Frank E. Campbell’s humble obituary betrayed no indication that this to be a male who revolutionized the mortuary business. However, researching his service in historical newspapers speak a different story. Campbell’s funeral home business pioneered the over-the-top celebrity burial and also his perform of client reads favor a Who’s that of Hollywood stars. V a fleet of rolfes Royces and also a private yacht, last rites at Campbell’s permitted one to truly “go the end in style.”

The Brooklyn day-to-day Eagle, Jan. 19, 1934

A Star is Born

Born July 4, 1872, Campbell gained his start in the death business as a casket-maker in ~ an undertaker’s shop. However he had actually bigger dreams and moved to brand-new York City at the tender period of twenty, wherein he invested a couple of years cutting his teeth in the city’s funeral parlors. This was the moment of horse-drawn hearses and also quiet viewings organized at the deceased’s home. Those quiet, grim to work would begin to look at quite various after Campbell opened up his own funeral home on 23rd Street in Manhattan. There, he began to adjust the method we mourn forever.

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Frank E. Campbell
Advertisement in the brand-new York Herald, December 9, 1919

The job Hollywood Wept

Campbell’s an initial celebrity burial was the opera singer Enrico Caruso, but it to be the spectacle the Rudolph Valentino’s funeral the really skyrocketed Campbell’s business. Valentino was an Italian movie star and also international sex prize who was in the element of his life when he suddenly broke down at the Hotel Ambassador in Manhattan. Leading guy of above silent movies like The four Horsemen the the Apocalypse and The Sheik, Valentino was recognized for his star power and captivating great looks, which earned him the nickname “Latin Lover.”

Valentino’s starring role in “The 4 Horsemen” made the a family name.

Just work after his collapse, the lovely performer to be dead at the age of 31 together a an outcome of peritonitis. The star’s sudden death shocked his fans and immediately elevated Valentino from actor to icon. An approximated 100,000 world turned up exterior the candid E. Campbell Funeral Chapel to mark the ns of Valentino, turning the streets of Manhattan into a hysterical crowd of mourners.

This to be the start of the era that movie stars v rabid fan clubs and an energetic media breathlessly reporting every aspect of their lives. Prior to Valentino’s untimely demise, celebrity deaths were no the resource of media frenzy and excitement they are today. In part ways, the drama of his funeral to be a precursor to the general public obsession v movie stars.

Buried with Her Canary Bird

Campbell’s funeral home ended up being known because that its star-studded list of clients, however it additionally won the understanding of those in the city who wanted other a little an ext special because that their final farewells.

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One such client put a call through to Campbell once she discovered her beloved pet canary dead in the cage. The yonsi lady asked for Campbell take the bird and embalm him, so her tiny plumed companion might be hidden with her when the time came. No one to rotate down a heartfelt last wish, the funeral residence took the bird and reunited him through his owner once the time came. Together with the media-circus celebrity funerals, this type of devoted service additionally helped Campbell do a name for himself in brand-new York.

New York Herald, Oct. 9, 1919

Rest in Peace, Mr. Campbell

After a life time of giving dignity and comfort to the bereaved, Campbell passed far January 19, 1934 in ~ the age of 61. Never ever one to it is in outdone, he requested to be hidden in a casket of heavy bronze. Weighing in at 1,400 pounds, the casket was totally too big for Campbell’s requested burial site in ~ Bergen comb Mausoleum. And also so, Campbell languished in his casket in a closet under a staircase in the mausoleum for the following fifty years, till the president of the candid E. Campbell Funeral Chapel received the important permissions to move the remains to Woodlawn Cemetery. Campbell was ultimately laid to remainder on October 3, 2001. 

He is remembered as a new York City icon and also a gigantic in the background of the funeral business. Since Campbell’s death, his funeral home has been the last protect against for celebrities choose Judy Garland, john Lennon, and Heath Ledger.