10 of the most expensive funerals in history

Funerals can be a big affair, often with very expensive price tags. Some celebrities like Hugh Hefner, for example, think ahead. In 1992 the Playboy tycoon apparently purchased a $75,000 burial spot next to Marilyn Monroe, making sure that his final resting ground was just where he wanted it.

He’s not alone when it comes to a pricey sendoff, and sure a funeral can be done in a frugal way, but in these 10 cases, massive sums of money were used to support the farewell of specific leaders, celebrities and notable names.

While estimates vary, it is said that the average cost of a funeral in the United States is between $7,000 and $10,000, according to a 2015 feature from Vice. In Canada it is said cremation can cost anywhere between $600 and $4,500 depending on province.

These numbers can certainly vary based on the person in question and his or her demands upon death. A gold-encrusted coffin? Thousands of security? Having cremated remains shot out of a canon? These specifications aren’t on everyone’s list of things to do.

From a princess to a pope to a cultural heartthrob, here are a selection of people that had, shall we say, pretty extravagant bills for their funeral arrangements.

<p>The Playboy founder paid big bucks to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to other pricey funerals. (The Independent) </p>
Hugh Hefner

The Playboy founder paid big bucks to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to other pricey funerals. (The Independent)

<p>In addition to its expensive tag, North Korea was said to have spent nearly $10 million on the 75-foot statue of the leader and $2.5 million in maintenance costs, yearly. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) </p>
Kim Jong-Il – $40 million

In addition to its expensive tag, North Korea was said to have spent nearly $10 million on the 75-foot statue of the leader and $2.5 million in maintenance costs, yearly. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

<p>Reagan’s funeral in June 2004 was attended by Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. He was buried in Bel-Air, Los Angeles. The 40th president of the United States allegedly pinched the state at least $400 million in funeral costs, although there is still contention among reports. </p>
Ronald Reagan – $400 million

Reagan’s funeral in June 2004 was attended by Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. He was buried in Bel-Air, Los Angeles. The 40th president of the United States allegedly pinched the state at least $400 million in funeral costs, although there is still contention among reports.

<p>The King of Pop was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. His gold-plated coffin and blue velvet interior is said to be the same type as James Brown’s coffin. Jackson’s funeral was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was reported that MJ’s private funeral came in at the $1 million mark with $590,0000 used for the “crypt” at the Glendale plot, <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/11/local/me-jackson11" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according to the LA Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according to the <em>LA Times</em></a><em>.</em> Guest invitations alone cost close to $12,000 and were given to celebrities like Quincy Jones and Elizabeth Taylor. Security and car service came to $30,000; flowers $16,000 and the funeral planner charged $15,000. His casket <a href="http://people.com/celebrity/michael-jackson-laid-to-rest-in-a-35000-suit/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:apparently cost" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">apparently cost</a> $25,000 and the clothes he was the burial rang in at $35,000. In addition to all this, over 1.5 million people tried to get a ticket to the funeral at the Staples Center, and tickets cost over $10,000 each.<br>(Harrison Funk/The Jackson Family via Getty Images) </p>
Michael Jackson – $1 million +

The King of Pop was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. His gold-plated coffin and blue velvet interior is said to be the same type as James Brown’s coffin. Jackson’s funeral was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was reported that MJ’s private funeral came in at the $1 million mark with $590,0000 used for the “crypt” at the Glendale plot, according to the LA Times. Guest invitations alone cost close to $12,000 and were given to celebrities like Quincy Jones and Elizabeth Taylor. Security and car service came to $30,000; flowers $16,000 and the funeral planner charged $15,000. His casket apparently cost $25,000 and the clothes he was the burial rang in at $35,000. In addition to all this, over 1.5 million people tried to get a ticket to the funeral at the Staples Center, and tickets cost over $10,000 each.
(Harrison Funk/The Jackson Family via Getty Images)

<p>The funeral of Princess Diana was, just like her marriage to Prince Charles, a global spectacle that saw 2.5 billion people watching along. According to the <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/princess-dianas-funeral-how-secrets-10507016" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mirror UK" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Mirror UK</em></a> , Diana’s body was enclosed inside a 700 lbs. lead lined coffin and following the public funeral she was laid to rest in a private ceremony at the Althorp Estate. <em>The Sun</em> <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4110467/princess-diana-grave-althorp-estate-spencer/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">details</a> the burial site as “located on an island in the middle of an ornamental lake on the estate.” The Spencer family has owned the Althorp Estate since 1508. </p>
Princess Diana – $11.8 million

The funeral of Princess Diana was, just like her marriage to Prince Charles, a global spectacle that saw 2.5 billion people watching along. According to the Mirror UK , Diana’s body was enclosed inside a 700 lbs. lead lined coffin and following the public funeral she was laid to rest in a private ceremony at the Althorp Estate. The Sun details the burial site as “located on an island in the middle of an ornamental lake on the estate.” The Spencer family has owned the Althorp Estate since 1508.

