On This Day

Famous Deaths on April 15

  • 1053 Godwin, Earl of Wessex, dies at 52
  • 1220 Adolf I, Archbishop of Cologne, dies at ~63
  • 1415 Manuel Chrysoloras, Greek humanist & grammarian, dies at 60
  • 1472 Leon B. Alberti, Italian humanist & architect (Philodoxis), dies at 68
  • 1502 Jan IV of Chalon-Arnay, prince of Orange and lord of Arlay, dies at 59
  • 1607 Cornelius Kilianus, Flemish translator & poet, dies at ~78
  • 1621 John Carver, first governor of Plymouth Colony, dies at 45
  • 1632 George Calvert, English politician & coloniser, dies at 52
  • 1641 Domenichino, Italian painter, dies at 59
  • 1652 Patriarch Joseph of Moscow, sixth Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
  • 1659 Simon Dach, Prussian-German poet, dies at 63
  • 1719 Johann Friedrich Treiber, German historian & composer, dies at 76
  • 1719 Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon, second wife of Louis XIV of France, dies at 83
  • 1754 Jacopo Riccati, Italian mathematician (Riccati equation), dies at 77
  • 1756 Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, German composer, dies at 29
  • 1761 Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll, Scottish politician, dies at 78
  • 1761 William Oldys, English antiquarian & bibliographer, dies at b64
  • 1764 Madame de Pompadour, French mistress of King Louis XV of France, dies of tuberculosis at 42
  • 1765 Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian scholar & poet, dies at 53
  • 1788 Giuseppe Bonno, Austrian composer, dies at 77
  • 1793 Ignacije Szentmartony, Croatian Jesuit missionary & geographer, dies at 74
  • 1803 Václav Norbert Brixi, Czech organist, composer and priest (aka s Jeroným) dies at 65
  • 1804 Charles Pichegru, French army general and royalist who plotted to overthrow Napoleon, strangles himself in prison at 43
  • 1819 Oliver Evans, American inventor who pioneered high-pressure steam engine, dies at 63
  • 1824 Theodorus Frederik van Capellen, Dutch vice-admiral (Algiers), dies at 61
  • 1853 Johann Leopold Fuchs, German composer, dies at 67
  • 1854 Arthur Aikin, English scientist & writer (b. 1773)
  • 1863 Jan Nepomuk Kanka, Czech composer, dies at 90

Abraham Lincoln

1865 Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President (Republican: 1861-65), dies from gunshot wounds at 56

  • 1866 William Jackson, British organist and composer, dies at 51
  • 1870 Emma Willard, American women's rights activist & educator who founded the 1st school for women's higher education in the US, dies at 83
  • 1881 Sophia Perovskaya, Soviet icon, aristocrat, and socialist revolutionary (Narodnaya Volya), who helped orchestrate the successful assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, executed by hanging at 27
  • 1889 Father Damien, Belgian missionary, dies at 49
  • 1891 Stephen Albert Emery, American pianist, composer, and pedagogue (Elements of Harmony), dies at 49
  • 1892 Amelia Edwards, English author (The Phantom Coach) and Egyptologist, dies at 60
  • 1898 Kepa Te Rangihiwinui, Maori military leader, dies in his 70s
  • 1911 Georg Knorr, German engineer (brake system trains), dies at 51

Edward Smith

1912 Edward Smith, English naval captain of the RMS Titanic, dies when the ship sinks in the Atlantic Ocean aged 62

  • 1912 John Jacob Astor IV, American businessman & soldier (richest passenger aboard the Titanic), dies aboard the Titanic at 47
  • 1912 William T. Stead, British newspaper editor (The Pall Mall Gazette), dies in the sinking of the Titanic at 62
  • 1913 Ğabdulla Tuqay, Tatar poet (Oh My Mother Tongue!), dies at 26
  • 1916 Alfred Cogniaux, Belgian botanist, dies at 75
  • 1919 Jane Delano, American nurse & educator (Red Cross Nursing Service during WWI), dies at 57
  • 1924 Eduardo Caudella, Romanian opera composer, dies at 82
  • 1925 John Singer Sargent, American painter (Wyndham Sisters), dies at 69
  • 1926 Frank Iredale, Australian cricketer (14 Tests for Aust, 807 runs at 36 68), dies at 58
  • 1927 Francesco Gaeta, Italian poet (Di Giacomo), dies at 47
  • 1927 Gaston Leroux, French writer (The Phantom of the Opera), dies at 58
  • 1929 Antonio Smareglia, Italian composer, dies at 74
  • 1937 Nikolai Artzibushev, Russian jurist & composer, dies at 79
  • 1938 Caesar Vallejo, Peruvian-French poet (Trilce, Russia & 1931), dies at 46

