On This Day

Famous Deaths on January 20

  • 250 Fabianus, Pope (236-50)/saint, dies
  • 288 St. Sebastian, early Christian martyr (commemorated as his feast day)
  • 820 Muslim jurist Abu Abdallah M ibn Idris al-Sjafi'i, dies
  • 842 Theophilus, Byzantine kaiser (829-42), dies
  • 882 Louis II/III the Younger, German king (876-82), dies
  • 1156 Bishop Henry, patron saint of Finland
  • 1191 Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia (b. 1167)
  • 1479 John II, King of Aragon and Navarre, dies at 81
  • 1569 Miles Coverdale, English bishop and translator of the Great Bible (the first authorized English translation of the Bible), dies at about 80
  • 1612 Rudolf II von Habsburg, Emperor of Germany (1576-1612), dies at 59
  • 1639 Mustapha I, sultan of Turkey (1622-23), dies
  • 1666 Anna of Austria, Spanish princess, Austrian archduchess, Queen of France as wife of Louis XIII and regent of France (1643-51) for her son Louis XIV, dies of breast cancer at 64
  • 1691 Christiaan de Placker, Flemish poet and composer, dies at 77
  • 1707 Humphrey Hody, English theologian (b. 1659)
  • 1709 François de la Chaise, French confessor of Louis XIV of France, dies at 84
  • 1713 Pavao Vitezovic, Croatian historian, dies
  • 1727 John van Bylevelt, Catholic apostole, dies
  • 1739 Francesco Galli-Bibiena, Italian architect and designer, dies at 80
  • 1745 Charles VII Albert, German Emperor (1742-45), dies at 47
  • 1751 John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, English politician, dies at 85
  • 1770 Charles Yorke, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain (b. 1722)
  • 1779 David Garrick, English actor, producer and writer (Aboan-Oroonoko), dies at 61
  • 1789 Johann Christoph Oley, German composer, dies at 50
  • 1798 Christian Cannabich, German composer/royal chaplain master, dies at 66
  • 1810 Benjamin Chew, Chief Justice of colonial Pennsylvania, dies at 87
  • 1813 Christoph Martin Wieland, German poet and writer (Oberon), dies at 79
  • 1819 Carlos IV [English: Charles], King of Spain (1788-1808), dies at 70
  • 1830 Michal Bogdanowicz, composer, dies at 50
  • 1837 John Soane, English architect (Book of Designs, Soane Museum), dies at 84
  • 1838 Pierre-Louis Hus-Desforges, French cellist and composer, dies at 64
  • 1841 Jørgen Jørgensen, Danish explorer and adventurer (attempted to rule Iceland), dies at 60
  • 1848 Christian VIII, King of Denmark (1839-1848) and King of Norway (1814), dies of blood poisoning at 61
  • 1850 Adam Oehlenschläger, Danish poet (b. 1779)
  • 1857 Edward Francis Fitzwilliam, English composer, dies at 32
  • 1859 Bettina von Arnim, German writer and composer of the Romantic era (This Book Belongs to the King), dies at 73
  • 1862 Felix Zollicoffer, Gen killed after mistakenly riding into Union lines
  • 1873 The Venerable Father Basil Anthony Marie Moreau, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross (b. 1799)
  • 1875 Jean-François Millet, French painter (b. 1814)
  • 1882 John Linnell, British painter/minaturist/engraver, dies
  • 1890 Franz Paul Lachner, German composer, dies at 86
  • 1891 David Kalākaua, King of the Hawaiian Islands (1874-91), dies at 54
  • 1896 Henry von Battenberg, German son-in-law of Queen Victoria, dies at 37
  • 1900 John Ruskin, English writer (Dearest Mama Talbot), dies of flu at 81
  • 1900 R. D. Blackmore, English novelist (Norie, Lorna Doone), dies at 74
  • 1901 Zénobe Gramme, Belgian engineer (Gramme dynamo), dies at 74
  • 1905 Stanislaw Pilinski, French pianist and composer, dies at 65
  • 1914 Emil Liebling, German-American composer, dies at 62
  • 1914 Henry Southwick Perkins, composer, dies at 80
  • 1920 Georg Lurich, Estonian wrestler and strongman of the early 20th century, dies at 43

Person of interestGeorge V

1936 George V, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India (1910-36), dies at 70 after being euthanized by his doctor

