More is Moore for Dev Anand

Published: Dec 17, 2011, 07:30 IST | Amit Roy |

As celebrities crowded Dev Anand's memorial service at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai yesterday, a look at famous names who have had their funerals at Putney Vale, where Dev Saab was cremated

As celebrities crowded Dev Anand's memorial service at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai yesterday, a look at famous names who have had their funerals at Putney Vale, where Dev Saab was cremated

To the list of celebrities who have had their funerals at Putney Vale cemetery and crematorium in southwest London one more name, possibly the biggest, has been added--that of Dev Anand. "The 'father of Bollywood' would certainly be among our most famous people," said a spokesman for Putney Vale, where there have been an estimated 100,000 burials since the cemetery was established in 1891. The crematorium was added in 1938 at the scenic 47-acre site, nestling between the woods in Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park.

Tribute: Suneil Anand (r), son of Dev Anand, speaks at his father's
funeral in London on December 10, 2011. Dev Anand died in London on
December 3 of a heart attack at the age of 88. Pic/AFP

Many Indians was initially puzzled by the choice of Putney Vale, which is some way from central London. The reason is that the venue favoured by many Hindus -- Golders Green in north London -- was not available.

Len Hutton played with distinction for England. Pics/Getty Images

Even a cursory trawl throws up numerous well known names at Putney Vale -- for example, Clement Attlee (died 1967), who was Labour prime minister when India gained freedom in 1947. Then, there was Sir David Lean (1991), whose fourth wife, Leila Matkar, out of six, was Indian and who directed several great movies, including The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India.

Actor Stanley Baker starred in The Guns of Navarone in 1961

There are many actors and actresses --Kenneth Moore (1982), who epitomised the perfect English gentlemen and played a daring pilot, Douglas Bader, in the 1954 classic, Reach for the Sky; Welshman Sir Stanley Baker (1976), whose credits include The Guns of Navarone; and New Zealand-born Nyree Dawn Porter (2001), who had a prominent part in the 1967 television period drama, The Forsyte Saga, based on the novels of John Galsworthy.

Nyree Dawn Porter made her name in the 1967 TV serial The Forsyte

Among footballers, no one commands greater affection than Bobby Moore (1993), who was the England captain when his side beat Germany to win the world cup at Wembley in 1966 -- glory days that have not returned.

Bobby Moore was the captain of the England football team, which beat
Germany to win the World Cup in 1966

Cricket's illustrious names include Jim Laker (1986), Sir Len Hutton (1990) and Alf Gover (2001). Howard Carter (1939), the English Egyptologist who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings in November 1922, is buried here. When his chief patron, Lord Carnarvon, had asked whether anything was visible inside the dark burial chamber, Carter delivered a memorable and unscripted line of dialogue: "Yes, wonderful things."

Inscribed on his gravestone are the words: "May your spirit live, May you spend millions of years, You who love Thebes, Sitting with your face to the north wind, Your eyes beholding happiness" and "O night, spread thy wings over me as the imperishable stars."

One of the more intriguing names is that of Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky (1970), the Russian revolutionary who died in exile. The spokesman made an attempt to resolve a mystery about the children's author, Enid Blyton, "When she died (in 1968) her remains were cremated at Golders Green but then apparently scattered at Putney Vale.

It's said her family didn't want her final resting place to become a shrine or for her fans to turn up at Golders Green and perhaps disrupt ceremonies or remove mementos of her final resting place." The Putney Vale authorities have been considering installing closed circuit television cameras to keep a watch over its garden of remembrance. This follows the theft of 20 bronze plaques, which were taken to be sold for their scrap value. 

Friends joke that had Dev Anand acquired prior knowledge of the A-listers at Putney Vale, he would probably have declared, "Great, let's make a film about it -- with me as the romantic lead. Can you beat it?"

JRD's resting place
Pere Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France (44 hectares (110 acres), though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs. JRD Tata died on November 29, 1993 in Geneva at the age of 89. His funeral took place at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris on December 1.

Pere Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. It is also the site of three World War I memorials.

Famous names at Pere Lachaise 
JRD Tata: Indian aviation pioneer and industrialist
* Marcel Marceau: French Mime
* Amadeo Modigliani: Italian painter & sculptor
* Moliere: 17th century French playwright
* Jim Morrison: American singer for The Doors
* Edith Piaf: French singer
* Marcel Proust: French writer
* Georges-Pierre Seurat: French painter
* Gertrude Stein: American writer
* Alice B. Toklas: American writer & Stein's partner
* Oscar Wilde: Irish novelist & poet
* Richard Wright: American writer

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