Magazine

10 surprising final send-offs

Tombstones in a cemetery
Image caption A final resting place can provide one last chance to leave a personal message

The creator of Doritos, Arch West, died this weekend at the age of 97. The snack that made him famous will be scattered into his grave after the coffin is lowered. He's the latest in a line people who have had a personal touch put on their final goodbye.

1. Designer of the Pringles tube, Frederic Baur, is another snack food creator buried with his work. He requested that his remains be stored in one of the sturdy, cylindrical cans. To honour his request, his children bought a can of the crisps, original flavour, on their way to the funeral home.

2. Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of the Sex Pistols, requested a 'minute of mayhem' - as opposed to a moment of silence - during his extravagant funeral. His coffin, spray painted with the slogan "too fast to live, too young to die" was drawn by four black horses. A vintage bus blasting Sid Vicious's version of My Way brought up the rear.

3. Gene Roddenbery's remains were launched into space in 1997 - a fitting tribute to the man who made famous the lines "to boldly go where no man has gone before" as creator of Star Trek. As part of the first space burial, his remains were sent into orbit with those of LSD guru Timothy Leary and 22 other space enthusiasts. The remains circled the earth until 2002, at which point they re-entered the atmosphere.

Image caption Malcolm McLaren's funeral was held in a deconsecrated church

4. Hunter S Thompson, the gonzo journalist, had his remains shot from a cannon paid for by his friend Johnny Depp. His ashes were fired from a 150ft tower topped by a red fist with two thumbs - the symbol of Thompson's journalism.

5. Rap artist Tupac Shakur never hid his affinity for marijuana. After his death, his former rap group claimed they paid tribute in the best way they knew how. In a video released earlier this year, members of Young Outlawz say they mixed Shakur's remains with marijuana and smoked them. His family later said that doing so would have been difficult, as the remains were closely guarded.

6. Considered a father of planetary science, Eugene Shoemaker,was one of three people who discovered the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet. He's also the only person to be buried on the moon. Some of Mr Shoemaker's remains were carried to the moon on the Lunar Prospector in 1999 via a polycarbonate capsule carried in a vacuum-sealed, flight-tested aluminium sleeve.

7. Frank Sinatra had all the traditional trappings of a big Catholic funeral. But he was also given a less-religious send-off. His coffin included a bottle of whiskey, a Zippo lighter, and 10 dimes - to be used, it's reported, for any emergency phone calls. His tombstone reads "the best is yet to come".

Image caption Dame Elizabeth Taylor was buried in the same cemetery as her friend, Michael Jackson

8. Geologist Brian Tandy's ashes were made into synthetic diamonds. His wife had one canary yellow diamond set into a ring, and ordered two more for her daughters. LifeGem, the company which created the diamonds, claims to have made a diamond for a customer using Michael Jackson's hair.

9. Liz Taylor was known for her affinity for jewellery, marriages, and impeccable style. She arrived fashionably late to her own funeral, stipulating before her death that she wanted the services to start 15 minutes after the scheduled start time.

10. Beverly Hills socialite Sandra West, widow of an oil baron, demanded that she be buried in a lacy nightgown, while sitting in the front seat of her blue Ferrari. The hand-written request was the source of serious legal battle: her brother, who stood to lose $190,000 of her estate if he didn't comply, tried to have her request made void. After two months, the judge ordered the burial to proceed as ordered by Ms West. She was put into a nightgown and placed in the car, which was then buried in a large crate in a San Antonio cemetery.