MSNBC’s coverage of the Funeral and burial of Sonny Bono (January 9, 1998)

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Following a ski accident just four days ago when rock and roll legend Sonny Bono smashed into a tree at the Heavenly Ski Resort on South Lake Tahoe, MSNBC brings to you the sorrowful coverage of his last rites. This features the full funeral mass at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Palm Springs, including eulogies by Cher, California Governor Pete Wilson, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and political mentor Bruce Herschensohn. Plus, the burial at Desert Memorial Park, additional statements, public opinion and reactions.


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One of entertainment’s greatest sons, Frank Sinatra, has arrived at his final resting place at a Palm Springs cemetery on Wednesday.

About 4 (h) hundred close family, friends and former colleagues had earlier joined in a moving private funeral service which celebrated his life of show business.

Sinatra died last Thursday of heart failure aged 82.

Hollywood’s brightest stars, including many of the old guard, joined 4 (h) hundred family and friends to bid farewell to the king of show business.

They packed the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Beverly Hills to remember and celebrate the life of Frank Sinatra.

Many were overcome with grief.

They watched in silence as Sinatra’s elaborate casket blanketed with gardenias, his favourite flowers, was carried out of the church.

Earlier, during the touching two hour service, Sinatra was remembered as a ‘reckless, rogue, sentimental fella,’ who graced the world with his talent.

Some of the guests wept as they listened to a recording of Sinatra’s ‘Put Your Dreams Away’.

After the ceremony, Sinatra’s casket was carried out of the church to a hearse, amid the din of four media helicopters hovering overhead.

Outside the church thousands of fans lined the streets to get a glimpse of Sinatra’s casket.

One fan said she felt at peace knowing that Sinatra lives on through his music and in their memories.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“But inside my heart I felt happy because he will always live on in my heart.”
SUPER CAPTION: Vox Pop, Sinatra fan

Frank Sinatra was revered as being one of a kind, a unique and popular entertainer.

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“He was a great one of kind type of entertainer, that you probably won’t see again, certainly won’t see again in the twentieth century.”
SUPER CAPTION: Vox Pop, Sinatra fan

Immediately after the funeral service, Sinatra’s widow, Barbara, his three children and other family members accompanied Sinatra’s casket to his final resting place.

With the news helicopters following, the hearse drove to Vans Nuys airport, where the casket was loaded on to a private jet that flew with the immediate family to the desert town of Palm Springs some 110 miles east.

In a small, private burial service he was laid to rest at a family plot in the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City.

He was buried alongside his mother, Natalie “Dolly” Sinatra, and father, Anthony Martin Sinatra.

Sinatra died of heart failure last Thursday ending a 60-year career on the stage and screen.

He was 82.

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