Elizabeth Taylor laid to rest at private service

Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:08am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor was given a small private funeral service attended by family and close friends in the Los Angeles area on Thursday, a day after she died of congestive heart failure.

The Oscar-winning actress, 79, was laid to rest at the Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, outside Los Angeles -- the same place where her close friend, singer Michael Jackson, was buried in 2009.

Taylor's service was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., but started 15 minutes later than planned at the actress' request.

Her spokeswoman said in a statement Taylor wanted the service to include the announcement: "She even wanted to be late to her own funeral."

The coffin for Taylor was draped by a blanket of gardenias, violets and lily of the valley, and the actress who was known for her violet eyes was interred at Forest Lawn's Great Mausoleum beneath a marble angel.

The service lasted about one hour and included a reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo" by actor Colin Farrell, described as a "close friend" of Taylor.

Other poems were read by Taylor's son, Michael Wilding, grandson and daughter Liza Burton Tivey. Her grandson, Rhys Tivey performed "Amazing Grace" on a trumpet.

Taylor, who married eight times (twice to actor Richard Burton), is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Her representatives previously had said that a public memorial would be announced at a later date.

Forest Lawn is also the burial place of many Hollywood celebrities, including Clark Gable, Jean Harlow and Walt Disney.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)