Famous last words of 17 famous people

Marie antoinetteWikimediaMarie Antoinette, Queen of France.

People have always been fascinated by the last words of others.

Perhaps they hold a touch of wisdom, a final joke, or even confirmation of who’s getting what in the will.

In light of that, Business Insider put together a list of the reported last words of 17 famous historical figures.

Karl Marx, philosopher.


'Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.'

Source: International Business Times

Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist.

'I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring.'

Source: 'The Power of Personality' by Sylvia Loehken

Archimedes, mathematician.

Wikimedia Commons

'Stand away, fellow, from my diagram!'

Archimedes was killed during the Second Punic War. According to the historian Plutarch, a soldier reportedly came up to the mathematician and told him to go with him to Marcellus.

Archimedes, however, refused to do so until he finished the problem he was working on. Enraged, the soldier killed him.

Sources: 'The Parallel Lives' by Plutarch, 'Famous Last Words' by Laura Ward

Napoléon Bonaparte, French military and political leader.

Wiki Commons

'France, the army, the head of the army, Joséphine.'

Source: The Guardian

Humphrey Bogart, actor.

Screen grab/Casablanca

'I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.'

Source: International Business Times

Augustus Caesar, first Roman emperor.

To his subjects he reportedly said:

'I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.'

And to his friends who were with him throughout his reign he said:

'Have I played the part well? Then applaud me as I exit.'

Source: History

Joe DiMaggio, baseball player.


'I finally get to see Marilyn.'

Source: ABC News

Charles Darwin, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.

Via Flickr

'I am not the least afraid to die.'

Source: 'Famous Last Words' by Laura Ward

Bob Marley, musician.

AP Images

'Money can't buy life.'

Source: The Guardian

Leonardo da Vinci, inventor and painter.


'I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.'

Source: Huffington Post

Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.

After accidentally stepping on her executioner's foot as she climbed the scaffold to the guillotine, she reportedly said:

'Pardon me. I didn't do it on purpose.'

Source: 'Famous Last Words' by Alan Bisbort

Michel de Nostradamus, French apothecary and alleged soothsayer.

Wikimedia Commons

He made one last -- correct -- prediction when he said:

'You will not find me alive at sunrise.'

Source: 'Immortal Last Words' by Terry Breverton

John Adams, second president of the US.


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson started out as rivals, but they became friends later in life. As Adams lay on his deathbed, on July 4, his last words were:

'Thomas Jefferson survives.'

Jefferson had actually died some hours earlier, also on July 4.

Source: History

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writer and physician best known for creating Sherlock Holmes.


He said to his wife:

'You are wonderful.'

Source: The New York Times

Ludwig van Beethoven, composer and pianist.

Public domain

Some reports say Beethoven, who was deaf by the end of life, said:

'I will hear in heaven'

while others suggest he said:

'Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est' (Applaud, friends, the comedy is finished)

But still others say that after a publisher brought the composer 12 bottles of wine, his final words were:

'Pity, pity, too late!'

Sources: 'The Creative Circle' by Michael Fitzgerald, 'Beethoven: The Man Revealed' by John Suchet, Classic FM

James Brown, singer.


'I'm going away tonight.'

Source: The Guardian

Leonard Nimoy, actor.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

These may not be his last words, but Nimoy's last tweet was:

'A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.'

LLAP is short for 'Live long and prosper,' a saying made famous by Nimoy's 'Star Trek' character Mr. Spock.

Source: Twitter

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