On This Day

Famous Deaths on February 17

  • 364 Jovian (Flavius Jovianus), Christian emperor of Rome (363-64), dies at about 32
  • 440 St. Mesrop Mashtots, Armenian monk, theologian and linguist known for inventing the Armenian alphabet in c. 405 AD, dies b. 361/362)
  • 1339 Otto, Duke of Austria and Styria, dies at 37
  • 1371 Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria
  • 1596 Friedrich Sylburg, German classical scholar (b. 1536)
  • 1600 Giordano Bruno, Italian friar and scholar, advocate of Copernican theory, burned at the stake at 51 or 52
  • 1609 Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, dies at 59
  • 1612 Ernest of Bavaria, Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne, dies at 57
  • 1612 Jodocus Hondius, Flemish cartoonist/mathematician, dies at 48
  • 1624 Juan de Mariana, Spanish historian (b. 1536)
  • 1652 Gregorio Allegri, Italian singer/composer (Miserere), dies at about 67
  • 1654 Michael Lohr, German composer, dies at 62
  • 1659 Abel Servien, French diplomat (b. 1593)
  • 1673 Molière [Jean Baptiste Poquelin], French playwright (The Misanthrope), dies of pulmonary tuberculosis at 51
  • 1680 Jan Swammerdam, Dutch anatomist and entomologist (Bible of Nature), dies at 43
  • 1680 Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer, dies at 81

  • 1688 Rev James Renwick, hanged in Scotland for being a Presbyterian
  • 1715 Antoine Galland, French orientalist and archaeologist, dies at 68
  • 1732 Louis Marchand, composer, dies at 63
  • 1768 Arthur Onslow, English politician (Speaker of the House of Commons 1728-61), dies at 76
  • 1780 Andreas Felix von Oefele, German historian and librarian, dies at 73
  • 1796 James Macpherson, Scottish writer and poet, dies at 59
  • 1815 Franz Gotz, Bohemian composer, dies at 59
  • 1827 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Swiss educator (Leonard & Gertrude), dies at 81
  • 1841 Ferdinando Carulli, composer, dies at 70
  • 1847 William Collins, landscape painter, dies
  • 1852 Micha Joseph Levenson, Hebrew poet, dies
  • 1854 Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais, French Catholic priest and writer (L'avenir), dies at 71
  • 1854 John Martin, English painter and engraver, dies at 64
  • 1856 Heinrich Heine, German poet and lyricist (Schubert, Liszt), dies at 58
  • 1856 John Braham, English tenor singer and composer, dies at 81
  • 1874 Adolphe Quetelet, Belgian astronomer, mathematician and sociologist (body mass index scale), dies at 77
  • 1875 Luis NF Varela, Brazilian romantic poet, dies at 33
  • 1878 José Amador de los Ríos, Spanish historian and poet, dies at 59
  • 1883 Napoléon Coste, French guitarist and composer, dies at 76
  • 1883 Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Indian independence activist and revolutionary, dies at 37

Person of interestChristopher Latham Sholes

1890 Christopher Latham Sholes, American newspaper man, politician and inventor of the typewriter, dies of tuberculosis at 71

Inventor of the QWERTY Keyboard Christopher Latham Sholes
Inventor of the QWERTY Keyboard
Christopher Latham Sholes
  • 1901 Ethelbert Nevin, American pianist and composer, dies at 38
  • 1903 Joseph Parry, Welsh composer and musician, dies at 61
  • 1905 Serge Alexandrovich, gov-gen Moscow, murdered
  • 1907 Henry Steel Olcott, American military officer and co-founder of the Theosophical Society, dies at 74

Person of interestGeronimo

1909 Geronimo [one who yawns], Apache chief, dies at 79

Apache Leader Geronimo
Apache Leader
Geronimo
  • 1912 Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal, Austrian diplomat (Foreign Minister of Austria-Hungary 1906-12), dies at 57
  • 1917 Edmund Bishop, English Roman Catholic historian and Secretary of Thomas Carlyle, dies at 70

Person of interestWilfrid Laurier

1918 Wilfrid Laurier, 7th Prime Minister of Canada (Liberal: 1896-1911), dies of a stroke at 76

Prime Minister of Canada Wilfrid Laurier
Prime Minister of Canada
Wilfrid Laurier
  • 1924 Oskar Merikanto, composer, dies at 55

