« Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough! » Those were the reported last words of German philosopher and social revolutionary Karl Marx. And while that sentiment might work for some, most people don’t have the luxury of knowing when their last words will come.
Bob Marley’s final utterance was reportedly a message he preached through the entire musical legacy he left behind: « Money can’t buy life. » Meanwhile, Marie Antoinette apparently used her last moments to have good manners. « Pardon me, sir, » the infamous Queen of France allegedly said on her way to the guillotine after stepping on her executioner’s foot. « I did not do it on purpose. »
However, our list includes those in showbiz who didn’t quite have that luxury either. Whether prophetic or verbally asking for the cause of their own imminent death — or simply the last words they ever wrote — here are the final words from celebrities that shook us to the core.
On Nov. 30, 2013, The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker, a passenger in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, died instantly when the vehicle struck a light pole and burst into flames in Valencia, Calif. (via CNN). He was 40 years old. The driver of the car, Roger Rodas, also died.
The two men had been on the way to a toy drive held for Walker’s Reach Out Worldwide charity, according to the Mirror. Jim Torp, a friend of Walker’s, later told reporters the last words he heard the action star speak. « Roger backed [the car] into the garage, and Paul jumped in and said ‘Hey, let’s go for a drive,' » Torp recalled. « So they went for a little drive and this is what happened. »
In 2014, Walker’s father filed a claim against Rodas’ estate, and Walker’s then-teenage daughter, Meadow Walker, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche. Her case against the automaker claimed that the company was aware of the lack of « safety features » in the Porsche Carrera GT that could have prevented her father’s death. Meadow later settled with Rodas’ estate to the tune of $10.1 million in 2016 and with Porsche the following year.
Actor James Dean stopped by Blackwells Corner Grocery in Lost Hills, Calif. to buy a Coke and fill up the tank of his Porsche 550 Spyder on Sept. 30, 1955. A short while later, college student Donald Turnupseed veered into Dean’s lane, causing a head-on collision and killing the Hollywood icon instantly.
According to The Telegraph, Dean’s passenger, mechanic Rolf Wutherich, claimed Dean’s last words were about Turnupseed. « That guy’s gotta stop. He’ll see us, » Dean reportedly said. The two-time Oscar nominee, who suffered a broken neck and severe internal injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene at the age of 24.
The Tulare Advanced Register (via Fold3 by Ancestry) reports that Turnupseed was never charged in Dean’s death — even though he possibly made an improper turn — since the actor was allegedly traveling at 150 mph with the sun in his eyes. Following the fatal crash, Turnupseed lived « a quiet life, » but the media hounded him until his death in 1995. « He’s been bothered by people constantly trying to write a story, » President of Turnupseed Electric Wally Nelson told the media outlet. « There’s always somebody calling up or coming to the door. We had to push them out the door. »
Live long and prosper. Actor Leonard Nimoy did just that. Before sadly passing away from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the age of 83 on Feb. 27, 2015, Nimoy embodied one of pop culture’s most-beloved characters: Star Trek‘s resident half-human, half-Vulcan, Spock.
While Nimoy’s actual last spoken words are not known, his final tweet posted just four days before his death offered a look into his final days. « A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP, » he tweeted, with « LLAP » being a reference to his popular catchphrase.
During an October 2014 Star Trek convention in London, Nimoy appeared over Skype to sing Spock’s famous song and speak his last words to an audience. When asked by the host if he had any items on his bucket list, Nimoy offered up some sage wisdom. « A bucket list suggests there are things you’ve not done, that you still want to do, » he said. « I have a wonderful life. I have a great family. My career has been very fulfilling. I’ve worked all over the world. Star Trek has been very good to us and afforded us a very nice lifestyle. I get up every morning happy, ready for another day. So, my bucket list is getting up and having another day in this wonderful life. »
On June 25, 2009, pop legend Michael Jackson died after receiving « a fatal cocktail of medications » at the age of 50 (via The Washington Post). This included a lethal dose of the anesthetic Propofol (dubbed « milk of amnesia »), which is intended for use during surgery and was administered by Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray. He was later charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Although six different prescription drugs were in Jackson’s system at the time of his death, according to Murray, Propofol was allegedly the « Thriller » singer’s favorite. During his trial, Murray’s police interview was played for the jurors, in which he described Jackson begging for the drug during the final hours of his life. « At that time he said can I have some milk? » Murray said (via the Los Angeles Times). « He said please, please, give him some milk. »
« He said just make me sleep, doesn’t matter what time I get up … He said I can’t function if I can’t sleep, » Murray continued. « I agreed at that time that I would switch … to the propofol. » Murray then stated he left Jackson for only a couple of minutes and found the musician not breathing when he returned.
Actor Heath Ledger cemented his cinematic legacy with the tour de force and Oscar-winning performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Tragically, he was unable to see the performance that turned him into an international star, because he died of an accidental prescription drug overdose six months before the film’s release. He was 28.
