser. think i need to go google more about him- those EYES! he gives her a run for her money, and that’s saying something!

  5. Dorothy says:

    I love it, Dame Liz right to the end! The request to be late was her style! I just loved the way she had her brows done to highlight those gorgeous violet eyes. I wonder what will happen to all of that beautiful jewelry…dag, if I had a bit of green and the collection was on auction…hmmm, just a thought! :-)

  6. K says:

    What a great final wish. Elizabeth, you rule!

    Kaiser, that is an awesome song to go out to. I always wanted for my casket to be lowered (or ashes spread) to AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”.

  7. Addie says:

    I preffer cremation to burial.
    It just seems less messy,less ceremony. Simple.

    Anyways.dead is dead either way.

  8. pebbles says:

    Liz Taylor was/is a class act!
    And in total agreement with your choice of urn carrying song – - the mourners couldn’t help but sing along……….

  9. whitedaisy says:

    Self-deprecating humor to the last. An impressive woman.

  10. lucy2 says:

    Great request, being fashionably late. Sounds like she had a sense of humor and was at peace with herself.

  11. EdithP says:

    I love it! Late to her own funeral — I’m sure she was told that many times.

    That picture of her with Montgomery Clift is almost painful to look at, they were both so pretty.

    Nibbi, watch A Place in The Sun for a movie with both ET and MC. Sad but gorgeous.

  12. Nibbi says:

    Edith P: Will do! Might have to add it to my collection of “movies with movie stars so completely gorgeous it makes your brain melt” – right next to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of course ;)

  13. Dana says:

    Golden Era stars were so beautiful.

  14. Maritza says:

    I never get tired of looking at all the Elizabeth Taylor pictures that have been coming out in the Internet. She was so unbelievably gorgeous, a true Hollywood legend.

  15. brin says:

    @Nibbi…They were also in “Raintree County” and “Suddenly Last Summer” together, but “A Place in the Sun” was probably the best.

  16. the original bellaluna says:

    She’s lovely. I think it’s wonderful, a testament to how she lived.

    I never met my maternal grandmother (she died before I was born) but Mom always told me her eyes were the same lovely colour as Liz’s. When I finally saw a picture of my grandmother, she took my breath away. (Most of the pix of my grandparents were damaged.)

  17. mln76 says:

    What a beautiful soul….and what a fabulous story.

  18. EdithP says:

    Brin — I almost can’t watch Raintree or Suddenly Last Summer (although that last one is my favorite ET movie) because they were filmed during or after the car crash Clift had that scarred him so badly. That and the fact that he had to be miserable, being gay and yet kinda in love with ET, so sad.

  19. Melanie says:

    @ Kaiser, love that song.

  20. Flan says:

    She was by far the celebrity I admired the most.

    I’m so sad you left us, Elizabeth!

  21. DetRiotgirl says:

    As I mentioned on the ScarJo/SP post yesterday, I had my own private memorial for Liz in my living room on Wednesday in the form of getting drunk with my boyfriend and watching “Giant” on Netflix. As my own small token of appreciation for her memory, I would like to share some of my thoughts on the movie.

    WARNING: Do not read this if you have not seen “Giant” and one day wish to see it for yourself. I will be giving SPOILERS.

    Oh, also, WARNING, this movie is three and a half hours long. Since the last hour or so of the movie is really magnificent and should be viewed on it’s own merit’s I’m only going to recap the first half of the movie. So, if you are like me and grew up in an era of a million channels on cable tv, the internet, iPhones and everything else that goes into destroying our collective attention span, maybe you can use this comment as a guide to help get you through the slower parts of the film. It’s an awesome movie, I promise! But, at three and a half hours, no one will judge you for hitting the fast forward button here and there. It can start to feel like a lifetime in front of the tv.

    Coincidentally, living an entire lifetime is also what the movie is about! The movie tells the story of how Texas went from a state full of rough riding cowboys to a state full of millionaires who barely have a grade school education. While I will refrain from political jokes here out of respect for the dead, free to insert your own joke about the Bush family here if you like.

