On This Day

Famous Deaths on May 16

  • 583 Saint Brendan, Irish navigator (b. 484)
  • 942 Saadiah Gaon, head of Talmudic Academy of Sura, dies
  • 1265 Saint Simon Stock, English saint (b. 1165)
  • 1434 Pieter Appelmans, Flemish architect/master builder, dies at about 60
  • 1569 Dirk Willems, Anabaptist Martyr
  • 1620 William Adams, English navigator and 1st ever Western Samurai, dies at 55
  • 1657 Andrzej Bobola, Polish Jesuit missionary (b. 1591)
  • 1667 Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, English statesman (b. 1607)
  • 1669 Pietro da Cortona [Berrettini], painter/architect, dies
  • 1669 Reyer Anslo, writer/poet, dies at about 42
  • 1691 Jacob Leisler, becomes 1st American colonist hanged for treason

Charles Perrault

1703 Charles Perrault, French author and fairy tale writer (Tales of Mother Goose), dies at 75

  • 1754 Giovanni Carlo Maria Clari, Italian composer, dies at 76
  • 1762 Ernst Christian Hesse, German composer, dies at 86
  • 1768 Cornelis Writer, fleet supervisor, dies at about 81
  • 1778 Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, English diplomat and politician, dies at 59
  • 1782 Daniuel Charles Solander, botanist, dies
  • 1790 Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, English politician, dies at 70
  • 1805 Christiaan Brunings, Dutch hydraulic engineer, dies at 68
  • 1819 Alexander van Bylandt, military, dies at 75
  • 1829 William Congreve, English artillery officer and inventor who designed fire rockets, dies at 56
  • 1830 Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, mathematician, dies
  • 1835 Felicia Dorothea Hemans, poet/hymn writer, dies
  • 1847 Kaspar Ett, German organist/composer, dies at 59
  • 1862 Lev A Ms, Russian nobleman/poet, dies at 40
  • 1862 Joseph L. Hogg, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies at 55
  • 1863 Lloyd Tilghman, Confederate brigadier general, dies in battle at 47
  • 1864 Lean Bear, Cheyenne chief, murdered
  • 1880 Karl August Krebs, composer, dies at 76
  • 1891 Ion Brătianu, Romanian statesman (b. 1821)
  • 1892 John Banvard, American artist who painted worlds largest painting (3 mile canvas), dies at 75
  • 1892 Théodore-Joseph Canneel, Flemish painter, dies at 74
  • 1903 Eduard Rappoldi, composer, dies at 72
  • 1904 N I Bobrikov, Russian governor-general in Finland, dies
  • 1910 Henri E Cross [Delacroix], French painter, dies at 53
  • 1913 Louis Perrier, Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council, dies at 63
  • 1918 Eusapia Palladino, Italian spiritual medium, dies at 64
  • 1920 Levi P. Morton, United States Vice President under Benjamin Harrision (b. 1824)
  • 1924 William "Candy" Cummings, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (credited with creating the curveball), dies at 75
  • 1926 Mehmed VI Vahideddin (Mohammed Osman), last sultan of Turkey, dies
  • 1928 Edmund Gosse, English poet, author (Father & Son) and critic, dies at 78
  • 1929 Lilli Lehmann, soprano, dies
  • 1932 Ki Imukai, premier of Japan (1931-32), murdered
  • 1932 William Pember Reeves, politician/poet, dies
  • 1938 Stephen Fairbairn, oarsman/coach, dies
  • 1942 Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski, anthropologist, dies
  • 1943 Alfred Hoche, German psychiatrist (b. 1865)
  • 1944 George Ade, American playwright, writer and humorist (Counsel Widow, Fables in Slang), dies at 78
  • 1944 Leone Sinigaglia, Italian composer, dies at 75
  • 1944 Max Brand [Frederick Schiller Faust], western author, dies
  • 1944 Ferdinand Alphons Marie van der Ham, Dutch WW II resistance fighter, dies at 27
  • 1947 Frederick Gowland Hopkins, British biochemist (Nobel Prize 1929), dies at 85
  • 1949 William Newzam Prior Nicholson, painter/engraver, dies
  • 1952 Alec Hearne, English cricket batsman (1 Test; Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1894; Kent), dies at 88
  • 1952 Frances Benjamin Johnston, American pioneering female photographer

