Michael Jackson's public memorial service was king-sized.
There is no show of grief too big for a fallen king. Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of fans gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to say goodbye to the "King of Pop," Michael Jackson, at a public memorial. An online lottery selected the 17,500 people (of the 1.6 million who registered) who could actually attend the star-studded event, which featured tributes from Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Usher, Lionel Richie, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Brooke Shields, Al Sharpton, and a whole bunch of other famous folks.
It's no surprise that M.J., one of the most popular/notorious men on the planet, had such a massive memorial. That's what happens when you're a transcendent entertainer or politician. In the wake of Michael Jackson's tribute, Complex looks back at other super-sized services for the fallen famous...
• Date of Memorial: 4/10/94
• Estimated Attendance: Approximately 7,000 mourners gathered for a public vigil held at a park at Seattle Center. Near the end, Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, arrived and gave her husband's clothes away to grieving fans.
• Interesting Fact: In a pre-recorded message, Love read portions of Cobain's suicide note to the crowd and broke down, crying, and chastising Cobain for being selfish.
President John F. Kennedy
• Date of Memorial: 11/25/63
• Estimated Attendance: In addition to the 250,000 people who lined up to view J.F.K.'s casket and pay their respects, 1,200 invited guests attended the funeral Mass in St. Matthew's Cathedral, among them 220 foreign dignitaries from 92 countries.
• Interesting Fact: In the near-freezing cold, some people waited as many as 10 hours on a line that stretched 40 blocks up to 10 persons wide to view the casket.
• Date of Memorial: 8/18/48
• Estimated Attendance: Over 75,000 fans went to Yankee Stadium, the "House That Ruth Built," to view the body of the baseball legend. Another 75,000 gathered in and around Manhattan's St. Patrick's Cathedral to attend his funeral service.
• Interesting Fact: Among Ruth's pallbearers were fellow Yankee great Joe DiMaggio, boxing champion Jack Dempsey, and New York Governor Thomas Dewey.
• Date of Memorial: 8/18/77
• Estimated Attendance: More than 100,000 fans, press, and celebrities lined the streets from Graceland to Forrest Hill Cemetery to see the funeral procession of 14 white Cadillacs.
• Interesting Fact: In exchange for $18,000, one of Presley's cousins, Bobby Mann, secretly photographed the corpse. The picture appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer, making it the largest and fastest selling issue of all time.
• Date of Memorial: N/A, multiple memorials were held
• Estimated Attendance: Thirty thousand people gathered in Liverpool and over 100,000 amassed in New York's Central Park, near the scene of the Lennon's shooting, to share in their grief.
• Interesting Fact: At his widow Yoko Ono's request, millions of people observed ten minutes of silence on December 14, 1980 to remember Lennon.
Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace
• Date of Memorial: 3/18/97
• Estimated Attendance: Thousands of people filled the streets of Brooklyn as the slain rapper's funeral procession rolled through his borough after a private memorial ceremony at Manhattan's Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. Former mayor of New York David Dinkins, Arista Records Chief Clive Davis, Lil Kim, Lil Cease, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, and Queen Latifah were among the 350 people in attendance at the memorial.
• Interesting Fact: The Brooklyn crowd, which erupted when somebody played "Hypnotize," was so worked up over the loss of Biggie that clashes with police led to the arrest of ten people.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Date of Memorial: 4/9/68
• Estimated Attendance: Due to size constraints, only 1,300 family, friends, guests, and congregation members attended a restricted memorial at Ebenezer Baptist Church. An additional 60,000 people gathered outside and attended a second, public service held at Morehouse College, Dr. King's alma mater.
• Interesting Fact: After the memorial services, thousands took part in a three-and-a-half-mile silent procession through Atlanta.
Pope John Paul II
• Date of Memorial: 4/8/05
• Estimated Attendance: After the Pope died, nearly 4 million people crammed into Rome to pay their respects, with 300,000 people filling St. Peter's Square.
• Interesting Fact: The arrival of mourners in Rome doubled the city's population.
• Date of Memorial: 9/6/97
• Estimated Attendance: Over 1 million people watched the four-mile procession to Westminster Abbey (2.5 billion people watched on TV). Five representatives from each of 110 charities Diana had supported attended and Elton John sang a reworked version of his song "Candle in the Wind" for her.
• Interesting Fact: The day before Princess Di's memorial services and burial, the world lost Mother Teresa, another beloved humanitarian. Diana was buried with a rosary that Mother Teresa had given her as a gift.
• Dates of Memorials: 12/28/06, 12/29/06, 12/30/06
• Estimated Attendance: Brown was such a popular figure that three separate memorials were held for him: Thousands of fans showed up to a public viewing of Brown's body at Harlem's Apollo Theater, where he made his professional debut in 1956; family and close friends attended a private memorial in North Augusta, South Carolina; finally, his band, the Soul Generals, played music while more than 9,000 fans danced at a memorial in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia.
• Interesting Fact: Michael Jackson, who attended the memorial in Augusta, was rumored to have said, "My greatest inspiration," after kissing Brown's forehead.