Since the advent of the internet, celebrities have a hard time escaping the public. Every famous footstep is captured: where they get their coffee, who does their hair, stepping out of their door to get the Uber order in their pajamas. And it doesn’t stop after they die, either. The graves of the bold and the beautiful are descended on by fans, who leave flowers and trinkets in memory of their favorite star.
While most people have a headstone over their grave, replete with an homage or inscription, there are more than a few luminaries that don’t. In fact, some families go to extraordinary lengths to hide the gravesites of their eminent loved ones from adoring admirers. What qualifies as an unmarked grave? According to graveyard managers, it’s where there’s no nameplate, marker, or headstone. Basically, there’s nothing physical at the site that could identify who’s buried there. Of course, the family may know, and there’s likely written records or even rumors floating around.
And that’s how we know about the ten personalities in this video. So watch on to find out where stars from Mozart to John Belushi are buried and why their final resting spots were left unmarked.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The famed Viennese composer Mozart was just 35 when he died, likely of rheumatic fever. The year was 1791, and he was buried in the St. Marx Cemetery in a wooden coffin along with four or five other people. It may sound like a pauper’s grave, but this was standard practice for the moderately well-off. While Mozart might be one of the most famous musicians today. Only the very richest in society could afford their own gravesite in the 1700s. There was probably a simple wooden marker erected at the time of burial. But over the next 250-odd years, the wood rotted away.
At some point, a memorial was built over the site, which was later moved to a spot in the city where other musicians were also honored. But fans keen to see the original burial site will find the trip to St. Marx well worth it. Now, there stands a broken column inscribed with Mozart’s name and a statue of an angel. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 10 Celebrities Buried in an Unmarked Grave.
John Wayne 140
Hey pardner, any idea where The Duke is buried? No? Well, us neither. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Technically, there is a marker near John Wayne’s plot. But the understated bronze plaque seems underwhelming compared with the size of this Wild West star’s “man’s man” personality. So why does John Wayne only have a teeny tiny gravestone? When he died of lung cancer in 1979, his family was concerned that his gravesite would turn into an over-the-top shrine to the cult of his stardom. Not only that, but other families with loved ones buried at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Orange County, California, were worried about the cemetery being overrun by enthusiastic fans wanting to pay tribute. Originally, there was no marker at all on John Wayne’s plot. But in 1998, almost 20 years after his death, the plaque was added.
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Bessie Smith was a blues singer in the Roaring Twenties. She was a born entertainer. And as such, landed regular gigs as a popular vaudeville vocalist and recorded with other jazz and blues legends like Charlie Green and Louis Armstrong. She also, however, battled with alcoholism, which effectively ended her career. Around a decade later, in 1937, Smith was sober and on the verge of a comeback when she was tragically killed in a car accident. Though her funeral was attended by fans numbering in the thousands, no one thought to put a marker on her gravesite. Why? She wasn’t poor when she died, but rumor has it that her husband still didn’t want to spare the expense to have one carved.
It might seem like her star fizzled out early, but her music went on to inspire another of blues most famed (and also ill-fated) singers, Janis Joplin. Joplin was so enamored with Smith that she commissioned a headstone for her grave in 1970. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 10 Celebrities Buried in an Unmarked Grave.
John Belushi, comedian, actor, and Saturday Night Life star, was so beloved by fans that his wife eventually had to have his remains interred and moved to an undisclosed location. The story goes that after Belushi died of a drug overdose in 1982, he was buried in a marked plot in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The location was leaked, and adoring fans flooded the site, leaving memorabilia, notes, flowers, and more. Sadly, they also left a lot of litter and graffiti on his shrine. While it all came out of a place of love and grieving for the comedian whose life was cut short, Belushi’s family was overwhelmed.
They ordered his body reburied somewhere in the same cemetery, but not near his original tombstone. So why was John Belushi buried on Martha’s Island? According to reports, it was a place of solace from the wilds of Hollywood for him and his family. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 10 Celebrities Buried in an Unmarked Grave.
