Famous Deaths on December 12

  • 884 Carloman, co-King of France (879, 882-884), dies
  • 1112 Tancred, monarch of Galilea/Edessa/Antioch, dies
  • 1212 Geoffrey, Archbishop of York and illegitimate son of King Henry II of England, dies at about 60
  • 1586 Stefan Batory, King of Poland (1575-86), dies at 53
  • 1600 John Craig, Scottish church reformer/James VI's court vicar, dies
  • 1677 Jacob Binckes/Benckes, Dutch admiral (Chatham), dies in battle
  • 1685 John Pell, British mathematician and diplomat, dies at 74
  • 1751 Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, English statesman and philosopher, dies at 73
  • 1754 Wu Jingzi, Chinese writer (Rulinwaishi), dies at about 53
  • 1766 Johann Christoph Gottsched, German writer (b. 1700)
  • 1772 Johann Gottfried Seyfert, German composer and violinist, dies at 41
  • 1777 Albrecht von Haller, Swiss experimental physiologist, biologist and author (Acadamy of Science), dies at 69
  • 1777 Reverend Benjamin Russen, executed at Tyburn England for rape
  • 1788 Joseph Gibbs, English composer and organist, dies at 88
  • 1789 John Ponsonby, Irish politician, dies at 76
  • 1790 Mikhail Shcherbatov, Russian philosopher and writer, dies at 57
  • 1812 John Malchair, German-born English artist, violinist and composer, dies at 82
  • 1817 Emperor Tekle Giyorgis I of Ethiopia, (b. about 1751)
  • 1821 Phoebe Hessel, English woman who disguised herself as a man to serve in the British Army, probably to be with her lover, Samuel Golding, dies at 108
  • 1836 Giuseppe Farinelli, Italian composer, dies at 67
  • 1842 Robert Haldane, Scottish theologist and philanthropist (built tabenacles), dies at 78
  • 1843 William I, King of Netherlands (1814-40), Prince of Orange, and Grand Duke of Luxembourg (1815-40), dies at 71
  • 1847 James Kent, American legal scholar (Columbia), dies at 84
  • 1849 Marc Isambard Brunel, French-born English engineer (Thames Tunnel, father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel), dies at 80
  • 1852 Tsjalling Hiddes Halbertsma, Dutch Frisian story teller (Rhymes & Tales), dies at 60
  • 1858 Jacques Viger, French Canadian politician, 1st mayor of Montreal (1833-36), dies at 71
  • 1872 Edwin Forrest, American actor and philanthropist, dies at 66
  • 1877 José de Alencar, Brazilian writer (O Guarani), dies at 48
  • 1880 Michel Chasles, French mathematician (geometry), dies at 83
  • 1882 Robert Morris, 1st successful African American lawyer and abolitionist, dies at 59

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

English poet (Ring & Book), dies at 77

  • 1889 Viktor Bunyakovsky, Russian mathematician (b. 1804)

John Thompson (1845-1894)

4th Prime Minister of Canada (Conservative: 1892-94), dies of a sudden heart attack at 49

  • 1912 Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria (regent for nephews King Ludwig II and King Otto), dies at 91

Menelik II (1844-1913)

Emperor of Ethiopia (1889-1913) and Negus/King of Shewa (1866–89), dies at 69

  • 1914 Watkins Lewis Africa American lynched in Shrevport, Louisiana
  • 1920 Olive Schreiner, South African writer (Healing Imagination), dies at 75
  • 1920 Paul Lacôme, French composer, dies at 82
  • 1921 Henrietta Swan Leavitt, American astronomer (period-luminosity relation), dies at 53
  • 1922 John Wanamaker, American merchant (Wanamakers Department Store), pioneer in marketing and Postmaster General, dies at 84
  • 1923 Raymond Radiguet, French journalist and writer (Ball du Comte), dies of typhoid at 20
  • 1926 Jean Richepin, French poet and writer (Contes sans morale), dies at 77
  • 1927 Heinrich Reitsch, composer, dies at 67
  • 1929 Charles Goodnight, American cattle baron (b. 1836)
  • 1932 Egon Richter, writer, dies
  • 1933 Theodore Moses Tobani, German composer, dies at 78
  • 1934 Thorleif Haug, Norwegian Nordic skier (b. 1894)
  • 1937 Alfred Abel, actor (Dr Mabuse, Metropolis), dies at 57
  • 1938 James McNeill, Irish politician, 2nd Governor-General of the Irish Free State, dies at 69

Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939)

American actor (The Mark of Zorro, 3 Musketeers, Robin Hood), dies from a heart attack at 56

  • 1941 Cesar Basa, Philippine Air Force and World War II hero (b. 1915)
  • 1946 Ben Carter, American actor (Crash Dive; Dark Alibi; Maryland), casting agent, and civil rights activist, dies from diphtheria at 36
  • 1947 Huda Sha'arawi, Egyptian feminist and nationalist, founder of Egyptian Feminist Union, dies at 68