    The movie begins in Maryland, where a young and fabulous Elizabeth Taylor is basically destroying any chance that anyone else in the room might get noticed. Rock Hudson has come to visit the family and, while oozing every kind of old Hollywood sexy, court our fabulous leading lady.

    The pair get married, and move to Texas to manage his ranch. We quickly learn that A) Rock Hudson is a total racist B) Liz really should have thought this whole “marriage” thing over a little better before commiting to living in this dirt parade C) James Dean is a sexy piece of sexy sex and D) Rock Hudson’s sister is probably the biggest cock block ever.

    Let’s look at one (paraphrased) scene of Rock Hudson’s sister’s Olympian levels of chastity enforcement:

    Rock Hudson: Oh hey, so my hot new wife and I are just going to head off to have some awesome “just got home” sex. Mind the horse for awhile would you?

    Sister McNoSex: What do you think you’re playing at horndog? Don’t you know what happens when a man and a women are left alone in a room together? Take that one eyed trouser snake and keep it away from the garden hose.

    Liz: Umm… We’re married. See this ring? That means I get the room, the bed and the disco stick honey.

    Sister McNoSex: Who is this harlot? I said your boobs will sleep across the hall! God doesn’t recognize marriages that happen in *sneers* Maryland.

    Rock: Right, psycho. You go cackle in the stable for awhile and I’m going to go have sex with my wife. Remember, it’s the 20′s (?). As a woman, you shouldn’t even be talking!

    Liz and Rock have a decent marriage. But, Liz is troubled by both his treatment of their ranchhand James Dean, and by his utter contempt for the Mexicans who work for him. Now, I admit, I was drunk when watching this movie. So, forgive me if my timeline is a little off here.

    After a few exposition scenes, we find that Sister McCrazyPants has left the ranch with Liz’s favorite horse, War Wind. Like the audience, the horse is just waiting to kill this character off. So, after Sister McNoLove cruelly digs her spurs into the animal’s side, he bucks her off his back and into the fictional obituaries. Finally!

    Everyone is very sad about the loss. Rock Hudson shoots poor Liz’s horse, and life goes on. But, in a crazy twist, Sister McPsycho leaves a share of her land on the ranch to James Dean out of spite for her brother, persumably stemming from jealousy over her life as a 40 year old virgin. Rock Hudson tries to buy back the land, but is totally shot down by a smug and overjoyed James Dean.

    Liz soon comes to visit James Dean and talk about his land. James Dean is so delicious I almost forgot to pay attention to his lines here. But, at this point in the movie, he’s pretty much like “your husband is a total bastard, and that’s why I’m not selling.” and I kind of have to agree. Her husband’s treatment of Mexicans especially is appalling. But, then things get weird…

    James asks Liz over for tea in his little ranchhand shack. They walk in, and have a scene that goes roughly like this.

    Liz: Oh, it’s lovely. There’s your stove. And your bed. And your table. And, oh, what’s that on the wall?

    *she walks over to examine a whole wall full of news clippings about her… awkward*

    Liz: Oh… Well, that’s… Yeah.

    James Dean: Oh, you know, I… Uh… I just do that as a hobby… I follow lots of people when they’re in the news! See over there? There’s a pharmacy ad with one of the stable boys in the background. So, it’s not really stalking. I mean, it’s more like scrapbooking. On a wall. By my bed. Next to my hand lotion and my sock. It’s not like I camp out in the tree by your room and stare at you all night. I mean-

    Liz: Yeah, let’s just have tea and move on from this moment, shall we?

    James Dean: Here, see, I made tea. Bet you didn’t think a man could do that! You know, this being a time when anything practical is woman’s work and all.

    Liz: Ha! Yeah, my husband doesn’t do anything, except whine about how hard it is to be a wealthy white man in 1920. Say, why aren’t you married yet?

