On This Day

Famous Deaths on January 21

  • 304 Saint Agnes (martyred) (b. 291)
  • 879 Boudouin with the Iron Arm, earl of Flanders, dies
  • 917 Erchanger, Duke of Swabia (c. 880)
  • 1059 Michael I Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople (1043-59) whose excommunication by Rome caused the Great Schism, dies (b. c. 1000)
  • 1118 Pope Paschal II, born Raniero (1099-1118) dies
  • 1519 Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Spanish explorer (b. 1475)
  • 1527 Juan de Grijalva, Spanish conquistador (c. 1489)
  • 1546 Azai Sukemasa, Japanese samurai and warlord (b. 1491)
  • 1596 John Ligarius, German theologist/prime minister, dies at 66
  • 1609 Joseph Justus Scaliger, French inventor of "Julian Period", dies at 68
  • 1626 John Dowland, English composer (In Darkness We Dwell), dies at 62
  • 1638 Ignazio Donati, Italian composer (c. 1570)
  • 1665 Domenico Mazzocchi, Italian Baroque composer, dies at 72
  • 1670 Honorat de Brueil seigneur de Racan, French playwright, dies at 80
  • 1683 Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st earl of Shaftesbury, dies at 61
  • 1686 Nicolas-Francois Blondel, French architect, dies
  • 1699 Obadiah Walker, English writer (b. 1616)
  • 1704 Willem B Schepers, Dutch merchant/ship owner, dies at about 83
  • 1706 Adrien Baillet, French scholar and critic, dies at 56
  • 1710 Johann Georg Gichtel, German mystic and religious leader, dies at 71
  • 1722 Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton, English supporter of William III of England (b. 1661)
  • 1731 Thomas Woolston, English theologian (b. 1669)
  • 1746 Gottfried Kirchhoff, German composer, dies at 60
  • 1766 James Quin, British actor (Covent Garden Theatre), dies at 72
  • 1773 Alexis Piron, French dramatist (La Métromanie), dies at 83
  • 1774 Mustafa III, Ottoman Sultan (b. 1717). Reigns 1757 to 1774. Dies at 56

ExecutionLouis XVI

1793 Louis XVI, French King (1774-93), beheaded during the French Revolution at 38

  • 1795 Samuel Wallis, English explorer (Wallis Island), dies at 66
  • 1809 Josiah Hornblower, American statesman (b. 1729)
  • 1814 Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, French writer and botanist (b. 1737)
  • 1815 M Claudius, writer, dies at 74
  • 1815 Matthias Claudius, German poet, dies at 74
  • 1823 Cayetano José Rodríguez, Argentine cleric, journalist and poet (b. 1761)
  • 1831 Achim v Arnim, writer, dies at 49
  • 1851 (Gustav) Albert Lortzing, German Spieloper composer and actor (Zar und Zimmerman), dies at 49
  • 1859 Henry Hallam, British lawyer and historian, dies at 81
  • 1870 Alexander Herzen, Russian writer (b. 1812)
  • 1871 John J Rochussen, gov-general of Neth-Indies (1845-51), dies at 73
  • 1872 Franz Grillparzer, Austrian playwright (Sappho/Libussa), dies at 81
  • 1881 Wilhelm Matthias Naeff, Swiss Federal Councilor (b. 1802)
  • 1882 Anton Emil Titl, Austrian composer, dies at 72
  • 1883 Jacopo Tomadini, Italian composer, dies at 62
  • 1884 Auguste Franchomme, French cellist and composer, dies at 75
  • 1888 Stephan Hale Alonzo Marsh, composer, dies at 83
  • 1891 Calixa Lavallee, Canadian composer (O Canada), dies at 48
  • 1892 John Couch Adams, English astronomer (co-discover Neptune), dies at 72
  • 1894 Guillaume Lekeu, Belgian composer (Épithalame), dies of typhoid fever at 24
  • 1901 Elisha Gray, American inventor (telephone prototype), dies at 65
  • 1903 Hermanus J A M Schaepman, Dutch clergyman/politician, dies at 58
  • 1914 Theodor Kittelsen, Norwegian artist (b. 1857)
  • 1919 Gojong, Emperor Gwangmu of Korea (1897-1907), dies at 66