Peter Fraser (1884-1950)

British-born New Zealand statesman and 24th Prime Minister of New Zealand (1940-49), dies of a heart attack following hospitalization with influenza at 66

Mildred Bailey (1907-1951)

American jazz singer known as "The Queen of Swing" ("Rockin' Chair"; "Please Be Kind"; "Darn That Dream"), dies of heart failure at 44

  • 1952 Bedřich Hrozný, Czech orientalist and linguist (development of Hittitology), dies at 73
  • 1956 Lorenzo Perosi, composer, dies at 83
  • 1957 Robert Frank Kurka, American composer ("The Good Soldier Schweik"), dies of leukemia at 35
  • 1958 Milutin Milanković, Serbian astronomer and geophysicist (linked long-term changes in climate to astronomical factors affecting the amount of solar energy received at Earth’s surface), dies at 79
  • 1959 Russell Simpson, American actor (San Francisco, Abraham Lincoln), dies at 82
  • 1960 Christopher Hornsrud, Prime Minister of Norway (3 weeks), dies at 101
  • 1961 Daiun Sogaku Harada, Zen founder of Sanbo Kyodan lineage, dies at 91
  • 1963 Yasujiro Ozu, Japanese film director (b. 1903)
  • 1964 H I "Sailor" Young, cricketer (left-arm bowler Eng v Aust 1899), dies
  • 1965 Johnny Lee, American actor (Song of the South, The Amos 'n' Andy Show), dies from a heart attack at 67
  • 1968 Tallulah Bankhead, American stage and film actress (Lifeboat, They Knew What They Wanted; Batman - "Black Widow"), dies of pneumonia at 65
  • 1968 Walter Robins, cricketer (19 Tests for England 64 wkts), dies
  • 1970 Doris Blackburn, Australian politician (Member of the Australian Parliament for Bourke), dies at 81
  • 1970 Louis Zimmer, Flemish astronomer and clock maker (Jubelklok, Wonder Clock), dies at 82
  • 1971 David Sarnoff, American radio and television pioneer (RCA, NBC), dies at 80
  • 1971 Frank Wolff, actor (Erotic Illusion, Last Gun), commits suicide at 43
  • 1971 Jack Barnhill, Northern Ireland senator, assassinated
  • 1971 John A Emmens, art historian/poet (Dog of Pavlov), dies at 47
  • 1976 John "Jack" Cassidy, American stage and screen actor and Grammy Award-winning singer (Shangri-La; The Eiger Sanction: She Loves Me; Columbo), dies in an apartment fire at 49
  • 1976 Vinko Zganec, Croatian ethnomusicologist (b. 1890)
  • 1977 Clementine Churchill, British life peer and wife of Winston Churchill, dies at 92
  • 1977 Frank Boucher, Canadian Hockey HOF center (Ottawa Sens, Vancouver Maroons, NY Rangers), coach (Stanley Cup 1939–40 NY Rangers) and executive (GM NY Rangers), dies at 76
  • 1978 Clifton Chenier, American blues singer (Bayou Blues), dies at 53
  • 1978 Fay Compton [Virginia Compton-Mackenzie], British stage and screen actress (Hamlet; The WInter's Tale; Othello; The Haunting), dies at 84
  • 1980 Jean Lesage, Canadian politician (19th Premier of Quebec), dies at 68
  • 1985 Anne Baxter, American actress (The Razor's Edge; All About Eve), and singer, dies of a stroke at 62
  • 1985 Ian Stewart, Scottish keyboardist, road manager, and co-founder of the Rolling Stones, dies of a heart attack at 47
  • 1987 Enrique Jorrín, Cuban musician and composer (b. 1926)
  • 1987 Louis de Meester, Belgian pianist and classical and electronic music composer (The Great Temptation of St Anthony), dies at 83
  • 1987 Truman "Pinky" Tomlin, American singer and actor (Sing While You're Able, With Love and Kisses), dies from a heart attack at 80
  • 1988 Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, American Mafia figure (b. 1917)
  • 1988 John Canning, NY Post managing editor, dies at 56
  • 1991 (Albert Ronald) "Ronnie" Ross, Scottish jazz and session baritone saxophonist, dies of cancer at 58
  • 1991 Eleanor Boardman, actor (Crowd), dies in at 93
  • 1991 Ken Keltner, American MLB baseball third baseman, 1937-50 (Cleveland Indians; Boston Red Sox), dies of a heart attack at 75
  • 1991 Lex Karsemeijer, Dutch tenor and choral director (Sweet 16, Pro Musica), dies
  • 1992 Bernard CJ Lievegoed, Dutch anthroposopher (Free College), dies at 87
