I heard someone talking about famous last words somewhere recently. I can’t remember who or where… sorry to that person. But my favourite last words are Oscar Wilde’s – “Either those curtains go or I do.” But, as you can see at the end of this entry, there are somewhat disputed. I’m sticking with this.
I visited Wikiquotes, and there are a LOT of last quotes on there. So, I’ve cut and pasted my favourite below, along with some of the information about these people. I know some of them, not all of them. I have to say, reading all of these final words was a bit morbid and sad-making, but there are a couple of quite humorous ones. Enjoy!
Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.
Who: George Appel, executed by electric chair in 1928.
Mennyi az idő? Különben mindegy…
▪ Translation: What is the time? Never mind, it’s not important…
Who: János Arany, Hungarian poet
Who: Tallulah Bankhead
I’m so bored with it all.
Who: Winston Churchill, before slipping into a coma and dying nine days later.
▪ Who: Roald Dahl
Note: The words were a response to being awoken by the prick of a syringe delivering a lethal dose of morphine, as it had been thought that Dahl had entered a coma from which he could not recover. Prior to entering the coma, he had told his family, “You know, I’m not frightened. It’s just that I will miss you all so much.”
Where is my clock?
Who: Salvador Dalí
▪ Who: Walt Disney
Note: Scrawled on a piece of paper. To this day, nobody knows what he meant by it, not even Kurt Russell, who was 15 at the time.
Please leave the room if this will offend you. No, no! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Stay back! This could hurt someone!
▪ Who: R. Budd Dwyer, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, before he placed the barrel of a .357 Magnum revolver into his mouth and pulled the trigger in front of TV news cameras that were videotaping what was originally presumed to be a press conference (Dwyer had been found guilty of accepting bribes, and professed his innocence to the literal last moments of his life. The press conference was held on what was to be the day before his sentencing).
Note: Because his last words are spoken over the shouts of horrified news reporters and Dwyer’s own staff, his last words are not clearly heard on the videotape. They are also quoted as: “Stay back, this thing will hurt someone!”, “Listen! This’ll hurt someone!” or “Listen! This is gonna hurt someone!”.
Es ist gar nichts… es ist gar nichts… (German)
▪ Translation: It is nothing… it is nothing…
▪ Who: Franz Ferdinand Archduke of Austria-Hungary
Whispered to Count Harrach as the Archduke fell unconscious after being shot; he died shortly without ever regaining consciousness. His death in Sarajevo in 1914 triggered the outbreak of World War I.
Goddamn the whole fucking world and everyone in it except you, Carlotta!
▪ Who: W.C. Fields
Note: “Carlotta” was Carlotta Monti, actress and Fields’ mistress.
Mother, I’m going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I’m never coming back.
▪ Who: Marvin Gaye
Note: Moments later, Gaye was fatally shot by his father, Marvin Gaye, Sr.
‘I really need a therapist’
Who: Christopher Grace, an actor who killed himself during a matinée performance of Grease.
▪ Translation: On the contrary!
▪ Who: Henrik Ibsen
context: This was his response to a nurse who told a visitor he was a little better.
We didn’t commit suicide. We committed an act of revolutionary suicide, protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.
Don’t worry…it’s not loaded…
▪ Who: Terry Kath, rock musician in the band Chicago
context: As he put the gun he was cleaning to his head and pulled the trigger. Though the gun had no magazine in it, Kath was unaware that a bullet was already in the chamber; he was killed instantly.
Ah well I suppose it has come to this… Such is life.
Who: Australian bush ranger Ned Kelly as he was hanged in the Melbourne Jail on November 11th 1880.
Boy, fetch my fiddle.
Who: Robert Roy MacGregor.
Who: Gangster Antonio Mancini when Albert Pierrepoint had put the noose on his neck
Die, my dear? Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!
Who: Groucho Marx
If you don’t like it, you can fuck off!
Who: Keith Moon. He asked his girlfriend to cook him breakfast, but she complained and that made him angry. He died approximately six hours later.
I am starting to believe you are not intending to count me amongst your friends.
▪ Who: Pedro Muñoz Seca – Spanish playwright
Context: Said when he was about to be executed by a squad during the Spanish Civil War.
Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here.
This isn’t Hamlet, you know. It’s not meant to go into the bloody ear.
▪ Who: Actor Laurence Olivier supposedly said this when a nurse, attempting to moisten his lips, mis-aimed.
Note: In Shakespeare‘s play Hamlet, the title character’s father is killed when poison is dripped into his ear while asleep.
Yes…A bullet-proof vest
▪ Who: James W. Rodgers
Note: Asked if he has any last requests before facing a firing squad.
Put out the bloody cigarette!
▪ Who: Saki (British author Hugh Hector Munro)
Note: Spoken to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War I, for fear the smoke would give away their positions; he was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.
But the peasants…how do the peasants die?
Who: Leo Tolstoy
My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.
▪ Who: Oscar Wilde
▪ Variation: These curtains are killing me, one of us has got to go.
▪ Popular variation often found in “Famous Last Words”-lists: “Either the wallpaper goes, or I do.”
▪ Notes: Mr. Wilde said this in the Left Bank hotel where he died on November 30 1900, the wallpaper has since been removed and the room re-furnished in the style of one of Mr. Wilde’s London flats.
▪ Quibble: He actually said this a couple of weeks before his death…
▪ He was also reported to have ordered a bottle of the hotel’s most expensive champagne to later say: I am dying beyond my means.
Oscar Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on 30 november 1900. The last words he tried to utter were the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, which are all part of the Last Sacraments that were administered to him on 29 november.