On This Day

Famous People Who Died in 1959

  • Jan 6 Jose Enrique Pedreira, composer, dies at 54
  • Jan 10 Colin Gregory, English tennis player (Australian C'ship 1929, chairman All-England Club, Wimbledon), dies at 55
  • Jan 11 Mohammed Zakaria Ghonein, discoverer of 6,000 yr old pyramid, dies
  • Jan 12 Edvard Eriksen, Danish-Icelandic sculptor, dies at 82
  • Jan 14 G. D. H. Cole, English political theorist and socialist, dies at 69
  • Jan 17 Abdul Aziz, cricket, dies at 17 struck by ball in fc match for Karachi
  • Jan 21 Carl Switzer, American actor (Our Gang, Beginner's Luck, General Spanky), shot by an acquaintance at 31
  • Jan 21 Lamar Stringfield, American composer, dies at 61

Cecil B. DeMille

Jan 21 Cecil B. DeMille, American filmmaker (The Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah), dies of heart failure at 77

  • Jan 22 A J Else Mauhs, German/Dutch actress (Hamlet, Nora), dies at 73
  • Jan 22 Mike Hawthorn, English auto racer (F1 world champion 1958), dies in road accident at 29
  • Jan 22 Elizabeth Moore, American tennis player (US Nat C'ship 1896, 1901, 03, 05), dies from congestive heart failure at 82
  • Jan 28 Joseph Sprinzak, Speaker of Israel Knesset (1949-59), dies at 73
  • Jan 28 Viktor Josef Keldorfer, Austrian composer, dies at 85
  • Feb 1 Madame Sul-Te-Wan [Nellie Crawford], American actress (The Birth of a Nation, Uncle Tom's Cabin), dies of a stroke at 85
  • Feb 1 William Hoppe, American carom billiards player (51 world titles 1906-52), dies at 71
  • Feb 2 Frank DeCaires, cricketer (WI bat v Eng 1930, 3 Tests 232 runs), dies
  • Feb 3 The Big Bopper [Jiles Perry Richardson], American musician, dies in plane crash at 28

Buddy Holly

Feb 3 Buddy Holly, American rock and roll musician (That'll be the Day), dies in a plane crash at 22

  • Feb 3 Ritchie Valens, American rock vocalist (Donna, La Bamba), dies in plane crash at 17
  • Feb 4 Una O'Connor, Irish-American actress (Banjo, David Copperfield, Invisible Man), dies at 78
  • Feb 5 Gwili Andre, actress (No Other Woman, Roar of the Dragon), dies
  • Feb 5 Curt Sachs, German musicologist, dies at 77
  • Feb 7 Daniel François Malan, Prime Minister of South Africa (1948-54) who began the implementation of apartheid, dies at 84
  • Feb 7 Napoleon Lajorie, baseball player, dies at 83
  • Feb 7 Guitar Slim [Eddie Jones], American blues guitarist (The Things That I Used to Do) dies at 32
  • Feb 8 William J "Wild Bill" Donovan, Office Strategic Services, dies at 76
  • Feb 11 Marshall Teague, American auto racer (Daytona Road Course Strictly Stock Car winner 1951, 52; AAA National Stock Car champion 1952, 54), dies in speed record attempt at 37
  • Feb 12 George Antheil, American pianist, avant garde composer (Airplane Sonata; Ballet Mécanique), and inventor, dies at 58
  • Feb 13 William Axt, American film scores composer (The Prisoner of Zenda), dies at 70
  • Feb 14 Warren "Baby" Dodds, American jazz drummer, dies at 60
  • Feb 15 Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist (Nobel 1928), dies at 69
  • Feb 17 Kathryn Adams, American silent film actress, dies at 65
  • Feb 17 Tim Mara, American founder and administrator (NFL NY Giants), dies at 59
  • Feb 18 Alfred Alessandrescu, Romanian composer, dies at 65
  • Feb 18 Eric Zeisl, Austrian-American composer (Requiem Ebraico), dies of a heart attack at 53
  • Feb 18 Jaroslav Kvapil, Czech composer, dies at 66
  • Feb 20 Ray McDonald, dancer, dies of barbiturate overdose at 38
  • Feb 20 Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina), dies at 93
  • Feb 22 Helen Parrish, American actress (Hour Glass, Three Smart Girls Grow Up), dies of cancer at 35
  • Feb 26 Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife, granddaughter of King Edward VII and great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, dies at 67

