Famous Last Words

Jun. 15 2009, Published 11:32 a.m. ET

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Most people want to be remembered for the way they lived, not the way they died, but sometimes their last words are just so memorable that those last minutes become unforgettable. has put together some of the most unforgettable last words from famous figures in history and the arts. We were surprised to discover that many of their thoughts were pretty strange and some were downright hilarious. Here are 13 of the most famous last words. If you know of others, send them to and we’ll post a follow-up article. (Photo: Getty Images)

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  • "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go." --Irish playwright and author Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).
  • "They couldn't hit an elephant from this distance." --General John Sedgwick, U.S. Civil War Union Commander (1813-1864), who was killed by enemy fire a few minutes later.
  • "That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted." --Comedian/actor Lou Costello (1906-1959), who at least died happy.
  • "Don't worry, it's not loaded..." --Rocker Terry Kath (1946-1978) of the band Chicago, as he put a gun he was cleaning to his head and pulled the trigger.
  • "Why not? After all, it belongs to him." --Comedic film legend Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), after a priest at his bedside said "May the Lord have mercy on your soul."
  • "Yes, but not too many." --Dutch poet Gerrit Achterberg (1905-1962), who wasn't sure he'd last too much longer after his wife asked "Shall I bake some fried potatoes?"
  • "Now, now, my good man, this is not time for making enemies." --French writer and philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778), after being asked by a priest to renounce Satan.
  • "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." --Francisco 'Pancho' Villa (1878-1923), the first Mexican Revolutionary general.
  • "Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!" --German philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883), after being asked by his housekeeper what his last words were.
  • "Let 'em wait." --American Revolutionary general Ethan Allen ( 1738 - 1789) when informed by a doctor, "General, I fear the angels are waiting for you."
  • "I am about to--or I am going to--die; either expression is correct." --Dominique Bouhours (1628-1702), French grammarian.
  • "Am I dying or is this my birthday?" --Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964), who woke for a few moments and saw her family gathered around her.
  • "I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis." --Actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), who believed a two-fisted lifestyle was best for a man.

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