South Burning in Gundam0083, about halfway through the series, manages to get his hands on a briefcase detailing the enemy's forces and plans, taking some apparently minor hits to his mobile suit in the process. As the heroes fly back to their ship, he opens the briefcase and starts reading through it, discovering the enemy plans are much more far-reaching than anyone imagined. Just as he starts to tell his protege, Kou Uraki what he's discovered, Burning's mecha explodes. Which would've been far more shocking if we hadn't been shown constant cuts to that seemingly minor damage throughout the second half of the episode.
Said character got loads upon loads of Retirony in the first half of the episode, making the death even easier to see coming.
In the first arc of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Legend of the Golden Witch, the protagonist Battler's father, Rudolf, tells his son and wife that there is something he needs to talk to both of them about later something that is later heavily implied to be something related to Battler's birth, and then indicates that he seems to know he might die. Which he does.
In the second arc, Kanon is killed right as he's about to tell Jessica his real name.
In Fullmetal Alchemist, when Ed has defeated one of the Animated Armor guards at Lab 5, he convinces him to give him an explanation of at least some of what's going on...but then Lust and Envy shut the guy up before he can tell Ed anything useful.
In Death Note, Light is just about to get L's real name off Misa when L saves himself by having her arrested. And by stealing her phone.
In Darker Than Black, Wei kills Kirihara's informant just before he can come in to provide evidence.
In Naruto just when Aoba is about to see Tobi/Madara's true face by delving into the memories of an unconscious Kisame, the latter forces himself to wake up by biting through his own tongue and then commits suicide using his summoned sharks.
While not totally played straight, in Detective Conan, during one of the mysteries, Takagi is going to reveal the man who killed DetectiveSato's father on his cell phone. As he's about to tell her the culprits name, a dark shadow appears behind him and slams a rock upon his head, instantly knocking him out as we later learn.
Chojiro Sasakibe in Bleach dies while attempting to inform Yamamoto of the Vandenreich's ability to steal Bankai.
In One Piece, professor Clover was about to reveal his theory as to the name of the kingdom the newly formed World Government fought against during the Void Century, when one of the leaders of the World Government orders him shot to keep him from finishing his sentence. Unusually, this shot does not kill him or even render him unconscious, it just stuns him for a few seconds, but Clover doesn't continue talking once he gets up and actually dies a short time later, from his island being destroyed by flames.
Lampshaded in, of all things, an issue of the classic Stan Lee-Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man. The Crime Master is mortally wounded in a gunfight, and then declares that if he's going down, the Green Goblin will go down with him. He attempts to reveal the Goblin's secret identity (which was not known at the time). "The Goblin is..." and then he dies. The lampshading comes when one of the police officers at the scene comments "If I saw that happen in a mystery movie, I'd laugh at how corny it was."
One day, Batman discovers that his parent's killer, Joe Chill is still alive and kicking and a rising gang leader, and after tormenting him for a while, reveals his Secret Identity to Chill. Chill freaks out and goes and tells his mob (without revealing the name). His irate mob, realizing that Chill essentially created Batman, shoot him to the point of near-death. It's only then that they realize that they didn't know who exactly Batman was. Chill nearly is able to croak it out, but Batman barges in at that moment.
Also happens in the Hush arc, where Batman's mechanic, Harold is about to reveal the identity of the person who bribed him into betraying Batman, when he is shot in the head by the villian in question.
Parodied in, of all places, a Disney comic book storyline, namely one by Italian writer/artist Silvia Ziche, known for having a thing for either single-panel jokes or longstory arcs. During said storyline, Il Papero Del Misteronote The Duck Of Mystery, better known as Papernovelanote Duck (Soap) Opera, Scrooge, acting as a typical "landlord" Soap Opera character, is about to tell his family the reward for solving his riddle, he... he doesn't die(nor it is said), but... suddenly becomes voiceless.Hilarity Ensues.
Done in Tintin to great effect. The first one is played pretty much straight (before the victim is shot with something to make him go insane) in Cigars of the Pharaoh and the second one is played straight in The Secret of the Unicornbut is ultimately subverted as the victim recovers.
Subverted in the terrible, terrible Troll FicLight and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami. Someone is about to reveal to L that Light Yagami is Kira. He manages to say "Kira is Light Yaga..." before he dies, but the world's greatest detective has no idea what he means to say.
