On This Day

Famous Deaths on December 25

  • 795 Adrian I, Italian Pope (772-95), dies at 95
  • 820 Leo V, the Armenian, Byzantine general and Emperor (813-20), murdered in the Hagia Sophia at about 65
  • 1156 Peter the Venerable, French theologist, 9th abbot of Cluny, dies at about 61
  • 1249 Peter Nolascus, Spanish monastery founder/St, dies
  • 1406 Henry III, King of Castile and León (1390-1406), dies at 27
  • 1513 Johannes Amerbach, Swiss publisher/printer, dies at about 70
  • 1676 Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice of England (b. 1609)
  • 1676 William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle, English aristocrat and Royalist general in the English Civil War, dies at 83
  • 1683 Kara Mustafa Pasha Turkish grand-vizier (1676-83) and Ottoman general, executed. (b. 1634)
  • 1758 James Hervey, English clergyman (b. 1714)
  • 1765 Antonio Tonelli, Italian cellist and composer, dies at 79
  • 1765 Václav Prokop Diviš, Czech theologian and natural scientist, dies at 67
  • 1784 Yosa Buson, Japanese painter (b. 1716)
  • 1788 John Logan, Scottish conductor (Ode to the Cuckoo), dies at about 40
  • 1824 Barbara Juliane, baroness von Krüdener, Baltic German religious mystic, author, and Pietist Lutheran theologian, dies at 60
  • 1842 Bedrich Divis Weber, Bohemian composer and musicologist, dies at 76
  • 1848 Johan Erik Nordblom, Swedish composer, dies at 60
  • 1868 Linus Yale Jr., American portrait painter and inventor (Yale cylinder lock), dies at 47
  • 1875 Young Tom Morris, Scottish golfer (British Open 1868-70, 72), dies of pulmonary haemorrhage at 24
  • 1878 Anna Claypoole Peale, American painter of miniatures, dies at 87
  • 1880 Fridolin Anderwert, Swiss Federal Councillor, dies at 52
  • 1883 Marek Konrad Sokolowski, Polish guitarist and composer, dies at 65
  • 1895 Raul Pompeia, Brazilian writer (O Ateneu), dies at 32
  • 1904 Vilhelm Svedbom, Swedish composer, dies at 61
  • 1916 Albert Chmielowski, Polish Catholic Saint, dies at 71
  • 1921 Hans Huber, Swiss composer, dies at 69
  • 1921 Vladimir Korolenko, Russian writer (The Blind Musician), dies at 68
  • 1922 Alphonse Goovaerts, Belgian composer and musicologist (Histoire et Bibliographie de la Typographie Musicale dans les Pays-Bas), dies at 75
  • 1925 Sergei Yesenin, Russian lyric poet, dies at 30
  • 1925 Karl Abraham, German psychoanalyst, dies at 48
  • 1926 Yoshihito [Taishō], 123rd Emperor of Japan (1912-26), dies at 47
  • 1927 Sergei D Sazonov, Russian Foreign minister (1910-16), dies at 66
  • 1930 Harvey Worthington Loomis, American composer (Lyrics of the Red Man), dies at 65
  • 1933 Francesc Macià, Catalonian statesman (b. 1859)
  • 1935 Paul Bourget, French novelist and critic, dies at 83
  • 1936 Pierre Maurice, Swiss composer, dies at 68
  • 1938 Karel Čapek, Czech author, playwright and critic (R.U.R.), coined term "robot", dies of pneumonia at 48
  • 1940 Agnes Ayres [Hinkle], American actress (Sheik, Souls at Sea), dies at 42
  • 1942 Vojislav Vuckovic, composer, dies at 32
  • 1943 Ilona Durigo, Hungarian singer, dies at 62
  • 1943 Raymond Huntington Woodman, composer, dies at 82
  • 1946 W C Fields, writer and comedian (Bank Dick, It's A Gift), dies at 67
  • 1947 Gaspar G. Bacon, was Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1886)
  • 1950 Xavier Villaurrutia, Mexican poet (Nostalgia de la muerte), dies at 47
  • 1950 Neil Francis Hawkins, British fascist (b. 1903)
  • 1951 Harry T Moore, Florida NAACP official, killed by bomb
  • 1953 Patsy Donovan, Irish-born American baseball player (b. 1865)
  • 1953 Lee Shubert, American theatre producer (theatres in NY & LA named after him), dies at about 80
  • 1954 Johnny Ace, American rhythm and blues singer, accidentally shoots himself in the head at 25
  • 1954 Liberty Hyde Bailey, US botanist (Plantbreeding), dies at 96
  • 1954 Rosario Scalero, composer, dies at 84
  • 1956 Robert Walser, Swiss writer, dies at 78
  • 1957 Frederick Law Olmsted Jr, US landscape architect and advocate for wildlife conservation, dies at 87
  • 1961 Rheinhold Rudenberg, inventor of electron microscope, dies
  • 1961 Otto Loewi, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1873)
  • 1961 Owen Brewster, U.S. Senator from Maine (b. 1888)
  • 1963 Tristan Tzara [Samuel Rosenfeld] Romanian-French poet (Approximate Man), dies at 67
  • 1964 Cheerio Meredith, actress (One Happy Family), dies at 74
  • 1971 Byron Arnold, American composer, dies at 70
  • 1972 C. Rajagopalachari, India's freedom fighter and the first Governor General of independent India, dies at 94
  • 1973 İsmet İnönü, Turkish statesman (b. 1884)
  • 1973 Gabriel Voisin, French aviation pioneer (b. 1880)
  • 1974 Harry Ray, American film make-up artist, costume designer and actor (Avanti!), dies at 65
  • 1975 Gaston Gallimard, French publisher (Library Gallimard), dies at 94
  • 1976 Arthur Mitchell, cricketer (batted in 6 Tests for Eng 1933-36), dies
  • 1976 Frankie Darro [Frank Johnson], American actor (Radio Ranch, Wild Boys of the Road, Valley of Wanted Men), dies of a heart attack at 58

