Archive for the Cremated Category

Margaret Hamilton

Posted in Cremated with tags , , on January 14, 2019 by Cade

December 9, 1902 – May 16, 1985

Movie stars play leading roles. Actors play characters. The success of an actor generally hinges upon his or her ability to play a wide-range of characters well. Good characters. Funny characters. Eccentric characters. Evil characters. These characters often differ vastly from the person portraying them. Character actor Margaret Hamilton’s defining role could not have been more different than her real-life nature. In order for her parents to let her pursue acting professionally, Hamilton had to attend college first. She studied teaching – a passion she carried with her throughout her life – and then jumped into acting. She made a number of movies in Hollywood in the 1930s, but it was a 1939 film that would cement her in film history. As the iconic Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Hamilton terrified children for generations. In reality, she adored children and not only made public and television appearances geared toward children (Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Sesame Street) to show them the (fear-free) magic of playing a character, but she also continued teaching and even served on the Beverly Hills School Board for a few years. Of course, she also kept acting. She appeared on TV shows, in movies and on stage into her 80s. She was lifelong friends with fellow Oz cast member, Ray Bolger and the two appeared together on a number of projects.


Cremated – Margaret died of a heart attack and complications from Alzheimer’s at the age of 82 and her ashes were scattered over her Amenia, NY property.


Tom Petty

Posted in Cremated with tags , , , on March 3, 2018 by Cade

October 20, 1950 – October 02, 2017

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free

“Wildflowers”  – Tom Petty

Thomas Earl Petty was rock and roll’s everyman. Whether fronting the eponymous Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, jangling along with his friends as a member of the Traveling Wilburys or simply selling millions of albums as a solo artist, Petty’s 40-year career was nothing short of legendary. Petty won 3 Grammys and worked with everybody who was anybody in music. His rollicking, southern rock transcended genre and impacted generations of music fans. His sudden death at the age of 66 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs shocked the industry, but he left behind a stunning catalog of songs and a firm legacy as a gentleman and one of the most popular rock icons of all time.


Cremated – Tom Petty was cremated and a memorial service was held for him at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in California. Whether or not his ashes will ever be spread “among the wildflowers” remains to be seen.

Dr. Seuss

Posted in Cremated with tags , on February 7, 2017 by Cade

seuss1March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991

Theodor Seuss Geisel…was a writer of books.
And he wrote of wubwuzzles and bumblers and jooks.
Fancy made-up creations with stars and striped hats.
There were cats in those hats and little Who acrobats.
He made foxes in sockses, a grinch and a turtle.
With names like the Lorax and Horton and Yertle.
Fish of all colors and beetles that battled
In puddles in bottles on poodles with paddles.
Dr. Seuss gave us oodles of tales to adore.
And he made ham and eggs much more green than before.
More than 70 works, beloved and clever.
A talent so rare, it should go on forever.
Except when it can’t.
Because, sometimes, cancer.


Cremated – Dr. Seuss was cremated and his ashes were scattered. There is a memorial garden replete with statues of his famous characters in his native Springfield, MA.

   seuss2 seuss3

Robin Williams

Posted in Cremated with tags on July 31, 2015 by Cade

williams1July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014

Sometimes, it’s just completely outside the realm of possibility that a star that shines so bright can be extinguished. Such is the case with Robin Williams, one of the most talented and popular entertainers in the world for more than 30 years. As someone who grew up in the 1980’s, I could never have imagined a world that didn’t contain some form of Robin. From his star-making role as the titular Orkan on ABC’s Mork and Mindy to his Academy Award winning (dramatic) turn in Good Will Hunting, Williams was always there…always larger-than-life…always great.

His manic style played well to audiences who tried desperately to keep up with the comedian’s rapid delivery. He would go off the cuff on one subject and, 5 minutes later, viewers were trying to figure out not only how he got to where he ended up, but how they can be breathing having laughed so hard. His brain was seemingly firing non-stop – with no boundary or direction taboo. He was one of a kind.

So, when the world lost Robin Williams to suicide in 2014, shock was the new reality. Few would have seen it coming. None could imagine a post-Robin world. Yet, there we all were, remembering his countless characters and performances. Reciting lines from Good Morning, Vietnam, Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. The world mourned his passing with laughter and tears. It was suddenly little less funny of a place – and a lot less bright.


Cremated – Robin’s ashes were scattered in the San Francisco Bay.


