Raymond Chandler remains joined by wife's ashes

  • Published
Humphrey Bogart with Lauren Bacall in the 1940s film of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep
Image caption,
Humphrey Bogart played Philip Marlowe in the 1940s film version of Chandler's The Big Sleep

The ashes of Raymond Chandler's wife have been buried over his casket in a Valentine's Day ceremony in San Diego.

It had been the crime thriller writer's wish to be buried alongside Cissy Chandler, who died in 1954.

But because he left no instruction for what to do with her ashes after his death in 1959, it has taken more than five decades to bring them together.

More than 100 literary fans gathered on Monday to see a grave marker unveiled to commemorate their reunification.

"Everyone was thrilled," said historian Loren Latker, who found references suggesting Chandler wanted to be buried alongside his wife while researching the Anglo-American author.

With the help of John Wayne's lawyer daughter Aissa, he persuaded a Los Angeles judge in September to approve a reburial.

Cissy Chandler's ashes - previously stored at a nearby mausoleum - arrived in a caravan of vintage cars as a band played When the Saints Go Marching In.

The priest who conducted her husband's funeral in 1959 presided over the ceremony at San Diego's Mount Hope Cemetery.

Guests included US actor Powers Boothe, who played Chandler's most famous creation, private eye Philip Marlowe, on television in the 1980s.

The character was memorably brought to life by Humphrey Bogart in the classic 1940s film adaptation of his novel The Big Sleep.