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The Most Devastating Final Words Actors Said To Their Co-Stars

The death of someone close is one of the most difficult things people can face in life. Anyone who has lost a friend or family member knows that those final moments together are often some of the most cherished. Often the last words of a loved one are haunting, touching, or even profound. 

Though celebrities are often treated like they are larger than life, the reality of our mortality is no easier on them. Many actors and actresses have tragically passed before their time. Their deaths not only have an impact on their families, friends, and fans but also on their co-stars. Below are some of the most heartbreaking final words from icons whose deaths deeply affected their closest co-workers.  

Desi Arnaz

Desi Arnaz was as big as they come throughout his acting career, which spanned from 1940 until his final film role in 1982's "The Escape Artist." More famously, Arnaz was recognized for being the patriarchal lead in the groundbreaking 1950s sitcom "I Love Lucy," alongside his then-wife Lucille Ball. The pair had met on the set of the film "Too Many Girls" and eloped during the movie's production. Together, the couple filmed over 180 episodes of "I Love Lucy" together while going on to make films and special appearances together. Unfortunately, the world's most famous couple of the time divorced in 1960 and shared few exchanges until Arnaz was on his deathbed in 1986.

In 2022, a documentary called "Lucy and Desi" revealed many truths about the Hollywood couple, including their final words together. According to their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, she had united her parents to have one last conversation on their wedding anniversary, November 30, 1986. With it explained to Lucille Ball that Arnaz's time was short, the celebrated actress reportedly exclaimed her love for her former co-star on a phone call in his final days and he replied in kind (per Insider). Additionally, Lucie Arnaz said that a month prior, Ball had paid her ex-husband a visit and they watched old episodes of their famous television show.

Ryan Dunn

Most famous for performing ridiculous daredevil acts as a regular cast member of "Jackass," Ryan Dunn was described as the "go-to guy for outrageous stunts that even such stalwarts as Steve-O weren't willing to try" (per MTV). A longtime member of the troop, Dunn was undeniably closest with star Bam Margera, since the pair had worked alongside each other in the "Jackass" predecessor series "CKY." Unfortunately, in 2011, Dunn and his production assistant Zachary Hartwell died in an alcohol-involved vehicular accident in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Understandably torn up about the loss of his friend, Bam Margera spoke about the accident with E! News a short time later. "He was my best f–king friend in the world. It's been five days now and I can't stop crying," said the heartbroken Margera. Sadly, the former co-star then revealed the troubling final text message that he received from Dunn on the night of the fateful crash, it read, "stopping for a beer, be there when I can." Weighing on Margera even further is the fact that he had been in a similar accident with Dunn 15 years prior: "He flipped me in a car eight times at the same exact spot in 1996. Thank God I had my seat belt on."

Corey Haim

The passing of budding young heartthrob Corey Haim was harrowing for Hollywood. The Canadian actor was an icon in the 1980s alongside Corey Feldman. The performers appeared in seven different films together, most notably "The Lost Boys." Unfortunately, Haim struggled with the trauma and sexual assault that he'd been subjected to as a young actor. Amid a downward turn in his career and financial struggles, addiction issues ended with Haim's death in March 2010.

Although Corey Feldman and Haim's relationship was reportedly strained in the actor's final years, they had reconciled and were preparing to film new projects together (per Larry King Live). However, the most heartbreaking news to come out following Haim's passing was a promise that Feldman had made to his longtime co-star and best friend. "Corey asked me to make sure that if he died before me that his story was told," said Feldman to E! News about exposing the sexual assault the actors faced as teenagers in Hollywood. "I am doing exactly that... The only thing left is he wants people to know who the assailant was, and I hope to God that one day that story can be told, too." Since Haim's passing, Feldman has been fulfilling his oath releasing a documentary about their childhood and appearing on multiple news outlets.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Chris Farley

"Saturday Night Live" alum Chris Farley was one of the funniest men to ever hit Hollywood. Best known for being a heavyset man who would put his body on the line for a good laugh, he split the audience's sides in movies like "Beverly Hills Ninja." Unfortunately, Farley passed away in December 1997 after nearly completing voice actor work as the main character in the animated movie "Shrek." His legacy had a significant impact on the comedian community, and he's often compared to another "SNL" star who passed in similar circumstances, John Belushi.