King of the United Kingdom George V
King of the United Kingdom
George V
  • 1940 Omar Bundy, U.S. Army general (Spanish–American War in Cuba), dies at 78
  • 1943 Giacomo Benvenuti, Italian composer, dies at 57
  • 1944 James McKeen Cattell, American psychologist, dies at 83
  • 1947 Josh Gibson, Negro League slugger, dies of a brain tumor at age 35
  • 1949 Joseph Cuypers, architect Dutch (Amsterdam Stock Exchange), dies at 87
  • 1952 Arthur Farwell, American composer, dies at 74
  • 1954 Fred Root, cricketer (England pace bowler in 3 Tests v Aus 1926), dies
  • 1954 Warren Bardsley, Australian cricketer (41 Tests for Australia, 2469 runs), dies at 71
  • 1955 Robert P.T. Coffin, American poet ("Strange Holiness", Pulitzer Prize, 1936), writer, and editor (Yankee Magazine), dies of a heart attack at 62
  • 1957 James Connolly, 1st Oly winner (1896) since Barasdates (369 CE), dies
  • 1957 Dudley Benjafield, British racing driver, dies at 69
  • 1960 Matt Moore, Irish-American actor and director (Coquette, Deluge), dies at 72
  • 1962 Robinson Jeffers, poet/playwright (Dear Judas), dies at 75
  • 1964 Jan Rychlik, Czech composer, dies at 47
  • 1965 Alan Freed, American disc jockey who accepted payola and introduced term "rock-n-roll", dies at 42
  • 1971 Broncho Billy Anderson, American actor and the 1st cowboy in a movie (The Great Train, The Lucky Dog), dies at 88
  • 1971 Antonio Bacci, Italian cardinal, dies at 85
  • 1973 Amilcar Cabral, Bissau-Guinean nationalist leader, fought for Guinea Bissau independence, murdered at 51
  • 1973 Lorenz Böhler, Austrian physician (b. 1885)
  • 1974 Edmund Blunden, English poet and critic (Undertones of War) dies at 77
  • 1975 Franz Andre, Belgian conductor, dies at 81
  • 1979 Gustav Winckler, Danish pop singer ("Skibet skal sejle i nat"- "The Ship Is Leaving Tonight"), dies in a car crash at 53
  • 1982 Marc Demeyer, Belgian road racing cyclist (Paris-Brussels 1974), dies at 31
  • 1983 Garrincha, Brazilian footballer, dies at 49

Person of interestJohnny Weissmuller

1984 Johnny Weissmuller, American actor (Tarzan), swimmer (5 Olympic gold 1924, 28), dies of pulmonary edema at 79

Swimmer and Actor Johnny Weissmuller
Swimmer and Actor
Johnny Weissmuller
  • 1985 Jo Juda, Dutch musician (1st concertmaster of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra), dies at 75
  • 1986 Franz Kemser, German 4 man bobsled (Olympic gold 1952), dies at 75
  • 1987 Tom Dollery, cricketer (4 Tests for Eng 1947-50), dies
  • 1988 Philippe de Rothschild, French race-car driver and manager (Bordeaux Vineyard), dies at 86
  • 1988 Dora Stratou, Greek choreographer and folklorist (b. 1903)
  • 1989 Beatrice Lillie, actress (Thoroughly Modern Millie), dies at 94
  • 1989 Alamgir Kabir, Bangladeshi film director (b. 1938)
  • 1989 Halsey Stevens, American composer (Triskelion), dies at 80
  • 1990 Barbara Stanwyck [Ruby Stevens], actress (Big Valley), dies at 82
  • 1990 Miloslav Istvan, composer, dies at 61
  • 1990 Naruhito Higashi-Kuni, Japanese PM (1945), dies
  • 1990 Hayedeh, Persian singer (b. 1942)
  • 1990 Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, Japanese imperial prince and 30th Prime Minister of Japan, dies at 102
  • 1991 Bill Riordon, American tennis promotor (Jimmy Connors), dies
  • 1991 Louis Seigner, actor (Eclipse, Special Section), dies in a fire at 87
  • 1992 Muhammad Abd al-Khaliq Hassuna, Secretary-General of Arab League (1952-72), dies

