The Famous Last Words of Famous Dead People

What would you want your last words to be?

Death is a funny thing. Some fear it, some seek it, some accept it. For those who have witnessed death firsthand, whether through the death of a loved one or a shocking roadside accident, it becomes less unnerving. You accept that death is a debt that all men must pay. The fear factor dissolves and you’re left with morbid curiosity as to how you might bite the dust.

Most have pondered over how they wish to depart this world. In your sleep, in a fight, in an accident. But have you ever wondered what your last words would be? What would you want to say to your loved ones or the universe before you go? That’s something to think about.

In his book Famous Last Words, Fond Farewells, Deathbed Diatribes, and Exclamations Upon Expiration, writer Ray Robinson compiled some of the most famous last words of equally famous dead people. While these quotes aren’t their last words in the strictest sense, they are the last powerful words these figures spoke into the world, and as such, “too good to pass up,” says Robinson.

If you need inspiration, whether it be for your epithet or will, here are some of the most moving, hilarious, and poignant last words of the dearly departed:  

“It’s beautiful over there,” said Thomas Edison, American inventor. He was asked by his wife if he was suffering. He said, “No, just waiting.”

“We have been together for 40 years, and we will not separate now.” Ida Straus was talking about her husband, Isidor Straus, a New York businessman. The two died together on the Titanic.


“Drink to me!” said Pablo Picasso, as lively as ever when he passed away at 91.

“Lift me up, for I am dying. I shall die easy. Don’t be frightened. Thank God it has come.” A last poem from the poet, John Keats.

“I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” It was almost like Martin Luther King Jr. prophesized his assassination in the last words of one of his last speeches.

“Hurry back,” said actor Humphrey Bogart to his wife actress Lauren Bacall. He was dead by the time she got back from the grocery store.

“All of my possessions for a moment of time,” said Queen Elizabeth I, Gloriana, England’s most revered sovereign.

“She still fascinates me…,” said the dying actor Richard Burton to his fellow actor John Hurt about Elizabeth Taylor. Richard and Elizabeth were one of the great love stories in Old Hollywood before they divorced twice.

“What an artist the world is losing in me,” said the corrupt, tyrannical, and brutal Roman Emperor Nero.

“You know, my fun days are over,” said James Dean to a friend just days before he died speeding his Porsche.

“Hi Jules, it’s Brian. I’m on a plane and we’ve been hijacked and it doesn’t look good. Hopefully, I’ll talk to you again. But if not, please have fun and live your life the best you can. Know that I love you and no matter what, I’ll see you again someday.” These were the last words Brian Sweeney said to his wife, Julie, before his plane crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

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“I paint as a means to make life bearable. Don’t weep. What I have done is best for all of us. No use, I shall never be rid of this depression,” said Van Gogh before taking his own life.

“I’m losin’,” said singer Frank Sinatra, Old Blue Eyes, to his wife Barbara in his last hours.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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