On This Day

Famous Deaths on December 22

  • 69 Aulus Vitellius, Roman Emperor for 8 months, executed by the troops of his successor Vespasian in Rome at 54
  • 1100 Duke Bretislaus II of Bohemia
  • 1337 Daito Kokushi, leader of O-To-Kan Rinzai school in Japan, dies at 54
  • 1419 Antipope Pope John XXIII [Baldassare Cossa], Italian Pope (1410-15) who opposed Pope Gregory XII and is considered an antipope by the Catholic Church, dies at 81
  • 1550 Richard Plantagenet (Richard of Eastwell) possibly a son of Richard III
  • 1603 Mehmed III, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1595-1603), dies at 37
  • 1646 Peter Mogila, Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia (b. 1596)
  • 1660 André Tacquet, Flemish mathematician (b. 1612)
  • 1668 Stephen Day, English-born colonial printer (The Psalms in Meter - 1st book printed in American colonies), dies at about 58
  • 1681 Richard Alleine, English Puritan clergyman (b. 1611)
  • 1708 Hedvig Sophia, Duchess of Holstein-Gottorp, dies at 27
  • 1721 Nathaniel Hawes, tortured & executed in England for robbery
  • 1723 Jacques Basnage, French/Dutch historian/vicar, dies at 70
  • 1738 Jean-Joseph Mouret, French composer, dies at 56
  • 1738 Constantia Jones, British prostitute, executed on theft allegations at 30
  • 1745 Jan Dismas Zelenka, Bohemian composer, dies at 66
  • 1767 John Newberry, English publisher, dies
  • 1788 Percivall Pott, English physician and surgeon (b. 1714)
  • 1797 Giovanni Marco Rutini, Italian composer, dies at 74
  • 1806 William Vernon, American merchant (b. 1719)
  • 1809 William Cooper, American judge and developer (founded Cooperstown, New York), dies at 55
  • 1815 Jose Maria Morelos, Mexican revolutionary priest executed by Spaniards
  • 1828 Rachel Jackson, wife of 7th US President Andrew Jackson, dies of heart failure
  • 1828 William Hyde Wollaston, English chemist and physicist (famous for discovering the chemical elements palladium and rhodium), dies at 62
  • 1832 Ishmail Spicer, American composer, dies at 72
  • 1863 Michael Corcoran, Union brigadier general, dies at 36
  • 1867 Jean-Victor Poncelet, French mathematician and engineer who was one of the founders of modern projective geometry, dies at 79
  • 1867 Théodore Rousseau, French painter, dies at 55
  • 1873 Charles Lenox Remond, African-American orator and abolitionist, dies at 63
  • 1874 Johann Peter Pixis, German pianist and composer, dies at 86
  • 1875 Nikolay Alexeyevich Titov, composer, dies at 75

George Eliot

1880 George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans], English novelist (Adam Bede, Middlemarch), dies on her 61st birthday

  • 1893 Benedikt Randhartinger, Austrian composer, dies at 91
  • 1893 Johann Czerski, German chaplain, dies at 80
  • 1899 Dwight L Moody, US evangelist (Student Volunteer Movement), dies
  • 1902 Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Austro–German psychiatrist and author (Psychopathia Sexualis), dies at 62
  • 1908 Marie Jungius, Dutch teacher/fairy tale writer, dies at 44
  • 1917 Francesca Saveria Cabrini, US saint/patron of immigrant, dies at 67
  • 1918 Albijn van de Abeele, Flemish author and painter, dies at 83
  • 1918 Randolph Bourne, American writer (Education and Living), dies at 32
  • 1923 Arthur H. Bird, American composer, dies at 67
  • 1937 Daito Kokushi, Zen founder of Daitokuji, dies in Kyoto at 55
  • 1939 Ma Rainey [Gertrude Pridgett], American singer "Mother of the Blues", dies at 53
  • 1940 Nathanael West [Weinstein], American writer (Cool Million), dies at 37
  • 1941 Leopoldo Mugnone, Italian opera composer and conductor, dies at 83
  • 1942 Franz Boas, German-American anthropologist and linguist (Mind of Primitive Man), dies 84

