Remember Me When I'm Gone: The Rich and Famous Write Their Own Epitaphs and Obituaries

Remember Me When I'm Gone: The Rich and Famous Write Their Own Epitaphs and Obituaries

by Larry King

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“Show me Heaven! I have seen hell.” —Patricia Neal

Larry King, world-famous radio and television personality, has asked the talented, the beautiful, the wise, and the rich a question all of us have pondered: How would you like to be remembered after your death? The result is REMEMBER ME WHEN I'M GONE, an entertaining and eloquent collection of “last words” from people in the arts, in politics, in sports, and in business, mostly still alive. In telling and moving reflections, often leavened by self-deprecating humor, these celebrities look back on their lives, their ambitions, their mistakes, and their accomplishments.

The contributions range from pithy one-liners by Yogi Berra (“It’s over.”), Dave Barry, George Carlin, and Liz Smith (“Excuse my dust!”); to inspired sketches by Stephen King and Peter Falk; to candid reflections from Don Shula, Fred Rogers, and Chevy Chase; to hilarious rants from Margaret Cho and Tommy Lee; and a last request by Arthur Hailey.

Often surprising and always memorable, REMEMBER ME WHEN I'M GONE is a timeless collection by stars who will live on forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385512657
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/23/2004
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

LARRY KING is the host of Larry King Live, one of CNN’s most highly rated programs, and also hosts the radio talk show, Larry King Weekend. He has received several Cable Ace Awards for Best Interview/Talk Show Host and Talk Show Series, and his shows have also won the George F. Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. The author of seven bestselling books about his experiences in broadcasting, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Read an Excerpt

Curtain Call



Here Lies Anonymous--Our Greatest Author.

ALAN ALDA is a multi-award-winning actor, writer, and director. He first appeared on film in 1962 in Gone Are the Days. He is perhaps best recognized for his portrayal of wisecracking Army surgeon Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H, which ran from 1972 through 1983.


No, no, my dear ones, do not weep!
There is no cause to grieve.
For I am by his side again,
My dear beloved, Steve.

JAYNE MEADOWS ALLEN is an Emmy Award-winning actress. She and her late husband, Steve Allen, were married for nearly fifty years and starred in numerous television programs together, including Steve Allen's memorable PBS miniseries, Meeting of Minds.


When I was a young girl I loved to watch Ginger Rogers dance. I would watch her over and over and eventually learned many of her dance steps.

When I went to my first audition, the steps I learned from Ginger were the ones I used. They hired me on the spot.

My advice to anyone who has a desire to be a dancer or be in the movies is to find someone they really admire, watch them and learn from them.

Success will be yours.

JUNE ALLYSON is an award-winning actress, singer, and dancer. She has appeared in numerous movies including The Stratton Story and The Glenn Miller Story, co-starring James Stewart, as well as The Girl in White and They Only Kill Their Masters. She has recently appeared in various television commercials.


The possible conversations heard at the passing of Ed Asner:

I had no idea that in his later years he wore a bald cap!

He wrote every word that ever came out of his mouth.

He spoke of having learned his cavalry technique under Jeb Stuart sans the cavalier peccadillos of that gentleman--and later applying them to the Red Army Cavalry.

Though he spoke twenty-seven languages, he seldom had occasion to use them, perhaps because ten of them were obscure Chinese dialects.

As a child he knew Etruscan but he forgot it.

From those savants he trusted and occasionally entrusted certain confidences, it might be gathered that his rather lengthy sojourn on earth (if his figures are to be believed) was short in terms of his life and that even more astounding, his life did not commence and will not be terminated on earth. In other words we have what would be called an ET here. Opening the storage locker next to Walt Disney's may reveal that Ed Asner has left the planet. Requiescat Pacem.

ED ASNER is a multiple Emmy Award-winning actor. His portrayal of Lou Grant, head of the WJM newsroom, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show earned him three Emmys during the show's seven-season run. He also received an Emmy for his villainous appearance on the miniseries Roots.


Birth, Life, Death . . . Whatever

The shell of life is broken and the air of death is breathed,
A cry of being is uttered by the hand of an expertise.
The warmth and quiet gone forever, the fight and toil here.
How much better it would have been for all if he had stayed in there.

For the future holds a tiny fist that grasps and strikes the air,
But never ever wins the war, just slowly loses hair.
We enter naked, whole & pure and forever is our wish,
But we exit thus not quite the same for life is but a swish.

So come ye all to eat my fruit and share with me my lusts,
For it won't be long my brothers, before we turn to dust.