Gone too early, Farley's over-the-top energy was the perfect contrast to many of his co-stars like Adam Sandler and David Spade. Farley and Spade especially built a friendship that saw them collaborate on big-screen movies like "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep." Despite their success together, Farley began spreading his wings into new projects. However, Spade recently revealed in an interview with Esquire how close they were to making a new comedy. "I ran into him two months before [he died]," said Spade. "He was like, 'Everyone always talks about 'Tommy Boy' and 'Black Sheep.' It's not as much fun out there. Let's try to get one going again ...' I think about Farley every day."

Norm MacDonald

Another former "Saturday Night Live" cast member who was taken before his time was Norm MacDonald. Recognized for hosting the "Weekend Update" segment on the late-night variety show, MacDonald split sides with his ability to crack the most sarcastic comments without breaking. The folksy funnyman went on to star in movies like "Dirty Work" and "Dr. Doolittle," as well as starring in his own self-titled ABC sitcom "The Norm Show." Sadly, the actor hid his terminal illness from everyone but his closest circle and inevitably passed away in September 2021 (per Washington Post).

Norm MacDonald's death devastated the comedy community. Many of his peers shared their condolences on social media. Of his closest friends was seasoned "Full House" actor Bob Saget, who had shared the screen with the comedian many times and was the director of the MacDonald-lead "Dirty Work." "I knew something was wrong. I think a lot of us felt it," said Saget following news of MacDonald's death (per Hollywood Reporter). "Two weeks ago, he texted me, 'How are you? What are you doing? Are you doing stand-up?' And I answered him with much too many words. And then I didn't hear back. And then last week I got a text and just said, 'I love you.' I didn't say much back. I just said, 'I love you, Norm.'"

Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx was a celebrated comedian best known for his 1970s sitcom "Sanford and Son." The prominent stand-up comedian's influence can still be seen in comedy today thanks to his long, illustrious career and many catchphrases. In 1991, the seasoned 68-year-old actor was intending on a television comeback and began work on a new sitcom "The Royal Family." However, he would die before the series would air in extremely unfortunate and ironic circumstances.

Foxx suffered a massive heart attack while rehearsing for the upcoming sitcom. His co-star and friend of over four decades, Della Reese, was caught off guard by the genuine health troubles, as it was the senior actor's regular bit. Reportedly, Foxx would often fake heart troubles while grabbing his chest and yelling, "This is the big one." Reese told news outlets, "Redd was always doing something funny. I thought he took a pratfall." "When he dropped to the floor, Della said 'get up, Redd'" noted another witness, "He said, 'I can't breathe.' Those were the last words he said."

Chadwick Boseman

One of the more recent heartbreaks to hit Hollywood was the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman. Recognized for portraying Black Panther in the MCU film franchise, Boseman was an award-winning actor appearing on screens as far back as 2003. His death came as a surprise to most, as he never spoke about his illnesses publicly before passing away in August 2020 at the age of 43. As shocking as his death was, his friends and co-stars were quick to fondly remember the "Avengers" star. 

Josh Gad, who had co-starred with Boseman in the 2017 legal drama "Marshall," had a particularly special remembrance for his friend. Noting that the late actor knew "how precious every moment was," Gad tweeted one of his final text messages from Boseman. "I urge you to go outside and take a deep breath," reads the message. "We should take advantage of every moment we can to enjoy the simplicity of God's creation." Boseman's final messages of living every moment are especially heavy considering the secrets that he was withholding. 

Natasha Richardson

Famed actress Natasha Richardson was the daughter of Emmy Award-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave and a member of the English family dynasty of performers the Redgrave family. Richardson made a name for herself in films such as "Gothic" and "The Handmaid's Tale," before meeting the love of her life Liam Neeson during a Broadway rendition of "Anna Christie" in 1993. Their relationship quickly flourished as they would go on to collaborate on further projects and welcome two children. Unfortunately, in 2009, the actress suffered a head injury during a skiing accident in Quebec, Canada. 

Years later, during an episode of "60 Minutes," Liam Neeson shared the harrowing final moments he spent with his wife. "Oh darling, I've taken a tumble in the snow," was the last thing Richardson told him before being rushed to the hospital with a significant blood clot. When Neeson arrived to be beside his wife, he realized the true extent of her injuries. Unfortunately, at this point, Richardson was no longer conscious and Neeson was forced to make a difficult decision. "She and I had made a pact. If any of us got into a vegetative state that we'd pull the plug," said Neeson. Meanwhile, his final words to his wife and former co-star were a heartbreaking truth, "Sweetie, you're not coming back from this. You've banged your head. It's — I don't know if you can hear me, but that's — this is what's gone down."

