Famous Last Performances

Famous Last Performances
Which final farewells will be forever etched in our memories? From rock royalty to Hollywood icons, read about the memorable swan songs of living legends and fallen stars.

Space Shuttle Discovery

NASA’s most-flown shuttle made its final landing on March 9

Randy Pausch

This former computer science professor delivered his inspirational “Last Lecture”  before succumbing to pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008.

The Beatles

The Fabulous Four’s last public performance was an unannounced mini-concert played on a London rooftop, after which John Lennon made this cheeky quip.

Jimi Hendrix

Rock legend Jimmy Hendrix last greeted big crowds at a German festival on Sept. 6, 1970. Two weeks later, he died in London.

Buddy Holly

“Peggy Sue” crooner Buddy Holly’s last performance was a stop on the “Winter Dance Party Tour” in Iowa on Feb. 2, 1959. He died in a plane crash en route to his next show

Elvis Presley

The King’s last show was in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977, several weeks before he died at his famous Memphis home.

Josephine Baker

An internationally renowned performer, Josephine Baker starred in a smash Paris comeback revue on April 8, 1975, just days before her death at age 68.

Luciano Pavarotti

Famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti took the stage for the last time at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Games. He died the following year at the age of 71.

Bob Marley

The legendary reggae artist’s last gig was a sold-out concert in Pittsburgh on Sept. 23, 1980. He died the following year at the age of 36.

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger’s final role was in the 2009 fantasy film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” He died in January 2008, during a filming break.

James Dean

This Hollywood icon’s last role was as Jett Rink in the 1956 classic “Giant’.” He died on Sept. 30, 1955, shortly after wrapping the film.


Tejano siren Selena played her native Texas for the last time at a standing-room-only Houston concert on Feb. 26, 1995. What was the occasion? She died two weeks later.

Siegfried and Roy

The illustrious illusionists and their Bengal tiger, Montecore performed for Las Vegas audiences one last time in February 2009.

Leontyne Price

Before retiring, this celebrated soprano gave her final performance at New York City’s Lincoln Center on Jan. 3, 1985.