On This Day

Famous Deaths on December 6

Saint Nicholas

343 Saint Nicholas [Nikolaos of Myra], Greek Bishop who became the model for Santa Claus, dies at 73 traditional date of death

  • 1185 Afonso I the Conqueror, King of Portugal (1143-85), dies at 76
  • 1352 Clement VI [Pierre Roger], Pope (1342-52), dies
  • 1531 John Volkertsz Trimaker, Dutch anabaptist leader, beheaded
  • 1550 Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Flemish painter, dies at 48
  • 1562 Jan van Scorel, Dutch painter and architect, dies at 67
  • 1598 Elbertus Leoninus, Dutch lawyer/politician, dies at about 78
  • 1618 Jacques Davy Duperron, French Roman Catholic cardinal, dies at 62
  • 1640 Matthijs Elsevier, Flemish/Dutch book publisher/merchant, dies at 75
  • 1651 Anna Roemers Visscher, Dutch poetess, dies at 68
  • 1658 Baltasar Gracian, Spanish writer, dies at 57
  • 1686 Eleonora Gonzaga, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire (1651-57), dies at 56
  • 1716 Benedictus Buns, Dutch Carmelite and composer (b. 1642)
  • 1718 Nicholas Rowe, English poet and dramatist (Tamerlane) Poet Laureate (1715-18), dies at 45
  • 1746 Lady Grizel Baillie, Scottish songwriter (b. 1665)
  • 1771 Giovanni Battista Morgagni, Italian anatomist (b. 1682)
  • 1779 Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, French painter, dies at 80
  • 1788 Jonathan Shipley, British bishop and politician (b. 1714)
  • 1793 Marie Jeanne Becu, Comtesse du Barry, last mistress of Louis XV, beheaded at 50
  • 1799 Joseph Black, Scottish chemist and physicist known for his discoveries of magnesium, latent heat and carbon dioxide, dies at 71
  • 1834 Jonas Daniel Meyer, Dutch lawyer, dies at 54
  • 1855 William John Swainson, English naturalist and artist, dies at 66
  • 1865 Sebastian de Iradier, Spanish composer (Arreglito), dies at 56
  • 1867 Giovanni Pacini, Italian opera composer, and educator, dies at 71
  • 1867 Jean Pierre Flourens, French physiologist, dies at 73
  • 1868 August Schleicher, German linguist (b. 1821)
  • 1869 Jan de Liefde II, Dutch vicar/author (People's Welfare), dies at 54
  • 1873 Manuel Acuña, Mexican poet (Ante un Cadaver), dies at 24
  • 1879 Erastus Brigham Bigelow, American inventor of weaving machine, dies at 65
  • 1882 Alfred Escher, Swiss politician and railroad entrepreneur (b. 1819)
  • 1882 Anthony Trollope, English novelist and poet (Barchester Towers), dies at 67

Jefferson Davis

1889 Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America (1861-65), dies at 81

  • 1889 Jozef Neuhuys [Joseph Hendrikus Neuhuys], Dutch painter, dies at 48
  • 1890 Joe Coburn, Irish boxer (Heavyweight C'ship of America 1863-65), dies from tuberculosis at 55
  • 1891 Émile Bayard, French artist and illustrator, dies at 54

Werner von Siemens

1892 [Ernst] Werner von Siemens, German inventor (siemens electrical conductance unit) and industrialist (Siemens corporation), dies at 75

  • 1903 Frederick Grant Gleason, composer, dies at 54
  • 1914 Eduard Jacobs, Dutch cabaret artist, dies at 47
  • 1920 Karel Kovařovic, Czech composer, dies at 57
  • 1924 Gene Stratton-Porter, American author, screenwriter and naturalist (b. 1863)
  • 1925 Dat So la Lee "Dabuda" or Louise Keyser, Native American (Washoe) basket weaver dies aged about 96
  • 1934 Duke Charles Michael of Mecklenburg, head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, dies at 71
  • 1940 Charlie Hime, cricketer (one Test for South Africa 1895), dies
  • 1941 Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, German author (In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message), dies at 66
  • 1943 Firmin Baes, Flemish painter, dies at 69
  • 1943 Hermann Löhr, British composer, dies at 72
  • 1946 Maximilian Steinberg, Russian composer, dies at 63

Lead Belly

1949 Lead Belly [Huddie William Ledbetter], American blues 12 string guitarist (Rock Island Line), dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at 64

  • 1951 J Edward Bromberg, Hungarian actor (The Mark of Zorro, Under 2 Flags), dies from a heart attack at 47
  • 1951 Harold Ross, American magazine editor and co-founded The New Yorker, dies at 59
  • 1953 Konstanty I Galczynski, Polish poet (Zielona Ges), dies at 48

