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Famous Last Words

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Famous Last Words

Last words are often disputed. If you'd been with someone you loved when they were dying, and someone put a microphone under your nose and asked you what their last words were, you'd at best say the last thing you remembered; or, wishing them to be remembered in as positive a light as possible, you might say the last significant thing you remembered. If the same reporter then did the same to another witness, they'd probably remember something different. So the obvious moral of this tale is to treat this subject with caution.

I'm quite glad to say that I've never been a witness to anyone's death, but I imagine that very few people, in their last moments, have the presence of mind to make sure that their last words are anything memorable. Some people, in fact, go out of their way not to do so: see Karl Marx.

"Jakie, is this my birthday, or am I dying?" (Seeing all her children assembled at her bedside) Click to show or hide the answer
"I never should have switched from scotch to martinis" Click to show or hide the answer
"The executioner is, I believe, very expert; and my neck is very slender" Click to show or hide the answer
"I shall hear in heaven" Click to show or hide the answer
"Hello … the bow's up … I've gone" Click to show or hide the answer
"Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone" Click to show or hide the answer
"Let not poor Nelly starve" Click to show or hide the answer
"It's never too late for a glass of champagne" Click to show or hide the answer
"I'm so bored with it all" Click to show or hide the answer
"That was the best ice cream soda I ever tasted" (this report has been refuted by his nurse, who claimed that his last words were, "I think I'll be more comfortable," after asking her to move him onto his side Click to show or hide the answer
"This is the hand that wrote it, therefore it shall take first punishment" Click to show or hide the answer
"Don't you dare ask God to help me" (said to her housekeeper, who had begun to pray out loud) Click to show or hide the answer
"My design is to make what haste I can to be gone" Click to show or hide the answer
"That was a great game of golf fellas" Click to show or hide the answer
"That guy (up there)'s gotta stop … he'll see us (or he's seen us)" – reportedly Click to show or hide the answer
"I finally get to see Marilyn" Click to show or hide the answer
"All my possessions for a moment of time" Click to show or hide the answer
"Channel 5 is all shit, isn't it? Christ, the crap they put on there. It's a waste of space" (reportedly) Click to show or hide the answer
"On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia" Click to show or hide the answer
"Mother, I'm going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I'm never coming back" Click to show or hide the answer
(Officially reported as) "How is the Empire?"
(Popularly believed to have been in reality) "Bugger Bognor!"
Click to show or hide the answer
"Let's do it" Click to show or hide the answer
"Monks! Monks! Monks!" Click to show or hide the answer
"On the contrary" (when his nurse assured a visitor that he was a little better) Click to show or hide the answer
"Don't worry – they usually don't swim backwards" (last recorded words – his actual last words were said to be "I'm dying") Click to show or hide the answer
"More milk" ("Milk" was his nickname for the anesthetic propofol, on which he fatally overdosed) Click to show or hide the answer
"I would like two lightly poached eggs" Click to show or hide the answer
"Such is life" Click to show or hide the answer
"Be of good cheer Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace as I trust shall never be put out" Click to show or hide the answer
"Why not? Yeah" (1996) Click to show or hide the answer
"It's all been rather lovely" Click to show or hide the answer
"I think I'll go to sleep now" Click to show or hide the answer
"I haven't told half of what I saw" Click to show or hide the answer
"Go on – get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough" Click to show or hide the answer
"Josephine" Click to show or hide the answer
"Thank god I have done my duty" Click to show or hide the answer
"What an artist dies in me" (Or, What an artist I die (as)) Click to show or hide the answer
"I'm just going outside; I may be some time" Click to show or hide the answer
"Die, my dear Doctor? That is the last thing I shall do!" Click to show or hide the answer
"Get my swan costume ready" Click to show or hide the answer
"I think I could eat one of Bellamy's veal pies" Click to show or hide the answer
"So little done; so much to do" Click to show or hide the answer
"I have a terrific headache" Click to show or hide the answer
"Put out that bloody cigarette" Click to show or hide the answer
"For God's sake look after our people" (Last written words) Click to show or hide the answer
"Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance" (US general) Click to show or hide the answer
"If this is dying, I don't think much of it" Click to show or hide the answer
"Oh that press will have me now!" (quoted by Andrew Motion on BBC Radio 4 in 2009); previously reported as "I have opened it" (meaning unknown) Click to show or hide the answer
"Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six" Click to show or hide the answer
"Woe is me; I think I am becoming a god" Click to show or hide the answer
"Don't let it end like this. Tell 'em I said something" Click to show or hide the answer
"Either that wallpaper goes, or I do" Click to show or hide the answer
"Oh, what's the bloody point?" (Last entry in diary) Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017