Following on from our previous blogs, in this edition of The Lighter Side, we take a look at some of the funniest last words that have been said. Hopefully, they’ll bring a smile to your face!
We’ve come up with a list of the best and most famous last words, which we hope will make you smile!
“Surprise me” – Bob Hope
Bob Hope was one of the world’s best-loved comedians, and his one-liners have passed down into legend. He was a firm favourite of American service men, whom he entertained during WWII, the Korean War and of course The Vietnam War. During World War II it was said that Hope was worth a division of men, because of his willingness to put himself under threat to entertain the troops. Hope lived to be 100, famously quipping that his “candles cost more than the cake.” Our favourite of Hope’s one-liners however is this deathbed response to his wife’s question “where would you like to be buried?”
“I’m Looking For A Loophole” – W.C Fields
Fields was one of early cinema’s best-loved comedic actors. His hang-dog expression, hard-drinking persona, raspy voice and eloquent vocabulary made him a favourite of audiences all over the world. Fields’ character, that of a drunken, misanthrope who hated animals and children became synonymous with the actor, despite the fact that he doted on children and even occasionally owned dogs! He was surprised that audiences warmed to his often unpleasant and mean characters. He once said, “I was the first comic in world history, so they told me, to pick fights with children. I booted Baby LeRoy then I kicked a little dog. But I got sympathy both times. People didn’t know what the unmanageable baby might do to get even, and they thought the dog might bite me.” Fields died on Christmas Day 1946. One of the last friends to visit him found him looking through a Bible. When he expressed surprise Fields famously made this reply.
“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance” – John Sedgewick
Not one of the most instantly famous names on the list, but his last words were painfully ironic. Sedgewick was an American general fighting for the Union during the US Civil War. His men nicknamed him “Uncle John”, and he was well respected by his compatriots as a solid and reliable general. He was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, hit in the wrist, leg and shoulder. Despite this, he remained a fearless soldier. He met his end at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in 1864. Whilst his men cowered from sniper fire, Sedgewick strode about in the open and admonished them. These words were amongst the last thing he said. Five minutes he was fatally hit by a sniper bullet. He was the most senior ranked Union casualty in the war, and his last words have passed into legend.
“I’d rather be skiing” – Stan Laurel
As one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, Lancashire born Stan Laurel is still one of the most recognisable faces in the world. The pair were even included on the Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. Their slapstick brand of humour has proved enduringly popular. Together Laurel and Hardy made over 100 films, and were one of the few stars of the silent screen to make the leap to talkies. When Hardy died in 1957, Laurel was too ill to attend his funeral but was reportedly devastated by the news. He effectively retired from show business, but remained an approachable figure for his fans throughout the rest of his life. Whilst dying in hospital he told a nurse that he’d rather be skiing. Taken aback, she asked him if he’d been skiing often. He replied no, “but I’d rather be skiing than doing this.” A few minutes later, he was dead.
“Either that wallpaper goes, or I do” – Oscar Wilde
Few in history could match Oscar Wilde for a quotable quip! On friends he said, “true friends stab you in the front.” On mothers “all women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his”. On work, “work is the curse of the drinking classes.” He was a writer and poet, whose work was amongst the best loved of his day. Amongst his works are the great novels, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorien Grey. In 1895 he was charged with gross indecency and sentenced to two years hard labour. Upon his release he went into exile on the continent, eventually emerging penniless in a hotel in Paris. He developed meningitis, and one of his most famous (and often misquoted quips) dealt with the wallpaper in his room. He told a friend “my wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.”
Don’t let your last words be all there is to remember you by! Start planning now for life after you’ve gone.