On This Day

Famous Deaths on December 29

  • 721 Empress Gemmei of Japan (b. 661)
  • 1141 Yue Fei, Chinese general, executed

AssassinationThomas Becket

1170 Thomas Becket, English Archbishop of Canterbury, assassinated by 4 knights of King Henry II at 52

  • 1558 Hermann Finck, German composer, dies at 31
  • 1563 Sebastian Castellio, French theologian (b. 1515)
  • 1619 Antoine Arnauld, French lawyer (Philippica), dies
  • 1630 Johannes Stalpaert van der Wiele, Dutch lawyer, pastor and lyricist, dies at 51
  • 1634 John Albert Vasa, Polish bishop, dies at 22
  • 1661 Antoine Gérard de Saint-Amant, French poet (b. 1594)
  • 1689 Olfert Dapper, Amsterdam historian/geographer, buried
  • 1689 Thomas Sydenham, English physician and author of "Observationes Medicae", dies at 65
  • 1731 Brook Taylor, English mathematician, discoverer of Taylor's Theorem, dies at 46
  • 1737 Joseph Saurin, French mathematician (b. 1659)
  • 1785 Johann Heinrich Rolle, composer, dies at 69
  • 1785 Johan Herman Wessel, Norwegian poet (b. 1742)
  • 1815 Saartjie Baartman, Hottentot Venus, dies in Paris
  • 1821 Jean-Baptiste Dumonceau, Dutch general, dies at 61
  • 1822 Albert Christoph Dies, German painter, engraver and biographer, dies at 67
  • 1825 Giuseppe Maria Gioacchino Cambini, composer, dies
  • 1825 Jacques-Louis David, French Neoclassical painter (Death of Marat), dies at 77
  • 1835 Charles-Joseph Tolbecque, French composer, dies at 29
  • 1836 Johann Baptist Schenk, Austrian composer, dies at 83
  • 1847 William Crotch, British child prodigy organist, composer (Palestine Oratorio), and educator (Royal Academy), dies at 72
  • 1871 Ferdinand Marcucci, Italian harpist and composer, dies at 71
  • 1877 Willem Sassen, Dutch attorney general on Curacao (Affair-S), dies
  • 1890 Big Foot, Sioux Indian chief, dies at Wounded Knee
  • 1891 Leopold Kronecker, German mathematician (Tensor of Kronecker), dies at 68
  • 1894 Christina Rossetti, English poet (Winter Rain, Passing Away) dies at 64
  • 1897 William James Linton, American wood engraver and political reformer. (b. 1812)
  • 1898 Georg Goltermann, German cellist and composer, dies at 74
  • 1905 Martin Wiberg, Swedish computer pioneer, dies at 79
  • 1910 Reginald "R.F." Doherty, British tennis player (Wimbledon 1897-1900), dies of neurasthenia at 38
  • 1915 C. B. Hawley, American organist and composer, dies at 57
  • 1915 Tom Shevlin, American College Football Hall of Fame end (Yale - Consensus All-American 1902, 04, 05; National C'ship 1902, 05), dies of pneumonia at 32

AssassinationGrigori Rasputin

1916 Grigori Rasputin, Russian monk and confidant of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, assassinated by conservative Russian aristocrats at 47