Vladimir Lenin

1924 Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin, Russian Revolutionary leader and Premier, dies of a stroke at 53

Camillo Golgi

1926 Camillo Golgi, Italian physician and medical researcher (Nobel Prize in Medicine-1906), dies at 81

  • 1927 Floris H Verster, Dutch painter/cartoonist/etcher, dies at 65
  • 1928 George Washington Goethals, American army general and civil engineer who supervised the construction of the Panama Canal, dies at 69
  • 1931 Felix Blumenfeld, Russian composer, conductor and pianist, dies at 67
  • 1932 [Giles] Lytton Strachey, English biographer and critic, dies at 51
  • 1933 George A. Moore, Irish novelist (b. 1852)
  • 1937 Marie Prevost, Canadian actress (b. 1898)
  • 1938 George Méliès, French early filmmaker (A Trip to the Moon), dies at 76
  • 1942 Henryk Opieński, Polish violinist, conductor, choral director, composer (Zygmunt August and Barbara), and musicologist (Moniuszko), dies at 72
  • 1943 Otakar Sini, composer, dies at 61
  • 1944 Gustaaf DFL Schamelhout, Flemish physician/writer, dies at 74
  • 1944 Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, German major and pilot, shot down
  • 1945 Rash Behari Bose, Indian revolutionary leader against the British Raj in India, dies at 58
  • 1948 Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Italian light opera composer, dies at 72

George Orwell

1950 George Orwell, British author (Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four), dies in London at 46

  • 1955 Maarten Pleun Vrij, Dutch lawyer and criminologist, dies at 59
  • 1955 Archie Hahn, American sprinter, dies at 74
  • 1956 Sam Langford, Canadian boxer (b. 1883)
  • 1957 Arthur L Bowley, English statistician/economist, dies at 87
  • 1959 Carl Switzer, American actor (Our Gang, Beginner's Luck, General Spanky), shot by an acquaintance at 31
  • 1959 Lamar Stringfield, American composer, dies at 61

Cecil B. DeMille

1959 Cecil B. DeMille, American filmmaker (The Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah), dies of heart failure at 77

