Famous eulogies - videos, transcripts, audio files…
Send an email to email@example.com if there’s a eulogy you’re looking for, I’ll see what we can do.
- V = video (click on the image)
- T = transcript (you’ll find a PDF)
- A = audio (click on the link)
It’s been described as ‘funny and touching’. It proves that you can start a eulogy by making people laugh. Billy Crystal’s eulogy for Muhammad Ali was brought to life by his impressions, it’s true, but it’s all the more memorable for being a moving story about the Heavyweight Champion of the wooooorld…
Graham Chapman. Python, actor, comedian, write, and almost a doctor. Chapman turned down a career as a doctor to be a comedian. He died of tonsil and spinal cancer at just 48 years old. John Cleese delivered Graham Chapman’s eulogy, and it’s well-known for being the first time on British television that the word ‘fuck’ was broadcast in a memorial service. (The BBC’s announcer introduced the programme saying, “Some viewer ay be offended by the strong language and distinctly anarchic approach, which was the group’s trademark throughout ‘the life of Python’.”)
I’ve included the link as it stands to the whole hour of programming on the Beeb. And the words of John Cleese’s introduction are here as a PDF.
Steve Irwin – known as ‘the Croc Hunter’ – was a conservationist with a larger than life personality; he died on 4 September 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray, while filming for a documentary.
The video shows Russell Crowe delivering a short eulogy to Steve Irwin, during a memorial service that was televised and seen by over 300 million people.
At just 8 years old, Irwin’s daughter – Bindi – read a moving speech of her own during the service.
Ah, Abe. Honest Abe. There was no YouTube to record the event, back in 1865, but there was definitely a commitment to the orated word like no other.
As a result, you’ll find more than one tribute to the 16th President of the United States. This can lead to confusion.
If you Google it, you’ll find two speeches that are sometimes cited in error as being Abraham Lincoln’s eulogy. One was given by Frederick Douglass – the African-American social reformer, orator, writer, and latterly, statesman. The other was given by Dr. Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (and Lincoln’s pastor while in residence in the White House). Both pieces are powerful bits of writing.
The official eulogy, however, was given by the Hon. Henry Champion Deming, of Hartford, Member of Congress from the First District, before the General Assembly. 3,500 copies were printed for general circulation but, as it was over 11,000 words long, we haven’t included it all here. We’ve added it as a PDF.
If you’re interested in the many other speeches made at the time, I’ve found the best resource for Lincoln-related orations to be on a microsite known as ‘The Martyred President’, which is a joint effort by the Emory University and Pitts Theology Library.
As an aside, Walt Whitman composed ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. As an elegy (a poem in praise of someone who’s died), this verse was made famous the second time around by the inimitable Robin Williams in the film, Dead Poets Society.
Norma-Jean Baker needs no introduction. But Lee Strasberg does. He was a Director at the Actors’ Studio. He trained Marilyn, oversaw her career, and gave her eulogy on August 8, 1962, at the Westwood Village Mortuary Chapel on the grounds of the Westwood Memorial Cemetery.
Other famous eulogies
In my library, on their way to this page (email me if you need it).
- Winston Churchill [Dwight Eisenhower]
- Gerald R. Ford [Tom Brokaw]
- Edward (Ted) Kennedy [Barck Obama]
- Robert F. Kennedy [Edward M. Kennedy]
- John F. Kennedy [Senator Jacob Javits]
- Richard Nixon [Bill Clinton]
- Ronald Reagan [Margaret Thatcher]
- Margaret Thatcher [Amanda Thatcher]
- Nelson Mandela [Jacob Zuma]
- Jacqueline Onassis [Ted Kennedy]
- Franklin D. Roosevelt [Winston Churchill]
Religion and Leadership
- Rev. Mychal Judge [Rev. Michael Duffy]
- Rev. Clementa Pinckney [Barack Obama]
- Mahatma Gandhi [Jawaharlal Nehru]
- Martin Luther King [Robert F. Kennedy]
- Rosa Parks [Oprah Winifrey]
- Martin McGuiness [Bill Clinton]
Technology and Achievement
- Steve Jobs [Mona Simpson]
- Columbia Astronauts [George W. Bush]
- Challenger Astronauts [Ronald Reagan]
- Edmund Hillary [Helen Clark]
- Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother) [Dr. George Carey]
- Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales [Charles Spencer]
- King George VI [Winston Churchill]
- Jim Henson [Frank Oz]
- Sonny Bono [Cher]
- David Bowie [Gary Oldman]
- George Harrison [Eric Idle]
- Stanley Kubrick [Edward Champion]
- Anna Nicole Smith [Howard Stern]
- Coretta Scott King [Maya Angelou, Bill Clinton]
- Michael Clarke Duncan [Tom Hanks]
- Lorna Colbert [Stephen Colbert]
- Michael Jackson [Berry Gordy]
- Michael Jackson [Brooke Shields]
- Whitney Houston [Kevin Costner]
- Prince Rogers Nelson [Frank Ocean, Mark Morford]
- William Shakespeare [William Basse and others]
- Pericles […]