  • 1919 William Osler, Canadian physician and author (circulatory system), dies at 70
  • 1924 Carl Spitteler, Swiss writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1845)
  • 1925 Félix E Vallotton, Swiss painter/writer (Chaste Susanne), dies at 60
  • 1926 Rainer Maria Rilke, Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist (Ana, The City, Duino Elegies), dies at 51
  • 1929 Wilhelm Maybach, German automobile designer (b. 1846)
  • 1933 Joh Georghe Duca, premier of Romania, murdered
  • 1937 Don Marquis, American author (b. 1878)
  • 1942 Frank Dawson Adams, Canadian geologist, dies at 83
  • 1943 William Henry Singer, American painter and collector (Singer Museum, Laren), dies at 75
  • 1947 Joseph Cuvelier, Belgian historian and general archivist, dies at 78
  • 1952 Beryl Rubinstein, American pianist and composer, dies at 54
  • 1953 Violet MacMillan, American Broadway theatre actress(b. 1887)
  • 1956 Martin Albertz, German theologist (Jesus Christ's Church) and resistance fighter against the Nazi regime, dies at 73
  • 1957 Tom Richmond, cricketer (Notts leg-spinner took 2-86 in Eng Test), dies at 67
  • 1958 Doris Humphrey, American dancer and choreographer (Dances of Women), dies at 63
  • 1959 Robin Humphrey Milford, composer, dies at 56
  • 1960 Eden Phillpotts, English novelist, poet and playwright (Red Madymaynes), dies at 98
  • 1960 Philippe Panneton, Canadian physician, diplomat and writer (Trente arpents), dies at 65
  • 1962 Hans Rosbaud, Austrian conductor (South West German Radio Orchestra, 1948-62), dies at 67
  • 1964 Bernard von Brentano, German writer (Big Cats), dies at 63
  • 1964 Miroslav Krejčí, Czech composer, dies at 73
  • 1965 Kōsaku Yamada, Japanese composer (Nagauta Symphony), and conductor, dies of a heart attack at 79
  • 1967 Paul Whiteman "The King of Jazz", American orchestra leader (Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue"; Fabulous Dorseys), dies at 77
  • 1968 Austin Farrer, English theologian and philosopher (b. 1904)
  • 1970 John de Mol, Dutch accordionist, dies at 58
  • 1970 Marie Menken, American experimental filmmaker and socialite, dies at 61
  • 1970 William King Gregory, American palaeontologist (mammalian teeth, evolutionary theory), dies at 94
  • 1971 Stuart Holmes, American actor (Life's Shop Window, Prisoner of Zenda), dies of stomach ailment at 87
  • 1972 Fritz Behrend, composer, dies at 83
  • 1975 Euell Gibbons, American outdoorsman and proponent of natural diets (b. 1911).
  • 1976 Ivo van Damme, Belgian 800/1500 m sprinter (Olympic silver 1976), dies at 22
  • 1979 Branimir Sakač, Croatian composer (Matrix Symphony), dies at 61
  • 1980 Roy Engle, American writer and actor (The Man from Planet X, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian), dies from meningitis at 67
  • 1980 Tim Hardin, American singer (If I Were a Carpenter, Reason to Believe), dies of a drug overdose at 39
  • 1980 Nadezhda Mandelstam, Russian writer (b. 1899)
  • 1981 Guido Provoost, Belgian historian, dies at 41
  • 1981 Miroslav Krleža, Croatian writer (b. 1893)
  • 1982 Sol C Siegel, American film producer (A Letter To Three Wives, High Society, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), dies of a heart attack at 79
  • 1984 Leo Robin, American songwriter ("Thanks For the Memory"; "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"), dies of heart failure at 84
  • 1984 Sidney Garfield, American physician and pioneer of health maintenance organizations (Kaiser Permanente), dies at 78
  • 1986 Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet director (Solaris, Stalker), dies at 54
  • 1986 John Antill, Australian composer (Corroboree; New Guinea Patrol), dies at 82

Harold Macmillan

1986 Harold Macmillan, British Conservative politician and Prime Minister (1957-63), dies at 92

  • 1986 Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky, Soviet filmmaker (Andrei Rublev, Mirror, Stalker), dies at 54
  • 1988 Mike Beuttler, British racing driver, dies at 48
  • 1991 Julia McCarthy, Scottish actress (London Belongs To Me), dies of cancer at 64
  • 1992 LH Ruitenberg, vicar/editor in chief (Reform Netherlands), dies at 87
  • 1992 Vivienne Segal, American actress (Broadway, Pal Joey), dies at 95
  • 1993 Yvonne Desportes, French composer (Seven Abstract Poems), dies at 86 [1]
  • 1993 Frunzik [Mher Mkrtchyan], Armenian actor (Mimino, Kidnapping, Caucasian Style), dies of cancer at 63
  • 1994 Eugene Tanner Jr, singer, dies at 58
  • 1994 Frank Thring, Australian actor (El Cid, Ben-Hur), dies at 68
  • 1995 Hope Clara Chenhalls, food inspector, dies at 85

