Pretty self-explanatory, no? Let’s get right to it:
Jimi Hendrix – “The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye, until we meet again”: Profound, right? What beautiful and thoughtful words, until you realized he was writing a poem/song lyrics high as shit on barbiturates before choking on his own vomit. Then you realize… well, maybe this isn’t as weighty as initially presumed.
Bob Marley – “Money can’t buy love”: Marley had a malignant melanoma and his health had declined precipitously over the last few years of his life. He uttered these words to his son, Ziggy, who proceeded to then perform the theme song to the cartoon “Arthur.” I don’t have a joke, that’s just wild and I need you to know this.
Frida Kahlo – “I hope the exit is joyful and hope never to return”: Kahlo suffered a brutal bus accident as a child, and proceeded to live the rest of her life in debilitating pain so it’s understandable she would take a less than cheerful outlook on life. When you couple that in with the traumatic unibrow, it’s even more understandable.
Ludwig van Beethoven – “Applaud, my friends, the comedy is finished”: There is no way he actually said that. One, it’s way too awesome. Two, a different source stated it was more along the lines of “too bad, too bad, it’s too late,” and lest you think he was reminiscing about all the loves lost and lives not lived, he was complaining because he just received a wine delivery he would not be able to enjoy. THAT is how I want to go.
Humphrey Bogart – “I never should have switched from scotch to martinis”: He should have drank wine like my boy Beethoven did.
Karl Marx – “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”: The irony.
Jack Daniels – “One last drink, please”: I like to imagine he said this before his liver jumped out of his body and ran down the street after a lifetime of abuse from moonshine and whatever the early recipes of Jack Daniels were.
James W Rodgers – “Bring me a bullet-proof vest”: Rodgers was a convicted murder set to be executed via firing squad. Rodger sounds like my kind of guy. Aside from all the murder-y bits of course.
Richard B Mellon – “Last tag”: Mellon was a captain of industry as the president of Alcoa Steel, and he opted to use his last breath not celebrating his family or life, but instead decided to end the game of tag he had been playing with his brother for some 70+ years. I am conflicted – is this the greatest play in tag history, or the worst?
Alfred Hitchcock – “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes”: This is a pretty awesome dig at Catholics, and seeing how Hitchcock died an old man in 1980, I’m willing to bet this was not one last witticism, but instead a legitimate gripe he had against the despicable Catholics.
Voltaire – “Now’s not the time for making new enemies”: Voltaire was a progressive French thinker who really was just the original shitposter and lived to spite everyone for no other reason than to be petty. He famously declared God was dead, which seems blase today but was an incredibly controversial opinion in pre-Revolution France. When word spread he was dying, a priest rushed to his bedside to save his soul and ask him to renounce Satan, to which he replied with the aforementioned words. If you’re going to live your life as an asshole, best to really maximize it right to the end.
Joe Dimaggio – “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn”: Joe Dimaggio was one of the first athletes to utilize his status to nail hot movie stars when he married Marilyn Monroe in 1954. The also were the first celebrity couple to almost immediate split, divorcing 274 days later. Marilyn was married prior to Dimaggio, and again less than a year after their split, and then went on to a Lohan-esque spiral of drugs and plowing, including an extended romp with JFK. Joe, my dude, I don’t think she liked you as much as you did.
Salvador Dali – “WHERE IS MY CLOCK?!” Dude you melted it, remember.
George Harrison – “Love one another”: Ugh, this is the most 70’s guru bullshit. Thanks for the wise words, third-most-essential-Beatle. I bet John Lennon’s last words were something like, “I should have beat Yoko more.” Paul McCartney’s will be something like “Lennon was a bitch, even if I did jerk him off” (true story!), while Ringo will be desperately trying to remind everyone “I was in the Beatles, stop laughing, seriously!”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – “The taste of death is upon my lips, I feel something that is not of this Earth”: Seeing as how Mozart likely died of mercury poisoning, that “not of Earth” reference was probably the Cheshire Cat making out with an alien in a fifth dimension.
RD Laing – “I’m a fucking doctor”: Some background – Laing was a doctor and suffered what turned out to be a fatal heart attack in public, which included the obligatory shouting from the accumulating crowd “is anyone here a doctor?!?” How did that pan out for you, my man?
Anton Checkov – “I haven’t had champagne for a long time”: I imagine this was an extremely ironic move by God to reference an unessential element that did not later appear in his story.
John Wayne – “Of course I know who you are, you’re my girl. I love you”: No joke, just a selection for Disillusioned Dilettante.
Vladimir Lenin – “Good dog”: Who knew Lenin could be so relatable!?
Kurt Cobain – “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”: He was quoting Neil Young when he wrote this, and it proved to be extremely accurate. Consider what everyone thinks of this goofy Canadian who persists in the public eye despite being unable to sing and wearing weird sashes and hats, and a guy who is idolized in Hot Topic by people who have never listened to Nirvana. Point – shotgun-to-the-face guy.
Groucho Marx – “Die, my dear? Why, that’s the last thing I’ll do!”: HAHAHAHA DO YOU GET IT
Edgar Allan Poe – “Lord help my poor soul”: Considering Poe was riddled with syphilis and was found hammered in the street in someone else’s clothes the day he died, the Lord definitely has a hefty project in front of him in this instance. (Completely unrelated, but we as a society do not talk nearly enough about how an NFL football team is named after this goofy 19th century goth kid. That is all.)
