15 Famous Figures’ Last Meals Revealed

Humankind is naturally curious about the lives and deaths of the famous, be it actors, musicians, politicians, or activists. An oddly fascinating detail of these notable figures’ deaths are the final meals that historians and the media have discovered they ate.

Whether they dined at their favorite restaurant or ate at home with a loved one, most of these household names ate meals indicative of their personalities and passions before their death.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

He had a hearty meal before he died. | Rischgitz/Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, while watching the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater. According to Andrew Caldwell, author of Their Last Suppers: Legends of History and Their Final Meals, Lincoln dined on mock turtle soup, roast Virginia fowl with chestnut stuffing, baked yams, and cauliflower with cheese sauce.

For Lincoln, a typically “sparing” eater, this meal sounds uncharacteristically hearty. History.com reports that John Hay, one of Lincoln’s private secretaries, thought the former president “ate less than anyone I know.”

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

He had a grilled cheese. | C.J. Nichols/Getty Images

Frank Sinatra died in the company of his wife, Barbara, at age 82 in Los Angeles. The legendary musician died of a heart attack.

Before his death, Sinatra ate a grilled cheese sandwich, which sadly doesn’t even make the list of his go-to favorite foods.

Cleopatra

50 egyptian piasters coin with Cleopatra

She might’ve eaten some figs, followed by poison. | asafta/iStock/Getty Images

Most historians are in general agreement that Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen, killed herself by luring an asp (Egyptian cobra) to bite her.

Another theory of her death is that she chased her last meal, a simple dish of figs, with a poisonous concoction of hemlock, wolfsbane, and opium, distraught after the death of her husband Mark Antony.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain might have had a root beer and some cigarettes before he died. | Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

The iconic Nirvana singer and musician committed suicide in his Seattle home at age 27. His alleged last meal was hardly a meal at all: A can of root beer and a few Camel Lights.

Cobain struggled with heroin addiction and depression, which allegedly led to his cause of death, however, there are multiple conspiracy theories surrounding it. Cobain left a legacy as one of the most iconic rock musicians and deemed the “tortured voice of a generation.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

He ate a very healthy meal. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mohandas Gandhi, known as Mahatma (meaning “the great-souled one”) was arguably one of the most influential Hindu and Indian activists of all time. He was assassinated at age 78 by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse.

Prior to his death, Gandhi ate one of his typically healthy meals, which included goat’s milk, cooked vegetables, oranges, and a juice concoction made up of ginger, lemons, strained butter, and aloe. A strict vegetarian, Gandhi took a minimalist approach to his diet: “He propagated that we should consider food as energy … we should take only that which is required, in minimum quantity,” The Gandhi Research Foundation stated.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

He last ate a chicken breast with a spinach salad. | Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

The King of Pop unexpectedly died in 2009 as a result of acute propofol and benzodiazepine poisoning in his Los Angeles home. Jackson’s personal physician, Conrad Murray, was found guilty two years later of involuntary manslaughter. [Jackson] “spent his final days in a sleep-deprived haze of medication and misery until finally succumbing to a fatal dose of potent drugs provided by the private physician he had hired to act as his personal pharmaceutical dispensary, a jury decided …” The New York Times said.

Jackson was preparing to embark on his comeback “This Is It” tour, a series of 50 sold-out concerts in London that he planned to use to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars in debts. His last meal, a chicken breast with spinach salad, was a healthy choice for the musician.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana in November 1992

She last had a fish dish. | Vincent Amalvy/AFP/Getty Images

Diana, Princess of Wales, was beloved by Americans and Britons alike. She died in a car crash on August 31st, i997 in Paris.

Diana was seen exiting the Ritz Paris with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, whose father owned the hotel. She ate Dover sole, vegetable tempura, and a mushroom and asparagus omelet at the L’Espadon, a restaurant inside the Ritz Paris.

Julia Child

Julia Child tasting soup

She last ate some soup. | Lynn Gilbert/Wikimedia Commons

Julia Child was a chef, author, and TV personality who was known, among other things, for introducing French cuisine to the American people. In 2004 she died at age 92 of liver failure. Her last meal? A bowl of French onion soup.

James Dean

James Dean

He last ate a slice of pie. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

James Dean, an iconic Hollywood actor, died On Sept. 30, 1955. He had previously competed in multiple races and died en route to a race in Salinas, California. Dean crashed his Porsche Spider after allegedly stopping by a roadside diner. His last meal before the tragic accident was a slice of apple pie and a glass of milk.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

He last had a steak dinner. | Keystone/Getty Images

He wrote well and apparently ate well, too. On July 2, 1961, after dining with friends at the Christiania restaurant in Ketchum, Idaho, Hemingway took his own life. He had his final meal of New York strip steak, a baked potato, and a caesar salad and washed it down with a healthy pour of Bordeaux.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

She had stuffed mushrooms and meatballs. | Baron/Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe, a major sex symbol and top-billed actress in the 1950s, died of a barbiturate overdose at age 36 in her Los Angeles home. There are multiple conspiracy theories surrounding her death, however, it was ruled as most likely suicide.

Monroe’s final meal before she retired to her room was a combination of stuffed mushrooms and meatballs while drinking Dom Perignon.

John F. Kennedy

Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy

He had eaten a solid breakfast. | Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The 35th president was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, as his motorcade traveled through downtown Dallas. Before he ventured out of the Hotel Texas, Kennedy ate breakfast in his room.

According to the hotel’s executive chef, Otto Druhe, he served the president coffee, orange juice, two boiled eggs, toast, and marmalade on the side. Kennedy and his entourage were scheduled for a 1 p.m. luncheon directly after the motorcade, however, he was fatally shot at 12:30 p.m.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

He had a tuna sandwich. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

An influential guitarist in rock music history, Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27. His girlfriend, Monika Danneman, prepared him a tuna fish sandwich in her London flat the night before. At 11:27 a.m., he was discovered unconscious. He was pronounced dead an hour later.

He died by choking on his own vomit. The two had shared a bottle of wine the night before and the coroner report showed that Hendrix had taken 18 times the recommended dosage of Vesparax sleeping pills.

Elvis Presley

Elvis laughing

He had an indulgent dessert. | Keystone/Getty Images

The King of Rock and Roll died of a heart attack in the middle of the night at his Memphis, TN mansion. Presley, who was 42 years old, suffered a “sudden, violent heart attack,” a Miami-Dade county coroner declared in 1994.

Before Presley went to bed he satisfied his sweet tooth with four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate cookies. The singer was known for his love of fatty food, including fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

John Lennon

John Lennon

He had a corned beef sandwich. | Harry Benson/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The legendary founding member of The Beatles, John Lennon, was eating a corned beef sandwich on the way to his New York recording studio. He planned to have a larger meal when he arrived home, however, he was assassinated by Mark David Chapman at The Dakota, his New York home, upon his return.

Lennon was killed at age 40. Three weeks prior he and his wife, Yoko Ono, had released their album, Double Fantasy.