A long procession of black limousines entered the famous cemetery of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, near Los Angeles, on Thursday. These were the only images journalists could glimpse at Elizabeth Taylor’s private funeral.
She arrived a quarter of an hour late to her own funeral. Scheduled at 14:00, the ceremony began 15 minutes later, at the request of the actress. Her publicist said in a statement that Taylor wanted to be late for her own funeral.
“The service was scheduled to begin at 2 pm but at Miss Taylor’s request started late. Miss Taylor had left instructions that it was to begin at least 15 minutes later than publicly scheduled, with the announcement, ’She even wanted to be late for her own funeral,’ ” the announcement read.
The actress was buried in the utmost privacy Thursday in the wake of her death. She now rests in the cemetery near Michael Jackson, her longtime friend.
Many Hollywood legends are buried in this cemetery, including James Stewart, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy. Her coffin, adorned with gardenias, violets and lilies, was placed in the great mausoleum in Forest Lawn Memorial Park but in a different wing from Michael Jackson.
Reporters camped outside the cemetery were kept away by the police chief in Glendale. A police spokesman explained that the speed of the funeral, which lasted an hour, was due to the fact that the actress had converted to Judaism.
About 40 people attended the service, reserved for family and close friends. Married eight times (twice with Richard Burton), Elizabeth Taylor left four children, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. During the service, actor Colin Farrell read a poem and Taylor’s grandson, Rhys Tivey, performed a trumpet solo of “Amazing Grace.” A public memorial service is planned for a later date. Details will be announced shortly.
As a sign of mourning, Broadway’s lights will go out Friday in memory of the actress. At 20:00, for a minute, all entrances to the famous theaters of New York Avenue will be plunged into darkness.