20 Last Words From History’s Most Famous People

We’ve rounded up some thought-provoking parting words from famous leaders, writers, politicians and entertainers. Did the most memorable ones make the cut?

1 / 20
Statue of Augustus, first emperor of Rome
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Augustus, first emperor of Rome

Last words: “I found Rome of clay; I leave it to you of marble.”

Yale University professor and bestselling author Timothy Snyder rounds up five popular myths about history.

2 / 20
Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci
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Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance icon

Last words: “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”

Here’s what you didn’t know about the Mona Lisa.

3 / 20
Painting of French queen Marie Antoinette
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Marie Antoinette, last Queen of France

Last words: “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Je ne l’ai pas fait exprès.” (“Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose,” said Antoinette to her executioner after accidentally stepping on his foot. She was beheaded shortly after.)

Everyone in the world should know these French words.

4 / 20
Jane Austen novel
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Jane Austen, novelist

Last words: “I want nothing but death.”

Some of history’s most inspiring females can be found on the pages of these novels.

5 / 20
Napoleon Bonaparte
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Napoleon Bonaparte, military leader

Last words: “France, the army, the head of the army, Josephine.”

Here are the world’s most contagious myths and misconceptions—debunked.

6 / 20
Statue of Ludwig van Beethoven
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Ludwig van Beethoven, composer and pianist

Last words: “Friends, applaud. The comedy is over.”

Which music genre says you’re more creative, and which says you’re selfish? Find out here.

7 / 20
Vincent van Gogh self-portrait
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Vincent van Gogh, post-impressionist painter

Last words: “The sadness will last forever.”

Every traveller needs to check out these must-visit museums.

8 / 20
Thomas Edison
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Thomas Edison, inventor and businessman

Last words: “It is very beautiful out there.” (Said to his wife.)

Plus: 10 Obsolete Inventions People Thought Were Going to Last Forever

9 / 20
Amelia Earhart
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Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer

Last words: “Gas is running low. We are on the line 157-337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.”

These facts about flying will help you stay calm on your next flight.

10 / 20
Frida Kahlo on Mexican banknote
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Frida Kahlo, painter

Last words: “I hope the exit is joyful and hope never to come back.”

Plus: 5 Must-Visit Mexico Destinations for Movie Lovers

11 / 20
Statue of Ernest Hemingway
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Ernest Hemingway, novelist and journalist

Last words: “Good night, my kitten.” (Said to his wife.)

Plus: 9 Literary Landmarks Every Book Lover Has to Visit

12 / 20
Malcolm X Wikipedia page
Photo: aradaphotography/Shutterstock

Malcolm X, civil rights activist

Last words: “Hold it! Hold it! Let’s cool it! Let’s be cool, brothers!” (Said to his assassins.)

Plus: 22 History Lessons Your Teacher Lied to You About

13 / 20
Robert F. Kennedy postage stamp
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Robert F. Kennedy, politician

Last words: “Is everybody alright?” (Said after being shot in the Ambassador Hotel.)

Plus: What Really Happened When Jackie Kennedy Met Queen Elizabeth

14 / 20
John Wayne postage stamp
Photo: Olga Popova/Shutterstock

John Wayne, actor

Last words: “Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you.” (Said to his wife.)

These films were the biggest box-office hits of the year.

15 / 20
Bates Motel set at Universal Studios
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Alfred Hitchcock, director

Last words: “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”

Check out these classic movies that didn’t their modern remakes.

16 / 20
Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Photo: Ted Blackbrow/Daily Mail/Rex/Shutterstock

Diana, Princess of Wales

Last words: “My God, what’s happened?”

Plus: 8 London Landmarks Frequented by Princess Diana

17 / 20
Frank Sinatra in concert
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Frank Sinatra, singer and actor

Last words: “I’m losing.” (Said to his wife.)

Tour the fanciest hotels and jaw-dropping attractions of Las Vegas.

18 / 20
Joe DiMaggio with Muhammad Ali
Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Joe DiMaggio, baseball player

Last words: “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”

You don’t have to be a hardcore baseball fan to appreciate these Major League baseball parks.

19 / 20
James Brown in concert
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James Brown, singer-songwriter

Last words: “I’m going away tonight.”

Plus: 16 Little-Known Facts About the Greatest Songs of All Time

20 / 20
Apple store logo
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Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and businessman

Last words: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”

Reader’s Digest looks back on Steve Jobs and his contribution to our digital world.

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