Person of interestHenry Bacon

1924 Henry Bacon, American architect (Lincoln Memorial), dies at 57

Architect Henry Bacon
Architect
Henry Bacon
  • 1929 John Read, cricketer (batted in 17 Tests for Eng for 463 runs), dies
  • 1932 Franz Gailliard, Belgian painter and graphic artist (Egina), dies at 70
  • 1933 Henri Viotta, Dutch conductor and composer (Handbook of Music), dies at 84
  • 1934 Albert I, King of Belgium (1909-34), dies at 58
  • 1934 Siegbert Tarrasch, German chess player (b. 1862)
  • 1936 Erich Schaeder, German theologist (Theozentrische), dies at 74
  • 1939 Willy Hess, German violinist, dies at 79
  • 1943 Armand J. Piron, American jazz violinist and composer, dies at 54
  • 1943 Konstantin Bogaevsky, Russian painter (b. 1872)
  • 1944 Fausto Agnelli, Swiss painter, dies at 64
  • 1951 Nikoghayos Fadeyi Tigranyan, Armenian composer, dies at 94
  • 1954 Evert Gorter, children artist (Kindergeneeskunde), dies at 72
  • 1955 Otto J Gombosi, Hungarian-American musicologist, dies of a heart attack at 52
  • 1958 Hugh McCrae, Australian writer and poet (Satyrs and Sunlight: Sylvarum Libri), dies at 81
  • 1959 Kathryn Adams, actress (Meet the Chump, 5th Avenue Girl), dies
  • 1959 Tim Mara, American founder and administrator (NFL NY Giants), dies at 59
  • 1961 Nita Naldi, actress (Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde), dies of heart attack at 63
  • 1962 Bruno Walter, German symphony conductor (NY Philharmonic), dies at 85
  • 1962 Joseph Kearns, actor (George-Dennis the Menace), dies at 55
  • 1966 Frank Pettingell, actor (Becket, Up the Creek), dies at 75
  • 1966 Gail Kane, actress (White Sister, Arizona), dies at 81
  • 1966 Hans Hofmann, German/American painter (Search for the Real), dies at 85
  • 1968 Donald Wolfit, British actor (Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, Accursed), dies of heart ailment at 65
  • 1970 Alfred Newman, American composer, dies at 69
  • 1970 Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Jewish writer (Nobel Prize for Literature 1966), dies at 81
  • 1971 Teddy Hart, American actor (After the Thin Man, 3 Men on a Horse), dies at 73
  • 1972 Gavril Nikolayevich Popov, Soviet Russian composer, dies at 67
  • 1976 Jean Servais, Belgian actor (Le Plaisir, Every Man is My Enemy), dies from heart failure at 65
  • 1977 Quincy Howe, American broadcaster (CBS Weekend News), dies at 76
  • 1977 Janani Luwum, Ugandan Archbishop (b. 1922)
  • 1979 "Bill" William Gargan, American actor (The Bells of St. Mary's, You Only Live Once), dies from a heart attack at 73
  • 1980 Graham Sutherland, English artist (official WWII war artist), dies at 76
  • 1980 Jerry Fielding, American jazz musician and composer (Lively Ones, Hogan's Heroes), dies at 57
  • 1982 Lee Strasberg, Austrian acting coach and actor (The Godfather: Part II, Somewhere in the Night), dies at 80
  • 1982 Nestor Chylak, American baseball umpire (b. 1922)
  • 1982 Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist and composer (Straight, No Chaser; 'Round Midnight), dies of a stroke at 64
  • 1984 Lucille Benson, American actress (Halloween II, 1941, Bosom Buddies), dies of liver cancer at 69
  • 1985 Wanda Perry, actress (Roberta, Death of a Salesman), dies at 67
  • 1986 Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher (Kingdom Happiness), dies at 90
  • 1987 Hal K Dawson, actor (Another Language, Wells Fargo), dies
  • 1987 Verree Teasdale, actress (Skyscraper Souls), dies
  • 1989 Lefty Gomez, pitching great (NY Yankees), dies at 80
  • 1990 Erik Rhodes [Ernest Sharpe], American actor (Top Hat, Night at the Ritz), dies of pneumonia at 84
  • 1990 Frans Kellendonk, Dutch writer (Good for Nothing), dies at 39