Maxwell Anderson

Feb 28 Maxwell Anderson, American dramatist (Key Largo, Bath Seed), dies of a stroke at 70

  • Mar 1 Albie Booth, American College Football Hall of Fame halfback (Yale University), dies of a heart attack at 51
  • Mar 2 Eric Blore, British actor (Great Gatsby, Bowery to Baghdad, Abie's Irish Rose, Love Happy), dies at 70

Lou Costello

Mar 3 Lou Costello, American comedian and actor (The Abbott and Costello Show), dies from a heart attack at 52

  • Mar 4 Maxey Long, American athlete (b. 1878)
  • Mar 6 Fred Stone, renowned American circus performer and broadway actor (Alice Adams), dies at 85
  • Mar 7 Arthur Cecil Pigou, English economist (Economics of Welfare), dies at 81
  • Mar 7 Hinsdale Smith, developer of roll-down auto windows, dies at 88
  • Mar 7 Ichirō Hatoyama, Japanese politician, Prime Minister (1954-56), dies at 76
  • Mar 8 Abdel Wahab Shawwaf, Iraqi colonel/putschist, murdered
  • Mar 11 Haydn Wood, English composer, dies at 76
  • Mar 11 Lester Dent, American writer (Doc Savage), dies at 54
  • Mar 15 Lester Young, American jazz musician, dies at 49
  • Mar 15 Duncan Hines, American restaurant guide writer (Out of Kentucky Kitchens), dies at 78
  • Mar 16 John B. Salling, second to last documented Civil War veteran, dies at 111
  • Mar 17 Raffaele d'Alessandro, Swiss pianist, organist, and composer, dies of a ruptured aorta on his 48th birthday
  • Mar 25 Billy Mayerl, British pianist, music hall songwriter, and musical theatre composer, dies at 55
  • Mar 26 Raymond Chandler, British-American mystery writer novelist and screenwriter (Farewell My Lovely; The Long Goodbye; The Big Sleep), dies at 71
  • Mar 27 Grant Withers, American actor (Rio Grande, Oklahoma, Annie), commits suicide with sleeping pills at 54
  • Mar 28 James Neblett, cricketer (one Test WI v England 1935), dies
  • Mar 29 Barthelemy Boganda, Central African Republic's 1st president, dies
  • Mar 29 Sara Wennerberg-Reuter, composer, dies at 84
  • Mar 30 Daniil Andreev, Russian writer, poet and Christian mystic, dies at 52
  • Mar 30 Riccardo Zanella, president of Free State of Fiume (b. 1875)
  • Mar 31 Peter Suhrkamp, German publisher (Suhrkamp Verlag), dies at 68
  • Apr 2 Benjamin Christensen, Danish actor (Barnet, Mockery) and film director (Häxan), dies at 79
  • Apr 8 Gustave Charlier, Belgian literature historian, dies

Frank Lloyd Wright

Apr 9 Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (Guggenheim) recognized as "the greatest American architect of all time", dies at 89

  • Apr 12 Ernest Willem Mulder, Dutch conductor, composer, and teacher, dies at 60
  • Apr 12 James Gleason, American writer and actor (Bishop's Wife, Flying Fool), dies at 76
  • Apr 13 Eduard van Beinum, Dutch musician & conductor, dies at 58
  • Apr 13 Rigardus "Rijn" Rijnhout, Giant of Rotterdam (2.375m), dies at 38
  • Apr 16 Charles Halton, British stage actor (Dr Cyclops, Tugboat Annie Sails Again), dies at 83
  • Apr 18 Irving Cummings, American silent screen actor & director (In Old Ariz), dies at 70
  • Apr 24 Jef van Hoof, Flemish composer, dies at 72
  • Apr 27 Gordon Armstrong, American inventor of the baby incubator, dies at 69
  • Apr 30 Armand Marsick, Belgian composer, dies at 81
  • May 1 Oscar Torp, Norwegian premier, dies