(c) 2002 Max Baer, Jr.

MAX BAER JR. starred as Jethro in the CBS television series The Beverly Hillbillies. He has gone on to write, direct, produce, and star in a wide variety of films, including The Asphalt Cowboy and Hometown USA.


Bob's top-ten list of things he would like to be remembered by:

10. He was always late for the party, but when he got there he was a lot of fun.

9. Balding people who wear glasses make the best pets.

8. Never underestimate the power of the well read.

7. You can accomplish a lot by being annoying.

6. He was short, but his personality was tall.

5. Check his cell phone, he's probably got it with him.

4. He played a lot of nasty smart people, but he wasn't that nasty and he wasn't that smart.

3. He would like to posthumously thank Christopher Guest for the best time he ever had while filming anything.

2. Contrary to popular belief, Close Encounters of the Third Kind was not loosely based on Bob's life.

1. And the number one thing Bob would like you to remember about him: You can take the boy out of Chicago, but you can't take the Chicago out of the boy.

BOB BALABAN is an actor and director who has appeared in such iconic films as Midnight Cowboy and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He has recently paired up with actor and director Christopher Guest, appearing in two of Guest's acclaimed faux documentaries, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show.


As I Lay Dialing

KAYE BALLARD is an actress and singer. Her first film appearance was in 1957 when she starred in The Girl Most Likely. She also starred in the television sitcom The Mothers-in-Law, produced by Desi Arnaz.


At Last--A Parking Space!

JOANNA BARNES is an actress who has appeared in such prominent films as Home Before Dark and Spartacus. In the mid-1970s, she retired from acting to pursue a second career as a novelist.


I thank you, I love you
Please don't mourn for me
We shall all meet again
You just wait and see.

I'm leaving this body
Which has served me well,
To stay in it longer
Might start to be hell.

I've loved living this life
It has been rich and fine,
Now I'm going for a rest
With the truly Divine.

STEPHANIE BEACHAM is an actress. Her breakthrough film performance came in 1972 with her portrayal of Miss Jessel in The Nightcomers. She went on to hold starring roles in such prominent television series as Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210.


For years I've been claiming, "I'm only human, I'm only human." Maybe now you'll believe me.

SHELLEY BERMAN is an actor, comedian, stage performer, author, and screenwriter. He also teaches humor writing in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California.


Forgive Me If I Don't Get Up.

TONY BILL is an actor and a producer. After appearing in several films with Frank Sinatra, including Come Blow Your Horn, None But the Brave, and Marriage on the Rocks, he went on to produce the Academy Award-winning film The Sting. He made his directorial debut in 1980 with the poignant film My Bodyguard.


There is much to say about the comic actor Michael Ian Black--none of it very good. He was not a kind man. Children disliked him intensely. Animals even more. Those who knew him best wished they didn't.

And yet, there was much to admire about Michael. For example, his breath was usually tolerable, his socks often matched, and his skin, while bad, almost never required serious dermatological care.

He was a survivor. Throughout his life, whenever he was faced with adversity, Michael was never known to complain. Instead, he simply cried. Through an endless succession of failed relationships and angry creditors, he persevered. And hid.

While his personal life was, at best, in shambles, it was within the professional milieu that he took his greatest pride. In the future, when we look back on the great actors of the day, we will think of Michael not at all. We will think not of the obnoxious character Phil on the NBC show Ed, nor of the short-lived but equally obnoxious sock puppet, for which he provided the voice and hirsute forearm. Nor will we think of any of the other repellant characters he portrayed during this thankfully attenuated career.

And so it is with heavy heart that we bid Michael adieu. His taste in music may have been terrible, but his choice of wardrobe was worse.

MICHAEL IAN BLACK is an actor and comedian who has appeared in a variety of television roles. He was a cast member and script writer for the sketch comedy show The State, which ran for three seasons on MTV. Currently, he stars in the Emmy Award-nominated NBC television series Ed.


Who? Me?

HUNT BLOCK is an actor who stars as Craig Montgomery in As the World Turns. He has also appeared in the feature films The Lonely Guy and The Next Best Thing.


I think a quote that I stand behind is that the past, the physical past, is really a memory of today. It doesn't exist otherwise. It's just a memory. And the future never gets here. So where are we? We are only in the now. I used to try to fight my way out of things. Today, I'm not like that. I don't worry about anything. When I do start to worry, I remind myself of who I am. I've made some mistakes in my life, but I'm not ashamed of them. The mistakes you make in life add up to what you grow into. And I'm pretty proud of the guy I grew into.