Robert Musil

1942 Robert Musil, Austrian writer (Mann ohne Eigenschaften), dies at 61

Hugh S. Johnson

1942 Hugh S. Johnson, American head of the National Recovery Administration & member of FDR's Brain Trust, dies of pneumonia at 60

  • 1942 Joshua Pim, Irish tennis player (Wimbledon 1893-94), dies at 72
  • 1943 Raffaele Casimiri, Italian composer, and musicologist dies at 62
  • 1943 Aristarkh Lentulov, Russian artist, dies at 61
  • 1944 Giovanni Gentile, Italian philosopher (The Doctrine of Fascism), dies at 68
  • 1948 Radola Gajda, Czech military commander & politician, dies at 56

Wallace Beery

1949 Wallace Beery, American circus performer (Ringling Brothers Circus) & actor (Alias a Gentleman, Dinner at 8), dies from a heart attack at 64

  • 1954 Juan Vicente Lecuna, Venezuelan diplomat & composer, dies at 54
  • 1956 Emile Nolde [Hansen], German painter (Grablegung Christi), dies at 88
  • 1957 Pedro Infante, Mexican actor & singer, dies at 39
  • 1958 Estelle Taylor, American actress, dies at 64
  • 1962 Clara Blandick, American actress, commits suicide at 80
  • 1962 Esther Minciotti, Italian actress, dies at 73
  • 1962 Arsenio Lacson, Filipino politician & sportswriter, dies at 49
  • 1963 Edward "Carji" Greeves, Australian Rules Football midfielder (winner inaugural Brownlow Medal 1924), dies at 59
  • 1965 Sydney Chaplin, English actor, half brother of Charlie Chaplin and his business manager, dies at 80
  • 1966 Joseph Crehan, American actor (The Roaring Twenties, Meeting at Midnight), dies of stroke at 82
  • 1967 Totò [Antonio De Curtis], Italian actor (Motorizzate; Noi Duri) commonly referred to as the most popular Italian comedian of all time, dies from a heart attack at 69
  • 1968 Boris Mykolayovich Lyatoshyns'ky, Ukrainian composer & the father of modern Ukrainian music, dies at 73
  • 1968 Borys Lyatoshynsky, Ukrainian composer, conductor, and teacher, dies at 73
  • 1969 Victoria von Battenberg, Queen of Spain, wife of King Alfonso XIII, dies at 81
  • 1970 Ripper Collins, American baseball first baseman (MLB All-Star 1935, 36, 37; World Series 1931, 34; NL HR leader 1934; St Louis Cardinals), dies at 66
  • 1971 Dan Reeves, American NFL team owner (Cleveland, LA Rams), dies at 58
  • 1972 Otto Brenner, German trade union leader (Industrial Union of Metalworkers), dies at 64
  • 1974 Giovanni D'Anzi, Italian songwriter ("Malinconia d'amore"), dies at 68
  • 1975 John B. McKay, American test pilot (X-15), dies at 52
  • 1975 Richard Conte, American actor (The Godfather, Tony Rome, Hotel), dies from a heart attack at 65
  • 1976 Gerald Smith, American antisemite (Nationalist Christian Crusade), dies at 78