Carlos Saavedra Lamas

May 5 Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Argentine politician (Nobel Peace Prize 1936), dies at 80

  • May 8 Renato Caccioppoli, Italian mathematician and pianist, takes his own life at 55
  • May 14 Sidney Bechet, American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, band leader, and composer ("Petite Fleur"), dies of lung cancer on his 62nd birthday
  • May 16 Joe Cook, Stage comedian, dies at 69
  • May 16 Elisha Scott, Northern Irish footballer (b. 1894)
  • May 20 Alfred Schütz, Austrian-American architect and philosopher, dies at 60
  • May 26 Ed Walsh, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, manager (Chicago WS; MLB ERA record 1.82), dies at 78
  • May 26 Joe Kelly, TV host (Quiz Kids), dies at 57
  • May 28 Herbie Collins, Australian cricket all-rounder and captain (19 Tests, 1,352 runs @ 45.06, 4 x 100s), dies at 71
  • May 30 Thomas Carl Whitmer, American composer, dies at 85
  • Jun 1 Sax Rohmer [Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward], English author (Dr Fu Manchu novels), dies at 76
  • Jun 2 Max Rousié, French rugby footballer, dies in a car crash at 46
  • Jun 3 Ole Windingstad, Norwegian conductor (Brooklyn's Scandinavian Symphony Orchestra, 1913-39), pianist and composer, dies after a heart attack at 73
  • Jun 4 Charles Vidor, Hungarian director (Gilda, Farewell to Arms), dies at 58
  • Jun 10 Zoltán Meskó, Hungarian Nazi (b. 1883)

George Reeves

Jun 16 George Reeves, actor (Superman, Gone With The Wind), commits suicide by shooting himself in the head at 45

  • Jun 17 Abdul Mouse, Indonesian nationalist foreman/author, dies at about 68
  • Jun 18 Ethel Barrymore [Blythe], American actress (None but the Lonely Heart), dies at 79
  • Jun 20 Hitoshi Ashida, Japanese politician, dies at 71
  • Jun 22 Hermann Brill, German politician (b. 1895)
  • Jun 23 Jean Gallon, French composer, dies at 80
  • Jun 23 Boris Vian, French writer and musician (b. 1920)
  • Jun 24 Lou Bandy [Lodewijk Ferdinand Dieben], Dutch revue-artist (Life Ain't Bad), commits suicide at 69
  • Jun 25 Charles Starkweather, American spree killer, executed by electric chair at 20
  • Jun 26 Audley Miller, cricketer (Test for England 1896), dies
  • Jun 29 A. Cecil Snyder, American lawyer and Chief Justice of Puerto Rico, dies at 51
  • Jun 30 Lazare Saminsky, Russian-American composer, dies at 76
  • Jun 30 José Vasconcelos, Mexican writer and politician (b. 1882)
  • Jul 6 George Grosz, German cartoonist and painter (Ecce Homo), dies at 65
  • Jul 8 Dale Buisand & Chester Ovnand killed in Viet Cong attack, becoming the second and third Americans killed in the Vietnam War
  • Jul 11 Charlie Parker, English cricketer (3,776 1st-class wickets, 2nd best ever; legend Gloucs SLA, but 2-32 in only Test), dies at 76
  • Jul 14 Grock [Adrien Wettach], Swiss clown and circus director, dies at 79
  • Jul 15 Ernest Bloch, Swiss-born American composer (MacBeth, Schelomo, Israel), dies on cancer at 78
  • Jul 15 Peter A Egge, Norwegian writer (The Dream), dies
  • Jul 15 Vance Palmer, Australian author, dies at 73

Billie Holiday

Jul 17 Billie Holiday [Eleanora Fagan], American jazz singer ("I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"; "Strange Fruit"), and songwriter ("God Bless The Child"; "Lady Sings the Blues"), dies of cirrhosis of the liver at 44