The very poorly-formatted but otherwise bearable Batman fan-fiction screenplay ''Batman: Masked Souls'' ends with Bane trying to tell a coast guard officer that Bruce Wayne really is Batman, before Bane falls dead (or unconscious?)
In the Battlestar Galactica movie, "Razor," Kendra Shaw's radio cuts out (and then she gets blown up) before she can reveal that, according to the Hybrid, Kara Thrace will lead the humans to their end. It takes until halfway through season 4 before anyone else manages to get this information again.
Brilliantly parodied in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, where Lieutenant Frank Drebin fails to retrieve the information from a dying thug, and starts looking for another informant.
Lt. Frank Drebin: All right, who else is almost dead? [dying thug #2 raises his hand] Lt. Frank Drebin: OK, now. Talk. Dying Thug #2: You're too late. Lt. Frank Drebin: He already said that. Dying Thug #2: Where'd he leave off? Lt. Frank Drebin: Er, "Hapsburg has plan B in..." Dying Thug #2: Oh, yeah. Hapsburg has Plan B in... in... Lt. Frank Drebin: Where? Where?! Talk, you low-life scum! Dying Thug #2: Gee, if that's your attitude, forget it. [dies]
The Last Starfighter has a variation. The assassin sent to kill the titular hero manages to get off "The Last Starfighter is..." before he is killed, but the bad guys already knew who he was - what they didn't know was if he was still a threat.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail subverts this because this is carved into a wall and the knights all argue over whether that's actually the castle's name or if he died while writing it. It turns out it is indeed the castle's name.
King Arthur: What does it say, Brother Maynard? Brother Maynard: It reads, "Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Arimathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of... Aaaarrrggghhhh." King Arthur: What? Brother Maynard: "The Castle of Aaaarrrggghhhh". Sir Bedevere: What is that? Brother Maynard: He must have died while carving it. King Arthur: Oh, come on! Brother Maynard: Well, that's what it says. King Arthur: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't have bothered to carve 'Aaaarrrggghhhh'. He'd just say it. Sir Galahad: Perhaps he was dictating... King Arthur: Oh, shut up. — Well, does it say anything else? Brother Maynard: No. Just "Aaaarrrggghhhh"
Kirk: Son of a - Couldn't you have waited two seconds? They were just about to tell us the whole thing!
Chekov: You want to go back?
McCoy: Absolutely not!
Kirk: [whispering] It's cold.
Similar variation in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!. The Big Bad has the hero at gunpoint, and is just about to tell him the secret of how he controls the killer tomatoes before shooting him — when the crazed parachuting flyboy from earlier in the film crashes into the room and runs the villain through with a sword.
Subverted in Shrek the Third when the king is dying. He cuts off mid-sentence and seems to die twice before he finally dies for real; the second time ends with "His name is—", but he manages to finish his sentence when before he actually dies.
Whats Up Tiger Lily? - a dying mook tells the hero "Beware of the man with... with... with... with..." into the fadeout.
Happens in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Tuco manages to find out the name of the graveyard where the money is buried, but the soldier dies before he learns the name of the grave it's buried in. Blondie on the other hand did...
The film version of Death on the Nile (see Literature) has someone aggravatingly slowly telling that she witnessed a murder. Her last words are "and I saw that it was - " before being shot in the head.
Club Dread has a variation: when Putman is about to be killed, he says "I should have known it was you!" and taunts the killer, but to the frustration of two other people listening, he not once says the killer's name.
Played for Laughs in Walk Hard. Dewey's father's dying words are "I love...". Dewey trashes the room in frustration of never knowing who or what his father loved.
Happens in Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile: a nosy female witness is shot in the head mere seconds before she names the culprit. One of the detectives races to the door and finds a smoking gun lying on the floor outside, and nobody who could have fired the shot is to be seen anywhere.
In an another Christie novel, After the Funeral, a character is talking on the phone; just before she could reveal a clue, she's struck on the head (but doesn't die).
Christie is fond of these. It happens again in A Murder Is Announced, when Miss Murgatroyd is trying to tell someone who wasn't in the room, and therefore was the killer. Not a strict example, since the person she's talking to, leaves, not realizing the importance of what Miss Murgatroyd is saying, and Miss Murgatroys is killed shortly afterwards.