<p>On August 20, 2005, the celebrated novelist was cremated rather than buried. His ashes were blasted through a cannon on top of his Colorado farm. Longtime friend (and on-screen imitator), Johnny Depp funded the funeral and told the <em>Associated Press,</em> “All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.” Other attendees at the funeral included Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn. </p>
Hunter S Thompson – estimated $3 million

On August 20, 2005, the celebrated novelist was cremated rather than buried. His ashes were blasted through a cannon on top of his Colorado farm. Longtime friend (and on-screen imitator), Johnny Depp funded the funeral and told the Associated Press, “All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.” Other attendees at the funeral included Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn.

<p>The funeral costs differ depending on the source, but the <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/10018982/Baroness-Thatchers-funeral-cost-us-6p-each.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Telegraph reports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Telegraph</em> reports</a> Thatcher’s passing cost each British household £15. Thatcher’s funeral was said to cost more than Winston Churchill’s 1965 funeral. The former UK Prime Minister had over 2,000 guests in attendance and of course, millions watching worldwide. </p>
Margaret Thatcher – $4 million pounds (~$5.3 million USD)

The funeral costs differ depending on the source, but the Telegraph reports Thatcher’s passing cost each British household £15. Thatcher’s funeral was said to cost more than Winston Churchill’s 1965 funeral. The former UK Prime Minister had over 2,000 guests in attendance and of course, millions watching worldwide.

<p>Pope John Paul II was the face of the Catholic Church from the late ‘70s until his death in 2005. The funeral was attended by hundreds of recognized leaders, presidents, queens and prime ministers, and he was buried at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The Vatican <a href="https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-budgets-2013-show-surplus-85-million-euros" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:estimates" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">estimates</a> the “funeral of Pope John Paul II and the conclave, election and inauguration of the papacy of Pope Benedict cost about $8.9 million euros”, which also included necessary security for the ceremony. (REUTERS/Luciano Mellace/File Photo) </p>
Pope John Paul II – $8.9 million euros ($11.6 million USD)

Pope John Paul II was the face of the Catholic Church from the late ‘70s until his death in 2005. The funeral was attended by hundreds of recognized leaders, presidents, queens and prime ministers, and he was buried at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The Vatican estimates the “funeral of Pope John Paul II and the conclave, election and inauguration of the papacy of Pope Benedict cost about $8.9 million euros”, which also included necessary security for the ceremony. (REUTERS/Luciano Mellace/File Photo)

<p>Alexander the Great was buried in a gold casket and rests in Macedonia. He was 32 at the time of his death in 323 B.C. Assertions on who killed the Macedonian king continues today with varying theories presented from across the globe. </p>
Alexander the Great – $600 million (in modern conversion)

Alexander the Great was buried in a gold casket and rests in Macedonia. He was 32 at the time of his death in 323 B.C. Assertions on who killed the Macedonian king continues today with varying theories presented from across the globe.

<p>The former North Korean leader died of a heart attack in 1994, and to preserve his body it cost $1 million with “$800,000 poured into additional maintenance costs annually, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-korea-north-embalming/north-koreas-kim-the-second-of-his-line-to-be-embalmed-idUSTRE7BK0DX20111221" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according to reports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according to reports</a>. After his death, the Kumsusan Assembly Hall (his official residence until death) was converted into the “world’s largest mausoleum dedicated to a Community leader” and the <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/kim-jong-ils-tomb-all-dramatic-doom-gloom-you-can-imagine-1032064" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:conversion cost over $100 million" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">conversion cost over $100 million</a>. </p>
Kim Il Sung (left) – $100 million+

The former North Korean leader died of a heart attack in 1994, and to preserve his body it cost $1 million with “$800,000 poured into additional maintenance costs annually, according to reports. After his death, the Kumsusan Assembly Hall (his official residence until death) was converted into the “world’s largest mausoleum dedicated to a Community leader” and the conversion cost over $100 million.

<p>Elvis Presley’s funeral was off limits to the public, although Presley’s cousin sold a photo of the legendary musician in his casket to the <i>National Enquirer</i> for $35,000, <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1987-08-16/entertainment/ca-1505_1_elvis-presley/5" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according to the LA Times" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according to the <i>LA Times</i></a>. His sudden death left promoters in heat since he was expected to begin a 12-city tour with tickets already sold amassing over $600,000. 3,166 floral arrangements <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1997/aug/03/entertainment/ca-18849" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:were delivered to Graceland" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">were delivered to Graceland</a>during the two days following news of his death, 49 cars were used in his funeral procession, and the overall cost of the funeral was $23,789.73. (Yahoo Finanzen) </p>
Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s funeral was off limits to the public, although Presley’s cousin sold a photo of the legendary musician in his casket to the National Enquirer for $35,000, according to the LA Times. His sudden death left promoters in heat since he was expected to begin a 12-city tour with tickets already sold amassing over $600,000. 3,166 floral arrangements were delivered to Gracelandduring the two days following news of his death, 49 cars were used in his funeral procession, and the overall cost of the funeral was $23,789.73. (Yahoo Finanzen)

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