10 Famous People Buried in Unmarked Graves

Actor John Wayne's grave was unmarked for almost 20 years. David Mcnew/Getty Images
Actor John Wayne's grave was unmarked for almost 20 years. David Mcnew/Getty Images

The lives of famous people nowadays are catalogued to the hilt, with every coffee break and bad hair episode documented in detail. Even in death, celeb gravesites are visited by droves of adoring fans. Most famous people opt for some sort of marker or headstone, but occasionally one (or their family) bucks the trend and selects an unmarked plot. Don't fret too much about finding your favorite celeb, though. Although many cemeteries won't disclose information, it's easy to find detailed directions online.

So what constitutes an unmarked grave? The answer is pretty straightforward. "If there's no marker, headstone or nameplate and there is someone in the grave, it qualifies as 'unmarked,'" explains Jolene Mason, general manager of Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park, a popular resting place for modern and classic celebs, outside Los Angeles.

Historically, financial limitations and social status were factors in whether a person (even a famous one) was awarded a big fancy marker. Mass, unmarked graves were also common in times of widespread disease or war; plus older markers simply deteriorated over time or were stolen [sources: Texas Historical Commission, Washington Post]. Modern celebrity concerns are more likely related to privacy and a desire to avoid vandalism. According to Mason, others simply don't want a marker, can't decide on wording, or plan to add one down the line when a loved one passes away and joins them in the plot.

To get our list of 10 famous people in unmarked graves started, we'll look at a major musical genius who may or may not still be 100 percent in his resting spot!