  • 1990 Marc Clement, actor (Career Opportunities, Sluggers Wife), dies
  • 1990 Hap Day, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame defenceman (Stanley Cup 1932 [captain], 42, 45, 47, 48, 1949 [coach], 1951 [assistant manager]; Toronto Maple Leafs), dies at 88
  • 1991 Enrique Bermudez, commandant (Contra), dies
  • 1993 Alfredo de Leon, leader (Philippines Red Scorpio Gang), killed
  • 1993 George E Wilburn, film editor, dies of emphysema at 77
  • 1993 Leslie Townsend, cricket all-rounder (England in 4 Tests 1930-34), dies
  • 1994 Randy Shilts, American journalist (& the band played on), dies of AIDs at 41
  • 1995 Jan Bart Klaster, music editor (The Slogan), dies at 50
  • 1995 Thelma Hulbert, English painter (Le Sacre du Printemps), dies at 81
  • 1995 Timothy Hugh Brown, theatre critic, dies at 52
  • 1995 Uta Graf, singer/teacher, dies at 80
  • 1996 Bentley Bridgewater, British Museum secretary, dies at 84
  • 1996 Jean Writer-Pierre Herve Bazin, dies at 84
  • 1996 Michel Pablo [Michalis N. Raptis], Chilean-Greek writer and Trotskyist revolutionary (Fourth International), dies at 84
  • 1996 [Elsie] Evelyn Laye, actress/singer (Sun Child), dies at 95
  • 1996 Hervé Bazin, French writer (Head Against the Wall), dies at 84
  • 1996 Gus Hardin [Carolyn Ann Blankenship], American country singer, dies at 50
  • 1997 Zein Isa, Palestinian militant imprisoned in the United States for the honor killing of his daughter
  • 1998 Bob Merrill, American composer and lyricist (People, Mambo Italiano), commits suicide at 72
  • 1998 Ernst Jünger, German author and entomologist (Storm of Steel), dies at 102
  • 1999 Shirley Stoler, American actress (The Honeymoon Killers, Seven Beauties), dies at 69
  • 2001 Khalid Abdul Muhammed, American Nation of Islam spokesman (b. 1948)
  • 2001 Bob Geary, Canadian football player and manager (b. 1933)
  • 2003 Frank Thistlethwaite, English academic and Vice Chancellor (University of East Anglia), dies at 87
  • 2004 José López Portillo, President of Mexico (b. 1920)
  • 2004 Shirley Strickland de la Hunty, Australian 100m dash (Olympic bronze 1948), dies at 78
  • 2005 Daniel "Dan" O'Herlihy, Irish actor (Twin Peaks, Fail Safe, Last Starfighter, Robocop), dies of natural causes at 85
  • 2005 Omar Sívori, Argentine soccer forward and manager (19 caps Argentina, 9 caps Italy; Juventus), dies of pancreatic cancer at 69
  • 2006 Ray Barretto, Puerto Rican American congo drummer (El Watusi), dies at 76
  • 2006 Bill Cowsill, American singer (The Cowsills), dies at 58

  • 2007 Jurga Ivanauskaitė, Lithuanian writer (b. 1961)
  • 2007 Mike Awesome, American professional wrestler (b. 1965)
  • 2007 Dermot O'Reilly, Irish-born Canadian musician, producer and songwriter (b. 1943)
  • 2007 Maurice Papon, French Nazi collaborator (b. 1910)
  • 2008 Brian Harris, English footballer (b. 1935)
  • 2009 Gazanfer Özcan, Turkish actor (b. 1931)
  • 2009 Conchita Cintrón, Chilean bullfighter (b. 1922)
  • 2010 Kathryn Grayson [Zelma Hedrick], American vocalist and actress (Anchors Aweigh, Kiss Me Kate), dies of natural causes at 88
  • 2011 Egbert van Paridon, Dutch actor and director (Flodder, The Assault), dies at 90
  • 2012 Ulric Neisser, American psychologist, dies at 83
  • 2013 Richard Briers, English actor, dies from emphysema at 79
  • 2013 Mindy McCready, American country singer, commits suicide by gunshot at 37
  • 2014 Bob Casale, American musician, dies from heart failure at 61
  • 2015 Andrzej Koszewski, Polish composer, dies at 92
  • 2016 Andy Ganteaume, Trinidadian cricketer (West Indian batsman who scored 112 in his only Test innings 1948), dies at 95
  • 2016 Tony Phillips, American MLB player (Oakland Athletics), dies at 56
  • 2017 Peter Richardson, British cricketer (England batsman mid-50's), dies at 85
  • 2017 Magnus Wenninger, American mathematician and author of Polyhedron models, dies at 97
  • 2017 Alan Aldridge, British artist, graphic designer and illustrator whose artwork was used in record covers for The Beatles and The Who, dies at 73
  • 2017 Warren Frost, American actor (Twin Peaks, Matlock, Seinfeld), dies at 91
  • 2018 Arno Motulsky, German-born founder of medical genetics, known as the "father of pharmacogenomics," dies at 94
  • 2019 Ethel Ennis, American jazz singer (If Women Ruled The World), dies of a stroke at 86 [1]
  • 2020 Terry Lineen, New Zealand rugby union centre (12 caps; Auckland), dies at 84

Person of interestMickey Wright

2020 Mickey Wright, American golfer (13 major titles; 82 LPGA Tour wins), dies from a heart attack at 85

LPGA Golfer Mickey Wright
LPGA Golfer
Mickey Wright