In an interview with ABC Australia (via the Mirror), Ledger’s father described the last moments of his late son’s life. « Basically, Heath was complaining about not being able to sleep, » he explained, « because he was busy, he was meeting Steven Spielberg the next morning, he really needed to be bright and shiny and he was finding it difficult with a chest cold, or the chest infection to sleep. »
Ledger’s last words were reportedly spoken during a phone call with his sister Kate. « So Kate was saying to him, ‘well Heath, you can’t take you know, sleeping tablets on top of prescription medication, you know its not a good mixture, » the elder Ledger continued. « And he sort of said, ‘Katie, Katie, look … it’ll be fine, you know, I just need to get some sleep.' »
On the night of Aug. 31, 1997, Princess Diana was fatally injured in a car crash while riding through the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France. The accident also claimed the lives of her billionaire boyfriend, 42-year-old Harrods’ heir Dodi al-Fayed, and their 41-year-old driver, Henri Paul. Beloved by millions for her grace and tireless charity work, the world mourned the People’s Princess’ tragic passing. She was 36.
Several mysteries and conspiracy theories surround her death, but according to a first responder on the scene, there is no mystery surrounding Princess Diana’s last words. « The car was in a mess, and we just dealt with it like any road accident. We got straight to work to see who needed help and who was alive, » firefighter Xavier Gourmelon told The Sun in 2017, before claiming that the Princess of Wales had no blood on her « at all, » and only appeared to have suffered a « slight » right shoulder injury. She then uttered her reported last words before going into cardiac arrest due to internal injuries after being loaded onto the stretcher: « My God, what’s happened? »
« To be honest, I thought she would live. As far as I knew when she was in the ambulance, she was alive, and I expected her to live. But I found out later she had died in hospital, » Gourmelon continued, adding, « The memory of that night will stay with me forever. »
Saturday Night Live superstar Chris Farley was found dead by his brother in the comedian’s Chicago apartment on Dec. 18, 1997. He was just 33. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s report (via The New York Times), Farley died of an overdose of cocaine and morphine. Farley’s death was a shock, but according to Rolling Stone, a Chicago columnist later called Farley’s passing the « least-surprising premature death of a celebrity in show-business history. »
Although Farley lived to make people laugh in his professional life, his personal life was filled with demons that he was unable to escape. The comic genius was in and out of rehab during his brief career, but he died after a reported « four-day drinking and drug binge, » during which the Black Sheep actor bar-hopped all over the Windy City.
A former exotic dancer named Heidi Hauser, who was reportedly hired to dance at a party Farley attended shortly before his death, is believed to be the last person to see him alive. During an interview with Inside Edition, she claimed Farley told her that he had been up « three or four days » and wanted to « go all out » before he started filming an unnamed movie. Hauser alleged that they traveled from the party to her apartment and later to his, where she claimed he did more heroin and cocaine. Before she left him alone to sleep (via Milwaukee Record), Farley’s last words allegedly were: « Please don’t leave me. »
On Aug. 16, 1977, cultural icon and the « King of Rock and Roll, » Elvis Presley, was found dead by fiancée Ginger Alden in the master suite bathroom of his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn. He was 42. Racking up an astonishing 109 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, the singer-actor was allegedly a serial abuser of prescription pills, which reportedly led to him suffering a cardiac arrest.
According to her autobiography, Elvis and Ginger, Alden claimed that Presley, who was unable to sleep, got out of bed and uttered his last words: « I’m going into the bathroom to read » (via the Daily Mail). However, Alden woke up to realize he had not yet returned to bed. She knocked on the bathroom door, opened it, and found the legendary performer slumped over. « I slapped him a few times, and it was like he breathed once when I turned his head, » she said in an interview, adding, « I didn’t want to think he was dead. God wouldn’t want to take him so soon. »
Joe Esposito, Presley’s friend and old Army buddy, attempted to revive the rock star, but signs of rigor mortis were reportedly already present, according to Alana Nash’s biography, Presley, Baby Let’s Play House.
Jackass star Ryan Dunn and his passenger, production assistant Zachary Hartwell, were killed after Dunn’s Porsche struck a tree and burst into flames on June 20, 2011. According to Philadelphia’s NBC 10, the Chester County Coroner’s Office in Pennsylvania listed the causes of death as « blunt and thermal trauma due to a motor vehicle accident. »
« It was pretty much the worst news I’ve ever heard in my life, » Dunn’s Jackass co-star Bam Margera told E! News shortly after. « He was my best f**king friend in the world. It’s been five days now, and I can’t stop crying, man. I just don’t think it should’ve been him. » Dunn’s last spoken words are not known, but Margera read aloud the final text he received from his friend: « Stopping for a beer, be there when I can. »
The official investigation results, provided by ABC News, found that Dunn « had a blood alcohol concentration of .196 » and was « traveling at a speed between 132 and 140 » miles per hour at the time of the fatal accident.
On Aug. 14, 2013, former contestant of The Bachelor Gia Allemand was pronounced brain dead at New Orleans’ University Hospital after attempting suicide by hanging two days prior (via the New York Daily News). She was 29. According to the publication, Allemand’s last known words were a suicide note left at the scene that read: « Mom gets everything. »
In the New Orleans Police Department report obtained by ABC News, Allemand and her then-boyfriend, NBA star Ryan Anderson, apparently argued « over her suspicions of he having been unfaithful to her » during the afternoon of Aug. 12. Anderson then reportedly told her, « I don’t love you anymore, » before dropping her off at her New Orleans apartment, but later received a text from Allemand’s mother urging him to check on her. Once returning to Allemand’s residence, he found her « not responsive » with a vacuum cleaner cord « wrapped around her neck many times. »
The police report added that a neighbor had heard screams coming through the apartment wall, and when she went to investigate, found Anderson « holding Ms. Allemand on the floor. »
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.