Jean-Paul Sartre

1980 Jean-Paul Sartre, French existentialist philosopher & writer (Nobel 1964), dies in Paris at 74

  • 1980 Marshall Reed, American actor (The Madmen of Mandoras, Mysterious Island), dies from a massive hemorrhage at 62
  • 1980 Paul Langton, American actor (Till the Clouds Roll By, Peyton Place), dies from a heart attack at 66
  • 1980 Raymond Bailey, American actor (Vertigo, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Incredible Shrinking Man), dies at 75
  • 1981 French Duynstee, Dutch states rights leader, dies at 67
  • 1981 John Thach, American WWII naval aviator (developed the Thach Weave) & USN admiral, dies at 75
  • 1982 Arthur Lowe, British actor (Dad's Army, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Ruling Class), dies following a stroke at 66
  • 1982 Louis de Guiringaud, French foreign minister (1976-78), commits suicide at 70
  • 1983 Gyula Illyés, Hungarian author & poet (Az Ismertlen Illyes), dies at 80
  • 1983 Rodolfo Hoyos, Mexican actor (Luis-Viva Valdez), dies at 68
  • 1983 Corrie ten Boom, Dutch author (The Hiding Place) & Holocaust survivor, dies at 91
  • 1984 Tommy Cooper, British comedian & magician, collapses and dies on stage at 61
  • 1984 Alexander Trocchi, Scottish writer, dies at 58
  • 1984 Machito, Latin jazz musician & creator of Cubop and salsa music (Afro-Cubans), dies following a stroke at 76
  • 1984 William Empson, English poet & critic (Milton's God), dies at 77
  • 1985 Ben Stroman, Dutch writer (Jomtof & Blue Beard), dies at 82

Jean Genet

1986 Jean Genet, French novelist (The Thief's Journal, Our Lady of the Flowers) and playwright (The Balcony, The Maids), dies of throat cancer at 75

  • 1986 Sergei Nikolayevich Anokhin, Soviet cosmonaut, dies at 76
  • 1986 Tim McIntire, American actor (Bob Younger-Legend of Jesse James), dies at 42
  • 1988 Han G. Hoekstra, Dutch poet (Zandloper), dies at 81
  • 1988 Kenneth Williams, British actor (Hancock's Half Hour, Carry On films), dies of an overdose at 61
  • 1988 Youri Egorov, Soviet classical pianist, dies at 33
  • 1989 Charles Vanel, French actor & director (Wages of Fear), dies at 96

Hu Yaobang

1989 Hu Yaobang, Chinese communist official and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (1982–87), dies of a heart attack at 73

  • 1989 Nesuhi Ertegün, Turkish–American record producer & executive (Atlantic Records), dies at 71
  • 1990 Henry Kendrick, American actor (Raising Arizona) dies at 56

Greta Garbo

1990 Greta Garbo, Swedish actress (Anna Karenina, Camille), dies at 84

  • 1990 Ulrich Becher, German writer & playwright, dies at 80
  • 1991 Marjorie Warfield, American actress, dies at 88
  • 1991 Martin Ashe, American actor, dies at 81
  • 1993 George Frederick Ives, British-Canadian army veteran & last survivor of the Boer War, dies at 111
  • 1993 Harry Alexander, Australian cricket fast bowler (1 Test, Bodyline series 1933, 1 wicket; Victoria), dies at 87
  • 1993 Leslie Charteris, British mystery writer (Saint), dies at 85
  • 1993 William Bakewell, American actor (All Quiet on the Western Front; Gone with the Wind), dies of leukemia at 84
  • 1993 John Tuzo Wilson, Canadian geologist (contributions to plate tectonics), dies at 84
  • 1994 John Curry, British figure skater (Olympic gold, World C'ship gold, European C'ship gold 1976), dies from AIDS at 44
  • 1994 Walter Clegg, British politician, dies at 73
  • 1995 Cleo Brown, American jazz pianist, dies at 85
  • 1995 Harry Shoulberg, American expressionist painter, dies at 91
  • 1996 Alexander Tanev, Bulgarian composer, dies at 67
  • 1997 Sam Moskowitz, American writer & historian of science fiction, dies at 76
  • 1997 Zdenek Mlynar, Czech politician (secretary of the Czechoslovak communist party, 1968–70), dies at 66

Pol Pot

1998 Pol Pot, Cambodian dictator (1976-79) & revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge (1963-97), dies at 72

