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Gilliam: Thompson blast-off was brilliant

NEWTON, N.J., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Terry Gilliam says Hunter S. Thompson would have loved the unconventional memorial service his friends and family gave him last weekend.

The eccentric journalist, who was the subject of Gilliam's 1998 film "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas," was cremated and his ashes were shot into the sky amidst fireworks near his Colorado home on Aug. 20 -- six months after the 67-year-old writer committed suicide.

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Johnny Depp, the actor who played Thompson in Gilliam's movie, reportedly financed most of the event.

"I think it's a brilliant way for Hunter to go," said Gilliam, the former "Monty Python" troupe member and director of the new big-screen fantasy, "The Brothers Grimm."

"I just think, the next morning, everyone in Aspen must have been washing their cars trying to get Hunter off," he chuckled during a phone interview with UPI Wednesday.

Asked if he thought Thompson would have gotten a kick out of the blast-off, Gilliam replied, "He would have laughed all the way to the grave."

The filmmaker said he was unable to attend the event, but watched news accounts of it on television.

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