Subverted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Mr Crouch turns up out of nowhere, babbling insanely, and then is killed while Harry runs for help. He does actually manage to denounce his murderer ( his son) before his death, but because it comes in the middle of a stream of insane babbling, everyone ignores it, especially because the person in question is supposed to be dead.
Done by a robot in Isaac Asimov's Robots and Empire. The robot has accidentally risked shooting a human and is breaking down as a result; it attempts to tell its interrogators that its masters are hiding out on Three Mile Island but only manages to get out the word "mile", along with a couple of mouth motions.
In Asimov's Foundation and Empire, when Ebling Mis offers to tell where the Second Foundation secretly resides, Bayta blasts him dead because she knew the Mule was listening.
A Real Life version of this trope is mentioned in Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon, where a victim on being asked by police who shot him replied, "I'll tell you in a minute." Thirty seconds later he died.
Happens in The Krytos Trap. Kirtan Loor, aware that Isard will have him killed soon, goes to the New Republic and offers to trade information about Isard's machinations in exchange for his life. They accept, Loor takes a speeder with a New Republic agent, and when they arrive, that agent's husband, who had unwittingly been one of Isard's Manchurian Agents, shoots Loor, tries to shoot his wife while babbling apologies, and is shot by her. Loor dies alone while the agent weeps over her dying husband. Ultimately somewhat subverted, since Loor had a datacard on his person with some of the information he was prepared to tell them.
John Dickson Carr's Dark of the Moon has one suspect go through this. Subverted in that she survives (though obviously she doesn't recover enough to say anything until after the killer's already caught) and the fact that she was about to accuse someone of multiple crimes - including incest - that the accused didn't do.
In Warrior Cats, it's zigzagged. Runningwind is dead and Fireheart sees Whitethroat, who he assumes to be the killer. Whitethroat is hit by a car after Fireheart realizes it wasn't him. Fireheart asks who killed Runningwind, and Whitethroat says who it was but Fireheart can't hear him over the noise of a passing car. Fireheart asks again, but Whitethroat dies just as he's about to say it, however he has a look of horror in his eyes. Then Fireheart turns around and sees the killer right there.
Ellery Queen's "Half a Clue" has the victim mention that the person who was defrauding the family business was "Al-". Unfortunately, the other family members are named Alice, Alvin, and Albert.
Live Action TV
Heroes has the ridiculously verbose "I have the ability to-", rather than just "I can fly", or even just silently hovering.
The title comes from the pilot episode of Get Smart. The informant blurts out the villain's name right away, and gloats that he escaped the death that always happens to the guy about to say the name. However, Smart forgets the name and asks the informant to repeat it. The informant isn't so lucky the second time.
This scene definitely was in the episode 4.2 "Ironhand".
Lampshaded in Get Smart Again where Smart tackles the informant to the ground when he is about to reveal the name, stating that "this is the part where they always get shot before telling us" (paraphrased, sorry). The informant still gets shot before revealing what he knows.
One episode of Burn Notice in the first season features an (obviously doomed) informant meeting the main character on a rooftop to switch sides and give him valuable information. He doesn't do so well.
In the series finale of Remington Steele, Steele discovers that his longtime mentor, Daniel Chalmers, is also his father. Chalmers dies just as Steele is asking him, "What is my real name?"
Happens on Dinosaurs when the Sinclairs take their baby to the chief elder for naming. Their son gets stuck with "Augh Ugh I'm Dying You Idiot".
It's been hinted to happen before with "Achoo" and "Burp, Excuse Me".
In an episode of Babylon 5, a severely wounded man manages to spit out "They're going to kill him! They're going to kill —" before dying. During the investigation, Security Chief Michael Garibaldi is severely wounded; he makes a visible point of finishing the sentence before the medical staff cart him away. It's "they're going to kill the President", and they do.
Parodied in Fat Guy Stuck In The Internet, when Watcher-Teacher dies very slowly, rambling on and on about how he wishes he had the time to tell Ken Gemberling of his destiny, prompting Gemberling to yell, "Just replace the words that you're saying with the ones about my destiny!"
Happens constantly on 24, generally prompting Jack Bauer to scream "DAMMIT!"
Inverted on LOST. Although wounded and dying, Libby is able to say the name of her and Ana Lucia's murderer... but since the murderer in question is one of them and was also wounded (as part of a trick to make them think the killer was the man they'd been holding prisoner), they think she's asking about his well-being, not noticing the frightened look on her face.
