Sometimes you die young and on the top of your game, like James Dean. Sometimes you hang around but still manage to go out on a relative high note, like Jimmy Stewart (An American Tail: Fievel Goes West) or Buster Keaton (A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum). Sometimes, there is Xanadu.
Elizabeth Taylor - The Flintstones
Liz Taylor officially closed out her career in 2001 with voice work on an episiode of a failed animated sitcom and an apperance in the TV movie These Old Broads, which co-starred Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins, was co-written by Carrie Fisher, and—wait for it—had as its director the man who would later thrill the world with The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure. Nestor Carbonell is there. I’m sure it’s a lovely film. Seven years earlier, though, Taylor had made her last theatrical Fred’s John Goodman’s mother-in-law. Her last movie character was named Pearl Slaghoople.
Gene Hackman - Welcome to Mooseport
Before you panic—no, Gene Hackman is not dead. But he did state in a 2008 interview that “I’m not going to act any longer.” And, unlike SOME PEOPLE, Hackman has actually stuck to his retirement. (Just kidding—never leave us, Sodes!) As it stands now, the last film the star of The French Connection, The Connection and Unforgiven has on his filmorgraphy is Ray Romano comedy Welcome to Fucking Mooseport. (Note: No actual fucking of mooses occurred.)
Gene Kelly - Xanadu
Thank God that Gene Kelly got the chance to dance on rollerskates before he died. Sure, he did in It’s Always Fair Weather, but was Olivia Newton-John in that? No.
Leonard Nimoy - Star Trek Into Darkness
Sean Connery - Sir Billi, aka Guardian of the Highlands
Like Hackman, Connery could conceivably make more films. Actually, he’s done two projects since he announced in 2006—three years after his final live-action film, the critically panned The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—that he was retiring. One was voice work in a James Bond video game. The other, a 2012 animated film that currently stands as Connery’s final work:
Lauren Bacall - Family Guy
I’ve never seen the last movie Lauren Bacall was in, a VOD-looking tween art forger flick that co-stars a lot of people you know, but I’m sure it’s…
…I’m sure it is. That’s all I’ll say.
Bacall’s final-final credit, though, is voice work in a single episode of Family Guy that aired approximately five months before she died. I’m not saying having a page on the Family Guy wiki sapped her will to live. I repeat: I am not saying that.
Jack Lemmon - The Legend of Bagger Vance
I initially typo’ed this movie was The Legend of Vagger Vance. That would have been a very different movie. And that’s all I have to say about Magical Negro: The Film (with Golf!)
Frank Sinatra AND Dean Martin - Cannonball Run II
The Cannonball Run series is killing cinema history’s greatest actors, and it must be stopped. What if there’s a reboot? Who will it claim next? Channing Tatum?!
Joan Crawford - Trog
Oscar-winning-actress-turned-B-movie-queen Joan Crawford took her final bow in the cult classic Trog, about a Doctor (Crawford) who, via Wikipedia, “learns that in the caves of the countryside, a troglodyte is alive and might be able to be helped and even domesticated. She gets the creature to the surface and attempts to train him, but runs into trouble as a few people oppose this, especially a local businessman afraid of negative commercial consequences, Sam Murdock (Michael Gough [you know him as Alfred from the non-Nolan Batman movies]). Murdock frees the creature, leading to a rampage.” This is the only film on this list that I feel like I absolutely need to see.
Dennis Hopper - Alpha and Omega
The late Hopper, who died in 2010, actually has one film that isn’t out yet; the director recently ran a Kickstarter campaign so she could get enough money to finish it. Until she does, Hopper’s last movie is this furry’s wet dream:
Hopper plays a talking wolf in this “pawsome 3D adventure.”
Raul Julia - Street Fighter
I debated whether to include Julia, because I genuinely do love Street Fighter. It’s not nearly as good as Mortal Kombat (FIGHT ME), but “for me… it was Tuesday.” C’mon! Schlock gold. That said, it’s not by any stretch of the imagination a good movie, and shit gets real sad when you remember that Julia took what was to be his final role, when he was already dying of stomach dancer, at the request of his two children.
Never listen to your kids.
Janet Leigh - Bad Girls from Valley High
This direct-to-video gem…
… was also the final film of child star Jonathan Brandis (SeaQuest 2032), who took his life two years before it would eventually come out. I’m sure they’re chilling in heaven, doing… whatever it is Janet Leigh and Jonathan Brandis would do together. Thanking God they no longer live in a world where people dress like they’re Buffy the Vampire Slayer extras, probably. At least in Julie Benz’s case it’s fitting.
Peter Sellers - The Fiendish Plot of Fu Manchu
“I haven’t actually seen Peter Sellers’ last movie. Maybe it’s not that ba—”
Rebecca (@RebeccaPahle) would like to remind you that those were $500 sunglasses, asshole.