Not-quite-famous (but still great) last words

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Sure, a lot of us are familiar with the last words of Douglas Fairbanks ("I've never felt better") and Oscar Wilde ("Either that wallpaper goes, or I do"), but the plain fact of the matter is that everybody, save those who never spoke during their lifetimes, had last words, and just because they're obscure doesn't mean they're not awesome. So if you've already checked out our new musical about last words and feel a hankerin' for more, read on!

18th century newspaperman Andrew Bradford's last words may well be those of any devoted mental_floss writer: "Oh Lord, forgive the errata!"

One of the most memorably poetic partings belongs to Russian diarist Marie Bashkirtseff, who died from tuberculosis at the tragically young age of 25. Addressing the candle by her bedside, she said "We shall go out together."

This one very nearly made it into our last words film, but was cut for time at the last moment. (Also, the deathbed scenes were starting to pile up, and something had to go.) Gloomy Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen (d. 1906) had suffered a stroke and was confined to his bed. When he overheard his nurse remarking to his visitor that he appeared to be on the mend, he quipped "On the contrary!"

Among our favorites are the last words of Karl Marx, who simultaneously departed this mortal coil with fantastic last words, and undermined the whole enterprise of honoring last words: on his deathbed, Marx's housekeeper urged him to tell her his last words, so that she might record them for posterity. He replied: "Go on, get out. Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

According to Kool Aid-loving Ken Kesey, who was present at his deathbed, Allen Ginsberg's lighthearted last words were "Toodle-oo!"

In 1959, Lou Costello (of Abbot and ... fame), had just finished a malt shoppe treat. He said "That was the best ice cream soda I ever tasted." We're guessing it wasn't of the fat-free persuasion, as he died of a heart attack soon thereafter.

For those of you who spend too much time thinking about this sort of thing (guilty!), consider the last words of guru Meher Baba, who died in 1969 but spoke his last words in 1924 right before taking a 44-year vow of silence: "Don't worry, be happy."

Eeyore's last words couldn't have been glummer: when the first gallows-rope broke as Russian revolutionary Ryumin Bestuzhev was being executed in 1826, he said "Nothing succeeds with me. Even here I meet with disappointment." (Don't feel so bad, Ryumin. If it weren't for disappointments, we wouldn't have any appointments. Hey hey!)

In 1959, Carl Switzer -- better known as The Little Rascals' Alfalfa -- yelled "I want that that 50 bucks you owe me, and I want it now!" and was subsequently killed in a bar fight.

As the assassinated president William McKinley was dying in his bed, his wife plead with him not to go. "We are all going," he responded.

November 15, 2007 - 2:15am
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