On This Day

Famous Deaths on May 31

  • 455 Petronius Maximus, Roman senator, Emperor of Rome (455), lynched by an angry mob trying to escape Rome at 58 or 59
  • 1076 Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria and the last Anglo-Saxon earl, beheaded after rebelling against William the Conquorer
  • 1091 Hendrik van Verdun, bishop of Luik (1075-91), dies
  • 1198 Moses ben Solomon Ha-Cohen, rabbi of Mainz, dies
  • 1246 Isabella of Angouleme, queen of John of England
  • 1349 Thomas Wake, English politician (b. 1297)
  • 1408 Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Japanese shogun, dies at 49
  • 1410 King Martin I of Aragon (b. 1356)
  • 1495 Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV of England and Richard III of England, dies at 80
  • 1504 Engelbert II, Earl of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz and viceroy of Luxembourg, dies at 53
  • 1551 Aristotele "Basiano" da Sangallo, Italian set designer, dies
  • 1558 Philip Hoby, English politician (b. 1505)
  • 1567 Pereguin de la Grange, French minister, martyr of Reform, dies
  • 1567 Guido de Bres, Belgian theologian (b. 1522)
  • 1594 Tintoretto, Italian Mannerist painter and notable exponent of the Renaissance school, dies at 75
  • 1620 Willem Louis, earl of Nassau-Dillenburg, dies at 59
  • 1665 Pieter J Saenredam, Dutch architectural painter, dies at 67
  • 1680 Joachim Neander, German clergyman (b. 1650)
  • 1696 Heinrich Schwemmer, German composer, dies at 75
  • 1740 Frederik Willem I, King of Prussia (1713-1740), dies at 51
  • 1747 Andrei Osterman, Russian statesman (b. 1686)
  • 1799 Pierre Lemonnier, French astronomer (b. 1715)
  • 1809 Ferdinand von Schill, Prussian officer/rebel, dies in battle at 33
  • 1809 Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer of the classical period (The Creation; Trumpet Concerto), dies at 77
  • 1809 Jean Lannes, French marshal (b. 1769)
  • 1831 Samuel Bentham, British mechanical engineer (b. 1757)
  • 1832 Évariste Galois, French mathematician (Group theory), dies at 20

Joseph Grimaldi

1837 Joseph Grimaldi, English pantomimist and the "greatest clown in history", dies at 57

  • 1846 Philip Marheineke, German clergyman (b. 1780)
  • 1847 Thomas Chalmers, Scottish minister and 1st moderator (Free Church of Scotland 1843-47), dies at 67
  • 1848 Eugénie de Guérin, French writer (b. 1805)
  • 1849 Leonard PJ du Bus de Gisignies, gov-gen of Neth-Indies, dies at 69
  • 1854 Vatroslav Lisinski [Ignatius Fuchs], Croatian composer (Love and Malice), dies of tuberculosis at 34
  • 1860 Peter Vivian Daniel, American jurist, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1841-60), dies at 76
  • 1862 Robert Hopkins Hatton, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies in battle at 35
  • 1880 Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés, French chemist and inventor of margarine, dies at 62
  • 1900 James Loudon, Dutch politician, Governor-General of Dutch East Indies (1872-75), dies at 75
  • 1900 John Power, Irish baronet and whiskey manufacturer (Powers Whiskey), dies in battle
  • 1906 Hermann Schell, German theologist (Gott und Geist), dies at 56
  • 1906 Victoria von Battenberg, assassinated in Madrid
  • 1908 C L "Boy" Johnson, cricketer (Test for South Africa 1895-96), dies
  • 1908 Louis-Honoré Fréchette, Canadian poet, dies at 68

Elizabeth Blackwell

1910 Elizabeth Blackwell, English-American physician who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, dies at 89

