Famous Deaths on December 16

  • 705 Wu Zetian, Chinese Empress (690-705) - only woman to rule China (b. 625)
  • 714 Pepin/Pippin II, of Herstal/Héristal, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia and Duke and Prince of the Franks, dies
  • 867 Eberhard of Friuli, Frankish Duke and catholic saint, dies at about 51
  • 875 Ado of Vienne, French archbishop of Vienne, dies at about 75
  • 882 John VIII, Italian Pope (872-82), dies
  • 999 Saint Adelaide, Holy Roman Empress, wife of Emperor Otto I and regent to Otto II, dies at about 68
  • 1325 Charles, Count of Valois (1284-1325), son of King Philip III of France, dies at 55
  • 1378 Secondotto [Otto], Margrave of Montferrat (1372-78)
  • 1379 John Fitzalan, Marshal of England
  • 1404 Albrecht of Bavaria, duke of Bavaria, dies at about 74
  • 1470 John II, Duke of Lorraine (b. 1425)
  • 1598 Yi Sun-sin, Korean Naval Commander, shot at the naval Battle of Noryang at 53
  • 1669 Nathaniel Fiennes, English politician (b. circa 1608)
  • 1670 Dorothy, 1st English marquis of Halifax, dies
  • 1672 John II Casimir Vasa [Jan Kazimierz], King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1648-68), dies at 63
  • 1673 Juan de Padilla, composer, dies at 68
  • 1687 William Petty, English scientist and philosopher (b. 1623)
  • 1719 Adrian "Aart" van Wijck, Dutch theologist (anti-jansenism), dies at 78
  • 1751 Leopold II of Anhalt-Dessau, Prussian general (b. 1700)
  • 1765 Peter Frederick Haldimand, Swiss military officer and surveyor
  • 1774 Francois Quesnay, French personal physician of Louis XIV, dies at 80
  • 1781 Georg Simon Löhlein, German pianist and composer, dies at 56
  • 1783 Johann Adolf Hasse, Dutch operatic composer (Sesostrate), dies at 84
  • 1783 Sir William James, British naval commander (b. 1720)
  • 1790 Ludwig August Lebrun, German composer, dies at 38
  • 1798 Thomas Pennant, Welsh naturalist, dies at 72
  • 1809 Antoine François, comte de Fourcroy, French chemist (b. 1755)
  • 1816 Vincenzo Galeotti, [Tomazelli], Italian dancer/choreographer, dies at 73
  • 1833 Friedrich August Kanne, Austrian-German composer, dies at 55
  • 1852 Andries H Potgieter, South African/Transvaal explorer, dies at 59
  • 1852 Henri-Jean Rigel, composer, dies at 80
  • 1858 Richard Bright, British Dr (Bright's disease/nephritis), dies at 69

Person of interestWilhelm Grimm

1859 Wilhelm Grimm, German writer (Grimm's Fairy Tales), dies at 73

  • 1861 Karol Joseph Lipinski, composer, dies at 71
  • 1870 Stanislaw Duniecki, composer, dies at 31
  • 1871 Willibald Alexis, German writer (Schloss Avalon), dies at 73
  • 1874 Abraham Capadose, Dutch physician and missionary, dies at 79
  • 1897 Alphonse Daudet, French writer (Tartarin sur les Alpes), dies at 57
  • 1898 Pavel Tretyakov, Russian businessman and art collector, dies at 65
  • 1914 Ivan Zajc, Czech composer and conductor, dies at 82
  • 1916 Friedrich Ernst Dorn, German physicist who discovered that radon is emitted from radium, dies at 68
  • 1920 Ma, the Benovelent, Chinese muslim rebel (holy war), dies
  • 1921 Camille Saint-Saens, French composer (Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso), dies at 86
  • 1922 Gabriel Narutowicz, 1st President of Poland (Dec 7-16, 1922), assassinated
  • 1923 Pongrac Kacsoh, composer, dies at 50
  • 1927 Hugh Archibald Clarke, composer, dies at 88
  • 1928 Elinor Wylie, American poet and writer (b. 1885)
  • 1931 Gustave J Waffelaert, Flemish theologist and bishop of Bruges, dies at 82
  • 1935 Thelma Todd, actress (Horse Feathers, Bohemian Girl), dies of 30
  • 1940 M Eugene F T Dubois, geologist/paleontologist (Wadjakmens), dies
  • 1940 William Wallace, Scottish composer, dies at 80