Janis Joplin

Posted in Cremated with tags , , , on July 8, 2015 by Cade

joplin1January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970

“The Queen of Psychedelic Soul”

Janis Lyn Joplin worked her way through the 1960’s Haight-Ashbury scene with her Blues-influenced power-rock voice. Her love for Blues standards helped her make a name for herself in San Francisco and her native Texas. She was asked to join the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and Holding Company which, with Janis on lead vocals, collectively impressed the crowd at 1967’s Monterrey Pop Festival. Record labels came calling and Janis spent the next year on the road and in the studio with Big Brother. Audiences and critics couldn’t get enough of her unique power as a performer. Her public persona surpassed the band and she quickly went solo. During her brief time on top of the music world, she recorded dozens of songs including hits like “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Mercedes Benz.”

Joplin’s life was full of struggle and substance abuse. She was a free spirit with acne scars who would go to class barefoot and carry an autoharp. Naturally, those who deemed such things as ridiculous made fun of her. She “escaped” to California only to get caught up in drugs and Southern Comfort. Despite a brief stint of sobriety prior to her breakout, the addictions would eventually take their toll. While recording her 2nd album “Pearl” (named after a nickname those close to her used) Janis received a delivery of heroin that was said to be, unknown to her, 8 times stronger than that which her dealer normally sold. She shot it up in her hotel room at the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood, bought a pack of cigarettes and returned to her room for the night. Eight people who used that heroin that weekend died of overdoses…including Janis Joplin. Like Jimi Hendrix a few months earlier, Janis punched her ticket as a bona fide member of the Forever 27 club.


Cremated – 6 days after her death, Janis was cremated at Westwood and her ashes were scattered over Stinson Beach in Marin County, CA.


Amy Winehouse

Posted in Cremated with tags , , , on June 4, 2014 by Cade

winehouse1September 14, 1983 – July 23, 2011

<insert “Rehab” joke here>

An eclectic and immensely talented singer, Amy Jade Winehouse stormed onto the British music scene in 2003 with her debut album, Frank. But, it was her sophomore effort, 2006’s Back to Black that made her an international sensation. Combining old-school genres like jazz and soul with her distinctive style and sultry voice, Amy blew through the Grammys that year collecting five awards. Her singles “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good” were Billboard chart mainstays for months. As troubled as she was talented, Winehouse struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout her career. Add to this her meteoric rise to stardom and (allegedly) poor grasp on moderation and self-control…well, you know where this is going or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

At the iconic age of 27, Amy Winehouse joined the likes of Jim, Jimi, Janis and Kurt as a member of the infamous ’27 Club’ when she died of alcohol poisoning in her Camden, London home. While her star burned out quickly, her influence over other British singers like Adele and Duffy certainly shaped the way international pop music would look for years to follow.


Cremated – Despite rumors that her remains would be interred at London’s famous Golders Green, Amy’s ashes remain in the custody of her family…who eventually got them back from her entourage of bodyguards after the funeral.


She’s the one in green in the middle

UPDATE: As of 7/2014, there is at least a marker for Amy at the Edgewarebury Cemetery in London where her grandmother is buried. It can be assumed her ashes were interred there, as well.

Wilt Chamberlain

Posted in Cremated with tags , on March 18, 2014 by Cade

wilt1August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999

Whether referred to as “Wilt the Stilt” (a name he hated) or “The Big Dipper” (a name he liked) or any of the numerous other nicknames he had, Wilton Norman Chamberlain could be called one, simple word: “Dominant.”

The 7′ 1″ basketball superstar literally changed the way the game was played. Because of Wilt, offensive goaltending became a no-no. Because of Wilt, dunking a free throw from a standing position (yes, he could do that) became a no-no. Because of Wilt, inbounding the ball OVER the backboard to a dunking big man became a no-no. He forced rule changes so that others could keep him in check. In his collegiate debut for the Kansas Jayhawks, Chamberlain scored 52 points and grabbed 31 rebounds. And that was just the beginning. During his career in the NBA, he averaged 30 points and 23 rebounds per game. Some seasons, he averaged 40 and 50 points. No one else has done that. Ever. He is the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a single game (1962 for the Philadelphia Warriors.) Wilt won two NBA Championships, earned four MVP awards and held countless single-season performance records. He played for the Warriors, his hometown Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He also played for the Harlem Globetrotters for a bit. Off the court, he was a shrewd business man and dabbled in acting. In his 1991 autobiography, he claimed to have slept with 20,000 women in his life. He never married, obvs.