Lita Grey

1995 Lita Grey, second wife of Charlie Chaplin, dies of cancer at 87

  • 1995 Madeleine Barot, French activist and theologian, dies at 86
  • 1995 Nello Celio, President of Switzerland (1972), dies at 81
  • 1995 Philip Idenburg, Dutch statistician, dies at 94
  • 1995 Schlomo Joffe, Polish-Israeli folk and classical musician and composer, dies at 86
  • 1996 Alma Birk, journalist/politician, dies at 77
  • 1996 Mireille Hartuch, singer/songwriter, dies at 90
  • 1996 Oswald Szemerényi, Hungarian linguist, dies at 83
  • 1996 Peggy (Margaret McCrorie) Herbison, politician, dies at 89
  • 1996 Robert Morris, American lawyer, dies at 81
  • 1996 Pennar Davies, Welsh poet, author and theologian, dies at 85
  • 1996 Daniel Mayer, French journalist and resistance fighter, dies at 87
  • 1997 Pat Clarke, British cyclist, dies at 82
  • 1998 Donald "Don" Taylor, American director and actor (Father's Little Dividend, Escape from the Planet of the Apes), dies of hear failure at 78
  • 1998 Jean-Claude Forest, writer and illustrator of comics (Barbarella) (b. 1930)
  • 1998 Jeanne Stern, German screenwriter (The Condemned Village), dies at 90
  • 1999 Leon Radzinowicz, British criminologist (b. 1906)
  • 2001 Takashi Asahina, Japanese conductor (b. 1908)
  • 2003 Earl Hindman, American actor (b. 1942)
  • 2003 Dinsdale Landen, British actor (The Mask of Janus), dies at 71
  • 2003 Bob Monkhouse, English comedian and game show host (b. 1928)
  • 2004 Liddy Holloway, New Zealand actress (b. 1947)
  • 2004 Ken Burkhart, American baseball player (St. Louis Cardinals) and umpire, dies at 88
  • 2004 Julius Axelrod, American biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1912)
  • 2005 Gerda Boyesen, Norwegian-born body psychotherapist (b. 1922)
  • 2007 Phil O'Donnell, Scottish footballer (b. 1972)
  • 2007 Kevin Greening, British radio presenter (b. 1962)
  • 2008 Freddie Hubbard, American jazz trumpet player (b. 1938)
  • 2008 Kees [Cornelis Pieter] van Dijk, Dutch minister of the Interior, dies at 77
  • 2008 Daniel Nagrin, American modern dancer and choreographer, dies at 91
  • 2009 Steve Williams, American professional wrestler, known as "Dr. Death", and USFL football player, dies of throat cancer at 49
  • 2009 Akmal Shaikh, British drug trafficker, executed by lethal injection in the People's Republic of China (b. 1956)
  • 2009 David Levine, American artist (New York Review of Books caricatures), dies at 83
  • 2010 Bill Erwin, American actor (b. 1914)
  • 2011 Bobby Purify [Robert Lee Dickey], American soul singer (I'm Your Puppet), dies at 72

Tony Greig

2012 Tony Greig, English cricket captain, all-rounder (1972-77) and commentator, dies from a heart attack at 66

  • 2012 Jean Topart, French voice and film actor regarded as "one of the inimitable voices of French cinema" (Fantastic Planet), dies at 90
  • 2013 Wojciech Kilar, Polish classical (Missa Pro Pace), and film score composer (Bram Stoker's Dracula; The Pianist), dies from cancer at 81
  • 2013 Leonard "Red" Balaban, American jazz tuba and sousaphone player, dies at 84
  • 2014 Ivor Richardson, New Zealand judge (NZ Court of Appeals), dies at 84
  • 2014 Claude Frank, German-American concert pianist and pedagogue, dies at 89
  • 2015 Frank Malzone, American MLB player (Boston Red Sox), dies at 85
  • 2015 Elzbieta Krzesinska, Polish long jumper (Olympic gold 1956), dies at 76
  • 2016 Ferdi Kübler, Swiss cyclist (Tour de France 1950), dies at 97
  • 2016 Chris Cannizzaro, American baseball player, dies at 78
  • 2017 Peggy Cummins [Augusta Fuller], Welsh-born Irish actress (Gun Crazy, Curse of the Demon), dies at 92
  • 2017 Alfred Binns, West Indian cricket wicket-keeper (1953-56), dies at 88
  • 2017 John C. Portman Jr., American architect (Ivan Allen Award-1964), dies at 93
  • 2018 Aldo Parisot, Brazilian-American concert cellist and educator (Yale School of Music, 1958-2018). dies at 100
  • 2019 LaDell Andersen, American college basketball coach (Utah State, BYU), dies at 90
  • 2020 John F Reid, New Zealand cricket batsman (19 Tests, 1296 runs @ 46.28, 6 x 100s), dies at 64
  • 2020 Claude Bolling, French jazz and classical cross-over pianist and composer (Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio), dies at 90 [1] [2]
  • 2020 Phyllis McGuire, American pop vocalist (McGuire Sisters - "Sincerely"; "Sugartime"), dies at 89
  • 2020 John Paul Jr., American auto racer (IMSA GT C'ship 1982; 24 Hours of Daytona 1982, 92; 12 Hours of Sebring 1982), dies from Huntington's disease at 60
  • 2020 Pierre Cardin, Italian-French fashion designer, dies at 98
  • 2021 Antoine Bonifaci, French soccer midfielder (12 caps; OGC Nice, FC Inter Milan, Bologna FC, Torino FC), dies at 90
December 29 Highlights