Django Reinhardt

1953 Django Reinhardt, Belgium born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer considered the most significant European jazz musician, dies at 43

  • 1954 Clemens Krauss, Austrian conductor (Vienna State Opera), dies at 61
  • 1954 Werner Bischof, Swiss photographer (Magnum), dies accidentally in a road accident at 38
  • 1955 James Agee, American author (African Queen, Death in Family), dies at 45
  • 1956 H. B. Reese, American inventor of Reese's, dies at 76
  • 1957 Eliot Ness, American federal agent "The Untouchables" (put away Al Capone), dies of a heart attack at 54
  • 1957 Dick Irvin, Canadian ice hockey player and coach (Chicago Black Hawks), dies at 64
  • 1958 Jeroom Verten [Jozef Frans Vermetten], Flemish playwright, dies at 49
  • 1959 Joe Cook, Stage comedian, dies at 69
  • 1959 Elisha Scott, Northern Irish footballer (b. 1894)
  • 1961 George A. Malcolm, American jurist (17th Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court) and educator, dies at 79
  • 1963 Oleg Penkovsky, Soviet military intelligence (GRU), dies at 44
  • 1966 Randy Turpin, British middleweight boxer, shot dead in his home at 37
  • 1969 Johnny Jordan, English cameraman (You Only Live Twice), dies at 44
  • 1971 Barney Stanley, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame forward (Stanley Cup 1915, Vancouver Millionaires; coach Chicago Black Hawks 1927-28), dies at 77
  • 1972 Maxime Dumoulin, French composer, dies at 79
  • 1975 Michael X, (Abdul Malik), hanged in Trinidad, for murder
  • 1977 Edouard Van Remoortel, Belgian conductor (St Louis Symphony, 1958-62), dies at 50
  • 1978 William Steinberg, German-American conductor (Pittsburgh Symphony, 1952-76; Boston Symphony, 1969-71), dies at 78
  • 1979 A. Philip Randolph, American labor leader (Railroad Porter's Union) dies at 90
  • 1981 Ernie Freeman, American musician (Raunchy), pianist and arranger, dies at 58
  • 1983 Carel Brons, Dutch composer, dies at 52
  • 1984 Andy Kaufman, American comedian and actor (Latka-Taxi), dies of cancer at 35
  • 1984 Irwin Shaw, American writer (Rich Man, Poor Man), dies at 71
  • 1984 Wessel Couzijn, Dutch sculptor and cartoonist (Auschwitz-monument), dies at 71

Margaret Hamilton

1985 Margaret Hamilton, American character actress (The Wizard of Oz), dies of a heart attack at 82

  • 1988 Kay Baxter, American bodybuilder (NPC Gold's Classic 1981), dies in car crash at 42
  • 1988 Louise Wood, director of Girl Scouts of USA (1961-72), dies at 78
  • 1988 Charles Keeping, English illustrator (b. 1924)
  • 1989 Hassan Khaled, sheik of Lebanon, murdered
  • 1990 Dag Drollet, Cheyenne Brando's boyfriend killed by her brother Christian

Jim Henson

1990 Jim Henson, American puppeteer, artist, screenwriter and filmmaker, and creator of 'the Muppets" (Sesame Street; The Muppet Show), dies of toxic shock syndrome caused by pneumonia at 53

Sammy Davis Jr.

1990 Sammy Davis Jr., American vaudeville, stage, and screen dancer, singer ("The Candy Man"), actor (Ocean's 11), and Rat Pack member, dies of throat cancer at 64