    James Dean: Well, all the pretty girls are married to whiney white men from 1920. Uh… I mean, I guess I never met the right one. Plus, good women don’t marry hard working poor folk like me.

    Liz: They sure don’t!

    As Liz leaves the ranch, her footprint slowly fills with a dark liquid… Black gold! James Dean has struck oil! But, it takes him awhile to realize it.

    In the meantime, Liz has been busy popping out babies. Rock Hudson is convinced that his son is going to grow up to be a ranch man, just like himself. So, in an effort to make this happen, we are given a scene in which some brave little four year old cries his lungs out and gives the performance of a lifetime as he is forced to ride a horse he is clearly terrified of.

    Rock Hudson then announces that he will “strap his son to that horse, if that’s what it takes.”. In today’s world, most people would probably be on the line with CPS about five minutes into this epic display of child abuse. But, this was maybe the 30s, so everyone just stands by and claps as a horrified Liz Taylor silently wishes women had rights back then.

    Eventually, James Dean figures out he is sitting on a fortune and starts prospecting. When he hits his first big well, he literally showers in oil and screams for joy. Then, he decides to go pay Rock and Liz a little visit.

    Still completely covered in oil, he staggers up to an all white front porch and makes a delirious speech about how he’s going to be richer than anyone has ever dreamed. He then goes in for an almost boob grab on our girl Liz (can you blame him?) and ends up grabbing a big palm full of woodwork instead. Rock Hudson will not stand for some greased up loser marking up his porch, and the two begin the best fist fight ever!

    It’s like boys gone wild up in this joint! If only the guys could just strip down and do this scene naked, this would be the greatest thing ever filmed. Alas, only in my fantasies. However, it does include James Dean straight up punching Rock Hudson in the balls. So, credit where credit is due, this hot man oil fight is defintely hardcore and easily one of the highlights of the movie.

    I was most of a six pack in at this point in the movie, so let’s just say a bunch of stuff happens and skip right to one of the other best scenes in the movie; when Liz Taylor throws down on some ignorant old men! Ok, full disclosure, this may have happened before the horse scene. Beer is not my friend.

    Liz comes down to the sitting room and wants to join in on a political conversation her husband and the good old boys are having about whatever they are talking about. Full stop. Her dress is fabulous! She’s wearing some gorgeous tan creation and quite possibly looks the most beautiful she does in the whole film right here. I want one!

    Anyway, here’s basically what goes down:

    Liz: So, how bout that Teddy Rosevelt.

    Rock: Uh, honey, you’re embarrassing me.

    Some douche: Yeah, women don’t have thoughts. Or brains. Or opinions. Everyone knows that!

    Liz: I grew up next to DC. Politics were my whole childhood. Plus, I know more than you jackwipes ever will.

    Some douche: SCANDAL! Rock, control your woman!

    Rock: Honey, why don’t you go make some coffee? Or do your nails? Or sit silently and appreciate how much wiser and more capable I am than you? Any of those would be fine. Although, I’m pulling for coffee personally.

    Liz: You are all a bunch of cavemen! Neanderthals! God, I bet you don’t even know what a neanderthal is!

    Douche: Is that a place in the Orient or something? I think I had a rug from there once. My wife bought it. Damn women and their crazy shopping habits.

    Rock: So… About that coffee…

    Liz: UGH!!!!! CAVEMEN!!!!

    *Liz slams a book down and storms out, leaving all the men feeling scared and small. She’s like BOOM, BITCH, BYE! and owns every second of it!*

    At some point, Liz wakes up and smells the douche water and leaves her husband. But, this being the 40s, she eventually gets back together with him. Mind you, she reconciles with him at her sister’s wedding. I love her and all. But, damn, why to steal that spotlight!

    Meanwhile, James Dean is busy getting rich and forgetting how to be a decent human being. Since this recap is already a good 50 pages long, I’m going to stop here.

    Let me just say, the last half hour of this film especially is pure magic. Liz continues to be wonderful, of course. Rock gives a nuanced and a very touching performance of a character that really shows fantastic growth throughout the picture. And James Dean… Who could forget the epic performance in this film by James Dean? Definitely worth watching.

