What do actors, musicians, and writers say when they die? The surprising last words of 11 entertainers.

From The Week:

1. Bob Hope (1903-2003)
The words: “Surprise me”
The story:
“Bob” Hope’s full name was Leslie Townes Hope. As an actor and radio personality, he became best known in his later years for entertaining American troops stationed overseas. He died at Toluca Lake, Calif., at the ripe old age of 100. His wife Dolores asked Bob where he wanted to be buried, prompting his last words. Reports of Hope’s death were greatly exaggerated in 1998, when The Associated Press accidentally released a prepared obituary. The incorrect news spread so rapidly that it was announced on the floor of the U.S. House. The late Congressman Bob Stump, (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, broke the “news.”

2. Glenn Miller (1904-1944)
The words: “Where the hell are the parachutes?”
The story:
Glenn Miller was a big band leader and U.S. Army Major during WWII. Miller boarded a plane bound from England to Paris, where he planned to perform concerts for troops on leave in Europe. His last recorded words as he boarded the plane were spoken to Colonel Don Baesell, who replied: “What’s the matter Miller, don’t you want to live forever?” The plane was lost over the English Channel.

3. Eugene O’Neill, Sr. (1888-1953)
The words: “I knew it! Born in a hotel room and, goddamn it, dying in a hotel room.”
The story:
O’Neill was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, best known for Long Day’s Journey into Night and The Iceman Cometh. He was born in a room at the Broadway hotel on what is now Times Square. He died at age 65 in a Boston hotel after suffering neurological disease. The hotel was later turned into the Shelton Hall dorm at Boston University. O’Neill had an alcoholic son, Eugene O’Neill Jr., who committed suicide in 1950 at the age of 40. The Junior O’Neill wrote in his note, “Never let it be said of O’Neill that he failed to empty a bottle. Ave atque vale.” (The last phrase is Latin for “Hail and farewell.”)

4. “Alfalfa” (Carl Switzer) (1927-1959)
The words: “I want that fifty bucks you owe me and I want it now!”
The story:
Carl Dean “Alfalfa” Switzer was an actor, best known for his childhood work in Our Gang, though he also appeared as an adult in films including It’s a Wonderful Life and Island in the Sky. Switzer’s death is a bizarrely complex story that is well-summarized on Wikipedia. Long story short, there was a dispute over a $50 reward for a lost hunting dog, and Switzer was shot and killed by Moses “Bud” Stiltz during a fight over the money. Switzer was just 31.

5. Groucho Marx (1890-1977)
The words: “This is no way to live!”
The story:
Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx was widely known for comedy films with his brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo. He also hosted You Bet Your Life. In 1977, he was hospitalized for pneumonia in Los Angeles, and quipped his last. Groucho’s brother Leonard (better known as “Chico”) died in 1961. Chico’s last words were instructions to his wife: “Remember, Honey, don’t forget what I told you. Put in my coffin a deck of cards, a mashie niblick, and a pretty blonde.”

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