  • 1992 Jasu Patel, Indian cricket spin bowler (7 Tests, 29 wickets, BB 9-69 v Aust 1959; Gujarat), dies at 68
  • 1992 Suzanne Lilar, Belgian essayist, novelist and playwright (b. 1901)
  • 1993 Gerard Nabrink, Dutch anarchist and co-founder (NVSH), dies at 90
  • 1993 Jeremiah Sullivan, actor (Soldier, Double-Stop), dies of AIDS at 58
  • 1993 Jozsef Antall, historian/premier of Hungary (1990-93), dies at 61
  • 1993 Mary Jarred, British mezzo-soprano and contralto singer (The Rake's Progress), dies at 94
  • 1994 Donna J. Stone, American poet, dies of heart failure at 61
  • 1994 Herman Felderhof, Dutch radio-announcer (NRU/NOS Radio), dies at 83
  • 1994 John Edward Colwell Hearne, Jamaican writer and educator, dies at 68
  • 1994 Stuart Allen Roosa, American naval officer and astronaut (Apollo 14), dies of pancreatitis at 46
  • 1995 Andrew Olle, broadcaster, dies at 48
  • 1995 David Lincoln Lightbown, politician, dies at 63
  • 1995 David Marshall, Singaporean politician (Chief Minister of Singapore 1955-56, pushed self-governance for Singapore), dies at 97
  • 1995 James Altgens, JFK assassination photographer, dies at 76
  • 1995 Lindsay Oliver John Boynton, furniture historian, dies at 61
  • 1995 Mary Bruce, American tap dance teacher, dies at 95
  • 1995 Mohyedin Alempour, tajik artist/journalist, dies at 50
  • 1996 Gerald Ian Lacey, architect/town planner, dies at 70
  • 1996 Jack Perry, English businessman and the 1st Western business person to visit Communist China, dies at 81
  • 1996 Jean-Pierre Guerlain, French cosmetics pioneer, dies at 91
  • 1996 Larry Gates, American actor (Guiding Light, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Body Snatchers), dies of leukemia at 81
  • 1996 Vance Packard, American journalist and writer (The Hidden Persuaders), dies at 82
  • 1997 (Irving) "Mouse" Randolph, American swing jazz trumpeter (Cab Calloway Orchestra), dies at 88
  • 1997 Evgenii Landis, Soviet Russian mathematician, dies at 77
  • 1998 Lawton Chiles, U.S. Senator from Florida (1971-89) and Governor of Florida (1991-98), dies at 68
  • 1998 Marco Denevi, Argentine writer (b. 1922)
  • 1998 Mo Udall, American politician (Rep-D-AZ, 1961-91), dies at 76
  • 1999 Joe Benner, American pistol shooter and coach (Olympic gold 1952; World C'ship gold 1949, 52, 54), dies at 82
  • 1999 Joseph Heller, American author (Catch-22), dies at 76
  • 1999 Leo Smit, American classical pianist, composer (The Alchemy of Love), teacher and photographer, dies of congestive heart failure at 78
  • 1999 Paul Cadmus, American artist (The Fleet's In!), dies at 94
  • 2000 George Montgomery, American actor (b. 1916)
  • 2001 Ardito Desio, Italian explorer and topographer, dies at 104
  • 2001 Jean Richard, French actor (b. 1921)
  • 2002 Brad Dexter [Boris Milanovich], American actor (Macao, The Magnificent Seven), dies of emphysema at 85
  • 2002 Dee Brown, American author (b. 1908)
  • 2002 Jay Wesley Neill, American convicted mass murderer, dies at 37
  • 2003 Heydar Aliyev [Heydər Əliyev], Soviet-Azerbaijani politician (President of Azerbaijan, 1983-2003), dies at 80
  • 2003 Joseph Anthony Ferrario, American clergyman (Roman Catholic Bishop of Honolulu, 1982-93), dies of a heart attack at 77
  • 2003 Keiko, orca (killer whale), star of Free Willy (b. 1976)
  • 2004 Frank Isola, American jazz drummer (Stan Getz; Gerry Mulligan; Mose Allison), dies at 79
  • 2004 George Hunter, South African boxer (Olympic gold light heavyweight 1948), dies at 77
  • 2005 Annette Vadim, Danish actress (b. 1936)
  • 2005 Gebran Tueni, Lebanese politician (b. 1957)
  • 2005 Robert F. Newmyer, American film producer (b. 1946)
  • 2006 Al Shugart, pioneering American computer engineer and co-founder of Seagate Technology (b. 1930)
  • 2006 Annette Strøyberg, Danish actress (Les Liaisons dangereuses (1959)), dies of cancer at 69
  • 2006 Kenny Davern, American jazz clarinetist (b. 1935)
  • 2006 Lucien Goethals, Belgian composer, dies at 75

