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Signoffs - Death & Dying 

"Buenos Noches, Amigo!" - When veteran actor William Frawley died on March 3, 1966 of a sudden heart attack, his friend Desi Arnaz took out a full-page ad in the Hollywood Reporter. Underneath Frawley's picture it read: "Buenos Noches, Amigo!" William Frawley had been a long time regular on the sitcom I LOVE LUCY/CBS/1951-57 where he played Fred Mertz, the penny-pinching landlord and close friend of tenant Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), a Cuban singer and his zany redheaded wife, Lucy (Lucille Ball). See also NICKNAMES: "Bub"

Dr. Greene's farewell letter - On the episode "The Letter" (aired May 2, 2002) on the medical drama ER/NBC/1994+ Dr. Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards) sent his fond farewells to his friend at the emergency room at Cook County Hospital. Dr. Greene had undergone surgery for a brain tumor but his condition had worsened and so he retired from his position at the hospital and moved to Hawaii to enjoy his last few months of life. The words to the letter sent via fax read:

Dear ER Gang,

So here I am, out on the beach at 5:30 in the evening. Elizabeth is drinking juice, but I'm all about the mai tais. The sun is going down, Rachel is dipping Ella's toes in the ocean as they head off on their quest for the perfect seashell. Weirdly enough, I find myself thinking, you know what would make this moment complete?, some jogger dropping to the sand, short of breath, so I can sweep in with a piece of bamboo to perform a nice, clean intubation, fix the guy up, and send him off with a good, simple dispo. Which I guess is my way of saying I miss you all and that dingy place. Lots of times I thought I should have chosen a different career or go into private practice, something easier, less grinding, more lucrative, but since I've been gone, I realize that outside of doing what I'm doing right now, sitting on this beach with my family, staying at County all those years, doing what we do on a daily basis was the best choice I ever made. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, it's not hard to appreciate once it's over. As much as a part of me would like to believe that the ER can't go on with out me, the smarter part realizes that you are an incredible group of doctors and nurses who approach every day with such skill, compassion and thoroughness, that when it comes to patient care, I know by absence will hardly be felt. In order to leave, I had to go the way I did, but I wouldn't want any of you to think that I didn't value each of you and the years we worked together, or that I didn't have things of a more personal nature to say. Most of you, I think, have an idea of what those things might be without me writing them down, but still...Ella is laughing and waving for me. Rachel found her shell.


Mark died this morning at 6:04 a.m. The sun was rising, his favorite time of day. I sent this on so that you might know he was thinking of you all and that he appreciated knowing you would remember him well.


Anthony Edwards as Dr. Mark Greene in bed - ER
Dr. Mark Greene in bed with Elizabeth by his side

See also SIGNOFFS - "Work on your jumps shot"

"Goodbye, Mr. Heckles. We'll try to keep it down" - Mr. Heckles (Larry Hankins), the eccentric bachelor in a bathrobe who lived below Monica (Courteney Cox) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on the sitcom FRIENDS/NBC/1994-2004 routinely banged on the ceiling with a broom to tell the girls to be quiet. After he died of a heart attack during one of his broom banging episodes, ("The One Where Mr. Heckles Died") his lawyer informed Monica and Rachel that Heckles had left all his worldly possessions to the "two noisy girls upstairs." As Rachel, Monica and friends looked through Mr Heckles' stuff, they noticed for the first time just how noisy it was when someone walked around in their upstairs apartment. The last to leave Heckles' apartment was Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), a fellow building tenant. As he closed the door, Bing looked back into the room and said "Goodbye Mr. Heckles. We'll try to keep it down."

"He's been shot! Lee Oswald has been shot!" - Broadcast from Dallas City Jail at 12:20 PM on 11/24/63, NBC newsman Tom Pettit cried on the air "He's been shot! He's been shot! Lee Harvey Oswald has been shot! There is absolute pandemonium..." as he witnessed the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner. See also WEAPONS: "The Gun That Shot Oswald"

"I killed her, Joey, she talked too much!" - At the conclusion of ABC's FUGITIVE series narrator William Conrad said "Tuesday, August 29, 1967, the day the running stopped." Richard Kimble (played by David Janssen) was a free man, exonerated for the murder of his wife. Later that night on ABC's night talk show hosted by Joey Bishop, there was a live interview with David Janssen who was working in Georgia on a new movie. Bishop asked Janssen whether he had anything to say now that he was a free man and beyond the reach of the law. "Yes," Janssen said. "I killed her, Joey. She talked too much."