  • 1961 John Joseph Becker, composer, dies a day before 75th birthday
  • 1962 André Lhote, French painter and art historian (Traité du paysage), dies at 76
  • 1963 Al St John, actor (Law & Order, Devil Riders), dies at 70
  • 1963 Franz Jung, German writer and political activist, dies at 74
  • 1964 Joseph Schildkraut, Austrian actor (Cleopatra, Joseph Schildkraut Presents, Diary of Anne Frank), dies from a heart attack at 68
  • 1965 Harvey Zorbaugh, doctor/TV host (Play the Game), dies at 68
  • 1967 Ann Sheridan, American actress (They Drive by Night, Dodge City, Another World), dies of cancer at 51
  • 1968 Will Lang Jr., American magazine executive (b. 1914)
  • 1971 Richard B Russell, (Sen-D-Ga), dies at 73
  • 1974 Jan Arends, Dutch poet/author, dies at 48
  • 1974 Ken Viljoen, cricketer (played 27 Tests for South Africa 1930-47), dies
  • 1974 Lewis L Strauss, head US Atomic Energy Comm (1953-58), dies at 78
  • 1975 Marie Lohr, actress (Pygmalion, Small Hotel, Escapade), dies at 84
  • 1975 Ernst Gernot Klussmann, German composer, dies at 73
  • 1977 John Vincent, American composer, dies at 74
  • 1977 Zoltan Vasarhelyi, composer, dies at 76
  • 1977 Sandro Penna, Italian poet, dies at 70
  • 1978 Freda Utley, British scholar and author. (b. 1898)
  • 1981 Allyn Joslyn, American actor (They Won't Forget, Cafe Society), dies at 79
  • 1981 Norman Stronge, former Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament, assassinated by IRA alongside son James
  • 1981 James Stronge former Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament, assassinated by IRA, alongside his father Norman
  • 1983 Lamar Williams, American musician (The Allman Brothers Band), dies of cancer at 34
  • 1984 Jackie Wilson, American soul singer-songwriter and performer ("Lonely Teardrops"; "Higher And Higher": "I Get the Sweetest Feeling"), dies at 49
  • 1984 Giannis Skaribas, Greek writer, dramatist, and poet (b. 1893)
  • 1985 James Beard, American culinary expert and author (Delights & Prejudices), dies at 81
  • 1985 Eddie Graham, American professional wrestler and promoter (b. 1930)
  • 1987 Pieter G Buckinx, Flemish writer (7th Day), dies at 83
  • 1987 Charles Goodell, American politician (b. 1926)
  • 1988 Abraham Sofaer, Burmese born British actor (Naked Jungle, Elephant Walk), dies at 91
  • 1989 Billy [Dorothy] Tipton, American jazz pianist/saxophonist/bandleader, dies at 74
  • 1989 Carl Furillo, American Baseball player (b. 1922)
  • 1991 Frank Mitchell, actor (Music is Magic, Prairie Gunsmoke), dies
  • 1992 Champion Jack [William Thomas] Dupree, American boxer and pianist, dies at 81
  • 1993 Charlie Gehringer, American Baseball Hall of Fame 2nd baseman (Detroit Tigers, 6-time MLB All Star), dies at 89
  • 1993 Jan Zimmer, Slovak composer, dies at 66
  • 1994 Basel al-Assad, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad's son and chosen successor, dies in car accident at 31
  • 1995 Flavio "Negao" Pires da Conceicao, drug Trafficker, dies at 25
  • 1995 John Halas, Hungarian-American cartoonist and animator (Animal Farm), dies at 82
  • 1995 Philippe Casado, Moroccan/French cyclist, dies at 30
  • 1996 Roman Ciesiewicz, artist/graphic designer, dies at 65
  • 1996 Sam Green, industrialist/inventor, dies at 88
  • 1996 René Marc Jalbert, sergeant-at-Arms at the National Assembly of Quebec (b. 1921)
  • 1996 Roman Cieślewicz, Polish French artist, graphic designer, dies at 66
  • 1997 Dennis Main-Wilson, British TV and radio producer (Marty, Till Death Us Do Part), dies of lung cancer at 72
  • 1997 Michael Duane, British progressive educationalist and author, dies at 81
  • 1997 Colonel Tom Parker [Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk], Dutch-born talent manager (Elvis Presley), dies at 87
  • 1998 Larry Gilbert, American golfer (Senior Players Championship 1997), dies of lung cancer at 55
  • 1998 Jack Lord, American actor (Hawaii FIVE-O), dies at 77
  • 1999 Leslie French, British actor and singer (Death in Venice, More than a Miracle), dies at 94