  • 1940 Billy Hamilton, American baseball player (b. 1866)
  • 1944 Don Meyer Basketball coach Northern State, Lipscomb, and Hamline
  • 1944 Elisabeth ten Boom dies at 59
  • 1945 Fumimaro Konu, Japanese prince/PM (1937-39, 40-41), commits harakiri
  • 1949 Traitsjo Kostov, Bulgarian communist vice-premier, executed
  • 1949 Sidney Olcott, Canadian film director (Ben Hur), dies at 76
  • 1950 Otto Vrieslander, German composer, dies at 70
  • 1956 Nina Hamnett, Welsh artist and writer, dies at 66
  • 1960 Anna Luther, silent screen actress (Sinners in Silk), dies at 63
  • 1961 Boris Semyonovich Shekhter, composer, dies at 61
  • 1961 Cato Engelen-Sewing, Dutch soprano singer, prima donna, dies at 93
  • 1965 William Somerset Maugham, English author (Razor's Edge), dies at 91
  • 1965 Tito Schipa, Italian tenor/composer (La Rondine), dies at 77
  • 1973 Syd Barnes, cricketer (13 Tests for Australia 1938-48), dies
  • 1974 Kostas Varnalis, Greek poet, dies at 90
  • 1976 George, a goose that lived to 49 years 8 months, dies
  • 1976 Réal Caouette, French Canadian politician (Social Credit Party of Canada) (b. 1917)
  • 1977 Risto Jarva, Finnish filmmaker (b. 1934)
  • 1978 Blanche Calloway, US singer/dancer/radio hostess, dies at 76

