On This Day

Famous Deaths on May 17

  • 1050 Guido van Arezzo, Italian music theorist, dies
  • 1189 Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Japanese general (b. 1159)
  • 1336 Emperor Go-Fushimi, 93rd Emperor of Japan (1298-1301), dies at 48
  • 1365 Louis VI the Roman, Duke of Bavaria and Elector of Brandenburg, dies at 37
  • 1395 Constantine Dragas, Serbian ruler of a semi-independent realm
  • 1464 Thomas de Ros, 9th Baron de Ros of Helmsley, English politician, executed at 36
  • 1510 Sandro Botticelli, Florentine Renaissance painter (Birth of Venus), dies at about 65
  • 1521 Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, English politician (b. 1478)
  • 1536 George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford, English brother of Anna Boleyn, beheaded after being tried and convicted for high treason and incest at 32
  • 1575 Matthew "Nosey" Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-75), dies at 68
  • 1591 Jost Amman, Swiss cartoonist, graphic artist and illustrator, dies at 51
  • 1606 Forges Dimitri #1, Tsar of Russia (1605-06), murdered
  • 1626 Juan Pujol, Catalan composer, dies at 56
  • 1695 Cornelis de Heem, Dutch painter, dies
  • 1727 Catherine I, Empress of Russia (1725-27), dies at 43
  • 1729 Samuel Clarke, English philosopher and theologian, dies at 53
  • 1737 Claude Buffier, French philosopher and historian, dies at 75
  • 1740 Jean Cavalier, French Huguenot chief of the Camisards, dies at 58
  • 1765 Alexis Clairaut, French mathematician (Clairaut's theorem), dies at 52
  • 1796 Jacob Wilhelm Lustig, German composer, dies at 89
  • 1797 Michel-Jean Sedaine, French dramatist (Le Philosophe sans le savoir), dies at 77
  • 1801 William Heberden, English physician (b. 1710)
  • 1807 John Gunby, Maryland Soldier in the American Revolutionary War (b. 1745)
  • 1809 Leopold Auenbrugger, Austrian physician (invented percussion as a diagnostic technique), dies at 86
  • 1822 Armand-Emmanuel, Duc de Richelieu, Prime Minister of France (1815-18, 1820-21), dies at 55

John Jay

1829 John Jay, US statesman and 1st US Chief Justice, dies at 83

Talleyrand

1838 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, French statesman, dies at 84

  • 1838 René Caillé, French explorer and the first European to return alive from the town of Timbuktu, dies at 38
  • 1839 Archibald Alison, Scottish author (b. 1757)
  • 1851 Adriaan van Bevervoorde, Dutch journalist (Treason), dies at 31
  • 1866 Adolf Bernhard Marx, German composer, dies at 70
  • 1868 Isami Kondo, Shinsengumi Commander (b. 1834)
  • 1872 Eduard Sobolewski, Polish-American violinist and composer, dies at 63
  • 1875 John C. Breckinridge, Vice President of the United States (b. 1821)
  • 1879 Asa Packer, railroad magnate and founder of Lehigh Valley Railroad (b. 1805)
  • 1883 Lydia Estes Pinklham, patent-medicine manufacturer, dies
  • 1884 Louis Brassin, Belgian pianist, composer and music educator, dies at 43

John Deere

1886 John Deere, American blacksmith and manufacturer (founded Deere & Company) dies at 82

  • 1888 Giacomo Zanella, Italian poet (b. 1820)
  • 1889 William Roxby Beverly, artist, dies
  • 1889 Marie of Prussia, Queen consort of Bavaria (1848-64), dies at 63
  • 1892 Gyorgy Klapka, Hungarian general/parliament leader, dies at 72
  • 1913 Dwijendralal Ray, Bengali poet, playwright and lyricist (Dwijendrageeti), dies of epilepsy at 49
  • 1914 Peter Leyten, Bishop of Breda (1885-1914), dies at 79
  • 1916 Gervais Salvayre, French composer (Calypso; La Résurrection), and music critic dies at 68
  • 1916 Boris Borisovich Galitzine, Russian physicist (b. 1862)