  • 1916 Rear Admiral Sir Horace Lambert Alexander Hood, dies in Battle of Jutland
  • 1918 Alexander Mitscherlich, German chemist and son of Eilhard Mitscherlich, dies at 82
  • 1928 Ludwig Enneccerus, German leader, dies at 85
  • 1928 Manuel de Oliveira Lima, Brazilian historian, dies at 60
  • 1931 Felix-Raymond-Marie Rouleau, French Canadian cardinal, archbishop of Quebec (b. 1866)
  • 1947 Adrienne Ames [McClure], American actress (Black Sheep; 24 Hours), dies of cancer at 39
  • 1947 Henri Casadesus, French violist and composer (Preludes for Viola d'amour), dies at 67
  • 1948 José Vianna da Motta, Portuguese composer, dies at 80
  • 1952 Walter Schellenberg, German lawyer/headed spy (Venlo), dies
  • 1955 Bill Vukovich, American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1953-4), dies in crash in Indianapolis 500 at 36
  • 1955 Raoul Gunsbourg, French composer, impresario and opera director (Opéra de Monte-Carlo, 1892-1951), dies at 95
  • 1957 Leopold Staff, Polish poet (b. 1878)
  • 1960 Willem Elsschot [Alfons Josephus de Ridder], Flemish writer (Kas), dies at 78
  • 1960 Walther Funk, German economist and Nazi politician, dies at 69
  • 1961 Walter Little, Canadian politician (b. 1877)
  • 1962 Eduardo Toldrà, Spanish Catalan composer and conductor, dies at 67
  • 1962 Henry F. Ashurst, American Democratic politician (U.S. Senator from Arizona), dies at 87
  • 1963 Carel C. van Essen, Dutch archaeologist (Art of Ancient Rome), dies at 63
  • 1967 Billy Strayhorn, American pianist and composer ("Take The 'A' Train"), dies of esophageal cancer at 51

Terry Sawchuk

1970 Terry Sawchuk, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender (4-time Vezina Trophy & Stanley Cup winner), dies from liver injuries at 40

  • 1971 Bert Ironmonger, Australian cricket spin bowler (14 Tests; 74 wickets @ 17.97; Queensland, Victoria), dies at 89
  • 1971 Massimo Campigli, Italian painter and illustrator, dies at 75
  • 1972 Walter Freeman, American physician (developer and practitioner of psychiatric surgery transorbital lobotomy), dies
  • 1973 Albert Egges van Giffen, Dutch archaeologist, dies at 89
  • 1974 Adelle Davis, American nutritionist and author (Let's Stay Healthy), dies of cancer at 70
  • 1976 Jacques Monod, French biochemist, dies
  • 1976 Martha Mitchell [nee Beall], wife of Attorney General John Mitchell, dies of multiple myeloma at 57
  • 1977 William Castle, American film director (b. 1914)
  • 1978 József Bozsik, Hungarian footballer (b. 1925)
  • 1979 Nigel Howard, English cricket batsman and captain (4 Tests; Lancashire, MCC), dies at 54
  • 1981 Giuseppe Pella, 31st Prime Minister of Italy, dies at 79