Paul Walker

Instantly recognizable for his placement in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, Paul Walker was at the height of his career when he tragically died in November 2013. An action star and stuntman, Walker performed in over 30 films and even turned down the role of Superman in 2003 (per Superhero Hype). His death in a vehicular accident was a tragic, if ironic, conclusion for the actor, given his connection to the "Fast" films and enthusiasm for performance vehicles. 

The celebrated actor developed close bonds with his friends and castmates, specifically "Fast and Furious" co-star Vin Diesel. The pair were in the development of the seventh movie in their action franchise during their last interaction. Diesel has since shared the story of their final scene together and the last words the friends shared. "These action films can be very dangerous, no matter what anyone tells you," Diesel stated in an interview with Variety (via International Business Times). "I started to think, 'What would happen to Paul Walker if I died?'" Subsequently, Diesel recollects speaking with Walker about death while worrying about his own fate. Reportedly, it was Diesel who worried he would die young and told Walker to tell the world the kind of brother that he was. "I've played that over in my head countless times. That's the last time I ever saw him," he said.

Jim Henson

An icon for his contributions to animation and puppeteering, Jim Henson was the creative mastermind behind franchises such as "The Muppets" and "Sesame Street," as well as feature-length films like "Labyrinth." The voice and performer behind Kermit the Frog and a collection of other characters, Henson hand-built a production company that made people smile all over the world. Tragically, Henson died abruptly and unexpectedly from a common bacterial infection in May 1990. His death was devastating for the community that he is credited with creating. The Muppet-man did leave some final words for his friends and family in the form of two letters.

"I'm not at all afraid of the thought of death and in many ways look forward to it with much curiosity and interest," reads a letter Henson left for his closest friends and co-stars. "Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it." The note goes on to detail his wishes for his funeral, including asking his Muppet family to sing "happy and joyful" songs. Always the jokester, Henson's final words are the most fitting, "Have a wonderful time in life, everybody; it feels strange writing this kind of thing while I'm still alive, but it wouldn't be easy to do after I go."

Cory Monteith

Best known for his starring role in the first four seasons of the musical sitcom "Glee," Cory Monteith was a Canadian actor on the rise before he tragically passed away in 2013. His passing is full of heartbreak that is closely tied to his on-screen romance. Monteith met his long-time girlfriend Lea Michele on the set of "Glee," where they played romantic interests. Their off-screen relationship became one of the most heartwarming stories of love in Hollywood. Monteith's unexpected death hit his co-stars hard resulting in a tribute episode to the actor in the fifth season of "Glee."

Lea Michele dealt with the loss of her boyfriend and co-star in a creative way. The actress-slash-singer wrote multiple songs about Monteith, including "If You Say So," about the final words that they shared. "It's about my last conversation that I had with him," Michele shared in an interview with Seventeen. "There are lots of different emotions — if you could see this person again, what are the things you would want to say to them? It's a personal story." The lyrics to Michele's tribute song read: "Was just a week ago you said, 'I love you girl' I said, 'I love you more.' And a breath, a pause, you said, 'if you say so if you say so.'"

John Ritter

Award-winning actor John Ritter was a star of movies and television. In the lead role of "Three's Company," Ritter played the role of Jack Tripper for over 170 episodes. Alongside a slew of other television appearances, the actor was still at the top of his game in the early 2000s as the patriarchal figure in "8 Simple Rules... For Dating My Teenage Daughter." Tragically, Ritter died abruptly in 2003 while filming the sitcom, much to the shock of co-star Kaley Cuoco, who would later go on to perform as Penny on "The Big Bang Theory."

Remembering her on-screen father, Cuoco spoke about her time filming "8 Simple Rules" with Ritter on the 15th anniversary of his passing. "To this day, if anyone asks me about John Ritter, I get this chill because I love him so much," the actress emotionally revealed to ET. In her final moments with the sitcom veteran, Cuoco attempted to check on his illness when he did something completely fatherly. "He sat down on the couch, and he goes, 'I love you,'" Cuoco said. "And I was like, 'I love you, too, silly man.' He goes, 'No, I want you to know, I love you.' And I said, 'I love you too.' And he goes 'That's it!' And he gave me a hug... and that was the last I saw of him."