Charles Brooke

1917 Charles Brooke, 2nd White Rajah of Sarawak (1868-1917), dies at 87

  • 1917 Belva Ann Lockwood, American attorney (1st lady to argue in Supreme Court), dies at 86
  • 1919 Bohumil Pazdírek, Moravian composer, dies at 80
  • 1919 Guido von List, Austrian-German occultist and novelist (Jung Diethers Heimkehr), dies at 70
  • 1919 José Santos Zelaya, President of Nicaragua (1893-1910), dies at 65
  • 1920 Maitland Hathorn, South African cricketer (325 runs in 12 Tests South African 1901-11), dies at 42
  • 1927 Harold Geiger, U.S. Army aviation pioneer (b. 1884)
  • 1930 Herbert David Croly, US founder (New Republic), dies at 61
  • 1931 Johan [Eliza J] de Master, art critic/writer, dies
  • 1931 Timothy Cole, American wood engraver, dies at about 71
  • 1935 Paul Dukas, French composer (The Sorcerer's Apprentice), dies at 69
  • 1936 Panagis Tsaldaris, twice Greek prime minister (b. 1868)
  • 1938 Jakob Ehrlich, Austrian politician and Zionist, dies at 60
  • 1942 Alfred Hollins, British composer, dies at 76
  • 1943 Montagu Love, actor (Wind), dies at 65
  • 1944 Félix Éboué, French colonial administrator, dies at 60
  • 1945 Jan van Geenen, resistance fighter, dies
  • 1945 Sasaki Shigetsu Sokei-an, founder 1st Zen Institute of America, dies
  • 1947 George William Forbes, Prime Minister of New Zealand (b. 1869)
  • 1950 Eduardo Fabini, composer, dies at 67
  • 1951 Karl Heinrich David, composer, dies at 66
  • 1953 Eric De Lamarter, American organist, composer and conductor (Chicago Symphony), dies at 73
  • 1955 Alan Fairfax, cricketer (10 Tests for Australia 1928-31), dies
  • 1955 Francesco Balilla Pratella, Italian composer, dies at 75
  • 1955 Leslie Hylton, Jamaican cricketer and West Indies fast bowler, executed and hanged for murder at 50
  • 1957 Shalva Azmayparashvili, composer, dies at 54
  • 1960 Ioannis Georgiadis, Greek fencer (Olympic 1896 gold), dies at 84
  • 1961 Frans van Cauwelaert, Flemish minister/mayor of Antwerp, dies at 81
  • 1961 Henri Gagnon, composer, dies at 74
  • 1963 John Wilce, physician and former head football coach at the Ohio State University (b. 1888)
  • 1964 Otto V. Kuusinen, Finnish politician (founder of the Finnish Communist Party), dies at 82
  • 1964 Steve Owen, American Pro Football Hall of Fame tackle (NY Giants) and coach (NFL C'ship 1927, 34, 38; NY Giants), dies at 66
  • 1967 John Wesley Work III, African-American composer, musicologist and scholar of African-American folklore and music, dies at 65
  • 1969 Joseph Beran, Czech archbishop of Prague/cardinal, dies at 80
  • 1970 Nigel Balchin, English author (My Executioner), dies at 61
  • 1972 Sir Gordon Lowe, British tennis player, Member of Parliament (Australasian C'ship 1915), dies at 87
  • 1973 Alexander J. Kropholler, Dutch architect and writer, dies at 91
  • 1974 Charles Braswell, American actor (Only Game in Town), dies at 49
  • 1974 Ernest Nash, German-American photographer and archaeologist, dies at 75
  • 1975 Arthur Trappier, American jazz drummer (Blanche Calloway: Fats Waller), dies at 64
  • 1978 John Selwyn Brooke Selwyn Lloyd, speaker of house of commons, dies
  • 1978 Selwyn Lloyd, British statesman involved in Suez crisis, dies at 73
  • 1981 Jeannette Ridlon Piccard, 1st US woman free balloon pilot, dies
  • 1981 Hugo Friedhofer, American composer, dies at 80
  • 1985 Bobby Ewing, (Patrick Duffy) killed off on Dallas
  • 1985 Hugh Burden, actor (Night of Laughing Dead), dies at 72
  • 1985 Abe Burrows [Borowitz], American Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning songwriter, composer, and writer, dies from Alzheimer's disease at 74
  • 1986 Jack Waldman, American jazz and rock keyboardist and avant garde composer dies of HIV related illness at 33
  • 1987 Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish economist and economist (Nobel 1974), dies at 88
  • 1989 Dan Alderson, American scientist (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and sci-fi fandom figure, dies of diabetes at 47
  • 1990 Frank Wright, American free jazz saxophonist, dies at 54
  • 1992 George Hurrell, Hollywood photographer, dies of cancer at 87
  • 1992 Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and orchestra leader (Lawrence Welk Show), dies of pneumonia at 89
  • 1992 Leonardo del Ferro [Keyser], American operatic tenor, dies at 71
  • 1992 Warren Neal Boxer, dies of AIDS at 34
  • 1994 Andrew Brown, film Producer, dies at 55
  • 1994 (Donald) Keith Falkner, British bass-baritone singer, dies at 94
  • 1994 Willian Noel Moffet, architect, dies at 82
  • 1995 Nathan "Dambuza" Mdledle, South African singer (Manhattan Brothers) and actor, dies at 72
  • 1995 Paul D. Stoop, American vice-admiral (WW II-Coral Sea), dies at 90
  • 1995 Toe Blake, Canadian Hockey HOF left wing (Stanley Cup 1935 Montreal Maroons; 1944, 46 Montreal Canadiens) and coach (Stanley Cup 1956-60, 1965-66, 68 Montreal Canadiens), dies at 82
  • 1996 Rusi Modi, Indian cricketer (736 runs 10 post-war Tests for India), dies at 71
  • 1996 Scott Brayton, American auto racer (4 x top 10 finishes Indianapolis 500; 2 x pole), dies in a practice accident at 37
  • 1996 Willi Daume, German olympic organiser, dies at 82
  • 1996 Willis Conover, American broadcaster (Voice of America), dies at 75
  • 1996 Johnny "Guitar" Watson, musician, dies at 61
  • 1999 Bruce Fairbairn, Canadian musician and record producer (Loverboy; Bon Jovi; Aerosmith) dies at 49
  • 1999 Henry Jones, American actor (Vertigo, Phyllis, Falcon Crest, Gun Shy), dies from complications from a fall at 86
  • 2000 Donald Coggan, 101st Archbishop of Canterbury (1974-80), dies at 90
  • 2001 Frank G. Slaughter, American novelist and physician (b. 1908)
  • 2001 Ikuma Dan, Japanese composer (Yūzuru), dies at 77
  • 2002 Dave Berg, American cartoonist (The Lighter Side of...), dies at 81
  • 2002 Sharon Sheeley, American songwriter (Somethin' Else), dies of complications following a cerebral hemorrhage at 62 (b. 1940)
  • 2002 Ladislao Kubala, Hungarian-Spanish footballer (b. 1927)

