Famous People’s Last Words

The last words a person utters can tell us a lot about what they lived for.  And what they say can be very meaningful to us and serve as reminders of life’s fragility.  Here are a few you might find interesting:

Thomas Jefferson–still survives…

~ John Adams, US President, d. July 4, 1826

(Actually, Jefferson had died earlier that same day.)


This is the last of earth! I am content.

~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848


See in what peace a Christian can die.

~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719


Is it not meningitis?

~ Louisa M. Alcott, writer, d. 1888


Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well–let ’em wait.

In response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, “General, I fear the angels are waiting for you.”

~ Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary general, d. 1789


Am I dying or is this my birthday?

When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.

~ Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964


Nothing, but death.

When asked by her sister, Cassandra, if there was anything she wanted.

~ Jane Austen, writer, d. July 18, 1817


Codeine . . . bourbon.

~ Tallulah Bankhead, actress, d. December 12, 1968


How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?

~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891


I can’t sleep.

~ James M. Barrie, author, d. 1937


Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I’m happy.

~ Ethel Barrymore, actress, d. June 18, 1959


Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.

~ John Barrymore, actor, d. May 29, 1942


I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.

~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170


Now comes the mystery.

~ Henry Ward Beecher, evangelist, d. March 8, 1887


Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.

~ Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, d. March 26, 1827


I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957



~ Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, May 5, 1821


I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.

~ Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian, d. 1702


Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.

~ Johannes Brahms, composer, d. April 3, 1897


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

Spoken to her husband of 9 months, Rev. Arthur Nicholls.

~ Charlotte Bronte, writer, d. March 31, 1855



In reply to her husband who had asked how she felt.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, writer, d. June 28, 1861


Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight.

~ Lord George Byron, writer, d. 1824


Et tu, Brute?


~ Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor, d. 44 BC


I am still alive!

Stabbed to death by his own guards – (as reported by Roman historian Tacitus)

~ Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, d.41 AD


Don’t let poor Nelly (his mistress, Nell Gwynne) starve.

~ Charles II, King of England and Scotland, d. 1685


Ay Jesus.

~ Charles V, King of France, d. 1380


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

~ Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, writer, d. July 1, 1904


The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive.

Dying of tuberculosis.

~ Frederic Chopin, composer, d. October 16, 1849


I’m bored with it all.

Before slipping into a coma. He died 9 days later.

~ Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965


This time it will be a long one.

~ Georges Clemenceau, French premier, d. 1929


I have tried so hard to do the right.

~ Grover Cleveland, US President, d. 1908


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

~ Lou Costello, comedian, d. March 3, 1959


Goodnight my darlings, I’ll see you tomorrow.

~ Noel Coward, writer, d. 1973


That was a great game of golf, fellers.

~ Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby, singer / actor, d. October 14, 1977


I am not the least afraid to die.

~ Charles Darwin, d. April 19, 1882


I must go in, the fog is rising.

~ Emily Dickinson, poet, d. 1886


Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?

Minutes before her plane crashed.

~ Jessica Dubroff, seven-year-old pilot, d. 1996


Adieu, mes amis. Je vais la gloire.

(Farewell, my friends! I go to glory!)

~ Isadora Duncan, dancer, d. 1927


Please know that 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.

Last letter to her husband before her last flight.

KHAQQ calling Itasca. We must be on you, but cannot see you. Gas is running low.

Last radio communiqué before her disappearance.

~ Amelia Earhart, d. 1937


It is very beautiful over there.

~ Thomas Alva Edison, inventor, d. October 18, 1931


No, I shall not give in. I shall go on. I shall work to the end.

~ Edward VII, King of Britain, d. 1910


All my possessions for a moment of time.

~ Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603


I’ve never felt better.

~ Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., actor, d. December 12, 1939


I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.

~ Richard Feynman, physicist, d. 1988


A dying man can do nothing easy.

~ Benjamin Franklin, statesman, d. April 17, 1790


Come my little one, and give me your hand.

Spoken to his daughter, Ottilie.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer, d. March 22, 1832


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

Facing his assassin, Mario Teran, a Bolivian soldier.