Honus Wagner

1955 Honus Wagner, American Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop (8 x NL batting champion; 5 × NL RBI / stolen base leader; Pittsburgh Pirates), dies at 81

B.R. Ambedkar

1956 B.R. Ambedkar [Baba Saheb], Indian politician, jurist (architect of the Constitution of India) and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement, dies after suffering from diabetes at 65

  • 1957 Robert Esnault-Pelterie, French engineer and aviation pioneer who contributed to early heavier-than-air flight in Europe, dies at 76
  • 1958 Erwin Bodky, German-American composer, dies at 62
  • 1959 Len Doyle, actor (Harrington-Mr District Attorney), dies at 66
  • 1961 Frantz Fanon, West Indian psychiatrist and philosopher (The Wretched of the Earth), dies of leukemia at 36
  • 1963 Jozef Goossenaerts, Flem philologist (Language Boundary), dies at 81
  • 1964 Consuelo Vanderbilt (b. 1877)
  • 1965 Alberto Vaccari, Italian jesuit/old testament scholar, dies at 90
  • 1966 Hermann Heiss, German composer, dies at 69
  • 1970 Thomas S Power, American USAF-gen (Raid on Tokyo-March 1945), dies at 65
  • 1971 Hugo Godron, Dutch composer, dies at 71
  • 1971 Jan Altink, Dutch painter/co-founder (Plough), dies at 86
  • 1972 Janet Munro, actress (Crawling Eye, Swiss Family Robinson), dies at 38
  • 1973 Justus Hermann Wetzel, composer, dies at 94
  • 1974 Nikolay Kuznetsov, Russian naval commander (Admiral of the Fleet during World War II), dies at 70
  • 1976 João Goulart, President of Brazil (b. 1918)
  • 1983 Lucienne Boyer, French singer (Parlez-moi d'amour), dies at 82
  • 1984 Ruth Cummings, actress (Daybreak, Dream of Love), dies at 90
  • 1985 Burleigh Grimes, American baseball player, dies at 92
  • 1985 Burr Tillstrom, American puppeteer (Kukla Fran & Ollie), dies at 68
  • 1986 Malik Oussekine, Algerian/French student, killed by police at 22
  • 1987 James Dobson, actor (Impulse, Jet Attack, Okinawa), dies
  • 1988 Bill Harris, American guitarist (Clovers-Love Potion No 9), dies at 63
  • 1988 Roy Orbison, American rock singer-songwriter ("Pretty Woman"; "Only The Lonely"; Traveling Wilburys - "Handle With Care"), dies of a massive heart attack at 52
  • 1989 Frances Bavier, American Emmy Award-winning stage and screen actress (The Andy Griffith Show & Mayberry, RFD - "Aunt Bee"), dies of congestive heart failure at 86
  • 1989 Sammy Fain, American popular music composer, dies at 87
  • 1989 John Payne, American actor (The Restless Gun, Miracle on 34th Street), dies aged 77
  • 1989 Gabor Jodal, Romanian composer, dies at 76

Tunku Abdul Rahman

1990 Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's founding father, 1st Prime Minister of Malaya (1957-63) and Malaysia (1963-70), dies at 87

  • 1990 Bob Hamilton, American golfer (PGA C'ship 1944), dies at 74
  • 1990 Pavlos Sidiropoulos, Greek rock singer, songwriter and guitarist (Electric Theseus) dies from a heroin overdose at 42
  • 1991 Ann Sorg Coston, actress (Anna-Aldrich Family), dies at 62
  • 1992 Hank Worden, American actor (The Searcher, Red River), dies of natural causes at 91
  • 1992 Percy Herbert, actor (Capt Apache), dies of heart attack at 72
  • 1992 Yngve Sköld, Swedish composer, dies at 93
  • 1993 Dominic "Don" Ameche, American actor (Cocoon, Trading Places), dies of prostate cancer at 85
  • 1993 Prof Wolfgang Paul, German physicist (Nobel 1989), dies at 80
  • 1993 Rita Macedo, actress (Divinas Palabras), dies of heart attack at 65
  • 1993 Rouaz Lakhdar, Algerian supreme court justice, murdered
  • 1993 Desmond Barel Hirshfield, Lord Hirshfield, British chartered accountant, dies at 80
  • 1994 AJ Bronkhorst, vicar/theologist (Reform The Netherlands), dies at 80
  • 1994 Alan Owen, English screenplay/actor (Hard Day's Night), dies at 69
  • 1994 Gian Maria Volontè, Italian actor (Fistful of Dollars), dies at 61
  • 1995 Dmitri Volkogonov, Russian historian (biographies of Stalin and Lenin) and colonel general, dies at 67
  • 1995 James Reston, American journalist (New York Times), dies at 86
  • 1995 John Trevor Key, British photographer, dies of brain tumour at 48
  • 1995 Kathleen Harrison, English actress (Fast Lady, Big Money), dies at 103
  • 1995 Leslie Wilkinson, journalist, dies at 97
  • 1995 Claire Polin, American composer, dies at 69
  • 1996 Bryan Clieve Roberts, English lawyer and colonial administrator (instrumental in Malawi transition to independence), dies at 83