James Chichester-Clark

2002 James Chichester-Clark, Irish politician, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (1969-71), dies at 79

  • 2003 Frank "Pop" Ivy, American and Canadian football coach (b. 1916)
  • 2004 Jørgen Nash, Danish artist (b. 1920)
  • 2004 Ezzedine Salim, leader of Iraqi Governing Council (b. 1943)
  • 2005 Frank Gorshin, American comedian and impersonator (Riddler-Batman), dies at 72
  • 2006 Cy Feuer, American playwright (b. 1911)
  • 2006 Eric Forth, British Member of Parliament (b. 1944)
  • 2006 Captain Nichola Goddard, Canadian soldier (b. 1980)
  • 2006 Laurence Shurtliff [Ram Rod], American music executive and roadie (the Grateful Dead), dies at 61
  • 2007 Lloyd Alexander, author (b. 1924)
  • 2009 Mario Benedetti, Uruguayan journalist, novelist, and poet, dies from respiratory and intestinal problems at 88
  • 2009 Jung Seung-hye, South Korean film producer (b. 1965)
  • 2010 Walasse Ting, Chinese-American painter (b. 1929)
  • 2010 Yvonne Loriod, French pianist, composer (Mélopées africaines), and teacher, dies at 86

Donna Summer

2012 Donna Summer [LaDonna Gaines], American disco and pop singer-songwriter ("Love to Love You, Baby"; "On The Radio"; "Last Dance"), dies from lung cancer at 63

  • 2013 Ken Venturi, American golfer, broadcaster (US Open 1964), dies from multiple infections at 82
  • 2013 Alan O'Day, American singer and songwriter ("Undercover Angel"; over 100 songs for the Muppet Babies), dies of brain cancer at 72
  • 2013 Harold Shapero, American composer (9 Minute Opera), dies at 93
  • 2014 Gerald Edelman, American biochemist (Nobel 1972), dies from natural causes at 84
  • 2015 Chinx [Lionel Pickens], American rapper (Coke Boys), dies in a drive-by shooting at 31
  • 2016 Guy Clark, American folk and country singer-songwriter (Heartbroke), dies of lymphoma at 74
  • 2019 Herman Wouk, American novelist (The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War), dies at 103
  • 2020 Shad Gaspard, American professional wrestler (WWE), bodyguard, and actor, drowns at 39
  • 2021 Héctor Silva, Argentine rugby union number 8 (24 caps; Los Tilos) and coach (Argentina 1985-87), dies from COVID-19 at 76
  • 2021 Joe Mercer, English thoroughbred race horse jockey (British flat racing Champion Jockey 1979), dies at 86
May 17 Highlights