×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

This, too, was a funeral

There were no police barricades. There were no souvenir sellers. There were no autograph-seekers. But it too was a funeral of the highest caliber showbiz. It took us a day to appreciate its emotion-punch after Tuesday’s Michael Jackson grand finale. 

Toni Murray, widow of comedian Jan Murray was celebrated and buried at Hillside Memorial Park, Monday. She died June 28, following a tragic accident in which she was an innocent.Her death occurred exactly three years following the death of Jan Murray, her husband of  56 years. 

They had both decided on the exact details of the services for each to follow. They included music “How Deep Is The Ocean” for Toni, ” My Funny Valentine” for Jan. No endless line for celebs — but 13 family members of all ages, including the newest great-grandchild, spoke of Toni. 

Love filled the Jewish Cemetery Chapel as Rabbi Cutler invited each speaker to tell their inimitable version of their love for this remarkable woman of beauty and warmth. 

Jan met Toni when she was a member of the drop-dead beautiful line of showgirls at New York’s famous Copa. They didn’t have to dance, wriggle or be anything but their own beautiful selves. The speakers finale’d with two — Jack Carter and Norm Crosby. They had known Toni and Jan all of their respective married life — on and off stage. Norm brought down the house when he said “Meryl Streep is not the greatest actress of all — Toni  Murray was” because she could laugh at husband Murray’s wisecracks — over and over, no matter how many times she’d heard them made. Toni made him  feel he was telling fresh, funny material every time. What a sacrifice for any one to make. 

Tuesday’s Michael Jackson extravaganza followed Toni’s simple farewell — but the emotion softly expressed for her could not be denied by the 250 who also bade her farewell — and thanks for her memories.     

Popular on Variety

More Voices

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renée Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • Fleabag Succession Emmys

    Could 'Fleabag' and 'Succession' Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

    At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild [...]

  • Climate Mobilization

    Marshall Herskovitz: Why the Climate Crisis Needs Movie Marketing-Style Muscle

     I’ve lived inside the climate-communications conundrum for 20 years, working with scientists, academics and activists to find ways to convince Americans that something they couldn’t see or feel was nevertheless a looming catastrophe worth upending their lives to fight. Now the climate crisis is undeniable, and we are finally seeing the beginnings of concerted action. [...]

  • Renée Zellweger, Adam Driver Gain Oscar

    Telluride: Oscar Buzz Builds For Renée Zellweger, Adam Driver and 'The Two Popes'

    This year’s Telluride Film Festival began on Thursday with the Guest/Patron Brunch on a private estate about a 30-minute drive from the center of town. Eggs, bacon and fruit salad were being served as the sun was shining on Martin Scorsese, Adam Driver, Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Ken Burns, Ric Burns, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content