    Anyway, I will miss Liz Taylor greatly. Such was a true legend and a class act to the end.

    RIP, my favorite Cleopatra.

  22. brin says:

    Edith P…..that’s so true, especially in the 50′s! I heard that ET felt her Oscar win for “Butterfield 8″ was really meant for “Suddenly Last Summer”.

  23. Solveig says:

    Ahahah! Love her :D
    I think that I’m going to be late for my own funeral too, I can’t contradict myself on my last pubblic appereance.
    As for my funeral song, well, ‘Come with me’ by the Zwan would be funny enough (the songs sucks, actually).
    Rest peacefully in your diamond and platinum heaven, dear Elizabeth.

  24. Nibbi says:

    also, i already miss Paul Newman.

  25. EdithP says:

    DetRiot, I liked Giant too, although perhaps not that much. ;)

    I can’t IMAGINE how controversial Suddenly Last Summer must have been when it came out — no spoilers here, people, you must watch it!

  26. BW says:

    I can’t believe a Rabbi would have allowed flowers at the funeral. If everyone’s making a point of her being Jewish, being buried within 24 hours (even if 15 minutes late) and the service performed by a Rabbi, then flowers are a no-no.

  27. original kate says:

    elizabeth may not want to go at all – evidently the westboro baptist church lunatics are planning to protest her funeral.

  28. REALIST says:

    I had this vision of Elizabeth in heaven-I am Buddhist, so it was a bit of a stretch, but certainly a fun mind game.
    First to greet would be her close friends-Monty Clift, Roddy McDowell, Rock Hudson. Then her friend/child Michael Jackson. Then the husbands, in appropriate order. I picked Mike Todd last–but wait!
    I have Richard Burton hiding behind St. Peter, playing another naughty prank on Elizabeth. Her face grows dark with disappointment, then he walks out from behind the Saint and says “Dahling, I’ve been waiting ages for you to show up so we can start the evening together.” She walks up to him and they have the biggest kiss ever. Fade–the end.

  29. REALIST says:

    What a lovely simple funeral. What a treat to have Colin Firth do a reading (especially post-Oscar-great pick!) and to have the participation of her children and grandchildren. In good taste, yet paying tribute to the exceptional person she was.

    I’m sure her loved ones laughed through their tears at her last prank….she will be missed.

  30. Aqua says:

    Who else but Elizabeth Taylor could get away with something like this? Elizabeth lived her life on her terms right up to the very end and beyond.You got to love it!

  31. I Choose Me says:

    @DetRiotGirl. Hilarious review. I would totally support you starting your own blog and doing regular movie reviews. Mainly the classic of course.

    Boom, bitch, bye! I’m so stealing that.

  32. Mary Jane says:


    That’s been a provision in my will for the entire 20 years I’ve e’en had a will! (I do not mean to be rude but I just seem to always show up about 15 minutes late…)
    I think as long as it’s not illegal, people have to honour your wishes.

  33. Mary Jane says:

    @DetRiotGirl. Hilarious review. I would totally support you starting your own blog and doing regular movie reviews. Mainly the classic of course.

    Boom, bitch, bye! I’m so stealing that.


  34. ol cranky says:

    @BW – apparently, a lot of people are requesting flowers at Jewish funerals now and Rabbis/Jewish funeral homes are allowing it. I had no idea this was happening until my mother died a few years ago and the funeral director asked if we wanted them since they’ve been having them at some funerals (he’s buried pretty much everyone who’s died on both sides of my family and knows we’re Conservative)

    (the Jews in LA routinely have baby showers too)

  35. Boxy Lady says:

    @Realist Wrong Colin, love.

  36. truthzbetta says:


    Funny and a tribute Liz herself would love. Makes me want to make it though that movie. Without the six pack I’ve never been able to stick through or follow much of it.

    Maybe now I shall.