Famous Faces Who Came to Say a Last Goodbye to a Legend; A CHURCH SERVICE IN BEVERLY HILLS, THEN FRANK SINATRA IS BURIED NEXT TO HIS MOTHER AND FATHER

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID GARDNER

IT was supposed to be a quiet, private funeral for a grieving family and their closest friends. But the world was watching yesterday when several generations of Hollywood royalty sent their final farewells to Frank Sinatra.

From Gregory Peck to Jack Nicholson, a showbusiness Who's Who filed into the Spanish-style Good Shepherd Catholic church in Beverly Hills for the singer's funeral mass.

The coffin, covered in 1,000 of Sinatra's favourite gardenia flowers, was already inside the church. It had been carried in by pallbearers including Peck, Douglas and Robert Wagner at a vigil service the previous night.

Nicholson was first to arrive yesterday, soon followed by Sinatra's widow Barbara and his three children, Frank Jr, Nancy and Tina, with two grandchildren.

Other celebrity mourners included Sinatra's third wife Mia Farrow, Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett, Sophia Loren, Paul Anka, Anthony Quinn, Angie Dickinson and Tony Curtis.

Inside, the church was festooned with 30,000 white roses, peonies and hydrangeas, which filled the air with a scent that wafted outside before its doors were closed to the public.

Robert Wagner delivered the eulogy at the funeral mass in front of up to 500 mourners. Other speakers included all of Sinatra's children.

After the service a party of 20 of the singer's family and closest friends were flown with his body to Palm Springs for the burial beside his parents at the Desert Park Memorial Cemetery in nearby Cathedral City.

During the service a small plane flew over the church and left a sky writing trail spelling the initials FS with a heart.

The night before, an emotional prayer vigil had been held at the same church. Those who attended included Bob Hope, Shirley MacLaine, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis, Connie Stevens, Jack Jones, Milton Berle, Jill St John, Bob Dylan, Nancy Reagan and Jack Lemmon, wearing an eye patch because of a viral infection.

Also there was Joey Bishop, 80, the only surviving member of the Rat Pack of tuxedo-clad rabble rousers that included Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Sinatra. …