Roy Orbison sports a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, yet it turns out his family wasn’t so keen on a gravemarker. And this is despite the fact he’s buried in the super-celebrity cemetery, the Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary. Born in 1939, Orbison is probably best known for his songs “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “Only the Lonely.” Not long before his death from a heart attack in 1988, he also recorded “Crying” with a close friend and Canadian singer K. D. Lang. At the time of the crooner’s death, his family was undecided about how best to memorialize his final resting place. Not much has changed since then, and his grave remains undefined. Interestingly, he’s buried not far from beauties Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe, whose graves are must-visit locations on celebrity cemetery tours.
Bobby Driscoll was one of Hollywood’s first child actors. He’s probably most famous for voicing Disney’s Peter Pan–though Driscoll definitely wasn’t the boy who never grew up. In fact, despite his early fame, he went on to live a tough life. As soon as he reached his teen years, the film studios dropped him. Without performing to fill his time, Driscoll plugged the hole with drugs and crime. Sadly, he came to an end at the tender age of 31, dying of heart failure in a hovel in New York City in 1968. Driscoll’s condition was caused by years of heavy drug-using, the coroner later revealed.
He had no identification on him at the time of his death, so he was buried as a John Doe in an unmarked grave on Hart Island. Years later, when this fallen star’s mother sought to find his gravesite, police managed to identify Driscoll using fingerprints. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 10 Celebrities Buried in an Unmarked Grave.
Ever been on a train. Why, of course, you have! Even today, trains are a staple of transportation around the world. Well, Richard Trevithick is the pioneering inventor who constructed the first steam locomotive. He was born in Cornwall, England, in 1771 and went on to become a highly accomplished mechanical engineer. Though he was talented at tinkering, his skills didn’t, unfortunately, translate into making money from that talent. When he died of pneumonia in 1833, he was pretty much penniless. His body was buried in an unmarked grave in St Edmund’s Pleasance Burial Ground in Kent. That many other people went on to make their fortunes from his inventions would probably feel bittersweet to Trevithick–his bankruptcies and legal battles notwithstanding. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the 10 Celebrities Buried in an Unmarked Grave.
To be fair, Mary Dyer was more of a rebel than a rock star. Way back in the 1600s, she attempted to battle the church’s authority by converting from Puritanism to Quakerism. Even today, Quakers believe people can communicate directly to God without the need for a middle man, like a clergyman or preacher. This threatened church leadership, who went on to ban Quakers from Massachusetts. After spending time in exile in Rhode Island, Mary Dyer returned to Boston to help two imprisoned friends.
Unfortunately, she was arrested for her efforts, sentenced to death, and hanged in 1660. Dyer was reportedly later buried in an unmarked grave. Though some sources say her family claimed her body and brought it to their family farm. Mary Dyer’s efforts weren’t in vain, however, because the Rhode Island Royal Charter of 1663 eventually granted freedom of religion to everyone in the area. If you want to pay tribute to Mary Dyer, you can visit her statue in Boston Common–once the site of her hanging.
George C. Scott
George C. Scott is probably best remembered for his portrayal of Gen. Patton in the film of the same name. In fact, he received an Academy Award for the performance, which he promptly turned down because he didn’t like the way the awards were nominated. He passed away in 1999 after suffering a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was buried in unmarked plot #6887 in Westwood Memorial in Los Angeles–not far from fellow celebrities Walter Matthau, Frank Zappa, and Roy Orbison. According to legend, the always understated Scott wanted to leave his films behind as a grave marker of sorts rather than a twee headstone.
No one really knows why American actor, artist, and author Fred Gwynne’s plot in Sandy Mount United Methodist Cemetery in Maryland remains ungarnished. He was buried there after his death from pancreatic cancer in 1993. Perhaps his grave isn’t marked because he lived his life away from the spotlight despite his iconic roles and influence in the arts and literature. You might not recognize his name, but you’re sure to remember his most iconic character, Herman Munster. He was also a highly regarded sculpture and painter and wrote children’s titles known for their fun puns and humorous homonyms.
Do you think it’s important for celebrities to mark their graves? Or should we let those who want to rest in peace have the choice? Head to the comment section to share your thoughts now! And if you haven’t already, like and share this video and subscribe to the Facts Verse channel. Don’t forget to hit that notification bell for new video updates, too!