~ Ernesto “Che” Guevara, d. October 9, 1967


Yes, it’s tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.

When asked if he thought dying was tough.

~ Edmund Gwenn, actor, d. September 6, 1959


God will pardon me, that’s his line of work.

~ Heinrich Heine, poet, d. February 15, 1856


Turn up the lights, I don’t want to go home in the dark.

~ O. Henry (William Sidney Porter), writer, d. June 4, 1910


All is lost. Monks, monks, monks!

~ Henry VIII, King of England, d. 1547


I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.

~ Thomas Hobbes, writer, d. 1679


I see black light.

~ Victor Hugo, writer, d. May 22, 1885


Oh, do not cry – be good children and we will all meet in heaven.

~ Andrew Jackson, US President, d. 1845


Let us cross over the river and sit in the shade of the trees.

Killed in error by his own troops at the battle of Chancellorsville during the US Civil War.

~ General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, d. 1863


Is it the Fourth?

~ Thomas Jefferson, US President, d. July 4, 1826


Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

From Luke 23:46

~ Jesus Christ


Does nobody understand?

~ James Joyce, writer, d. 1941


Why not? Yeah.

~ Timothy Leary, d. May 31, 1996


Now I have finished with all earthly business, and high time too. Yes, yes, my dear child, now comes death.

~ Franz Leher, composer, d. October 24, 1948


A King should die standing.

~ Louis XVIII, King of France, d. 1824


Why do you weep. Did you think I was immortal?

~ Louis XIV, King of France, d. 1715


I am a Queen, but I have not the power to move my arms.

~ Louise, Queen of Prussia, d. 1820


Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.

~ Walter De La Mare, writer, d. 1956


Let’s cool it brothers . . .

Spoken to his assassins, 3 men who shot him 16 times.

~ Malcolm X, Black leader, d. 1966


Go on, get out – last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.

To his housekeeper, who urged him to tell her his last words so she could write them down for posterity.

~ Karl Marx, revolutionary, d. 1883


I forgive everybody. I pray that everybody may also forgive me, and my blood which is about to be shed will bring peace to Mexico. Long live Mexico! Long Live Independence!

~ Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, (Archduke Maximilian of Austria), d. June 11, 1867


Nothing matters. Nothing matters.

~ Louis B. Mayer, film producer, d. October 29, 1957


It’s all been very interesting.

~ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, writer, d. 1762


Good-bye . . . why am I hemorrhaging?

~ Boris Pasternak, writer, d. 1959


Get my swan costume ready.

~ Anna Pavlova, ballerina, d. 1931


Lord, help my poor soul.

~ Edgar Allan Poe, writer, d. October 7, 1849


I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.

Spoken to his wife.

~ James K. Polk, US President, d. 1849


Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms.

~ Alexander Pope, writer, d. May 30, 1744


I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.

~ François Rabelais, writer, d. 1553


I have a terrific headache.

He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, US President, d. 1945


Put out the light.

~ Theodore Roosevelt, US President, d. 1919


They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist. . . .

Killed in battle during US Civil War.

~ General John Sedgwick, Union Commander, d. 1864


Sister, you’re trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I’m done, I’m finished, I’m going to die.

Spoken to his nurse.

~ George Bernard Shaw, playwright, d. November 2, 1950


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

~ Dylan Thomas, poet, d. 1953


Moose . . . Indian . . .

~ Henry David Thoreau, writer, d. May 6, 1862


I feel here that this time they have succeeded.

~ Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, d. 1940


Don’t worry chief, it will be alright.

~ Rudolph Valentino, actor, d. August 23, 1926


Woe is me. Me thinks I’m turning into a god.

~ Vespasian, Roman Emperor, d. 79 AD


Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.

~ Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, d. 1923


I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.

~ Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519


I die hard, but am not afraid to go.

~ George Washington, US President, d. December 14, 1799


Go away. I’m all right.

~ H. G. Wells, novelist, d. 1946


Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.

~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900


I am ready.

~ Woodrow Wilson, US President, d. 1924


Curtain! Fast music! Light! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good, the show looks good!

~ Florenz Ziegfeld, showman, d. July 22, 1932


What are we really living for?