Four celebrities who chose simple funerals

- 10/09/21

The world of celebrity is all about glitz and glam – Hollywood elegance combined with over-the-top indulgence. With jet set lifestyles where anything could happen anytime, it’s not surprising to learn that most celebrities have funeral plans in place for when they die.

Here are four celebrities who went against expectations and had simple direct cremation funerals instead.

1. David Bowie

In 2016 the world was rocked by news of David Bowie’s death. Unknown to most of us, the ‘Space Oddity’ singer had been battling liver cancer for the previous 18 months. Although Bowie was one of the most recognised musicians in the world, he never lost his down-to-earth London charm.

Quietly, Bowie had made funeral arrangements for a direct cremation in advance and was cremated in secret shortly after his death as he wanted to “go without any fuss”. Having spent time in Bali in the 80s, his final wish was to have his ashes scattered on the island – a place that he’d held close to his heart ever since.

2. John Lennon

When the murder of Beatles star John Lennon shocked the world in 1980, we all expected a large funeral to follow. As the world grieved and mourners gathered in fan-led vigils, Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, opted for a simple send-off instead, having the Beatle quietly cremated without a funeral service.

With no service to attend and fans spread all around the world, Ono arranged a worldwide 10-minute silence to honour Lennon’s memory. For just a moment, no matter where they were in the world, those who had been impacted by his music were able to come together and remember his life.

3. Anita Brooker

Since her 1981 debut, Anita Brookner went on to publish 28 stories before her death in 2016. Brookner captured the hearts and minds of many with her unmatched wit and humour, with themes often reflecting her own life and the troubles she’d faced. Ever practical, Brookner’s funeral arrangements were planned well-ahead of time, specifically requesting a simple direct cremation with no funeral ceremony when the time came.

4. Karl Lagerfield

As outrageous in person as his designs on the runway, the death of Karl Lagerfield in 2019 sent shockwaves through the fashion world. But those who knew the man behind the eccentric persona knew a slightly different story. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Lagerfield had set about making plans for his funeral - a simple direct cremation before being laid to rest, in a secret location, alongside late mother, Elisabeth, and long-term partner, Jacques.

They were larger than life but in death they went quietly and simply. As our attitudes towards death continue to change, the appeal of a fuss-free direct cremation is continuing to get more and more popular.

If, like our celebrities, you’re thinking of arranging a simple fuss-free send-off and leaving family and friends to celebrate or remember your life the way you want to -check our range of pre-paid funeral plans or you can arrange a simple cremation directly with us.

Distinct Cremations is a trading name of Distinct Cremations Limited I Registered in England, No. 13366310 and Distinct Funeral Plans Limited [Prepaid Funeral plan provider] I Registered in England, No. 13366327 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group |