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The Nation

March 25, 2011

Liz Taylor buried in small ceremony at LA cemetery

GLENDALE, Calif. — Elizabeth Taylor's funeral started late — just the way the screen legend wanted it.

Her family held a brief private service Thursday at a Southern California cemetery famous for being the final resting place of Hollywood celebrities, including her good friend Michael Jackson.

But the funeral began 15 minutes after its announced start time in observance of the actress' parting wish, according to her publicist, Sally Morrison.

She left instructions asking for the tardy start and had requested that someone announce, "She even wanted to be late for her own funeral," Morrison said.

Taylor died early Wednesday at age 79 of congestive heart failure while surrounded by her four children at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized for about six weeks.

Taylor, who was infamously married eight times to seven husbands, converted to Judaism before her 1959 wedding to Eddie Fisher. Jewish customs call for a burial within 48 hours of death.

Inside the sprawling Forest Lawn Cemetery, barricades blocked access to the funeral, where about four dozen family members mourned the actress during a service that lasted about an hour, said Glendale police spokesman Tom Lorenz. Five black stretch limousines transported Taylor's family to and from the funeral, but no procession was held.

The service began with poetry readings by actor Colin Farrell and Taylor's family members and included a trumpet performance of Amazing Grace by her grandson, Morrison said.

The casket was draped in gardenias, violets, and lilies of the valley before its interment in the cemetery's Great Mausoleum beneath a marble sculpture of an angel inspired by the work of Italian artist Michelangelo.

In addition to Jackson, the cemetery is the final resting place for such stars as Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, W.C. Fields, Red Skelton, Gracie Allen, Walt Disney and Nat King Cole.

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