Charlie Chaplin

1977 Charlie Chaplin, British actor and comedian (Modern Times, The Kid), dies in Switzerland at 88

  • 1979 Joan Blondell, American actress (Real McCoys), dies of leukemia at 73
  • 1979 Lee Bowman, American actor (Ellery Queen, Miami Undercover, The Impatient Years), dies from a heart attack at 64
  • 1979 Jordi Bonet, Quebec muralist and sculptor (b. 1932)
  • 1980 Fred Emney, British actor (Let the People Sing, Adventures of a Private Eye, Lilac Domino), dies at 80
  • 1980 Louis Neefs, Belgian singer, dies at 43
  • 1980 (Ludwig) "Louis" Neefs, Belgian pop singer (Eurovision, 1967 & 1969), dies, along with his wife, in a car accident at 43
  • 1983 Joan Miro, Spanish painter and sculptor, dies at his home in Majorca at 90
  • 1985 George Rhodes, American pianist, composer, arranger, and music director (Sammy Davis, Jr. Show), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • 1988 Ooka Shohei, Japanese novelist (b. 1909)
  • 1988 Edward Pelham-Clinton, 10th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne (b. 1920)
  • 1989 Georgy Mushel, Uzbek pianist and composer, dies at 80
  • 1989 Barrel Regtien, student leader, dies

Billy Martin

1989 Billy Martin, American baseball 2nd baseman (MLB All Star 1956; World Series 1951, 52, 53, 56; NY Yankees) and manager (World Series 1977 NY Yankees), killed in a car accident at 61

  • 1989 Elena Ceausescu, wife of Romania's Communist dictator Nicolae, executed at 73
  • 1989 Ton Regtien, Dutch student leader, dies at 51
  • 1990 Marguerite N Wittenberg, entertainer, dies of cancer at 77
  • 1991 Curt Bois, actor (Great Waltz, Boat is Full), dies at 90
  • 1991 Mahmood Hussain, Pakistan cricket swing bowler (27 Tests, 68 wickets), dies at 59
  • 1991 Orane Demazis, French actress (Marius, Fanny et Caesar), dies at 87
  • 1991 Sal Provenza, entertainer, dies of lymphoma at 45
  • 1992 Richard H Ichord, US leader of House Un-American Activities Committee, dies at 66
  • 1992 Garrison H Davidson, US lt-gen commandant (West Point), dies
  • 1992 Helen Joseph, South African anti-apartheid activist, dies at 87
  • 1992 Monica Dickens, English/American journalist/author, dies at 77
  • 1992 Ted Croker, RAF-pilot/sect English soccer team (sponsoring), dies
  • 1993 Pierre Victor Auger, French physicist (b. 1899)
  • 1994 Pierre Dreyfus, French director of Renault (1955-75), dies at 87
  • 1994 Zail Singh, Indian politician, (7th President of India 1982-87), dies of injuries from a motor accident at 78

Dean Martin

1995 Dean Martin [Dino Paul Crocetti], American singer ("That's Amore"; "Everybody Loves Somebody"; "Sway"), comedian and actor (Martin and Lewis, The Dean Martin Show), dies of throat cancer at 78

