8 ‘famous last words’ that were probably made up

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Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

  • Many pithy, memorable famous last words are posthumous fiction.
  • Conflicting historical accounts and sparse witnesses make them hard to verify.
  • The reality of famous figures’ deaths tends to be more sobering.

Don’t trust everything you read on the internet — especially when it comes to historical quotes.

And that goes triple for famous last words.

Final words are often notoriously difficult to verify. There are fabrications that are just completely made up for one reason or another. Then there are exaggerations — sayings twisted into more quotable turns of phrase or modern vernacular or authentic quotes said long before the individual ended up on their deathbed.

Lastly, there are some plausible sayings that are simply impossible to confirm either way, because they happened too long ago or in front of people with an agenda.

With that in mind, here’s a roundup of some famous last words floating around there that are almost certainly somewhat inaccurate:

SEE ALSO: 18 people who accomplished incredible things at a shockingly young age

‘Et tu, Brute?’ — Julius Caesar, Roman dictator and general

"Et tu, Brute?" is likely one of the most widely remembered and quoted Latin phrases out there, thanks to William Shakespeare’s dramatic retelling of the Roman strongman’s life.

The words conjure up a stirring image — a powerful politician realizing he’s betrayed — and stabbed — by a beloved adopted son.

However, Roman biographer Suetonius claimed the man’s last words might have been even sadder. He reports Caesar possibly said, "You too, my child?" in Greek, before succumbing to his injuries, according to Livius.org.

Suetonius himself, however, believed it was more likely Caesar had died without saying a word.

‘Either this wallpaper goes or I do.’ — Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright

No, Oscar Wilde didn’t leave this world complaining about tacky interior design choices.

Records indicate the famously witty Wilde did once utter a similar phrase: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go."

However, according to the book "Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years," he said this to a visiting friend a few weeks before he passed away in Paris in 1854.

‘I should never have switched from scotch to martinis.’ — Humphrey Bogart, actor

The Hollywood star didn’t die mulling over his preferred drink when he passed in 1957.

According to the blog Phrases.org, the quip about the martinis actually might come from a 1975 novel called "What Are the Bugles Blowing For?"

In reality, according to his wife Lauren Bacall, his final words before slipping into a coma were, "Goodbye, kid. Hurry back."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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