  • 1991 Prudence Nesbitt, British actress/TV producer, dies
  • 1992 Marisa Mell, actress (Hostages), dies of cancer at 53
  • 1992 Chalino Sánchez, Mexican musician, murdered at 31
  • 1993 Marv Johnson, American R&B pianist, songwriter, and singer ("You Got What It Takes"; "(You've Got To) Move Two Mountains"), dies of a stroke at 54
  • 1993 Madan Kumar Bhandari, Nepalese politician (Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)), dies at 41
  • 1994 Alain Cuny, French actor (La Dolce Vita, Detective, Weite Land, Emmanuelle), dies at 85
  • 1994 Barbara Jean Jones, fictional character on General Hospital, dies at 7
  • 1994 Phani Majumdar, film director, dies at 82
  • 1994 Vasek Simek, Czech/American actor (Green Card, Mistress), dies at 66
  • 1995 Lola Flores, Spanish singer, dancer and actress (Kuma Ching, Faraona), dies at 70
  • 1995 Ragnhild Marie Hatton, Norwegian historian, dies at 82
  • 1996 Edward McInnes, German scholar, dies at 60
  • 1996 Jeremy Boorda, U.S. Navy admiral (25th Chief of Naval Operations), commits suicide at 56
  • 1996 Pierre Debizet, resistance fighter/special agent, dies at 72
  • 1997 Elbridge Durbrow, American diplomat (b. 1903)
  • 1997 Horace "Bones" McKinney, American basketball forward, coach and broadcaster (Washington Capitols, Wake Forest), dies at 78
  • 2000 Bodacious the Bull Famous rodeo bull (b. 1988)
  • 2000 William Ferris, American composer and conductor (William Ferris Chorale, 1971-2000), dies while conducting a rehearsal of Verdi's Requiem at 63
  • 2001 Brian Pendleton, English musician (The Pretty Things) (b. 1944)
  • 2002 Alec Campbell, the last surviving ANZAC (b. 1899)
  • 2002 Big Dick Dudley, American professional wrestler (b. 1968)
  • 2003 Mark McCormack, American businessman (b. 1930)
  • 2004 June Taylor, American choreographer, dies at 86
  • 2005 Andrew J. Goodpaster, American general, supreme commander (NATO-Europe), dies at 90
  • 2007 Albert Delvaux, Belgian composer (Symphonia Burlesca), dies at 93
  • 2008 Wilfrid Howard Mellers, English musicologist and composer (François Couperin and the French Classical Tradition), dies at 94
  • 2010 Ronnie James Dio [Padavona], American singer, songwriter and musician (Elf; Rainbow; Black Sabbath; Dio; and Heaven & Hell), dies at 67
  • 2010 Hank Jones, American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer, dies at 91
  • 2011 Bob Davis, Australian rules footballer (b. 1928)
  • 2011 Bill Skiles, American comic (b. 1931)
  • 2011 Edward Hardwicke, British actor (Sherlock Holmes), dies at 78
  • 2012 James Abdnor, American senator, dies at 89
  • 2012 Doug Dillard, American country rock musician (The Dillards, Gene Clark, Dillard & Clark) and actor (Clem-Popeye), dies of a lung infection caused by a collapsed lung at 75
  • 2013 Heinrich Rohrer, Swiss physicist (tunneling microscope-Nobel 1986), dies at 79
  • 2013 Dick Trickle, American race car driver, commits suicide by gunshot at 71
  • 2013 Bernard Waber, American children's book author, dies from kidney failure at 88
  • 2013 Paul Shane, English comedian and actor, dies at 72
  • 2015 Dean Potter, American free climber and BASE jumper, dies in a BASE jumping accident at Yosemite National Park, aged 43
  • 2015 Prashant Bhargava, American filmmaker (Patang: The Kite), dies of cardiac arrest at 42
  • 2016 Julia Meade [Kunz], American actress and TV hostess (Spotlight Playhouse), dies at 90
  • 2018 Michael Slive, American college sports executive (Commissioner SEC), dies of prostate cancer at 77
  • 2018 Joseph Campanella, American character actor (Guiding Light, Mannix), dies at 93

Bob Hawke

2019 Bob Hawke, Australian politician and 23rd Prime Minister of Australia (Labor: 1983-91), dies at 89

I. M. Pei

2019 I. M. Pei, Chinese-American modernist architect (Louvre Pyramid) who won the 1961 Brunner Prize, dies at 102

  • 2020 Michael McCaskey, American NFL executive (Chicago Bears president 1983-98; chairman 1999-2011), dies from cancer at 76
  • 2020 Arthur Summons, Australian rugby union fly-half (10 Tests; Gordon RFC) and rugby league five-eighth (9 Tests; Western Suburbs RLFC), dies at 84
  • 2020 Tony Yates, American college basketball point guard (National C'ship 1961, 62; Cincinnati Bearcats) and head coach (Cincinnati 1983-89), dies at 82
  • 2020 Donn Trenner, American jazz pianist, arranger, and orchestra leader (Steve Allen's Westinghouse Show), dies at 93
  • 2021 Rildo da Costa Menezes, Brazilian soccer defender (38 caps; Santos, CEUB, New York Cosmos), dies at 79
May 16 Highlights