Despite an entire life of being very fit – rumors of an NBA comeback well into his 40’s were persistent – Wilt died of congestive heart failure in his Bel-Air mansion at the age of 63. Many of his records stand to this day.



George Harrison

Posted in Cremated with tags , , , , on October 26, 2013 by Cade

harrison1February 25, 1943 – November 29, 2001

In 1958, at the age of 15, George Harrison auditioned – for the second time – for a band made up of local lads from his native Liverpool. Two years later, the band was known as The Beatles. Three years after that, they were launched into international stardom and the rest was, quite literally, history. George was the lead guitar player for the group and developed into a significant songwriter over his 12 years with the band. His songs and instrumental work began to expand to include Eastern influences – specifically Indian music, culture and religion. By the time The Beatles broke up in 1970, Harrison was on course for a very successful solo career. As an ex-Beatle, he released more than a dozen studio and live albums – several of which are certified Gold and/or Platinum. He later teamed up with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty to form the group, the Traveling Wilburys, and record 2 albums.

George was an intensely private person and in his last years, he did what he could to suppress his battle with lung and brain cancer from the public. In 1999, he was attacked and stabbed multiple times by an intruder in his home. He survived, but less than two years later, the cancer got the best of him. He died at the age of 58.


Cremated – In keeping with the Eastern traditions he had embraced, George was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the Ganges River in India.

Hunter S. Thompson

Posted in Cremated with tags , on October 9, 2013 by Cade

thompson1July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005

Hunter Stockton Thompson was a writer and journalist, sure. But, let’s not pretend like he was your average, run-of-the-mill cub reporter. Thompson rose to the public eye after spending a year living and traveling with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gangs. He wrote about the experience and launched what he would refer to from that point on as “Gonzo” journalism. That is, not just reporting the story, but becoming a part of the story. He went on to write his greatest works in this manner. Most notably in his most popular book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. Thompson was notoriously anti-establishment. He loved guns. He loved illicit drugs. He loved dabbling in insanity whenever possible. After dealing with some significant health issues, Thompson committed suicide at his ranch in Colorado. His last wishes were, well…apropos.


Cremated – Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes were fired out of a cannon from atop a 150 ft. tall statue of a fist over his ranch. With fireworks. I mean, if you gotta go out…



Jim Henson

Posted in Cremated with tags , on September 24, 2013 by Cade

henson1September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990

I know. I know. How do you do a grave blog post about someone who doesn’t have a grave?  I don’t care. Jim Henson was/is my hero. Today would have been his 77th birthday. I’m gonna write about him.

James Maury Henson was a beloved entertainer, writer, producer and, of course…puppeteer. Henson first found his way onto television via 5-minute segments called Sam and Friends on a local Washington D.C. TV station. The puppets in Sam and Friends (including a lizard named Kermit that he created out of an old, green coat) were used very differently than any in the past. He experimented with movement techniques and used the camera frame to remove himself from the scene entirely – giving the puppets the central focus and allowing them to “live” all on their own. This was a departure from some of his childhood idols such as Edgar Bergen and became the style that would define his career – and change the art form forever.

Henson plied his trade and growing stable of characters (deemed by this point as “Muppets”) to commercials, mostly, throughout the 1960s. But, it was in 1969, when he was hired on to help with a children’s show called Sesame Street, that he was able to begin to share his gift with the world. He and his collaborators (Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Jerry Juhl, etc) created characters that are still as popular today as they were 40+ years ago.

Not wanting to be typecast as a “chlidren’s” entertainer, Henson and gang – via stints on a fledgling comedy show called Saturday Night Live – started taking their skits and Muppets to a more adult audience.  This led to primetime variety shows like The Muppet Show (starring Kermit the Frog,) holiday specials like Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, cartoons, and feature films like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and, of course, The Muppet Movie and its sequels.

Jim Henson became ill in May of 1990. The illness turned rather rapidly into septic shock and his hesitancy to go to the hospital (out of a desire to not bother people, not necessarily due to his Christian Science upbringing, for what it’s worth) aided in his deterioration.  The hospital was unable to stop the infection and Jim passed away on May 16th1 at the age of 53. He left behind a universe of characters and stories that continue to delight audiences of all ages today. Nowhere was it more evident how truly great of an impact he had on us and those around him than at his memorial service in 1990. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it.


Cremated – Ashes scattered over his ranch in New Mexico

1 – Incidentally, the exact same day that Sammy Davis, Jr. died.