Person of interestAudrey Hepburn

1993 Audrey Hepburn, British actress (Roman Holiday; Breakfast at Tiffany's; My Fair Lady), dies of colon cancer at 63

  • 1993 Joseph Anthony [Deuster], American playwright, actor, and director (Matchmaker, Tomorrow), dies at 80
  • 1993 Mercer McCleod, entertainer, dies of heart failure at 86
  • 1994 Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenyan vice-pres (1963-66), dies at about 81
  • 1994 Matt Busby, Scottish soccer forward (Manchester City, Liverpool) and manager (Manchester United 1945-69, 70–71; Scotland 1958), dies from cancer at 84
  • 1995 Mehdi Bazargan, director Iranian oil corp/premier (1979), dies at 86
  • 1996 Arley "Buster" Benton, American blues singer and guitarist, dies at 63
  • 1996 David Robin Francis Guy Greville, 8th Duke of Warwick, dies at 61
  • 1996 Ellis Hillman, politician, dies at 68
  • 1996 Liesbeth Askonas, concert agent, dies at 82
  • 1996 Peter Stadlen, Austrian pianist and critic, dies at 85
  • 1996 Sidney Korshak, lawyer, dies at 87
  • 1996 Gerry Mulligan, American jazz baritone saxophonist, composer, and band leader (Jazz on a Summer Day), dies of complications from a knee infection at 68
  • 1997 Curt Flood, American baseball player (St Louis Cards), dies of throat cancer at 59
  • 1997 Edith Haisman, the oldest survivor of Titanic, dies at 100
  • 1997 Vladimir Yamnikov, owner (Kristall vodka), dies of cirrhosis at 56
  • 1998 Zevulun Hammer, Israeli politician, minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel (1996-98), dies at 61
  • 1998 Bobo Brazil [Houston Harris], American professional wrestler, dies at 73
  • 2000 (John) Don Abney, American session and touring jazz pianist, and musical director, dies of kidney disease at 76
  • 2001 Nico Assumpção, Brazilian bass player, dies at 46
  • 2002 Carrie Hamilton, American actress (Fame), dies at 38
  • 2002 Henry Cosby, American songwriter, musician and producer for Motown (Tears of a Clown), dies at 73
  • 2002 Ivan Karabits, Ukrainian composer, conductor, and educator, dies at 57
  • 2003 Al Hirschfeld, American caricaturist (NINA, NY Times), dies at 99
  • 2003 Nedra Volz, American actress (b. 1908)
  • 2003 Bill Werbeniuk, Canadian snooker player (b. 1947)
  • 2004 Guinn Smith, American athlete (1948 Olympic gold medalist), dies of emphysema at 83
  • 2005 Per Borten, 18th Prime Minister of Norway (1965-71), dies at 91
  • 2005 Roland Frye, American literary critic and theologian (b. 1921)
  • 2005 Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Polish journalist, writer, and politician (b. 1913)
  • 2005 Miriam Louisa Rothschild, British zoologist, entomologist, and author (b. 1908)
  • 2007 Anatol Rapoport, Ukrainian-American mathematician and biologist (game theory), dies at 95
  • 2008 Tālivaldis Ķeniņš, Latvian-Canadian composer, organist, and pedagogue, dies at 88
  • 2009 Stéphanos II Ghattas, Patriarch Emeritus of Alexandria for the Coptic Catholic Church (b. 1920)
  • 2009 Stan Hagen, Canadian politician (b. 1940)
  • 2009 David "Fathead" Newman, American jazz saxophonist (Ray Charles - "The Right Time"), dies of pancreatic cancer at 75
  • 2009 Sheila O'Nions Walsh (aka Sheila Walsh, Sophie Leyton), English romance writer (b. 1928)
  • 2011 Bruce Gordon, American actor (The Untouchables), dies after long illness at 94
  • 2012 John F Baker Jnr, United States Army Master Sergeant and Medal of Honour recipient dies at 66
  • 2012 Etta James [Jamesetta Hawkins], American singer, dies from leukaemia at 73
  • 2013 Freddie Williams, Welsh motorcycle speedway champion, dies at 86
  • 2013 Bob Engemann, American singer, (The Lettermen), dies at 77
  • 2014 Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor (La Scala, 1969-86; London Symphony, 1979-87; Berlin Philharmonic, 1989-2002), dies of stomach cancer at 80
  • 2015 Edgar Froese, German musician (Tangerine Dream), dies at 70
  • 2016 George Weidenfeld, British publisher (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), dies at 96
  • 2016 David G. Hartwell, American editor and anthologist, dies at 74
  • 2017 Ronald Mundy, American doo-wop tenor vocalist (The Marcels -"Blue Moon"), dies of pneumonia at 73
  • 2018 Jim Rodford, English rock bassist (The Kinks; Argent; Zombies), dies after a fall at 76
  • 2018 John Coleman, American journalist, co-founder of The Weather Channel and broadcaster (1953-2014), dies at 83
  • 2018 Paul Bocuse, French great chef (Legion of Honor), dies of Parkinson's disease at 91
  • 2018 Jack Whitten, American abstract painter, dies of chronic leukemia at 78
  • 2018 Bob Smith, American author and a groundbreaking gay comedian (The Tonight Show, Funny Gay Males), dies from Lou Gehrig’s disease at 59
  • 2018 Howard Lew Lewis, English comedian and actor (Maid Marian and Her Merry Men and Brush Strokes), dies at 76
  • 2018 Naomi Parker Fraley, American who inspired "Rosie the Riveter" poster, dies at 96
  • 2018 Graeme Langlands, Australian rugby league fullback, captain and coach (24 Tests; St. George), dies from dementia and Alzheimer's disease at 76
  • 2019 Muriel Pavlow, British actress (Murder, She Said, Reach for the Sky), dies at 97
  • 2019 Dumisani Kumalo, South African anti-apartheid activist and UN ambassador, dies at 71
  • 2021 Peter Swan, English soccer defender (19 caps; Sheffield Wednesday, Bury), dies at 84
  • 2021 Ted Thompson, American NFL linebacker (Houston Oilers) and executive (GM Green Bay Packers 2005-17), dies from autonomic disorder at 68
January 20 Highlights