Played straight with "I need you to go there and find my mother. Her name is..." before Daniel travels throught time.
In Castle, Detective John Raglan — the lead investigator into the unsolved murder of Beckett's mother — calls her up and asks for a meet, as he has important information to deliver. He instead rambles nervously for a bit about coffee and Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol, this giving the sinister conspiracy he's on the verge of exposing enough time to ensure that he never, ever tells anyone anything again just as he's about to spit it out.
Happens again in "Dial M for Mayor". The suspect, who is working for the Big Bad of the entire series, is pressed for a name. And then cracks. After an agonizing series of pauses and false starts and more pauses and significant looks, the suspect says, "His... name... is...", and suddenly a mysterious lawyer shows up, declares that he's been retained to represent the suspect, and that he's advising his client to exercise his right to remain silent.
It happened several times in one episode of former Brazilian comedy show Tv Pirata. A network was suffering several acts of sabotage. Everyone who tried to tell the culprit's name before the climax was killed at the exact point, prompting people to ask who that "Ooooohhhh" was. One of the trope's victims was even stabbed to death with a spoon because the killer ran out of knives.
Parodied in a Frasier episode in which Frasier, Niles and his radio co-workers try to do a mystery program, but technical difficulties and egos stifle the production. Eventually Niles gets fed up and and goes off script, in which his character kills off the whole cast save Frasier's character. Before his character dies he mentions "And a final bullet so the secret (of the Manor, the setting the play takes place) dies with me. ("shoots" self) Ha".
Merlin: In "The Death Song of Uther Pendragon", Uther returns as a ghost to wreck havoc on Camelot. After a showdown, Uther finds out that Merlin has magic. Fortunately, Uther is banished back to the spirit realm by Arthur just as he says "Merlin has—".
Played for Laughs in Community where Magnitude (whose catch phrase is "Pop Pop!") dives on a paint bomb and tries to utter his catch phrase one more time. Ridiculous not only because he was not dying or even injured, just eliminated from the paintball game, but also because Troy couldn't figure out what he meant.
Troy: Pop what, Magnitude? WHAT IS HE TRYING TO SAY??
Red vs. Blue mocked this. After Captain Flowers was revived from death (eight hundred years in the future. Don't think about it too hard), he's about to tell Tucker the secret to beating the Red Team, but keeps delaying it until he's shot in the head.
Tucker: Hey, I could use some help. Cpt. Flowers: You bet. And I have some information about the Reds that will guarantee our victory. Tucker: You do? Cpt. Flowers: I certainly do! Would you like to hear it? Tucker: Yeah, I wanna hear it! Cpt. Flowers: Great! Because I'm just about to tell you! [Beat] Tucker: Okay... Why aren't you telling me? Cpt. Flowers: Good question. I seem to be dramatically pausing for some- [Flowers gets shot by an off-screen sniper] Cpt. Flowers:Hrrg! Blah... Tucker: Well, good riddance. I wasn't giving this armour back, anyway.
Happens again when Caboose is distracting Sheila the Tank so the others can shut her down (they think the Omega AI is controlling her)
Sheila: I am not host to the Omega AI, however, I know who is. Caboose: Really? Who? Sheila: It is- [Sheila gets shut down] Shiela: Blllluuuuuurrrgh... Caboose: Who is Bllllaaaaarrrrggggh?
In a long Bloom County arc, the strip gets a court order to hire a female cast member. Beer mascot Spuds McKenzie, previously revealed to be female, informs Opus that a regular cast member is also secretly female. As Spuds is about to identify the culprit, he passes out. Opus turns to the viewer, and says "you and I both know she's not going to wake up until that statement has wreaked total pandemonium around here." (As it turns out, it was Rosebud the Basselope.)
In A Very Potter Musical, Snape is fatally poisoned by a snake bite to the wiener, reveals that Harry is the final horcrux and needs to sacrifice himself, and claims to know another way to fix everything:
In Team Fortress 2's "Meet The Spy", the Blu Spy is explaining that anybody in the room could be the Red Spy. His long, dramatic speech ends with "It could be you! It could be me! It could even be-" He is then shot in the face by the Soldier's shotgun, who thought the Blu Spy was obviously the Red Spy in disguise. He wasn't.
Aldaris is killed just before he can reveal a critical piece of information in Starcraft: Brood War.