  • 1999 Charles Brown, American blues singer and pianist (Merry Christmas Baby), dies at 76
  • 1999 Susan Strasberg, American actress (b. 1938)
  • 1999 Jacques Chailley, French musicologist and composer, dies at 88
  • 2001 Byron de la Beckwith, American white supremacist, dies at 80
  • 2002 Peggy Lee [Norma Delores Egstrom], American singer ("Fever"; "Is That All There Is?"), songwriter ("Mañana"), and actress (Pete Kelly's Blues; Lady and the Tramp), dies of a heart attack at 81
  • 2003 Paul Haines, American-born Canadian poet (b. 1933)
  • 2004 Yordan Radichkov, Bulgarian writer and playwright (The Tied Up Balloon), dies at 74
  • 2005 Theun de Vries, Dutch writer (The Girl with the Red Hair), dies at 97
  • 2005 John L. Hess, American journalist (b. 1917)
  • 2005 Parveen Babi, Indian actress (b. 1955)
  • 2006 Ibrahim Rugova, Kosovar nationalist writer and President of Kosovo (1992-2006), dies at 61
  • 2006 Bedanand Jha, Nepalese politician
  • 2007 Maria Cioncan, Romanian athlete (b. 1977)
  • 2007 U;Nee, Korean pop artist (b. 1981)
  • 2008 Pam Barrett, Canadian politician (b. 1953)
  • 2008 Marie Smith Jones, last native speaker of the Eyak language (b. 1918)
  • 2009 Pat Crawford, Australian cricketer (Australian pace bowler 1956), dies at 75
  • 2010 Paul Quarrington, Canadian novelist, playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, musician and educator (b. 1953)
  • 2011 E. V. V. Satyanarayana, Indian Telugu Film Director, screenwriter and producer, dies at 54
  • 2011 Dennis Oppenheim, American conceptual artist (b.1938)
  • 2012 Jonathan Idema, American torturer, kidnapper and con-artist, dies from Aids complications at 55
  • 2012 Roy John Britten, American molecular biologist (repeated DNA sequences in eukaryotic genomes), dies of pancreatic cancer at 92
  • 2013 Michael Winner, English film director and producer (Death Wish), dies at 77
  • 2013 Alden Winship Clausen, American banker (President of World Bank), dies at 89
  • 2013 Michael Adamis, Greek electro-acoustic music composer, dies at 83
  • 2015 Martin Honeysett, British cartoonist (Punch, Private Eye), dies at 71
  • 2015 Pauline Yates, British actress (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin), dies at 85
  • 2015 Leon Brittan, British politician, Home Secretary and member of the European Commission, dies at 75
  • 2015 Waldemar Kmentt, Austrian operatic tenor (Vienna State Opera, 1951-2005), dies at 85
  • 2016 Bill Johnson, alpine skier (first American to win alpine Olympic gold - 1984), dies at 55
  • 2017 Emma Tennant, English writer (Pemberley: Or, Pride and Prejudice Continued), dies at 79
  • 2017 Maggie Roche, Irish-American singer-songwriter (The Roches - "Hammond Song"), dies of cancer at 65
  • 2017 Veljo Tormis, Estonian composer, specializing in choral music (Curse Upon Iron (Raua needmine)), dies at 86
  • 2018 Connie Sawyer [Rosie Cohen], American actress known as "The Clown Princess of Comedy" (Pineapple Express, Dumb and Dumber), dies at 105
  • 2018 Chartchai Chionoi, Thai boxer (WBC/WBA flyweight champion), dies of Parkinson's disease at 75
  • 2018 David Pithey, Rhodesian cricket all-rounder (8 Tests for South Africa), dies from Alzheimer's disease at 81
  • 2019 Russell Baker, American columnist, author and humorist (NY Times) dies at 93
  • 2019 Kaye Ballard, American stage and screen actress, comedienne, and singer (Mothers-in-Law - "Kaye"), dies at 93
  • 2019 Harris Wofford, American politician (Sen-D-Pennsylvania 1991-94), head of AmeriCorps, dies at 92
  • 2019 Maxine Brown, American country music singer (Browns), dies at 87
  • 2020 Terry Jones, Welsh comedian (Monty Python), dies from complications of dementia at 77
  • 2020 Morgan Wootten, American Basketball Hall of Fame coach (46 seasons DeMatha Catholic HS, Hyattsville, Maryland; National C'ships 1962, 65, 68, 78, 84), dies at 88
  • 2021 David Bolton, English rugby league five eighth (23 caps Great Britain; Wigan, Balmain) and coach (Parramatta), dies at 83
January 21 Highlights