When I was younger I always thought that last words should be meaningful, profound and memorable although I now realise that’s rarely the case. According to a survey done at hospitals around the world the most common last words are ‘I love you’. How sweet is that? In our final moments we seek to comfort others. To wrap up my horror related posts for October I present top five famous last words. As the past couple of years have been rather grim these will be humorous rather than morbid.
(Quick Disclaimer: While researching this post I found multiple websites listing multiple last words and due to this I can not say that the contents of this post are 100% accurate. Also there are one or two naughty words below. I’m not sure how many children read this website but you have been warned)
1 – James W. Rodgers – 1957.
Rodgers was an American career criminal whose crimes included bootlegging and armed robbery. With this in mind, the reason behind Rodgers death was rather anticlimactic. Rodgers became involved in an argument with Charles Merrifield, a construction worker, over the correct way to oil a scoop shovel. This argument turned into a fight in which Rodgers shot Merrifield in the head, arms and the torso. Clearly Rodgers had very strong opinions on scoop shovels.
Rodgers was arrested, sentenced to death and held on Death Row for two years before his execution via firing squad. When he was asked if he had any last requests Rodgers said:
‘Yes, a bullet-proof vest’.
The firing squad declined.
2 – Henrik Isben – 1906.
Henrik Isben was a famous playwright and theatre director from Norway. His most famous contribution to the world was his play A Doll’s House which I remember studying during my A-levels. In his later years Ibsen suffered from a series of strokes that led him bed-bound. During a visit by his family, someone asked Ibsen’s nurse if he would recover. The nurse replied that Isben was “doing a little better.’
At this remark Isben regained consciousness. He looked at his nurse and spluttered:
‘on the contrary!’
These proved to be Isben’s final words. On the plus side, at least he was right.
Although Roald Dahl is most well known as a children’s author he was also a pilot in the Second World War and worked as a spy for the British alongside Ian Flemming. Dahl died in bed, surrounded by his family. Shortly before he passed away Dahl said the following:
“You know, I’m not frightened. It’s just that I will miss you all so much.”
After uttering this beautiful statement Dahl closed his eyes. Sadly the effect was spoiled when a nurse, who was in attendance, injected him with morphine to ease his passing. Dahl was taken off guard by this and said:
These proved to be his final, final words.
4 – W. C. Fields – 1946.
W.C.Fields was an American comedian, his on stage persona was that of a drunken man who was continuously pestered by inquisitive children and dogs. In real life, Fields loved inspiring children and kept several dogs as pets although he was an alcoholic. There are two sets of last words prescribed to Fields.
The first were spoken supposedly by Fields to a priest at his deathbed. As the priest was performing last rites he noticed Fields franticly flicking through a bible. When the priest asked what he was doing Fields replied:
“I’m looking for loopholes.”
According to another source Field’s last words were:
“God damn the whole fuckin’ world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta.”
This sounds incredibly romantic until you realise that his wife was called Hattie and that Carlotta was his mistress.
I should caveat this entry by saying that although the internet keeps insisting that the below were Pancho Villa’s last words I can find no source confirming this. It is, however, a good story.
Pancho Villa was a Mexican general and a key figure in the Mexican revolution. He was killed when his car was ambushed by a group of gunmen. According to reports the gunmen fired up to forty rounds at the car which killed Villa’s two bodyguards, his secretary, his driver and shortly afterwards Villa himself. According to the famous story, Villa outlasted them all by a few moments and spoke to a little boy at the side of the road. Villa reportedly said:
“Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
I hope you enjoyed this read and I hope you enjoy your Halloween.