Errol Flynn – “I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it”: Flynn was notorious for womanizing (the term “in like Flynn” is a reference to his ease at seducing women) as well as chain smoking, hard drinking, frequent narcotics abuse and repeated sexual misconduct allegations (in the 1940s, no less! Stop and take a moment to imagine what you had to do in order for people to say “too far” in the 1940s as a rich famous white man (he was probably a rapist is what I’m trying to imply)). Maybe he could have enjoyed a few less minutes of it.
Nostradamus – “Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here”: Lest you think this is some remarkable prediction, he really just thought he was going to his mom’s house, but he died violently in his sleep of tuberculosis. Is that how people died in 1500s? I don’t know, I just made all this up after the quote.
Elvis Presley – “Okay I won’t” You want a REAL prediction? Elvis’ fiancee told him not to fall asleep in the bathroom on his way in (married life sounds so romantic!), to which he uttered these words. He sure did not fall asleep in there.
Marvin Gaye – “Father hates me and I’m never coming back”: One upping Elvis in the foresight, Marvin Gaye proceeded to be shot by his father. I thought this would be funnier.
Carl Panzram – “Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastards! I could hang a dozen men while you’re screwing around!”: Panzram was a serial killer in the 1930s, and even he hated people from Indiana.
Ned Kelly – “Such is life”: Someone suggested I look into Ned Kelly, the most notorious Australian outlaw who likely could have a post all to himself, who allegedly heckled the crowd on his way to the gallows. Upon further investigation, he was sentenced to death and the public was outraged, as they viewed Kelly as an Australian Robin Hood-esque hero. So, instead of heckling (which would have been pretty badass), he just went about it all ho-hum in front a crowd pleading for his life, which is somehow even more badass.
Joan Crawford – “Damnit, don’t you ask God to help me!”: This was said after Crawford heard her housekeeper beginning to pray aloud for her as she lay on her deathbed. I respect the sass.
Hunter S Thompson – “No more games. No more bombs. No more walking. No more fun. No more swimming. 67. That’s 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No fun for anybody. You are getting greedy. Act your age. Relax – this won’t hurt”: If you couldn’t tell, no, Hunter S Thompson was not some verbose orator on his deathbed, but he drafted a fun little suicide note summarizing why he was about to put a shotgun into his mouth. If you’ve ever read Hunter S Thompson, it’s kinda shocking he didn’t do it earlier, or that he didn’t die from overdosing on tons of different drugs simultaneously. What is NOT surprising is that he stated he wanted to be cremated, and his ashes to be put inside fireworks and shot out over the pond by his home. Metal.
Marie Antoinette – “Forgive me sire, I meant not to do it”: This seems like a remarkably prescient thing to say on the way to your beheading, and a summing damnation on the monarchy during the French Revolution. But then you learn she stepped on the executioner’s foot on the way to the guillotine, for which she thought it appropriate to beg pardon to the man about to lop her head off.
Del Close – “I’m tired of being the funniest person in the room”: Seeing as how I have never heard of Del Close, I have to imagine he wasn’t that funny.
Lawrence Oates – “I am just going outside, I may be some time”: Oates was a member of one of the first teams to explore the Antarctic when he became deathly ill on the voyage. Realizing his sickness would only endanger and slow his team, he said those incredibly badass words before wandering off in the middle of a snowstorm to ultimately protect the rest of his explorers. Nothing you ever do will be that awesome.
James Brown – “I’m burning up, burning up!”: I like to imagine he was writing the lyrics to the Jonas Brothers smash hit, “Burnin’ Up.”
Keith Moon – “If you don’t like it, you can fuck off!”: Apparently he yelled at his girlfriend who did not want to make him breakfast before he then proceeded to take 36 pills to treat his alcohol withdrawal, when six was considered enough to kill a man. Keith Moon died as he lived: an asshole.
Josephine Baker – “Oh you young people act like old people, you have no fun”: I dare not speak ill of Josephine Baker, another legendary badass. She will inevitably get her own episode of Today I Learned for being the most badass person in French military history (it says a lot about France that an African-American woman, a female peasant and a Corsican-born general are the greatest French military figures).
Virginia Woolf – “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been”: Said to her husband just before her death, this seems heart-wrenchingly tender. Then you recall she proceeded to stick her head in an oven. I’m no Dr Phil, but I’m gonna guess this marriage could have gone better.
Thomas de Mahy – “I see that you have made three spelling mistakes”: This motherfucker was handed his death sentence for supporting the monarchy in the early days of the French Revolution and proceeded to give these peasants about to chop his head off a grammar lecture. If you are going to be an elitist snob your entire life, kudos to going out really flaunting your superior education. This man was the Judge Smails of the French Revolution. I included this particular incident for the one reader who proceeds to identify every typo and/or error (and there are many) after reading each post.
Gary Gilmore – “Let’s do it!”: Gilmore was a convicted murder who apparently was on a tight schedule to his execution. This is relatively benign as far as last words go until I tell you that the Nike exec responsible for the “just do it” slogan said he was inspired by this, so that’s a fun little addendum to your sweat shop produced sneakers.