Death and Funeral
On October 10, 1985, Welles did his final interview on The Merv Griffin Show. He died several hours later of a heart attack at his home in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, and was found slumped over his typewriter, working on a new film script. His death came on the same day as that of his Battle of Neretva co-star, Yul Brynner. He was cremated two days later.
Welles's funeral was the subject of some dissent among his family. It was handled by his estranged widow Paola Mori (she had not seen him since she had thrown him out of their family home a year earlier) and his youngest daughter Beatrice Welles. On the pretext that "daddy left no money for funerals or anything else", Beatrice planned for it to be "a simple affair" which deliberately excluded "Hollywood types". Welles's eldest daughter Chris has written of her horror at arriving in "a slum" district of downtown Los Angeles and finding that the funeral took place in a building that "looked more like a hot sheets motel than a funeral home", and that the funeral was booked in a small, bare, sparsely furnished shabby back room which "had the look of a cheap motel room", and had no music or flowers. No ministers, speakers or ceremony had been organized, and so the mourners simply sat in silence by Welles's cremated remains until Welles's 90-year-old former teacher and mentor Roger Hill gave an impromptu eulogy. Paola Mori had refused to allow most of Welles's friends to attend, limiting the mourners to just nine: herself, Welles's three daughters, Roger Hill, and three of Welles's friends (Gary Graver, Prince Alessandro Tasca di Cuto and Greg Garrison), as well as the doctor who had signed Welles's death certificate. Welles's companion for the last 20 years, Oja Kodar, was not invited, nor were either of his ex-wives. Regarding the proceedings, Hill exclaimed at the funeral itself "This is awful! Awful!" Hill took particular exception to Welles having been cremated to save money, since "Orson never wanted to be cremated. He hated the whole idea of cremation. Thank God he doesn't know what they did to him!"
Welles's ashes were taken to Ronda, Spain, where they were buried in an old well covered by flowers, within the rural property of a long-time friend, retired bullfighter Antonio Ordóñez.
Read more about this topic: Orson Welles
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