No More Kisses for Oscar Wilde

By Jeremy Kinser

Originally published on Advocate.com December 01 2011 6:23 PM ET

The tomb of Oscar Wilde, who epitomized sophisticated wit more than a century ago, has been renovated to prevent damage caused by lipstick stains from his ardent admirers, reports ABC.com.

The unveiling at Paris's famed Pere Lachaise cemetery, which has become a pilgrimage site for fans of the gay author-playwright, was presided over by actor Rupert Everett, who starred in film adaptations of Wilde's An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, and Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland to commemorate the 111th anniversary of his death yesterday.

Everett spoke about Wilde's "force" and the "amazing trajectory of his life" and held up a poster of the pre-renovation tomb covered in notes and lipstick. A glass screen now separates visitors from the stone itself. Holland told the crowd that his grandfather "would be incredibly touched by all the attention. After all, he was sent out of England in 1897 a bankrupt, a homosexual, and a convict ... and the French took him to their hearts."