This happens in the 1998 videogame version of Mission: Impossible, when an informant dies in the middle of giving information, Ethan Hunt says "I just knew he wasn't going to finish that sentence..."
Half-Life: Once the player makes it to the surface, he's greeted by a guard. The guard starts to relay a message to you, telling you to "watch out for-" before taking a bullet in the back and collapsing at your feet.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2: Eli Vance starts to tell Gordon (and by extension the anxious player) about the mysterious G-Man, only to be interrupted before he can get to any of the juicy stuff. He doesn't survive long enough to resume the conversation. The by now rather jaded player is not surprised.
Averted in the Kingdom Hearts series. This very line is said many times, but instead of the character getting killed, it was just Nomura setting up a moment for The Reveal.
Played straight when Vexen almost reveals Roxas's existence to Sora, when Axel kills him.
Thankfully averted in Grim Fandango. Glottis almost does this. "It could save me, if you have the right... *cough cough* The right... *cough* Fuel..." Of course, he doesn't stay conscious long enough to tell you exactly what fuel, but he probably didn't have any idea and figuring it out yourself makes for a nice puzzle.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the defecting scientist Clarke mentions numbers that fit into Dragovich's plan, but is interrupted by a firefight before he can elaborate. A little later on, while your group is trying to avoid sliding off a roof, Hudson asks him about them again, and Clarke begins telling him... and then he is shot in the head.
In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link's uncle says, "Zelda is your...." then dies. Many speculated that the line would read "Zelda is your sister" or "Zelda is your destiny" but this is never brought up again later in the game. The GBA rerelease averts this trope by rewriting the dialogue to omit the line entirely, although a Bonus BossMaster of Illusion takes Link's uncle's form and gives a similar line before attacking.
Taken to its logical extreme in Link To the Awesome when Link desperately tries to revive his uncle to get an answer, not wanting to accidentally commit incest in the future. "Zelda's my WHAT?!"
In Mirror's Edge, hired thug/assassin Ropeburn gets shot just before telling you who hired him.
In Batman: Arkham City, the first of Deadshot's victims is killed just as he's about to tell Batman the specifics of his work during the construction of Arkham City. A particularly bad case of the Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? variant, as Deadshot had a clear line of sight and we're explicitly told later in the sidequest that Batman was one of his targets, and the game even has you to stand around investigating the crime scene for a while before leaving.
This is handwaved by the fact that Deadshot follows his own, extremely strict code - he has been scheduled to kill Batman at a specific time, and refuses to do it beforehand. That would be wrong.
Happens in Dragon Quest IV: After defeating the Marquis de Leon, when you talk to Nun the Wiser in a shrine near Havre Leon, she almost reveals Estark's name before she suddenly chokes up and dies.
Shogo: Mobile Armor Division has an interesting take on this when Kura is cornered and arrested by the CMC. She manages to tell Sanjuro that his brother Toshiro is Gabriel, but only starts a sentence with "Cothineal-" before she is taken away. She does, however, survive to tell you that Cothineal is controlling Toshiro.
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Peach's last e-mail message to Mario is interrupted before she can tell him or the player that the villains want the Shadow Queen to claim her body.
The first Resident Evil game and the remake has Enrico, the leader of Bravo Team, tell you there's a traitor, however he is shot just before telling Chris or Jill who it is. A savvy player can find several clues to their identity before they reveal themselves: a slideshow of the bioweapons purposely created that includes a photo of the people involved, a file on security procedures that reveals their name, and if the character you play as finds the other missing playable character they'll reveal who it is.
The Neo-Geo arcade game Art of Fighting has this in the ending, in which either Ryo or Robert beat up Mr. Karate badly, but just before they finish him off, Yuri suddenly appears to reveal Mr. Karate's identity, however before she can do so it cuts away to a "To Be Continued?" shot.
Subverted in the Super NES version, in which they reveal Mr. Karate to be Takuma Sakazaki. He would go on to explain how he ended up in the situation he was in.
Sniper Elite V 2 has one mission where you have to save a Nazi scientist about to be executed for treason so he can give you information on the last V2 rockets. When the dust settles, he's dying from gunshot wounds. He manages to choke out the name "Tabun", and even clarify that it isn't a person or place, but dies before he can go into further detail. For the record, Tabun is a deadly chemical agent being packed into the last V2 rockets, which will be fired at London as Nazi Germany's last hurrah.