Beatrix Potter

1943 Beatrix Potter, English children's writer and illustrator (The Tale of Peter Rabbit,) dies aged 77

  • 1944 Antoine Mariotte, French composer, dies on 69th birthday
  • 1944 Harry Langdon, American comedian (The Strong Man, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp), dies at 60
  • 1945 Otto Neurath, Austrian-British philosopher (Foundation of Social Sciences), dies at 63
  • 1947 Therese Brandl, Nazi concentration camp guard (b. 1902)
  • 1950 Julius Weismann, German pianist, conductor, and composer (Schwanenweiß), dies at 70
  • 1950 Walter Damrosch, German-American conductor (New York Symphony, 1885-1928; commissioned Gershwin's Piano Concerto), and composer (The Man Without A Country), dies at 88
  • 1951 Powell Weaver, American composer, dies at 61
  • 1958 Fjodor W Gladkow, Russian author (Cement), dies at 75
  • 1959 Gilda Gray, actress (Piccadilly), dies of heart attack at 60
  • 1964 Bonifacio Gil Garcia, Spanish composer and folklorist, dies at 66
  • 1965 Al Ritz [Joaquim], American actor (Gorilla, Hi Ya Chum), dies at 62
  • 1965 Richard Dimbleby, British journalist and broadcaster, dies at 52

Lucy Burns

1966 Lucy Burns, American suffragist (National Woman's Party) and women's rights advocate, dies at 87

  • 1967 Lee Krieger, American actor (Clambake, One Way Wahini), dies at 48
  • 1968 Louise Granville, entertainer, dies of influenza at 73
  • 1969 Ilse Steppat, actress (Invisible Terror), dies at 52
  • 1969 Josef von Sternberg, Austrian-American director (Shanghai Express), dies at 75
  • 1971 Godfried Jan Arnold Bomans, Dutch writer (Eric), dies at 58
  • 1971 Renee Evans, entertainer, dies of heart attack at 63
  • 1971 Fred Guy, American jazz banjo player and guitarist (Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra; Duke Ellington's Washingtonians), dies at 74
  • 1973 Domingo Julio Gomez Garcia, composer, dies at 87
  • 1973 James Anderson, Australian tennis player (Australasian C'ship 1922, 24, 25), dies at 79
  • 1974 Fosco Giachetti, Italian actor (Wastrel, We the Living), dies at 74
  • 1974 Lorraine Gauguin, entertainer, dies at 50
  • 1977 Johann Nepomuk David, composer, dies at 82
  • 1979 Darryl F. Zanuck, American film producer and President (20th Century Fox), dies at 77
  • 1984 Viola Wells [Evans], American jazz, blues, and gospel singer, dies at 82
  • 1985 D. Boon, American singer and guitarist (The Minutemen) (b. 1958)
  • 1986 Celius Dougherty, American pianist and composer, dies at 84
  • 1987 Alice Terry [Taaffe], actress (4 Horsemen of Apocalypse), dies
  • 1987 Leonidas Zoras, Greek conductor and composer, dies at 82
  • 1987 Henry Cotton, English golfer (British Open 1934, 1937, 1948), dies at 80
  • 1988 Tucker Smith, singer/dancer (Cool-West Side Story), dies

