18 Famous Epitaphs of Some of the Most Inspiring People Ever

Posted on Mar 30, 2016

These people might be deceased, but the incredible epitaphs on their tombstones show us they'll be remembered for eternity. Statements made by these brilliant people have been left on their tombstones to remember them after their passings, some of which make clever jokes about the nature of life and death. While some of these final words are serious, others are hilariously entertaining, and all of them perfectly represent people buried down under.

1. "Pardon Me for Not Rising"

"Pardon Me for Not Rising"
Photo: deskofbrian.com
This noteworthy epitaph was made by one of the people closest to Yeast, whose date and cause of death, as well as profession, are unknown. We could assume that he was a well-mannered baker.

2. "Murdered by a Traitor and a Coward Whose Name Is Not Worthy to Appear Here."

"Murdered by a Traitor and a Coward Whose Name Is Not Worthy to Appear Here."
Photo: death2ur.com
Jesse James was a legendary bandit in the American Wild West who was loved by the general public and reviled by the law enforcement. He was betrayed by his own gang members, brothers Bob and Charley Ford, who murdered him on April 3, 1882, while he was at home fixing a picture on the wall, unarmed. Even though they were pardoned by the governor of Missouri, they were seen as craven traitors by the public eye. James' mother, Zerelda, chose to have these words inscribed on his tombstone.

3. "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free at Last."

"Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free at Last."
Photo: teaching.monster.com
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never lived to see the full realization of his famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He was gunned down while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King’s remains are now buried at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, where his gravestone inscribed with powerful words: "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free at last."

4. "...There Goes the Neighborhood"

"...There Goes the Neighborhood"
Photo: superradnow.files.wordpress.com
Rodney Dangerfield, who was born Jacob Cohen, was a comedian famous for whining, so his self-belittling tombstone humor doesn't really come as a shocker - "I don't get no respect." He's best known for movies like "Back to School" and "Caddyshack" and for lines such as: "When I was born, I was so ugly that the doctor slapped my mother."

5. "I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive"

"I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive"
Photo: media.al.com
Hank Williams was a legendary country musician who recorded over 60 songs during his short career and about 40 of which were highest rated in the music charts at the time. Long after he died, his songs like "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry", "Your Cheatin' Heart“ and "Honky Tonk Blues" have stayed popular. Williams died of unknown causes at the age of 29 in the back seat of his blue Cadillac on his way to the show. His gravestone is inscribed with some of his song titles, including this one.

6. "Here Lies Lester Moore. Four Slugs from a 44, No Les, No More."

"Here Lies Lester Moore. Four Slugs from a 44, No Les, No More."
Photo: f.tqn.com
Even though this person’s birth date is unknown, the date and cause of his death are obvious from his grave’s epitaph. He was shot by a customer who was furious that his delivery arrived damaged and late. Moore retaliated and shot him back, but his life couldn’t be saved. He was buried at Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona along with some other desperados who died violently.

7. "O.K... I Gotta Go Now."

"O.K... I Gotta Go Now."
Photo: cdn1.lockerdome.com
Dee Dee Ramone is best known for being a founding member of the Ramones, one of the most famous punk bands in history. He had a successful solo career after leaving the band in 1989 and was even an author. Several months before he died of a drug overdose, he gave the acceptance speech for the band’s entrance into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in which he congratulated solely himself as a joke. His epitaph is a reference to the Ramones’ hit, "Blitzkrieg Bop", and it proved he was funny until the end. He was buried near his guitarist Johnny Ramone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles with their tombstones listing their real names, Douglas Colvin and John Cummings.

8. "I Told You I Was Ill"

"I Told You I Was Ill"
Photo: myinterestingfacts.com
Spike Milligan was an Irish comedian famous for his sharp humor on TV and movies such as "Monty Python's Life of Brian." After he died of liver failure in 2002, his tombstone didn't have nothing written on it for some time while his family bickered over which phrase best would epitomize his career and they settled on that witty phrase, but the church urged to have it inscribed in Gaelic. Even though the joke is not in bad taste, there is a language barrier with the non-Gaelic-speaking audience.

