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Peter Lawford’s Ashes Removed From Cemetery

May 19, 1988 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The fourth wife of Peter Lawford says she has scattered the actor’s cremated remains in the Pacific Ocean following a dispute over payment of funeral expenses.

Lawford’s ashes were taken from a crypt at Westwood Village Cemetery and turned over to his widow, Patricia Seaton Lawford, who said Lawford’s children by a previous wife had refused to pay the burial bills.

Mrs. Lawford, 30, was the fourth wife of ″The Thin Man″ television star, and was at his side when he died of heart failure at age 61.

The tomb was opened Wednesday by cemetery workers who handed the brass urn with the ashes to Mrs. Lawford, who later scattered the remains in the Pacific Ocean off Marina del Rey.

She said the $10,000 funeral bill was supposed to be paid by the four children Lawford had with Patricia Kennedy Lawford.

″The Kennedys wouldn’t pay,″ said Mrs. Lawford.

Asked if the cemetery was throwing out Peter Lawford, she replied, ″Yes, they are.″

However, a statement from Lawford’s children in New York contradicted the unpaid funeral expenses allegation.

″The children only recently learned of the existence of financial problems in connection with their father’s funeral expenses and they have taken care of all such obligations. The children’s primary concern has always been that their father’s remains rest in peace, and they loved him,″ the statement said.

Cemetery spokesman Richard Steinmetz said he couldn’t comment on the Lawford case.

Only family members and a few close friends attended private services for Lawford on Dec. 26, 1984. Among the mourners were Lawford’s children, Christopher, Sydney, Victoria and Robin.

The tiny tree-shrouded cemetery 10 miles west of downtown in Westwood is also the final resting spot of actresses Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Donna Reed, drummer Buddy Rich and movie producer Darryl F. Zanuck, and other celebrities.