Famous Last Words

Some are mysterious and foreboding. While others are funny and sharp. Many are simple. When the end comes, as it will for all of us, may we have the humor, intellect or realization to make our last words memorable. Spoken or written, here are some famous last words to contemplate.


Billie Holiday: “Don’t be in such a hurry.”

Elvis: “I’m going to the bathroom to read.”

Gustav Mahler: “Mozart!”

Janis Joplin: “Get it while you can.”

Jean-Philippe Rameau: “What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune.”

Frank Sinatra: “I’m losing it.”

Aretha Franklin: “Bernadette.”

Buddy Rich’s nurse asked him, “Is there anything you can’t take?” Rich said, “Yeah, country music.”

George Harrison: “Love one another.”

John Lennon, after being asked by an EMT if he was John Lennon: “Yes, I am.”

Ludwig van Beethoven : “Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.”

Frank Zappa: “Coke.” Then his family had a coke in his honor.

Marvin Gaye: “I got what I wanted….I couldn’t do it myself, so I made him do it.”


Gertrude Stein: “What is the answer? … (silence, laughs) … In that case, what is the question?”

George Orwell’s last written words: “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” He died at 46.

Charlotte Brontë to her husband: “Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.”

Vladimir Nabokov: “A certain butterfly is already on the wing.”

Eugene O’Neill: “I knew it! I knew it! Born in a hotel room and, goddamn it, dying in a hotel room.”

Sylvia Plath: “Call Dr. Horder.”

Wilson Mizner said to a priest: “Why should I talk to you? I’ve just been talking to your boss.”

Emily Dickinson: “I must go in, for the fog is rising.”

Truman Capote: “Mama— Mama— Mama.”

Yukio Mishima: “I don’t think they even heard me.”

Virginia Woolf, in her suicide note: “I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time… I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”

Edgar Allen Poe: “Lord help my poor soul.”

Jane Austen: “I want nothing but death.”

Oscar Wilde: “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”

Dorothy Parker: “Excuse my dust.”


Shirley Chisholm: “I’d like them to say Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.”

William Henry Seward: “Love one another.”

Benjamin Franklin: “A dying man can do nothing easy.”

Sir Winston Churchill: “I’m bored with it all.”

Robert F. Kennedy: “Is everyone else alright?”

Victor Hugo: “I see black light.”

Thomas Jefferson: “Is it the Fourth?” (It was.)


Margaret Sanger: “A party! Let’s have a party.”

Che Guevara: “I know you have come to kill me. Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man.”

Harriet Tubman: “Swing low, sweet chariot.”

Lucy Stone: “Make the world better.”

Assorted notables

Amelia Earhart: “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”

Nostradamus: “Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” He was right.

Louise-Marie-Therese de Saint Maurice: After passing gas, she said, “Good. A woman who can fart is not dead.”

Steve Jobs: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”

Marie Antoinette, to her executioner, after accidentally stepping on his foot: “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait exprès.” (“Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.”)

Jack Daniel: “One last drink, please.”

Conrad Hilton: “Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

King Louis XIV: “Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?”

Joe DiMaggio: “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”


Maude Adams: “Life is still full of joy. Thumbs up for joy and adventure.”

Michael Landon’s son said it was time to move on. Landon’s last words, “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.”

Katharine Hepburn: “They’re all dead. It’s amazing.”

Groucho Marx: “This is no way to live!”

Alfred Hitchcock: “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”

Humphrey Bogart: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

Carrie Fisher: “I am dead. How are you? I’ll see you soon … I would call and tell you what this is like, but there is no reception up here.”


Frida Kahlo: “I hope this exit is joyful and I hope never to return.”

Vincent van Gogh: “La tristesse durera toujours.” (“The sadness will last forever.”)


Mata Hari: “Everything is an illusion.”

Anna Pavolva: “Get my swan costume ready.”


Karl Marx: “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”

Margaret Fuller: “I see nothing but death before me–I shall never reach the shore.”


Charles Darwin: “I am not the least afraid to die.”

Carl Sagan: “Goodbye Ann.”

Marie Curie: “I want to be left in peace.”

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