9. "That's All Folks"

"That's All Folks"
Photo: i.imgur.com
Mel Blanc was the "Man of a Thousand Voices" whose voices are still heard by millions of people on a daily basis, whether they realize it or not. During his career with Warner Brothers, this adjustable voice actor created some of the most well-known cartoon characters in TV history, including Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam and Sylvester the Cat. It was Mel Blanc who gave Bugs Bunny the catchphrase "What's up, Doc?" and cartoon viewers always knew they had finished the cartoon when they heard Porky Pig say "That's all folks!" When Blanc was buried in the Hollywood Forever cemetery, this closing line was his final farewell.

10. "I Am Ready to Meet My Maker..."

"I Am Ready to Meet My Maker..."
Photo: lh3.googleusercontent.com
Apart from leading Great Britain throughout WWII, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was likely best known for his wittiness. His epitaph reads "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter." Churchill said this phrase on his 75th birthday when a reporter asked him if he was afraid of death.

11. "3.14159265358979323846264338327950"

"3.14159265358979323846264338327950"
Photo: biografiasyvidas.com
Ludolph van Ceulen, a Dutch mathematician who died in 1610 at the age 70, was the first person to determine the value of Pi to 35 digits. He wanted the numbers to be engraved on his gravestone. Ever since Van Ceulen died, Pi's value has increased significantly. In 2002, mathematicians at the University of Tokyo took Pi to its longest estimate since ever - 1.2 billion digits.

12. "Curiosity Did Not Kill This Cat."

"Curiosity Did Not Kill This Cat."
Photo: a1.files.biography.com
Studs Terkel was a Pulitzer-prize winning author and a radio host. He spent quite a bit of his life interviewing average Americans. Using "guerilla journalism", as he called the technique, he collected many hours of conversations, creating a lively oral history of America. Terkel had stated his own epitaph years before he died in 2008 at the age of 96. In his memoir, "Touch and Go," he named curiosity the virtue that has kept him going.

13. "Jack Lemmon in..."

"Jack Lemmon in..."
Photo: images.mentalfloss.com
The star of "Some Like It Hot", "The Odd Couple", and "Grumpy Old Men" knew how to make people laugh and remind them of his movie legacy with this remarkable epitaph. Lemmon was born in an elevator going down, but that didn’t prevent him from going up from that point. He had leading roles in many movies during his long career, and won two Oscars and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

14. "She Did It the Hard Way."

"She Did It the Hard Way."
Photo: suprmchaos.com
Bette Davis, born Ruth Elizabeth Davis in 1908, was famous for her roles in movies like "All About Eve" and "Jezebel", but she had to not only fight hard for success in the movie industry favoring conventional beauties but also to get a contract with Warner Brothers, and after that, to fight the studio for roles she desired. Eventually, she earned recognition and appreciation from Hollywood, winning two Oscars and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

15. "Here Lies George Johnson, Hanged by Mistake..."

"Here Lies George Johnson, Hanged by Mistake..."
Photo: pbs.twimg.com
George Johnson is only famous for his apologetic epitaph. He unknowingly bought a stolen horse and the court didn't believe his story and sentenced him to hanging. Later, they realized their mistake, but he was already hung. His grave is Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona, which also contains the remains of some of the villains of the Wild West.

16. "Called Back"

"Called Back"
Photo: pagepulp.com
Emily Dickinson wrote over 2,000 poems, some of which were about dying. While "Called back" may seem too brief for a final statement, it was a significant one, as it was a message she sent to her cousins, predicting her own death. Her famous line, "Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me" could have been another suitable epitaph.

17. "Here Lies an Atheist. All Dressed up and No Place to Go."

"Here Lies an Atheist. All Dressed up and No Place to Go."
Photo: headstonesuk1.files.wordpress.com
This is an epitaph from a graveyard in Thurmont, Maryland that’s included in many funny tombstone quotes. It remains unknown as to who the atheist in question was, as there are no names inscribed on the tombstone, or if his guess about the lack of afterlife was correct.

18. "The Best Is Yet to Come."

"The Best Is Yet to Come."
Photo: usurnsonline.com
Frankie's optimistic epitaph comes from his 1964 song title. Several hundred guests attending his funeral included politicians, actors and musicians such as Gregory Peck, Don Rickles, Nancy Reagan, Tony Bennett and Ed McMahonand. Kirk Douglas said that with Sinatra's departure, "Heaven will never be the same."
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18 Famous Epitaphs of Some of the Most Inspiring People Ever
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