Who would you want as a cemetery neighbor? Spouses, kids, or parents are the usual suspects, but for some, resting next to a famous person would be the ideal way to spend eternity.
The New York Times noted buying burial plots next to celebrities is a growing trend. Jazz enthusiasts have put down $25,000 for space near Duke Ellington’s grave in the Bronx, while admirers of civil rights activist Rosa Parks have spent similar sums for plots around her crypt in Detroit. And that’s peanuts compared to what people have offered for spots close to Marilyn Monroe. A plot near the movie star went on sale for $699,000 two years ago, which was a considerable markdown from the $4.6 million one eBay user bid for the crypt above Monroe’s in 2009.
[Photo Source: Mo Pie/Flickr]
That eBay sale isn’t atypical, either. Browse the site for “cemetery plots” right now and you can find space in Hollywood’s Forest Lawn going for $7,000. (Notable residents include Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, and Michael Jackson.) Craigslist has also benefited from the trend -- in 2012, a user posted a $10,000 offer on three crypts in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where the likes of Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, and the recently deceased Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell reside.
[Photo Source: Glen Bowman/Flickr]
Some have criticized cemeteries and the people price gouging their own plots online for exploiting famous names. The nephew of Rosa Parks condemned the practice, saying that “her burial was supposed to be a private matter, not a spectacle.” But sellers insist it’s not crass, just smart business. Representatives from Woodlawn Cemetery, where Parks is buried, even argued that people are paying extra for the added security and regular maintenance that comes with a cemetery of national note.
While places like Hollywood Forever are always in demand, new cemeteries experience price hikes when famous locals pass. Spots like Cave Hill Cemetery have no doubt popped up on real estate pros’ radar since Muhammad Ali was buried in the Louisville cemetery in 2016. So if it’s your dream to own land next to The Greatest (and, it turns out, Colonel Sanders), fill out that online request form and reserve a plot since cemeteries only have so much space.
[Main image photo credit: Lucian Milasan / Shutterstock.com]