Jack Dempsey

1983 Jack Dempsey, American boxer (world heavyweight champion 1919-26), dies of heart failure at 86

  • 1986 James Rainwater, American physicist (Nobel 1975-determining the asymmetrical shapes of certain atomic nuclei), dies at 68
  • 1986 Jane Frank, American artist, dies at 67
  • 1987 Dorothy Patrick, actress (Torch Song, New Orleans, High Wall), dies
  • 1987 Roy Winsor, American producer (Search for Tomorrow, Love of Life), dies at 75
  • 1989 C L R James, cricket writer (distinguished Trinidadian), dies
  • 1989 Charles A Hufnagel, doc (artificial heart valve pioneer), dies at 72
  • 1989 Terry Drinkwater, American CBS news correspondent, dies at 53 of cancer
  • 1991 Angus Wilson [Johnstone-W], British writer (Wrong Set), dies
  • 1991 H N "Swanie" Swanson, literary agent, dies at 91 of a stroke
  • 1992 Lutz Stavenhagen, top aid to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, dies at 52
  • 1993 John Granger, actor (Advise & Consent), dies at 69
  • 1993 Spuds Mackenzie, American advertisement dog
  • 1994 Doug Freeman, New Zealand cricket spin bowler (2 Tests, 1 wicket; Wellington), dies at 79
  • 1994 Emmanuel "Manny" Klein, American jazz trumpeter, dies at 86
  • 1994 Herva Nelli, Italian-born American soprano, dies at 85
  • 1994 Sidney Gilliat, English screenwriter (Night Train to Munich) and director, dies at 86
  • 1995 Pavel Sivic, Slovenian composer, dies at 87
  • 1996 Colin Morris, playwright/documentary filmmaker, dies at 80
  • 1996 Elsbeary Hobbs, American rocker (Drifters), dies at 59
  • 1996 Paul Peter Piech, artist, dies at 76
  • 1996 Peter Gordon Dorrell, archaeologist/photographer, dies at 68
  • 1996 Timothy Leary, American psychologist & advocate for psychedelic drug use, dies of cancer at 75
  • 1996 Ton de Leeuw, Dutch composer, dies at 69
  • 1997 Rosie Will Monroe, WW II icon (Rosie the riveter), dies at 76
  • 1997 James Bennett Griffin, American archaeologist, dies at 92
  • 1997 Anton Zischka, Austrian writer (Lebendiges Europa), dies at 92
  • 1998 Stanislaw Wislocki, Polish conductor of classical music, dies at 76
  • 1998 Charles Van Acker, Belgian racing driver (b. 1912)
  • 1998 Aart Verstegen, Dutch ballet dancer and choreographer (Jolly Joker's Last Joke), dies at 77
  • 2000 Tito Puente, American mambo and Latin jazz bandleader ("Oye Como Va"), dies at 77
  • 2000 Johnnie Taylor, American R&B and multi-genre singer ("Disco Lady"; "I Believe In You"), dies at 66
  • 2000 Joe Puma, American session and jazz guitarist (Herbie Mann; Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five; Chuck Wayne), dies at 72
  • 2001 Arlene Francis, American actress and radio and television personality (What's My Line?), dies at 93
  • 2002 Eric Boyland, English biochemist (cancer research), dies at 97
  • 2002 Subhash "Fergie" Gupte, Indian cricketer (brilliant Indian leg-spinner), dies at 72
  • 2004 Robert Quine, American rock guitarist (Lou Reed; Matthew Sweet; John Zorn), dies of an intentional heroin overdose at 61
  • 2004 Étienne Roda-Gil, French songwriter and screenwriter, dies at 62
  • 2005 Jaime Mendoza-Nava, Bolivian-American composer and conductor, dies at 79
  • 2006 Ryan Bennett, broadcast commentator (b. 1970)
  • 2006 Miguel Berrocal, sculptor (b. 1933)
  • 2006 Raymond Davis Jr., American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
  • 2006 Lula Mae Hardaway, American songwriter ("I Was Made to Love Her"; "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"9, and mother of singer Stevie Wonder, dies at 76
  • 2009 Millvina Dean, British civil servant who was the last living survivor of the RMS Titanic and also the youngest aboard, dies of pneumonia at 97
  • 2009 George Tiller, American abortion doctor (b. 1941)
  • 2009 Danny La Rue, British entertainer (b. 1927)
  • 2010 Louise Bourgeois, French-born American sculptor, painter and print maker, dies at 98
  • 2010 Brian Duffy, British photographer and film producer (b. 1933)
  • 2010 William A. Fraker, American cinematographer (b. 1923)
  • 2010 Rubén Juárez, Argentine bandoneonist (b. 1947)
  • 2010 Benjamin Lees [Lisniansky], American composer (Kalmar Nyckel; Memorial Candles), dies at 86
  • 2010 Merata Mita, New Zealander filmmaker (b. 1942)

Chris Haney

2010 Chris Haney, Canadian journalist who created the board game "Trivial Pursuit", dies at 59

  • 2011 Andy Robustelli, American NFL defensive end (LA Rams, NY Giants), dies at 85
  • 2013 Tim Samaras, American tornado chaser, dies from tornado injuries at 55
  • 2013 Jean Stapleton, American actress (Damn Yankees, Klute, All in the Family), dies at 90
  • 2013 Marta Romero, Puerto Rican actress & singer (La Divina Infiel, The Shadow of the Bat), dies at 85
  • 2014 Martha Hyer, American actress (Day of the Wolves, Night of the Grizzly), dies at 89
  • 2016 Corry Brokken, Dutch pop singer (1957 Eurovision), dies at 83
  • 2019 Roky Erickson [Roger Kynard], American musician (The 13th Floor Elevators - "Starry Eyes"; "Don't Slander Me"), dies at 71
  • 2019 Niara Sudarkasa [Gloria Albertha Marshall], American educator and anthropologist (Lincoln College), dies at 80
  • 2020 Bob Bennett, American College Baseball Hall of Fame coach (Fresno State 1970-2002; record 1,302-759-4), dies at 86
  • 2020 Christo [Javacheff], Bulgarian artist and wrapper (Running Fence), dies at 84
  • 2021 Arlene Golonka, American actress (The Andy Griffith Show - "Millie Hutchins"; Mayberry R.F.D. - "Millie Swanson"), dies of Alzheimer's disease at 85
  • 2021 Colin Appleton, English soccer midfielder (Leicester City 277 games) and manager (Hull City, Swansea City, Exeter City), dies at 85
  • 2021 Leon Burtnett, American college football coach (Purdue University 1982-86; Big Ten Coach of the Year 1984), dies at 78
  • 2021 Mike Marshall, American baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 1974, 75; NL Cy Young Award 1974; Montreal Expos, LA Dodgers, Atlanta Braves), dies at 78
May 31 Highlights