EDDIE BRACKEN was a singer and an actor. His first significant role was the 1940 musical comedy Too Many Girls. He is perhaps best remembered for his work in a pair of irreverent comedies, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero. He passed away on November 14, 2002.


Once I said I wanted my gravestone to read "From Hee Haw to Saturday Night Live," but it's gone far beyond that now. So maybe this: "He made a difference. He made people laugh. He made people happy. People wanted to be with him." Not now, though.

BERNIE BRILLSTEIN is a producer who has worked behind the scenes in Hollywood for more than forty years. He recently produced The Replacement Killers starring Chow Yun Fat. He is also the author of an autobiography entitled Where Did I Go Right?


I would like to be remembered that I had a wonderful life. That I had my parents, family, relatives and my friends.

In heaven, I would like to bring my Life Goes On episode videos and always be Corky for all my fans.

And remember me with smiles and laughter.

CHRIS BURKE is an actor and musician. He starred as Corky on the hit television series Life Goes On. As an actor with Down syndrome, Chris Burke has transformed America's image of the mentally and physically handicapped.


When God made me, He broke the mold. Not that anybody else'd be very interested in using it. I never had a big line of people standing around, waiting for cell samples of Ruth Buzzi to clone. My face was too long, my legs too short and my eyes too close together.

I could have been a gorgeous armadillo.

But, it isn't what you start out with that counts, is it?

When I left this earth, I hope you didn't cry for me. I would have much preferred you just popped in one of the videotapes--and had another laugh.

RUTH BUZZI is a comedic actress who starred for many years on the award-winning television program Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.


See you later, no hurry.
Take good care of yourself!

SIR MICHAEL CAINE is a multiple-award-winning actor. His first major film role was in 1963 when he starred in the adventure film Zulu. He won his first Academy Award in 1986 for his performance in Hannah and Her Sisters and his second in 2000 for his role in The Cider House Rules. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in June of 2000.


She learned to listen and
her style was a smile--
even when things
weren't always worthwhile . . .

She learned to live
a life of Love
that came directly
from God above.

DYAN CANNON is an award-winning actress who has starred in a wide variety of movie and television roles, including the feature film Heaven Can Wait. She is also the director of two films, including The End of Innocence, based on her autobiography.


If my wishes were granted,
my dreams would be smashed.

DAVID CARUSO is a Golden Globe Award-winning actor who starred in the hit television programs NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues. He currently stars in CSI: Miami.


Here lies Joanna, lady from the skies
Her laugh was as bawdy as the light in her eyes
Six feet under, what a great surprise
That life was as beautiful as one can possibly surmise.

JOANNA CASSIDY is an award-winning actress. She appeared in the 1982 production of Blade Runner. She also starred in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and has appeared in a variety of television programs, such as Buffalo Bill.


No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible.

GEORGE CHAKIRIS is an award-winning actor who has starred in a variety of film and television roles. Following his 1961 Academy Award-winning performance in West Side Story, he went on to star in such highly acclaimed series as Dallas and Masterpiece Theatre.


"Anytime I cash in now, I win." That's a quotation from one of America's truly great humorists, Charles M. Russell. I use this quote because it best sums up how I feel about the remarkable luck I've had during my life: to have three incredible daughters from one even more incredible wife of more than twenty years; to have a career spanning more than twenty-five years of fame and stardom; and to love what I do (even more than the critics) is a blessing that I can't attribute to a God so much as a series of and confluence of exigencies I would call fate or luck.

My epitaph, I decided years ago, would read: "Dig him up and give him CPR." I wish to be buried in a lush daybed coffin with a phone, extra oxygen tank, a change of underwear, and an answering machine.

So my obituary should stress that the greatness I've left behind resides in my family and friends. Whatever fond or unfond memories must be what they must be; I've had a lot of laughs.

CHEVY CHASE is an award-winning comedic actor who has appeared in numerous major motion pictures. An Emmy Award-winning writer and actor during the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975, he later starred in the comic films Caddyshack, Fletch, and National Lampoon's Vacation.


Kristin was your basic "all-American" girl, and lived life happily. She was a role model for young people, encourager to her friends, respected her brother, and loved her parents. She was a singer who felt blessed to be able to share her gift with so many people. Above all, she was a Christian who, right now, is rejoicing with her Lord in heaven.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH is an award-winning actress who has starred in several Broadway productions, including a 1999 Tony Award-winning performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

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