  • 1995 Emmanuel Levinas, philosopher, dies at 89
  • 1995 Jimmy Boucher, cricketer (great Irish all-rounder 1929-54), dies
  • 1995 Nikolai [Nicolas Leonidovich] Slonimsky, musicologist, dies at 101
  • 1995 Nicolas Slonimsky, Russian-American pianist, conductor, musicologist (Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns; Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians), and composer, dies at 101
  • 1995 Marijan Lipovsek, Slovenian pianist, composer, and teacher, dies at 85
  • 1996 Jon Benet Ramsey, Colorado child beauty queen, murdered at 6
  • 1996 Rupert John, gov-gen of Grenadines (1970-76), dies
  • 1997 Anatoli Boukreev, mountaineer, dies at 39
  • 1997 Denver Pyle, American actor (The Dukes of Hazzard, The Andy Griffith Show), dies of lung cancer at 77
  • 1997 Giorgio Strehler, Italian opera and theatre director, dies at 76
  • 1997 Laurence Gower, academic, dies at 84
  • 1998 John Pulman, English snooker player (b. 1926)
  • 1998 Bryan MacLean, American singer, musician and songwriter (Love) (b. 1946)
  • 1998 Hugh Martell, British Vice Admiral, dies at 86
  • 1999 Peter Jeffrey, British character actor (Dr Phibes Rides Again, Twinsanity), dies at 70
  • 2000 Neil Hawke, Australian cricket fast bowler (27 Tests, 91 wickets; South Australia CA), dies at 61
  • 2000 Willard Van Orman Quine, American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition, dies at 92
  • 2002 William T. Orr, American television producer (b. 1917)
  • 2003 Nicholas Mavroules, American politician (Rep-D-MA, 1979-93), dies at 74
  • 2004 Gennadi Strekalov, Russian cosmonaut (Soyuz T-3, T-8, T-11, TM-21), dies at 64
  • 2005 Derek Bailey, English guitar virtuoso (b. 1930)
  • 2005 (Märta) Birgit Nilsson, Swedish operatic soprano (Elektra, Salome), dies at 87
  • 2005 Robert Barbers, Philippine senator (b. 1944)

James Brown

2006 James Brown, American R&B, gospel, soul and funk singer known as 'The Godfather of Soul' ("Sex Machine"; "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag"; "Hot Pants"), dies of heart failure at 73

  • 2006 Hiroaki Hidaka, Japanese serial killer (b. 1962)
  • 2007 Desmond Barrick, English Cricketer (b. 1927)
  • 2007 Mighty King Kong, Kenyan reggae musician. (b. 1973)
  • 2007 John Hayes, New Zealand cricket fast bowler (15 Tests, 30 wickets), dies at 80
  • 2007 Hans Otte, German composer and pianist (The Book of Sounds, Book of Hours), dies at 81
  • 2008 Eartha Kitt, American singer (Santa Baby), dancer, comedian, actress and activist (Catwoman-Batman), dies at 81
  • 2009 Vic Chesnutt, American singer-songwriter, dies of an overdose of muscle relaxants at 46
  • 2009 Tony "T-Bone" Bellamy, American rock guitarist (Redbone), dies of liver failure at 63
  • 2010 Carlos Andrés Pérez, President of Venezuela (1974-79, 89-94), dies at 88
  • 2010 Bud Greenspan, American documentary maker (Olympic Games), dies at 84
  • 2011 Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood [Euclid James Sherwood], American rock musician (Mothers Of Invention), dies at 69
  • 2011 Israel Baker, American concert and session violinist (NBC Symphony; Paramount Studios Orchestra), dies at 92
  • 2012 Frank Calabrese Sr [Frankie Breeze], American mafia hitman, dies at 75
  • 2012 Othmar Schneider, Austrian skier (Olympic gold 1952), dies at 84
  • 2013 Mike Hegan, American baseball player, dies from heart failure at 71
  • 2014 Gleb Yakunin, Russian priest and dissident, dies at 80
  • 2014 Geoff Pullar, English cricketer (England opening batsman late 50's early 60's), dies at 79
  • 2014 Mary Lyon, English geneticist (X-chromosome inactivation), dies at 89

George Michael

2016 George Michael [Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou], English singer-songwriter and pop superstar Wham! - "Careless Whisper"; "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"; solo - " I Want Your Sex"; "Faith")), dies of suspected heart failure at 53

  • 2016 Alphonse Mouzon, American jazz musician (Weather Report, Tenacious Records), dies from cancer at 68
  • 2016 Valery Khalilov, Russian military conductor and composer, dies in a plane crash in the Black Sea, near Sochi, at 64
  • 2017 Vladimir Shainsky, Soviet and Russian composer, dies at 92
  • 2018 Nancy Roman, American, NASA's first chief of astronomy 'Mother of the Hubble', dies at 93
  • 2019 Peter Schreier, German tenor and conductor (Dresden State Opera, 1962-2000), dies at 84 [1]
  • 2020 Tony Rice, American bluegrass guitarist (J.D. Crowe and the New South), dies at 69 [1]
  • 2020 Ivan Bohdan, Ukrainian Greco-Roman wrestler (Olympic gold Soviet Union heavyweight 1960; World C'ship gold 1958, 61), dies at 92
  • 2020 Robin Jackman, English cricket seam bowler (4 Tests, 14 wickets; 15 ODIs; Surrey), dies from COVID-19 at 75
  • 2020 K. C. Jones, American Basketball Hall of Fame point guard (Olympic gold 1956; NBA C'ship 1959–66, Boston Celtics) and coach (NBA C'ship 1984, 86; Boston Celtics), dies from Alzheimer's disease at 88
  • 2020 Jaan Rääts, Estonian pianist, orchestral and film score composer, dies at 88
December 25 Highlights