Famous last words

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When famous people die, their last words go down in history - with unpredictable results. Some demand celebrations, others invoke the power of ice-cream or whiskey and still more are bravely defiant. While many of us would hope to utter something poignant or symbolic in the face of death, the truth is often rather more mundane, or even comical.

With Steve Jobs' sister, Mona, revealling his parting words whilst delivering the eulogy at his funeral recently, we take a look back at his and other notable figures' famous last words in the gallery below.

Simply click on an image below to launch the gallery.

Picture credits: Rex Features

  • Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011

    "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

  • Oscar Wilde, 1854 - 1900

    "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."

  • Marie Antoinette, 1755 - 1793

    "Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose."

    (Said in French to her executioner after she stepped on his foot)

  • Pablo Picasso, 1881 - 1973

    "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more."

  • Joan Crawford, 1905 - 1977

    "Dammit … don’t you dare ask God to help me."

    (In response to her housekeeper who began praying aloud)

  • Che Guevara, 1928 - 1967

    "I know you have come to kill me. Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man."

    (Spoken to his assassin)

  • Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886

    "I must go in, the fog is rising."

  • Louisa May Alcott, 1832 - 1888

    "Is it not meningitis?"

  • King George V, 1865 - 1936

    "Bugger Bognor."

    (In response to his physician suggesting he convalesce at Bognor Regis)

  • Frida Kahlo, 1907 - 1954

    "I hope the exit is joyful and hope never to return."

    (In a diary entry written a few days before her death)

  • Winston Churchill, 1874 - 1965

    "I'm bored with it all."

  • Charlotte Bronte, 1816 - 1855

    "Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy."

    (Said to her husband of nine months)

  • Dylan Thomas,1914 - 1953

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record."

  • Anna Pavlova, 1881 - 1931

    "Get my swan costume ready."

  • Gertrude Stein, 1874 - 1946

    "What is the answer? ... (silence, laughs) ... In that case, what is the question?"

  • Bing Crosby, 1903 - 1977

    "That was a great game of golf, fellers."

  • Errol Flynn, 1909 - 1959

    "I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it."

  • Queen Elizabeth I, 1533 - 1603

    "All my possessions for a moment of time!"

  • Salvador Dalí, 1904 - 1989

    "Where is my clock?"

  • Amelia Earhart, 1897 - 1937

    "Gas is running low. We are on the line 157-337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait."

    (Her final radio transmission before her plane disappeared over the Pacific)

  • Bob Marley, 1945 - 1981

    "Money can’t buy life."

  • Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770 - 1827

    "Friends applaud, the comedy is finished."

  • Jane Austen, 1775 - 1817

    "Nothing, but death."

    (When asked by her sister whether there was anything she wanted)

  • Tallulah Bankhead (actress), 1902 - 1968

    "Codeine ... bourbon."

  • Humphrey Bogart, 1899 - 1957

    "I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."

  • Anton Chekhov, 1860 - 1904

    "I am dying. I haven't drunk champagne for a long time."

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861


    (In response to her husband asking how she felt)

  • Voltaire, 1694 - 1778

    "This is no time to make new enemies."

    (In response to a request to forswear Satan)

  • Lou Costello, 1906 - 1959

    "That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted."

  • Charlie Chaplin, 1889 - 1977

    "Why not? It belongs to him."

    (In response to a priest saying "may God have mercy on your soul")

  • Marilyn Monroe, 1926 - 1962

    "Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to Jack and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy."

    (Reportedly said over the telephone to fellow actor Peter Lawford)

  • River Phoenix, 1970 - 1993

    "No paparazzi, I want anonymity."

    (Said to a reporter trying to help him out of The Viper Room as he collapsed)

  • James Dean, 1931 - 1955

    "That guy's gotta stop ... he'll see us"

    (Reportedly said just before he was fatally injured in a car crash)

  • Lady Nancy Astor (first female MP in Britain), 1879 - 1964

    "Am I dying or is this my birthday?"

    (When she woke up briefly to find her family gathered around her bed)

  • Karl Marx, 1818 - 1883

    "Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

    (When asked by his housekeeper what his last words were)

  • Malcolm X, 1925 - 1965

    "Brothers! Brothers, please! This is a house of peace!"

    (Said moments before he was assassinated at a public meeting)

  • George Bernard Shaw, 1856 - 1950

    "Dying is easy, comedy is hard."

  • Henry VIII, 1491 - 1547

    "All is lost. Monks, monks, monks!"

  • Anne Boleyn, 1504 - 1536

    "The executioner is, I believe, very expert; and my neck is very slender."

  • Harry Houdini, 1874 - 1926

    "I'm tired of fighting."


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