The Famous Last Words of the Famous

by M-Gillies
Humphrey Bogart smoking a cigarette and talking to someone.

Humphrey Bogart died January 4, 1957 at the age of 57. His last words : “I never should have switched from scotch to martinis.”

In the literal sense famous last words are the final remarks of a person before their death – it comes from a notion that during that moment between life and death, the dying person’s final words will hold some special significance, perhaps reveal a mystery or ultimate affirmation. Rarely is this the case. These farewell utterances are often ironic comments or an overconfident assertions. But one thing is true about famous last words – they are handed down and more so than not, show how people, even when facing their own mortality can retain a sense of humor to the end.

Below are 24 notable famous last words of the famous:

Queen Marie Antoinette, “Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.” Said after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner while being led to the guillotine for her conviction of treason.

Dominique Bouhours, “I am about to – or I am going to – die: either expression is correct.” Said by the famous French grammarian.

Joan Crawford, “Dammit… Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” Said to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.

General William Erskine, “Now why did I do that?” Said after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813.

Joseph Henry Green, “It’s stopped.” Said after checking his own pulse.

Aldous Huxley, “LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.” Said to his wife who obliged the request and injected him twice before his death.

Hugh Hector Munro, aka: Saki, “Put out the bloody cigarette!” Said to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War One, for fear the smoke would give away their positions. He was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.

Voltaire, “Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” Said after a priest reading his last rites asked him to renounce Satan.

Louisa May Alcott, “Is it not meningitis?” Said after a visit from her father after her ill health had grown worse. She did not have meningitis, rather it was suspected she suffered mercury poisoning from an after-effect of an earlier treatment for typhoid fever.

Lady Nancy Astor, “Am I dying or is this my birthday.” Said after she awoke on her deathbed to see her family at her bedside.

John Barrymore, “Die, I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”

Charlie Chaplin, “Why not? After all, it belongs to him.” Said when the priest reading him his last rites said, “may the lord have mercy on your soul.”

Richard Feynman, “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”

Ian Fleming, “I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don’t know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days.” Said to the ambulance driver.

Benjamin Franklin, “A dying man can do nothing easily.” Said to his daughter who suggested that if he lay on his side, he could breathe easier.

Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel, “Only you have ever understood me… And you got it wrong.” Said to his favorite student.

Doc Holliday, “This is funny.” Said after seeing his feet with boots off after years of believing he would die in a fight or with his boots on. Instead, he died in a hotel bed from tuberculosis.

Jesse James, “That picture is awful dusty.” Said as he climbed a chair to dust a framed picture hanging on the wall before being shot by his former associate, Robert Ford.

Andrew Jackson, “My right side is paralyzed. I need no doctor. I can overcome my troubles.” Said to his granddaughter who was about to send for a doctor.

Stan Laurel, “I wish I was skiing.” His nurse asked, “Oh, Mr. Laurel, do you ski?” “No, but I’d rather be skiing than doing what I’m doing,” he replied before dying of a heart attack.

Karl Marx, “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!” Said to his housekeeper who asked what his last words were.

Pedro Munoz Seca, “I am starting to believe you are not intending to count me amongst your friends.” Said before he was executed by a firing squad during the Spanish Civil War.

James W. Rodgers, “Yes… A bullet-proof vest.” Said when asked if he had any last requests before facing a firing squad.

Oscar Wilde, “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.” Said while staying in the Left Bank hotel dying of cerebral meningitis.


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