  • Jul 17 Henri Pourrat, French writer (Le chasseur de la nuit), dies at 72
  • Jul 17 Eugene Meyer, American businessman and newspaper publisher (b. 1875)
  • Jul 20 Harry Fox [Arthur Carringford], American vaudeville dancer, comedian and actor (Talent Scout), dies at 77
  • Jul 20 William D. Leahy, American admiral and chief of staff during WWII, dies at 84
  • Jul 25 Isaac Halevi Herzog, chief rabbi of Israel (1936-59), dies at 71
  • Jul 26 Manuel Altolaguirre, Spanish poet and publisher (Amor), dies at 54
  • Aug 2 Prospero Bisquertt, Chilean composer, dies at 78
  • Aug 5 Edgar Albert Guest, American poet and newspaperman, dies at 77
  • Aug 6 Preston Sturges [Edmund Biden], American director and screenwriter (Sullivan's Travels), dies at 60
  • Aug 7 Armas Launis, Finnish composer, dies at 75
  • Aug 9 Emil František Burian, Czech author and composer, dies at 55
  • Aug 12 Mike O'Neill, Irish-American baseball player, dies at 81 (b. 1877)
  • Aug 13 Henri Garat [Garascu], French actor (Congress Dances), and singer ("Les dieux s'amusent"), dies at 57
  • Aug 15 "Blind" Willie McTell [McTier], American blues and ragtime singer and guitarist, dies at 61
  • Aug 16 Pedro Humberto Allende Saron, Chilean composer (Tonados), dies at 74
  • Aug 16 William Halsey Jr., US vice-admiral (WW II Pacific), dies at 76
  • Aug 16 Wanda Landowska, Polish-French harpsichordist (Musique Ancienne), dies at 80
  • Aug 19 Jacob Epstein, American-English sculptor (Adam, Jacob & the Angel), dies at 78
  • Aug 20 Alfred Kubin, Austrian writer and illustrator, dies at 82
  • Aug 28 Bohuslav Martinů, Czech composer (Hry o Marti), dies at 68
  • Aug 31 Charles Delaney, American actor (Air Police, Lonesome Trail), dies at 67
  • Sep 6 Edmund Gwenn, English actor (Miracle on 34th Street), dies at 81
  • Sep 6 Kay Kendall [Justine McCarthy], British actress (Genevieve, The Constant Husband, Les Girls), dies of leukaemia at 32
  • Sep 7 Maurice Duplessis, 16th Premier of Quebec, dies at 69
  • Sep 9 Max d'Ollone, French composer and writer (Le Ménestrel), dies at 84
  • Sep 9 O'Neil Gordon "Collie" Smith, West Indian cricket all-rounder (26 Tests, HS 168), dies in a car crash at 26
  • Sep 11 Paul Douglas, American actor (Adventure Theater; Clash by Night), dies from a heart attack at 52
  • Sep 13 Gilbert Adrian, costume designer, dies of heart attack at 56
  • Sep 14 Wayne Morris, American actor and decorated WWII pilot (Paths of Glory, The Bushwackers), dies from a heart attack at 45
  • Sep 17 Bert Leysen, Belgian TV director (Belgian National TV), dies at 39
  • Sep 20 Olin Howland, American actor (Gone With The Wind, Them!, Circus Boy), dies at 73
  • Sep 22 Benjamin Peret, French writer and poet (Le grand jeu), dies at 60
  • Sep 22 Jane Winton, American actress (Hell's Angel, Patsy, Don Juan), dies at 53
  • Sep 22 Josef Matthias Hauer, Austrian composer, dies at 76
  • Sep 22 Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside, British fieldmarshal, dies at 79
  • Sep 25 Ennio Porrino, Italian composer, dies at 49
  • Sep 25 Helen Broderick, American comedienne and actress (Swing Time, Top Hat), dies at 68
  • Sep 26 S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, 4th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (1956-59), assassinated by a Buddhist monk at 60
  • Sep 28 Gerard Hoffnung, German-British artist, humorist and tuba player (Hoffnung Music Festival), dies at 34
  • Sep 28 Rudolf Caracciola, German race car driver (b. 1901)
  • Sep 28 Vincent Richards, American tennis player (US Pro C'ships 1927-28, 30, 33), dies of a heart attack at 56
