Famous Last Words

Deathbed bon mots and strangled prose

"I don't know."
      — Peter Abelard, philosopher, 1079-1142

"I'm bored. I'm bored."
      — Gabriele D'Annunzio, writer, 1863-1938

"Pardonnez-moi, monsieur."
      — Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, 1755-1793
            (Approaching the guillotine, she stepped on her executioner's foot.)

"People are listening to too much James Taylor."
      — Larry Anton (one of my college apartment mates)

"Am I dying or is this my birthday?"
      — Lady Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, member of British parliament, 1879-1964

"Nothing but death."
      — Jane Austen, author, 1775-1817

"Codeine . . . bourbon."
      — Tallulah Bankhead, actress, 1903-1968

"Oh God, here I go."
      — Max Baer, boxer, 1909-1959,

"Friends, applaud, the comedy is over."
      — Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, 1770-1827

"I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."
      — Humphrey Bogart, actor, 1899-1957

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Tallulah Bankhead'
"Codeine ... bourbon."

"I am about to--or I am going to--die; either expression is used."
      — Dominique Bouhours, grammarian, 1628-1702

"I'm going away tonight "
      — James Brown, godfather of soul, 1933-2006

"Do you know where I can get any shit?"
      — Lenny Bruce, comedian, 1925-1966

"Whose house is this? What street are we in? Why did you bring me here?"
      — William Cullen Bryant, poet, 1794-1878

"It's been a long time since I've had champagne."
      — Anton Chekhov, writer, 1860-1904

"But ... I'm an agnostic."
      — Andrew H. Clark, cultural geographer, 1911-1975

"I'm tired of being the funniest one in the room."
      — Del Close, author of Truth in Comedy, 1934-1999

"What an irreparable loss!"
      — Auguste Comte, philosopher, 1798-1857

"Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me!"
      — Joan Crawford, actress, 1908-1977

"That guy's got to stop.... He'll see us."
      — James Dean, actor, 1931-1955

"I must go in, for the fog is rising."
      — Emily Dickinson, poet, 1830-1886

"Why is it so difficult to die?"
Francisco Franco Bahamonde, dictator, 1892-1975.

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The hardest working man in show business
"I'm going away tonight."

More light!"
      — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer, 1749-March 22, 1832.

"Love one another ."
      — George Harrison, musician, 1943-2001.

"You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan."
      — Richard Holbrooke, U.S. diplomat, April 24, 1941-December 13, 2010.

"Does nobody understand? "
      — James Joyce, writer, 1882-1941

"Kill me, or else you are a murderer!"
      — Franz Kafka, writer, 1883-June 3,1924

"Such is life" (disputed)
      — Ned Kelly, bushranger, 1854-1880

"Why not? Why not? Why not? Why not? Yeah."
      — Timothy Leary, gadfly, 1920-1996

"I wish to use my body as a torch
To dissipate the darkness
To waken Love among men
And to bring Peace to Viet Nam."

      — Nhat Chi Mai, teacher, d. 1967

"Money can't buy life ."
      — Bob Marley, musician, 1945-1981

"Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."
      — Karl Marx, writer, economist, philosopher 1818-1883

"It has all been very interesting."
      — Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, writer, 1689-August 21, 1762

"Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here."
      — Nostradamus, prophet, 1503-1566

"Born in a hotel room--and God damn it--died in a hotel room."
      — Eugene O'Neill, playwright, 1888-1953

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Karl Marx
"Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

"Get my swan costume ready."
      — Anna Pavlova, ballerina, 1881-1931

"I'm going to the bathroom to read."
      — Elvis Presley, musician, 1935-1977

"Wait a second."
      — Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson Pompadour, Marquise d'Etoiles,
      mistress of Louis XV,1721-1764
      (She used the final second to apply rouge to her cheeks.)

"Bring down the curtain, the farce is played out."
"I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor."

      — Francois Rabelais, writer, 1494?-1553
            (both statements are reported; I don't know which is correct)

"Everybody has got to die, but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?"
      — William Saroyan, writer, 1908-1981

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard "
      — George Bernard Shaw, writer, 26 July 1856–2 November 1950)

"What is the question?"
      — Gertrude Stein, writer, 1874-July 27, 1946

"My head, my head!"
      — Robert Louis Stevenson, writer, 1850-1894

"I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record."
      — Dylan Thomas, poet, 1914-1953
(this quote questioned, probably rightly, by gregory)

"But the peasants ... how do the peasants die?"
      — Leo Tolstoy, novelist, 1828-1910

"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
      — Pancho Villa, revolutionary, 1877-June 20, 1923

"This is no time for making enemies."
      — Voltaire, writer, 21 November 1694-30 May 1778
           (asked by a priest to renounce Satan)

"I still live.... Poetry!"
      — Daniel Webster, 1782-1852

"Either than wallpaper goes or I do" (legendary attribution)
      — Oscar Wilde, 16 October 1854-30 November 1900)

"Curtain! Fast music! Lights! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good. The show looks good."
      — Florenz Ziegfeld, Broadway producer, 1869-1932

Gertrude Stein
"What is the question?"