"I love you" - The final dying words of Lifeguard Lt. Stephanie Holden (Alexandra Paul) on the syndicated beach adventure series BAYWATCH/NBCSYN/1989-2001. On the episode 'Chance of a Lifetime' (7th season/1996-1997), Lieutenant Stephanie Holden was killed by the mast of a ship called 'Chance of a Lifetime.' It fell and crushed her while saving a young teenage girl from the tragic fate. Pinned to the storm tossed deck under the weight of the fallen mast, Stephanie looked up to Lt. Mitch Bucannon (David Hasselhoff) and proclaimed "I love you." Mitch returned the sentiment and then Stephanie died.

"I'm so healthy that I expect to live on and on" - The first on-stage death (from natural causes) occurred on June 8, 1971 during an interview segments of the talk show program THE DICK CAVETT SHOW after featured guest, nutrition expert J.I. Rodale, 73, informed everyone "I'm so healthy that I expect to live on and on." As Dick Cavett welcomed his next guest, Pete Hamill, he heard a "sound like snoring" coming from Rodale still on stage. Upon inspection he discovered Rodale dead of an apparent heart attack. The taped program never aired, however, the following night Dick Cavett did inform his audience of the tragic occurrence.

"A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Selzter Down Your Pants" - Motto of Chuckles the Clown, a recurring character on the sitcom THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW/CBS/1970-77. Chuckles the Clown was the host of a children's show broadcast on WJM-TV, a television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He met his demise when an elephant deshelled him while he was wearing his Peter the Peanut costume in a parade. See also CLOWNS: "Chuckles the Clown"

"Live Long and Prosper" - The final words spoken by Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) before he died from radiation exposure in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Acting on the logical philosophy "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one" Spock rescued the crew of the Starship Enterprise from certain death, when he entered a warp engine chamber (flooded with radiation) to repair the damaged segment that would give the ship the power it needed to escape an apocalyptic explosion from the Project Genesis bomb. His exact last words to Captain Kirk (William Shatner) were: "I have and will always be...your friend. Live long an prosper." At Spock's funeral, Kirk's final words were "Of my friend I can say only this. Of all the souls I have encountered his was the most human." Ship's physician Leonard McCoy's final comment of Spock was "He's really not dead if we remember him." Spock's character (introduced on STAR TREK/NBC/1966-69) was resurrected in the sequel movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) when the soul of Spock (his Katra) was reinfused into his regenerated body during the Fal-Tor-Pan ceremony, a ritual supervised by T'Lar, the Vulcan high priestess (Dame Judith Anderson). See also GREETINGS & SALUTATIONS: "Mr. Spock's Greeting"

"President Kennedy died at 1:00 PM Central Standard time..." - Pulling off his dark rimmed glasses CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite announced these sad words to a worried nation awaiting the outcome of an assassination attempt on the life of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the U.S. (1961-63). Earlier that day, on November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas as his motorcade passed by a book depository. At the time Walter Cronkite reported "In Dallas, Texas three shots were fired at President Kennedy's motorcade. The first reports say that the President was seriously wounded, that he slumped over in Mrs. Kennedy's lap, she cried out, "Oh, No!" and the motorcade went on...The wounds perhaps could be fatal." See also DEATH: "Assassination"

Sarek's Farewell - In the fall of 1991 on episode No. 108 "Unification" on the sci-fi adventure STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/SYN/1987-94 Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) traveled to the planet Vulcan in hopes of explaining why Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was on the Planet Romulus. Upon arriving, Picard discovered that Spock's father, Sarek was dying [first introduced on episode No. 44 "Journey to Babel" on the original STAR TREK/NBC/1966-69]. Near the end of their visit Picard said "Sarek, we're a part of each other [they previously mind-melded on TNG episode "No. 71 Sarek"], I know that he's caused you pain, but I also know that you love him". Softly grasping Picard's shoulder the ailing Vulcan said "tell him Picard." Sarek then attempted to make the Vulcan hand sign but could not. Picard tenderly parted his fingers for him and said "Peace and long life". Unfortunately, Sarek could only say "Live long and" before he rolled over onto his side and cried "Spock, my son". Picard completed the phrase saying "and prosper". Later, while traveling to the planet Romulus onboard a cloaked Klingon cruiser, Picard received the coded message that Sarek had died. See also - GREETINGS & SALUTATIONS: "Live Long, and Prosper."

S-R-S-G - The cryptic message written in blood by dying man on the cult drama THE X-FILES/FOX/1993-2002. After a deep cover agent known as X (Steven Williams) was suspected of leaking information to FBI agent Fox Mulder, the powers that be had him killed. Before dying, the blood splattered agent wrote the letters S R S G on the floor. The letters were later revealed to stand for Special Representative of the Secretary General, an office that held dark secrets about alien visitations on Earth.


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