  • 1999 Harvey Postlethwaite, British engineer & racing car designer, dies at 55
  • 2000 Edward Gorey, American illustrator, dies at 75
  • 2001 Joey Ramone [Jeffrey Hyman], American punk rock singer and musician (The Ramones - "I Wanna Be Sedated"; Blitzkrieg Bop"; solo -"What a Wonderful World"), dies of lymphoma at 49
  • 2001 John Verrall, American composer, dies at 92
  • 2002 Damon Francis Knight, American sci-fi author (CV, Beyond the Barrier), dies at 79
  • 2002 Byron "Whizzer" White, American football player & U.S. Supreme Court Justice, dies at 84
  • 2002 William Leonard "Will" Reed, British pianist and composer, dies at 91
  • 2003 Erin Fleming, Canadian actress, dies at 61
  • 2003 Reg Bundy, British performer, dies at 56
  • 2003 Leonard Tose, American trucking magnate & owner of NFL Philadelphia Eagles 1969-85, dies at 88
  • 2004 Ray Condo, Canadian musician, dies at 53
  • 2005 Margaretta Scott, British actress (Crescendo, Where's Charley, Counterblast), dies from pneumonia and breast cancer at 93
  • 2005 John Fred, American pop singer ("Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)"), dies at 63
  • 2005 Ken Funston, South African cricket batsman (18 Tests, top score 92), dies at 79
  • 2006 Louise Smith, American auto racer (tied for 2nd woman to race in top level NASCAR), dies of cancer at 89
  • 2007 Brant Parker, American cartoonist, dies at 86
  • 2008 Krister Stendahl, Swedish Lutheran theologian & bishop, dies at 86
  • 2008 Benoît Lamy, Belgian film director, dies at 62
  • 2008 Brian "Blinky" Davison, British rocker (The Nice), dies at 65
  • 2009 Clement Freud, British writer, broadcaster and former liberal MP, dies at 84
  • 2010 Jack Herer, American author & cannabis activist, dies at 70
  • 2011 Vittorio Arrigoni, Italian peace activist, dies at 36
  • 2012 Murray Rose, Australian Olympic gold winning swimmer, dies from leukemia at 73
  • 2012 Joan Tozzer, American figure skater, dies at 90
  • 2012 Charles Pringle, British air marshal, dies at 92
  • 2013 Sal Castro, Mexican-American activist, dies from thyroid cancer at 79
  • 2013 Richard LeParmentier, American actor (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), dies at 66
  • 2013 Jean-François Paillard, French conductor, dies at 85
  • 2015 Jonathan Crombie, Canadian actor (Anne of Green Gables), dies of a brain hemorrhage at 48
  • 2017 Allan Holdsworth, British progressive rock guitarist, dies at 70
  • 2017 Clifton James, American actor (Live and Let Die, Silver Streak), dies at 96
  • 2017 Sylvia Moy, American songwriter ("My Cherie Amour"; "This Old Heart Of Mine"; "It Takes Two"), dies of pneumonia at 79
  • 2018 R. Lee Ermey, American actor (Full Metal Jacket- Gunnery Sergeant Hartman), dies at 74
  • 2019 Don Perry, Canadian NHL coach (LA Kings 1982-84), dies at 89
  • 2019 Les Reed, British songwriter ("It's Not Unusual"; "There's A Kind Of Hush"; "Here It Comes Again"), dies at 83
  • 2019 Owen Kay Garriott, American electrical engineer and NASA astronaut (Skylab 3, STS 9), dies at 88
  • 2020 Willie Davis, American Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end (Super Bowl 1967, 68; Pro Bowl 1963-67; First-team All-Pro 1962, 64–67; Green Bay Packers), dies from kidney failure at 85
  • 2020 Dámaso García, Dominican baseball second baseman (MLB All-Star 1984, 85; Silver Slugger Award 1982; Toronto Blue Jays), dies from a malignant brain tumour at 63
  • 2020 Brian Dennehy, American actor (Cocoon, Death of a Salesman), dies at 81
  • 2020 (Leon) "Lee" Konitz, American jazz saxophonist (Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool), dies of COVID-19 complications at 92
  • 2021 Leroy Keyes, American College Football Hall of Fame running back / safety (Purdue; Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs), dies from heart failure at 74
April 15 Highlights