Supposedly, both Steve Jobs and Bo Diddley’s last words were “Wow.”
Just before Humphrey Bogart died, his wife, Lauren Bacall, had to leave the house to go pick up the kids. “Goodbye, Kid, hurry back,” Bogart said. Maybe that was not the same as “Here’s looking at you, Kid,” but it is as close as he ever to got.
Grouch Marx quipped his way to the grave. His last words were: “This is no way to live.”
Some people get apologetic when they die. “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have,” said Leonardo da Vinci. The great artist must have died in a quite depressed mood.
Johnny Ace, an early rhythm and blues singer, died in 1954. He was playing with a pistol between sets and his last words were: “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”
Nostradamus predicted all the way to the grave. When he went to bed, he said, Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” And he was correct.
Few people are as classy as Marie Antoinette. On her way to the guillotine, she stepped on the door of the executioner and said, “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur.”
Everyone wants their final words to be memorable. Charles Gussman was an announcer and a writer who wrote the pilot episode for Days of Our Lives. He has always wanted his final words to be poignant and memorable, so his daughter reminded him of that as he lay on his death bed. Gussman removed his oxygen mask and with his best announcing voice exclaimed: “And now a final word from our sponsor.”
Every one who dies has last words. Most of us do not think about what they might be. I had no idea what mine might be. A big buck deer charged my car several weeks ago. I did not see him until he was about five feet from the car. I swerved and missed him, but I said, “Holy Shit,” as the image passed by my peripheral vision.
Since I say that often when I am shocked by events, I would not be surprised if they were my final words someday. It seems fitting enough: ‘Holy shit.”
The reference book Last Words of Notable People by William B. Brahms has more than 3500 famous last words.