Person of interestColonel Sanders

1980 Colonel Harland Sanders, American founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, dies at 90

Businessman and Restaurateur Colonel Sanders
Businessman and Restaurateur
Colonel Sanders
  • 1980 Hellmuth Walter, German engineer and inventor (b. 1900)
  • 1982 Colin Chapman, English engineer and automobile manufacturer, founder of Lotus Cars, dies at 54
  • 1983 Kusan Sunim, found Milae Sa temple/Bulsung Sa Zen in Korea, dies at 74
  • 1984 Debs Garms, American baseball player, dies at 77
  • 1985 Dick Pollard, cricketer (England fast-medium bowler 1946-48), dies
  • 1985 Merv Waite, cricketer (2 Tests for Aust 1938, 1 wkt avg 190), dies
  • 1985 Paul Castellano, American organized-crime chief, shot dead at a NYC restaurant at 70
  • 1985 Thomas Bilotti, American mafioso (b. 1940)
  • 1987 Albert P Morano, (Rep-R-Conn, 1951-59), dies at 79
  • 1988 H "Stork" Hendry, cricketer (11 Tests for Australia 1921-29), dies
  • 1988 Sylvester [James Jr], American singer-songwriter (Do Ya Wanna Funk), dies of complications from HIV and AIDS at 41
  • 1989 Aileen Pringle, actress (Age of Consent, Convicted, Night Parade), dies
  • 1989 Lee Van Cleef, US actor (Good, Bad & Ugly), dies at 64
  • 1989 Silvana Mangano, Italian actress (Death in Venice, Barabbas), dies at 59
  • 1989 Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Argentine racing driver (b. 1913)
  • 1990 Douglas Campbell, American aviator and World War I flying ace, dies at 94
  • 1991 Fred Scott, American vocalist and actor (Melody of the Plains, Vincent Lopez), dies at 89
  • 1992 Anton [Tom] Koolhaas, Dutch writer (Snow White), dies at 80
  • 1992 Rinus Terlouw, Dutch soccer player/trainer (Sparta), dies
  • 1993 Bentri Seddik, Algerian court judge, murdered at 46
  • 1993 Kakuei Tanaka, Japanese Prime Minister (1972-74), convicted of bribe-taking, dies at 75
  • 1993 Moses Gunn, American actor (Amityville II, Good Times, Shaft) who co-founded the Negro Ensemble Company (The Blacks, The Poison Tree), dies of asthma at 64
  • 1993 Ratu Penaia Ganilau, president of Fiji (1987-93), dies at 75
  • 1993 Richard AFM Auwerda, Dutch journalist/writer (Volkskrant), dies at 68
  • 1993 Charizma, American Hip-Hop MC (b. 1973)
  • 1994 Mary Durack, Australian author and historian (Kings in Grass Castles and Keep Him My Country), dies at 81
  • 1994 Samuel Lipman, American pianist and music critic, dies of leukemia at 60
  • 1995 Nina Verchinina, dancer choreographer/teacher, dies at 85
  • 1995 Johnny Moss, American poker player (b. 1907)
  • 1996 Laurens Jan van der Post, South African writer, explorer and conservationist, dies at 90
  • 1996 Jean-Pierre Levy, resistance leader, dies at 85
  • 1996 Joe Coral [Joseph Kagarlitski], British bookmaker (Gala Coral Group), dies at 92
  • 1996 Quentin Bell, artist author/teacher, dies at 86
  • 1997 Lillian Disney, widow of animator Walt Disney, dies of a stroke at 98
  • 1997 Nicolette Larson, rock vocalist (Twins, Lotta Love), dies from brain seizure at 45
  • 1997 Richard Warwick, actor (Johnny Dangerously, Sebastine, If), dies at 52
  • 1998 William Gaddis, American writer (b. 1922)
  • 2001 Stuart Adamson, Scottish rock vocalist and guitarist (The Skids, Big Country), dies at 43
  • 2001 Stefan Heym, German-American author (Crusaders, Family Benda), dies at 88
  • 2003 Robert Stanfield, Premier of Nova Scotia (b. 1914)
  • 2003 Gary Stewart, American country singer (She's Actin' Single), commits suicide by shooting himself in the neck at 59
  • 2004 Peter Coker, English painter, dies at 78
  • 2004 Ted Abernathy, American baseball player (b. 1933)
  • 2004 Agnes Martin, Canadian-American abstract painter dies aged 92
  • 2005 Kenneth Bulmer, English author (b. 1921)
  • 2005 Ed Hansen, American film director and editor (b. 1937)
  • 2005 John Spencer, American actor (b. 1946)
  • 2006 Don Jardine, Canadian professional wrestler (b. 1940)
  • 2006 Taliep Petersen, South African singer and composer (b. 1950)
  • 2006 Pnina Salzman, Israeli pianist (b. 1922)
  • 2007 Dan Fogelberg, American singer/songwriter (b. 1951)
  • 2009 Roy E. Disney, American businessman (b. 1930)
  • 2009 Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, controversial South African Health Minister (b. 1940)
  • 2009 Yegor Gaidar, Russian politician (b. 1956)
  • 2010 Melvin E. Biddle, American soldier and Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1923)
  • 2011 Nicol Williamson, Scottish actor (Excalibur), dies of esophageal cancer at 75
  • 2011 Daniel "Dan" Frazer, American actor (Kojak, Take the Money and Run), dies from cardiac arrest at 90
  • 2011 Robert Easton [Burke], American actor referred to as "The Man of a Thousand Voices" (Someone Up There Likes Me), dies at 81
  • 2013 Ray Price, American singer, dies from pancreatic cancer at 87
  • 2014 Ernie Terrell, American boxer (WBA champ 1965-7), dies at 75
  • 2015 Aafje Heynis, Dutch singer (contralto), dies at 91
  • 2017 Keely Smith [Dorothy Keely], American jazz and popular music singer (Mrs Louie Prima), dies from heart failure at 89