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THE LAST WORD IN LAST WORDS; AS SEARCH IS LAUNCHED FOR BIZARRE BRITISH EPITAPHS, WE PAY TRIBUTE TO CELEBS' FINAL SAY.

Byline: By Craig McQueen

IT'S normally only the rich and famous who spend time worrying about what epitaph will be put on their grave.

From pithy one-liners to poetry, celebrities have long been keen to make sure their parting shots are memorable.

Now a campaign is under way to ensure the last words of more ordinary people are recorded for posterity.

BBC History Magazine has launched the search for Britain's "most surprising, enigmatic or bizarre" gravestone epitaph, after it emerged that the details of only a fraction of the country's estimated 20 million graves have been recorded.

And with at least 25,000 gravestones across Britain being damaged each year, a valuable source of information is disappearing forever.

Contenders include Shetland man Donald Robertson, whose death is recorded on a stone at Eshness which reads: "Died 14th June aged 63 years. He was a peaceable, quiet man and to all appearances a sincere Christian.

"His death which was much regretted was caused by the stupidity of Laurence Tulloch of Clothister (Sullom) who sold him nitre instead of Epsom Salts by which he was killed in the space of five hours after taking a dose of it."

But while history researchers are hoping the epitaphs of ordinary people will be lifted from obscurity, the final tributes of many celebs have already gone down in folklore.

The sentiments often never made it on to their gravestones, but their names still became associated with a few choice words which sum up how they spent their time on this earth.

Here's a look at how some famous people are remembered...

"She did it the hard way"- Bette Davis

"Workers of all lands unite. The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point is to change it" - Karl Marx

"Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night. God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light"- Sir Isaac Newton

"Excuse my dust" - Dorothy Parker

"Don't try"- Charles Bukowski

"Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the earth" - Benito Mussolini

"That's all folks!"- Warner Brothers cartoon voiceover man Mel Blanc

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" - Joy Division singer Ian Curtis

"3.1415926535897932384 6264338327950288.." - Ludolph van Ceulen, who computed pi to 35 digits

"A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough" - Alexander the Great

"My Jesus, mercy"- Al Capone

"Called back" - Emily Dickinson

"And away we go!"- Jackie Gleason

"He lies here, somewhere" - Werner Karl Heisenberg, creator of the Uncertainty Principle

"In"- Jack Lemmon

"Despite them" - Rob Roy MacGregor, after his surname had been outlawed

"Excuse me, I can't stand up"- Groucho Marx

"Is this your card?" - Penn and Teller, who are both still alive

"Do not walk on the grass" - Peter Ustinov

"I told you so, you damned fools" - HG Wells

"Against you I will fling myself unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!"- Virginia Woolf

"Victim of 'Jack the Ripper'" - Polly Nichols, the Ripper's first victim.

"Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare, To digg the dust encloased heare! Blest be the man that spares thes stones, And curst be he that moves my bones."- William Shakespeare, trying to stop anyone moving his corpse.

"'The Entertainer.' He did it all" - Sammy Davis Jnr

"Our Darling Eva, We Love You"- Eva Peron

"To Yesterday's Companionship and Tomorrow's Reunion" - Rita Hayworth

"Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" - Dean Martin

"Kata ton daimona eay toy" (True to his own spirit) - Jim Morrison

"The Greatest Blues Singer in the World Will Never Stop Singing"- Bessie Smith

"We live to love you more each day" - Jayne Mansfield

"Together again"- Comedy double act Gracie Allen and George Burns

"A genius of comedy, His talent brought joy and laughter to all the world" - Oliver Hardy

"A master of comedy, His genius in the art of humour brought gladness to the world he loved"- Stan Laurel

"I never met a man I didn't like" - Will Rogers

"I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of Parliament to decide on war"- Robin Cook

"So much to do, so little done" - Cecil Rhodes

"Murdered by a traitor and a coward whose name is not worthy to appear here"

- Jesse James

"Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite"

(Gaelic for 'I told you I was ill') - Spike Milligan

"The best is yet to come"

- Frank Sinatra

"A star on earth - a star in heaven"

- Karen Carpenter

"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter"

-Winston Churchill

"And alien tears will fill for him, Pity's long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn"

- Oscar Wilde
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 25, 2007
Words:784
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