In Penumbra, Philip finds a tape which Eloff Carpenter recorded, giving information about the Tuurngait, but just before Eloff could say what their main weakness is, he is killed.
Parodied in Sluggy Freelance, during the X-Files story arc. The waitress is shot while reciting the daily specials. One of the FBI agents dramatically demands to know what she was going to say, but she dies right before she can finish.
Another time, it momentarily appears that this happens to Bun-bun's informant, but then it's revealed to have been a cut to where the bad guys who were supposed to kill that informant are killing the wrong guy who was just about to reveal someone the location of a rave.
Subverted in Homestuck. UU tells Roxy her real name, but purposely doesn't tell her her brother's name because that will activate their Literal Split Personality. Also, her final words before she takes her (possibly last) nap will be her brother's name.
In The Gamer's Alliance, after defeating DreadlordLeraje, Ismail momentarily glances at the wall where the sultan's posse is observing the duel and suddenly realizes who Leraje reminds him of and who thus fits perfectly into Nergal's prophecy of a traitor being in the Grand Alliance. This distracts him momentarily, which allows Leraje to regenerate and skewer him. Ismail, realizing he's done for, uses the last of his strength to try to tell the Alliance the identity of the traitor, but is decapitated just before he can finish saying the name.
Played for laughs in Rorschach and Deadpool. The pair finds four different informantsnote As well as a pizza boy and a random passerby, hell, even Rorschach, and Deadpool shoots every one of them as they finish saying the name of the trope. Purely because he finds their voices irritating.
The Simpsons parody of 24. Bart has to tell Lisa the name of the traitor to the Counter Truancy Unit (CTU). "Now I don't have much time so I'm just gonna come out and say his name. So get ready to know his name. His name is the following. M-" ...and Martin knocks Bart unconscious.
An episode of Doug featuring one of the Quail-Man adventures had Quail-Man asking Silver Skeeter, who had been half-frozen in a block of something like carbonite, who froze him. He replies saying he doesn't have the strength to say the name and is too worried he'll get halfway through telling him before he's completely frozen. When Quailman demands that he try, this is exactly what happens.
In the Futurama episode "The Duh Vinci Code", Animatronio tells the Planet Express crew that "the fountain you seek is — HURRK!" before he dies. It turns out that Animatronio was faking his death.
Used in the Adventure Time episode "Mystery Train" where Colonel Candycorn was about to reveal who his enemy was.
"...and his or her name is-"
In "From Bad To Worse", Princess Bubblegum gets caught and turned into a zombie as she's explaining how to make the zombie-curing formula. Her last words are "Just let Science do the work! Science is maaaaaaa raaaaaaaa..." It isn't until the end of the episode that Finn figures out she was trying to say "my rat"; she has a lab rat named Science that knows how to make the formula.
The second American Dad!James Bond parody "For Black Eyes Only." Stan and Tearjerker (Roger) try to interrogate the location of Black Villain (Principal Lewis) out of Tchochkie Schmear (Klaus). He finally relents, leading to the over-the-top line "The thing that you do not know about the location of Black Villain that I do is..." and is promptly assassinated.
In the South Park episode "Best Friends Forever", an accident leaves Kenny in a vegetative state. It is unclear what he would want to happen to him because a page is missing from his will and the known portion ends with "If I am ever in a vegetative state, please...". His plight becomes the subject of much debate and he ends up on TV nation wide...then, when the last page of his will is finally found, it turns out the complete sentence is "If I am ever in a vegetative state, please, for the love of God, don't ever show me in that state on national television".
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses a non-death version of this in the episode "It's About Time": A future version Twilight Sparkle materializes in front of her past self to deliver an important message from the future. Naturally, the time travel spell runs out juice just as she says "Whatever you do, don't—" and she vanishes. Twilight promptly spends the rest of the episode attempting to figure out what the message was. Turns out her future self just came back to warn her not to freak out about the message. Oops.
When the telegraph was first invented, people caught on that you could sever communications by cutting the wire. If you tried to carry a "normal" conversation, and it got intercepted by an enemy down the line, they'd cut the wire and you'd never get to the juicy part. To avert this trope, telegraphers quickly learned the art of putting the most important information of the message into the very first part of the message. This became standard practice and now putting the most important information first is considered Rule #1 of being a print journalist.