  • Sep 29 Bruce Bairnsfather, British cartoonist (Old Bill), dies at 72
  • Sep 29 Harold Huber [Huberman], American radio, stage, a,d screen actor (I Cover Times Square), dies at 49
  • Sep 30 John H Kliegl, developer of Klieg light, dies at 89
  • Sep 30 Taylor Holmes, American actor (Sleeping Beauty, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), dies at 81
  • Sep 30 Ross Granville Harrison, American Biologist and Zoologist (organ transplant pioneer), dies at 89
  • Oct 3 William Bishop, American actor (Black Eagle, Adventures in Silverado, It's a Great Life), dies of cancer at 42
  • Oct 6 Bernard Berenson, American art critic (Italian Painters of the Renaissance), dies at 94
  • Oct 7 Mario Lanza [Alfredo Arnold Cocozza], Italian-American actor and singer (Great Caruso, Toast of New Orleans), dies of a heart attack at 38
  • Oct 10 Prince Friedrich Aloys Johannes Maria, Prince of Liechtenstein, Romania, dies at 88
  • Oct 11 Bert Bell, NFL hall of famer, dies at 64
  • Oct 12 Arnoldt Bronnen, writer, dies at 63
  • Oct 13 Rudolf Mengelberg, Dutch composer and musicologist (Concert Amsterdam), dies at 67
  • Oct 14 Errol Flynn, Australian actor (Captain Blood, Robin Hood), dies of a heart attack at 50
  • Oct 15 Lipót Fejér, Hungarian mathematician (b. 1880)
  • Oct 18 Boughera El Ouafi, Algerian athlete and marathoner (Olympic gold 1928), shot to death in a cafe at 61
  • Oct 19 Stanley Bate, English composer, dies at 45
  • Oct 20 Werner Krauss, German actor (Joyless Street), dies at 75 (b. 1884)
  • Oct 23 Gerda Lundequist 'The Swedish Sarah Bernhardt', Swedish stage actress, dies at 88
  • Oct 25 Bob Murphy, TV host (RFD America), dies at 42
  • Oct 28 Abe Waddington, cricketer (Yorks left-arm quick, Test avg 119), dies
  • Oct 28 Egon Kornauth, Austrian classical pianist, composer, and teacher, dies at 68
  • Oct 28 Camilo Cienfuegos, Cuban revolutionary (b. 1932)
  • Oct 30 Blonde Dolly [Sybille A J Niemans], Dutch prostitute, murdered at 33
  • Oct 31 Jean Cabannes, French physicist (b. 1885)
  • Nov 1 Gershon Agron, mayor of Jerusalem, dies at 66
  • Nov 3 Friedrich Niggli, Swiss composer (Buechfinkeliedli; Nach dem Regen), dies at 83
  • Nov 8 Frank Sherman Land, American founder of the Order of DeMolay, dies at 69
  • Nov 9 Frederick Preston Search, American cellist, composer and conductor (Bridge Builders), dies at 70
  • Nov 10 Lupino Lane [Henry Lupino], British stage, silent and sound screen actor (Love Parade; Me And My Gal: The Deputy Drummer), dies at 67
  • Nov 14 Thomas W Ross, American actor (Without Limit, Kings Row, 17, Mortal Storm), dies at 84
  • Nov 15 Alex Kennedy, cricketer (31 wkts in 5 Tests for England 1922-23), dies
  • Nov 17 Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer, cellist, guitarist, and conductor (Bachianas Brasileiras), dies at 72
  • Nov 18 Arthur Q Bryan, American voice actor, comedian and radio personality (Beulah, The Devil Bat), dies from a heart attack at 60
  • Nov 18 Aleksandr Yakovlevich Khinchin, Russian mathematician, dies at 65
  • Nov 19 Edward C. Tolman, American psychologist (behaviorism), dies at 73
  • Nov 19 Gerard J. Arbous, actor and publicist (Bohemian Amsterdam), dies at 83
  • Nov 19 Joseph Charbonneau, French Canadian Roman Catholic archbishop of Montreal, dies at 67
  • Nov 20 Alfonso López Pumarejo, 16th President of Colombia (Liberal: 1934-38 and 1942-46) and statesman (President of UN security council 1948), dies at 73
  • Nov 21 Max Baer, American heavyweight boxing champion (1934-35), dies at 50