The words used to mark your life can be a testament to everything you stood for. Epitaphs are quotes or sayings inscribed onto a tombstone, usually as a means of capturing the personality or values of the person laid to rest there.
These 10 headstone epitaphs from famous graves are a perfect last word from the figures buried beneath them.
1. “True to your own spirit” – Jim Morrison
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The legendary lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison, is buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. In the early 1990s, Jim’s father, George, decided to add a bronze plaque with a headstone inscription in Greek that translates as “True to your own spirit” or “True to himself”.
2. “Cursed be he that moves my bones” – William Shakespeare
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Fittingly, the world’s most famous playwright has a verse inscribed on his gravestone in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The full poem reads: “Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones.”
3. “She did it the hard way” – Bette Davis
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It’s said that on the set of the 1950 film All About Eve, Bette Davis joked that the line “She did it the hard way” would making an appropriate headstone inscription for her one day. After her death in 1989, the famous quote was engraved on her tomb in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles.
4. “O.K...I gotta go now.” – Dee Dee Ramone
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Douglas Glenn Colvin, known to most people as Dee Dee Ramone, was the legendary bassist and songwriter of punk rock band The Ramones. Dee Dee’s grave in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles is not far from that of his former bandmate, Johnny Ramone, and bears this short but sweet epitaph.
5. “The best is yet to come” – Frank Sinatra
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One of the most influential and best-selling music artists of all time, Frank Sinatra’s headstone is inscribed with the title of his 1964 hit, The Best is Yet to Come. It was the last song Ol’ Blue Eyes sang in public before his death.
6. “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil Rights Movement leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was laid to rest in Atlanta’s historic South View Cemetery following his assassination in 1968. His widow, Cora Scott King, founded the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and moved Dr King to this tomb in 1970.The quote on his tombstone is taken from an old spiritual and was the conclusion to his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech.
7. “That’s all folks!” – Mel Blanc
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Known as the man of a thousand voices, Mel Blanc was the man behind the voices of some of the best known and most well-loved cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble and Captain Caveman. At his request, his gravestone says, “That’s all folks”, the catchphrase of Porky Pig that rounded up every episode of Looney Tunes.
8. “‘The Entertainer’ He did it all” – Sammy Davis Jr.
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Sammy Davis Jr.’s simple gravestone at Forest Lawn, Glendale, bears his famous epithet, ‘The Entertainer’. The multi-talented singer, dancer, musician, comedia and actor truly earned the epitaph, “He did it all.”
9. “Quoth the raven…Nevermore” – Edgar Allan Poe
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Despite being one of America’s most famous writers, Edgar Allan Poe’s grave remained unmarked and neglected for more than 25 years after his death. Eventually, his family and friends saved enough money to move him to a family plot, but this gravestone remains to mark his first burial place, with an epitaph from his most famous poem, The Raven.
10. “Jack Lemmon in” – Jack Lemmon
Photo by Julie Jordan Scott via Flickr
Oscar-winning actor Jack Lemmon, star of films like Some Like It Hot, How To Murder Your Wife and The Great Race, has a simple but fitting headstone epitaph. Apparently at Lemmon’s request, it simply says “Jack Lemmon in”, reading like the opening titles of a movie.