Studies have shown that we speak an average 20,000 words per day. But what about when time is running out, and there's no longer a wealth of words available? Some of the most interesting and honest words have come from those who are breathing their last breath and it is fascinating to look at the import society places on these last words, while considering just why a person would feel compelled to say certain things during their last moments.
History has done well in keeping records of the final words of many celebrities and famous figures. When Steve Jobs passed away, it was reported that his final words were, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow” as if making an incredible observation. Who knows what Jobs may have been experiencing as he was passing away, but if his words are anything to go by then it must have been interesting.
When famous figures have been executed, people will flock to find out what their last words were. Upon his pending execution, Davy Crockett apparently said, “I’m warning you boys, I’m a screamer” right before his execution, displaying humor at the face of death.
The following are ten of the most interesting and most famous last words of people at death’s door. Whether they are emotionally riveting, comical, or confusing, the last words that we utter before our time in this world is over are quite possibly the most important.
10 Voltaire – “Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.”
When Voltaire (1694-1778) was on his deathbed and asked by a priest to renounce Satan, his response was a true reflection of the wit and brilliance that helped him advocate causes such as a right to a fair trial and freedom of religion. Voltaire, a deist, wrote some of the world’s most famous essays and was an inspiration for many leaders who sought to change the world. So when he was asked to renounce Satan, anyone who knew Voltaire should not have been surprised by his answer.
9 Oscar Wilde - “These curtains are killing me; one of us has got to go.”
8 Joan Crawford – “Damn it… Don't you dare ask God to help me.”
7 Tallulah Bankhead – “Codeine...bourbon.”
6 James Donald French – “Hey fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? French Fries!”
5 Edgar Allan Poe – “Lord! Help my poor soul.”
4 James Brown – “I’m going away tonight.”
3 Humphrey Bogart – “I should have never switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
While filming “The African Queen”, everyone except Bogart got ill from dysentery. He credited his consumption of scotch and stated that a mosquito that dared bite him would fall down drunk. So perhaps it is no wonder that he lamented about scotch on his deathbed and the beverage was the topic of his last words.