Pete Rozelle

1996 Pete Rozelle, American football executive (NFL Commissioner 1960-89), dies of brain cancer at 70

  • 1996 (John) Trevor Key, British photographer and graphic designer, t known for his work for album cover art (Mike Oldfield; Phil Collins; New Order; OMD), dies of a brain tumor at 48
  • 1997 Alan Mouncer, film director and producer, dies at 68
  • 1997 Eddie Myers, British WWII soldier and engineer, dies at 91
  • 1997 Eliot Daniel, American composer (I Love Lucy theme), dies at 89
  • 1997 Willy den Ouden, Dutch swimmer (WR 100m freestyle, 1:04.06 1933-56; Olympic gold 4×100m freestyle 1936), dies at 79
  • 1998 César Baldaccini, French sculptor, dies at 77
  • 2000 Werner Klemperer, German-American actor (Judgment at Nuremberg, Hogan's Heroes), dies of cancer at 80
  • 2001 Charles McClendon, Hall of Fame college football coach (b. 1923)
  • 2002 Philip Berrigan, American peace activist and Roman Catholic priest, dies at 79
  • 2003 Carlos Manuel Arana Osorio, President of Guatemala (b. 1918)
  • 2003 Jerry Tuite, American professional wrestler (b. 1966)
  • 2003 Hans Hotter, German bass-baritone (b. 1909)
  • 2004 Raymond Goethals, Belgian football coach (b. 1921)
  • 2005 Charly Gaul, Luxembourg cyclist (b. 1932)
  • 2005 Devan Nair, Singaporean politician, 3rd President of Singapore (1981-85), dies at 82
  • 2005 Danny Williams, South African-born singer (b. 1942)
  • 2006 John Feeney, Documentary film-director (b. 1922)
  • 2007 Katy French, Irish Supermodel and Socialite, dies at 24
  • 2010 Mark Dailey, Canadian television journalist and announcer (b. 1953)
  • 2010 Hugues Cuénod, Swiss tenor and musical educator, dies at 108
  • 2011 Dobie Gray [Lawrence Brown], American musician and singer (Drift Away), dies of cancer at 71
  • 2013 Stan Tracey, British jazz pianist, dies at 86
  • 2014 Fred Hawkins, American golfer (US Masters 1958 runner-up), dies at 91
  • 2015 Holly Woodlawn, transgender Puerto Rican actress (Warhol films), dies at 69
  • 2015 Tony Gomez, British rock keyboardist (The Foundations - "Baby Now That I've Found You"; "Build Me Up Buttercup"), dies at 76
  • 2015 Nicholas Smith, English actor (Are You Being Served?), dies at 81
  • 2016 Peter Vaughan, British actor (Porridge, Game of Thrones), dies at 93
  • 2017 Cy Young, American athlete and only US male to win gold in javelin throwing (1952 Olympics), dies of complications from dementia at 89
  • 2017 William H. Gass, American novelist and philosopher (Omensetter's Luck), dies at 93
  • 2018 Pete Shelley [Peter McNeish], English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Buzzcocks "Going Steady"), dies at 63
  • 2018 Andrew Frierson, pioneering African American opera singer, dies at 94
  • 2018 John "Ace" Cannon, American pop, rock and country music saxophonist (Tuff Sax), dies at 84
  • 2019 Jo Ann Washam, American golfer (Women's PGA C'ship 1975 3rd; 3 LPGA Tour titles), dies at 69
  • 2020 Paul Sarbanes, American politician (Senator-D-MD, 1977-2007, sponsored Sarbanes–Oxley Act), dies at 87
  • 2020 Tabaré Vázquez, Uruguayan politician and physician, President of Uruguay (2005-10, 2015-20), dies at 80 [1]
  • 2020 Neil Armstrong, Canadian ice hockey linesman (1,744 NHL games; Hockey Hall of Fame), dies at 87
  • 2020 Dennis Ralston, American tennis player (4 x Grand Slam doubles champion; Wimbledon singles 1966 runner-up), dies from cancer at 78
  • 2020 Jack Scarbath, American College Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Uni of Maryland; Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers), dies at 90
  • 2020 Petras Bingelis, Lithuania conductor, founder and artistic director (Kaunas State Choir, 1969-2020), dies of Covid-19 at 77
December 6 Highlights