One Last Zinger: Dorothy Parker's Headstone Unveiled in NYC

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What to Know

  • Dorothy Parker's headstone has been unveiled at a New York cemetery where the ashes of the author and humorist who died in 1967 are interred. The New York Post reports that a jazz band played at the ceremony Monday at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
  • It was supposed to take place on Parker's birthday Sunday but was delayed by weather. Parker died without leaving instructions as to what to do with her remains.
  • She left her estate to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. For years, her ashes were buried outside the offices of the NAACP in Baltimore. They were moved last year. Monday's ceremony marked her final homecoming to New York City.

Dorothy Parker died in 1967, but it was not until last year that her ashes found a final resting place.

Now, at a memorial ceremony at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, her headstone has been unveiled at the family plot where ashes of the writer, humorist and civil rights supporter are buried, the New York Post reported.

Born in 1893 in New York, Parker wrote poems, short stories and theater and literary reviews for magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. She was famous for one-liners such as, “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue" and “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

She died without leaving instructions on what to do with her remains but left her estate, along with the right to collect future royalties, to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whom she had never met.

When King was assassinated, her estate transferred to the NAACP, which laid her ashes to rest in a garden outside their Baltimore headquarters in 1988. Before that, her remains had been held for years at a crematorium and in an attorney's filing cabinet.

After much wrangling, the NAACP agreed with Parker's relatives to relocate the ashes to New York as the organization moved its headquarters to Washington. The ashes were reburied in the cemetery, which is also the resting place of many city luminaries, last year.

A jazz band played at the ceremony Monday, which was originally scheduled to take place on Parker's birthday on Sunday but was delayed by Tropical Storm Henri.

“This is finally her homecoming to her beloved New York City,” Kevin Fitzpatrick, president of the Dorothy Parker Society, told the newspaper.

Parker's relatives attended the memorial, where those gathered read from Parker's work and some poured gin, her beverage of choice, on the grave.

The headstone is carved with a poem of Parker’s written in 1925 that reads: “Leave for her a red young rose; Go your way, and save your pity; She is happy, for she knows that her dust is very pretty.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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