March 20, 2009
Oh, there's security at a celebrity funeral all right, and there will be at imminent services for natasha richardson. Let's put it this way: If your grandma is buried in the same cemetery that's hosting a celebrity funeral, don't bet on visiting your ancestors that day. Dead relative or not, you probably won't get in-the celebrities, and their privacy, come first.
As for invitations, well, this isn't a wedding. Instead, celebrity insiders tell me...
...when it comes to a funeral, organizers have to work fast.
"If it's a memorial service, you might send written invitations," says veteran Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman, who has attended many a celebrity funeral. "But if it's a funeral, all invitations are done via email or phone."
And security is usually quite massive.
"You've got a pretty big perimeter, with all the entrances to the cemetery [or venue]," Bragman says. "Plus a pretty good-sized retinue around the family. You're not talking just one or two guards."
(In 2007, Ryan Seacrest, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia De Rossi and others attended Merv Griffin's funeral at a Beverly Hills church. Security was so tight that police blocked off the adjacent Bedford Drive to hold back curious fans. Guests had to check in at the church steps.)
If a funeral is not held at a church, private home or cemetery, organizers may hold it at a guild-such as the Directors Guild or Writers Guild, Bragman says.
Once guests start arriving, a guard or designated clipboard person checks people off the list one by one. And what if, say, Lauren Bacall shows up and wants to pay her respects? And-gasp-she's not on the list?
"There is generally someone with security who is talking to the family, who says, 'Joe Schmoe just showed up and claims to be a family friend,' and someone walks over and handles it."