Paul Arizin (1928-2006)

American College/Basketball HOF small forward (NBA C'ship 1956; 10 x NBA All Star; NBA scoring champion 1952, 57; Philadelphia Warriors), dies in his sleep at 78

Peter Boyle (1935-2006)

American actor (Joe, Candidate, Everybody Loves Raymond), dies of multiple myeloma at 71

  • 2006 Raymond P. Shafer, 38th Governor of Pennsylvania (b. 1917)
  • 2007 Ike Turner, American musician ("Rocket 88"; Ike and Tina Turner - "A Fool in Love"; "Proud Mary"), dies of cocaine overdose at 76
  • 2008 (Charles) Van Johnson, American actor (in A Guy Named Joe; Brigadoon) always wore red socks, dies at 92
  • 2008 Avery Dulles, American clergyman, Roman Catholic cardinal, theologian, and educator, dies at 90
  • 2008 Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, American virologist, (1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work on transmissibility of kuru), dies at 85 [1]
  • 2008 Tassos Papadopoulos, Cypriot lawyer and politician (President, 2003-08), dies at cancer at 74
  • 2010 Peter Pagel, German footballer (b. 1956)
  • 2010 Tom Walkinshaw, former racing driver and Formula 1 team owner (b. 1946)
  • 2011 John Gardner, English classical composer, dies at 94
  • 2013 Audrey Totter, American actress (Carpetbaggers, Set-Up, The Unsuspected), dies from a stroke at 95
  • 2013 Tom Laughlin, American actor and director (Billy Jack), dies of complications from pneumonia at 82
  • 2013 Zbigniew Karkowski, Polish composer and experimental musician (Sensorband), dies of pancreatic cancer at 55
  • 2014 Norman Bridwell, American author and cartoonist (Clifford the Big Red Dog), dies at 86
  • 2016 Jim Lowe, American DJ (WNEW) "King of Trivia", dies at 93
  • 2016 Walter Swinburn, English jockey (Epsom Derby 1981, 86, 95; Irish Derby 1983, 86; Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 1983), dies after falling from a window at 55
  • 2017 Pat DiNizio, American rock singer, songwriter and guitarist (The Smithereens - "Only A Memory"; "Blue Period"), dies from ill health at 62
  • 2018 Meng Lang, Chinese poet and activist, dies at 57
  • 2019 Brian Muller, New Zealand rugby union prop (14 caps; Taranaki), dies at 77
  • 2019 Danny Aiello, American stage and screen actor (Moonstruck; Do The Right Thing; Broadway Danny Rose), and singer dies at 86
  • 2019 Jack Scott, Canadian rock and roll singer-songwriter ("My True Love"), dies of congestive heart failure at 83
  • 2019 Jorge Hernández, Cuban boxer Olympic gold light flyweight 1976; World C'ship gold 1974, 78), dies at 65
  • 2019 Peter Snell, New Zealand athlete (Olympic gold 800m 1960, 64; 1,500m 1964), dies of heart failure at 81
  • 2019 Vaughan Johnson, American NFL linebacker (Pro Bowl 1989-92; New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles), dies of kidney disease at 57
  • 2020 Ann Reinking, American dancer and actress (All the Jazz, Micki & Maude), dies at 71 [1]
  • 2020 Charley Pride, American country singer (Sweet Country), dies of COVID-19 complications at 86 [1]
  • 2020 Claude Castonguay, Quebec politician (task force on Quebec health care), dies at 91
  • 2020 Jack Steinberger, American physicist (1988 Nobel Prize for Physics - Neutrinos), dies at 99 [1]
  • 2020 John le Carré [pen name for David Cornwell], English novelist (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold), dies at 89
  • 2020 Motjeka Madisha, South African soccer defender (13 caps; Mamelodi Sundowns), dies in car accident at 25
  • 2021 Roland Hemond, American baseball executive (GM Chicago White Sox 1970–85; Baltimore Orioles 1988–95), dies at 92
  • 2021 Vicente Fernández, Mexican Grammy Award-winning singer, known as "El Rey de la Música Ranchera" (The King of Ranchera Music), actor, and film producer, dies at 81
  • 2021 Yury Sharov, Russian fencer (Olympic gold Soviet Union, team foil 1964, silver 1968), dies at 82
  • 2022 John Gregory, American football coach (CFL Grey Cup 1989 Saskatchewan Roughriders; South Dakota State Uni), dies at 84
  • 2022 Mike Leach, American college football coach (Texas Tech 2000-09, Washington State University 2012-19, Mississippi State 2020-22), dies from complications due to a heart condition at 61
  • 2022 Stuart Margolin, American Emmy Award-winning actor (The Rockford Files - "Angel"; Love American Style), and director, dies at 82 [1]
December 12 Highlights