AssassinationChico Mendes

1988 Chico Mendes, Brazilian environmental activist and rubber tapper, assassinated at 44 by rancher Darcy Alves

Samuel Beckett

1989 Samuel Beckett, Irish-French writer (Molloy, Nobel 1969), dies at 83

  • 1990 Cecil Effinger, composer, dies at 76
  • 1990 Helene Stanley, actress (Carnival Story, Roar of the Crowd), dies
  • 1991 Ernst Krenek, Austrian-American composer (Orpheus & Eurydike), dies at 91
  • 1992 Frederick W Franz, CEO (Watch Tower), dies at 99
  • 1992 Harry Bluestone, British-American jazz and session violinist, bandleader, and music publisher, dies from Parkinson's disease at 85
  • 1993 Alexander Mackendrick, director (Whiskey Galore!), dies at 81
  • 1993 Don DeFore, American actor (George-Hazel, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), dies of cardiac arrest at 76
  • 1995 (Thelma) "Butterfly" McQueen, American actress (Gone With the Wind; Flame of Barbary Coast), dies in a fire at 84
  • 1995 James Meade, English economist, Bank of Sweden Prize winner (b. 1907)
  • 1996 Hetta Empson, South African-British artist, dies at 81
  • 1997 Douglas Ranger, British surgeon, dies at 81
  • 1997 Hugh Edward Conway Seymour, 8th Marquess of Hertford, dies at 67
  • 1997 John Pinkerton, English computer scientist who designed the first business computer in England, the LEO computer, dies at 78
  • 1997 Johnny Coles, trumpeter, dies at 71
  • 1997 Juzo Itami, Japanese director, commits suicide at 64
  • 1998 Michelle Thomas, American actress (b. 1969)
  • 1998 Virginia Graham, American TV personality (Girl Talk, Where Was I), dies at 86
  • 2002 Joe Strummer, British lead singer of the punk band "The Clash" (Rock the Casbah), dies at age 50
  • 2002 Kenneth Tobey, American actor (The Thing from Another World, Innerspace, Whirlybirds), dies of natural causes at 85
  • 2002 Hugh Desmond Hoyte, Guyanese politician and President of Guyana (1985-92), dies at 73
  • 2003 Dave Dudley, American country singer (Six Days on the Road), dies at 75
  • 2003 Rose Hill, British actress and operatic soprano ('Allo 'Allo!, Nicholas Nickleby, Shot in the Dark), dies at 89
  • 2004 Doug Ault, American baseball player (b. 1950)
  • 2005 T. Cooper Evans, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa), dies at 81
  • 2006 Elena Mukhina, Russian gymnast (3 x World C'ship gold 1978; 2 x World Cup gold 1977), dies of complications from quadriplegia at 46
  • 2006 Galina Ustvolskaya, Russian composer, dies at 87
  • 2006 Dennis Linde, American songwriter (b. 1943)
  • 2006 Phillip Pine, American actor (Set-Up, Under the Ground), dies at 86
  • 2007 Adrian Cristobal, Filipino writer (b. 1932)
  • 2007 Joe Ames, American singer and actor (The Ames Brothers Show), dies at 86
  • 2007 Julien Gracq [Louis Poirier], French writer (Andre Breton), dies at 97
  • 2008 Lansana Conté, Guinean politician, dies at 74
  • 2009 Luis Francisco Cuéllar, Colombian politician (b. 1940)
  • 2010 Fred Foy, American radio and television announcer (b. 1921)
  • 2011 James Ramseur, one of Bernhard Goetz's assailants in 1984, overdoses on drugs at 45
  • 2011 Bettye Danoff, American golfer (co-founder LPGA Tour), dies at 88
  • 2012 Arkady Vorobyov, Russian weightlifter (Olympic gold Middle-heavyweight 1956, 60), dies at 88
  • 2013 Ed Herrmann, American baseball player, dies from prostate cancer at 67

Joe Cocker

2014 (John) "Joe" Cocker, English rock vocalist ("With A Little Help From My Friends"; "Cry Me A River"; "You Are So Beautiful"), dies of lung cancer at 70

  • 2015 Carson Van Osten, American musician and comic strip writer (Disney), dies at 70
  • 2016 Miruts Yifter 'Yifter the Shifter', Ethiopian runner (Olympic golds 1980), dies at 72
  • 2016 Margaret Pereira, English forensic scientist (Nicholls and Pereira method), dies at 88
  • 2016 Bill Price, British audio engineer (Tom Jones; Wings: Sparks; Elton John), and record producer (The Clash; Sex Pistols; Waterboys), dies of cancer at 72
  • 2018 Paddy Ashdown, British MP, leader of Liberal Democrats (1988-1999), dies of bladder cancer at 77
  • 2018 Roberto Suazo Córdova, President of Honduras (1982-86), dies at 91
  • 2019 Fritz Künzli, Swiss soccer striker (44 caps; FC Zürich, FC Winterthur, FC Lausanne-Sport), dies from Alzheimer's disease at 73
  • 2019 Tony Britton, English actor (The Day of the Jackal), dies at 95
December 22 Highlights