On This Day

Famous Deaths on May 6

  • 523 Thrasamund, King of Vandals and Alans (496-523)
  • 680 Muawiyah I, caliph (b. 602)
  • 988 Dirk II, West Frisian count of Holland
  • 1124 Balak, Emir of Aleppo, murdered
  • 1475 Dieric Bouts, Dutch painter, dies at about 64
  • 1502 James Tyrrell, alleged murderer of the Princes in the Tower (executed)
  • 1527 Karel van Bourbon, military governor (Lombardije), dies at 37
  • 1540 Jean Luis Vives, Spanish theory/humanist/reformer, dies at 48
  • 1596 Giaches de Wert, Franco-Flemish composer of madrigals, dies at approximately 60
  • 1620 Hayyim ben Joseph Vital, Palestinian-born Kabbalist (b. 1543)
  • 1631 Robert Bruce Cotton, English politician and antiquarian (his library formed basis of British Museum manuscript collection), dies at 60
  • 1638 Cornelius Jansen, French Roman Catholic reform leader (Jansenism), dies at 52
  • 1642 Frans Francken the Younger, Flemish painter, dies on 61st birthday
  • 1666 Paul Siefert, German organist and composer, dies at 79
  • 1678 Joseph Chabanceau de La Barre, French composer, dies at 44
  • 1708 François de Laval, first Roman Catholic bishop of Quebec, dies at 85
  • 1727 Catharine I of Russia [Marta Samuilovna], wife of Peter the Great, dies at about 42
  • 1739 Bernardus Smijtegelt, Dutch vicar (Gekrookte Reed), dies at 63
  • 1757 Maximilian Ulysses Count Browne, Austrian field marshal, dies at 51
  • 1757 Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, British politician, dies at 73
  • 1757 Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin, Prussian field marshal, dies at 72
  • 1776 James Kent, English composer, dies at 76
  • 1794 Jean-Jacques Beauvarlet-Charpentier, French composer, dies at 59
  • 1814 George Joseph Vogler, German composer, dies at 64
  • 1836 Christian Ignatius Latrobe, English clergyman and composer (Selection of Sacred Music), dies at 78
  • 1840 Francisco de Paula Santander, Colombian president and independence leader (b. 1792)
  • 1841 John Thomson, Scottish composer, dies at 35
  • 1852 Charles-Louis-Joseph Hanssens, Belgian composer, dies at 75
  • 1856 William Hamilton, metaphysicist, dies
  • 1859 Friedrich Heinrich Alexander, explorer/scientist, dies

Henry David Thoreau

1862 Henry David Thoreau, American writer/pacifist (Walden Pond), dies at 44

  • 1864 Henry Livermore Abbott, US Union brigadier general, dies in battle
  • 1864 Micah Jenkins, Confederate brigadier general (friendly fire), dies at 28
  • 1870 James Young Simpson, Scottish obstetrician who popularized chloroform for medicinal use, dies at 58
  • 1873 José Antonio Páez, President of Venezuela (1830-35), dies at 82
  • 1877 Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Finnish poet (b. 1804)
  • 1882 Lord Frederick Cavendish, English politician who was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland in May 1882 and murdered only hours after his arrival in Dublin, dies at 45
  • 1882 Thomas Henry Burke, assassinated by Fenian Invincibles, in Dublin
  • 1890 Hubert Léonard, Belgian violinist, and pedagogue (Brussels Conservatoire, 1848-67), dies at 71
  • 1891 Thomas Hare, English barrister and political reformer, dies at 85
  • 1892 Ernest Guiraud, French opera composer (Piccolino; Sylvie), arranger (Bizet), and teacher, dies at 54
  • 1904 Franz von Lenbach, German painter, dies at 67

Edward VII

1910 Edward VII, King of England (1901-10), dies at 68

  • 1916 Dirk Bos, Dutch Liberal 2nd Member of Parliament, dies at 53
  • 1916 Earl Ross Drake, American composer, dies at 50
  • 1919 (Lyman) L. Frank Baum, American author (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), dies of a stroke at 62
  • 1924 Carel S Adama van Scheltema, poet/writer (socialism), dies at 47
  • 1936 Hans Jelmoli, Swiss pianist and composer, dies at 59
  • 1948 43 communist rebels, executed in Athens
  • 1949 Arthur Ochse, South African cricketer (10 wickets in 3 Tests for South Africa 1927-29), dies at 49

Maurice Maeterlinck

1949 Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian playwright, poet and author (Blue Bird, Nobel 1911), dies at 86

  • 1949 Kunihiko Hashimoto, Japanese composer, violinist, conductor, and musical educator, dies of gastric cancer at 44
  • 1950 Agnes Smedley, writer, dies
  • 1951 Élie Cartan, French mathematician (b. 1869)
  • 1952 Alberto Savinio [Andrea Francesco Alberto de Chirico], Italian composer (Capitano Ulisse), dies at 60

Maria Montessori

1952 Maria Montessori, Italian physician/educationist, dies at 81

  • 1960 Paul Abraham, Hungarian composer (Blume von Hawaii), dies at 67
  • 1960 Vern Bickford, American baseball pitcher (MLB All Star 1949; no-hitter 1950; Boston / Milwaukee Braves), dies from cancer at 39
  • 1961 Lucian Blaga, Romanian philosopher and poet (Transcendental censor), dies at 65
  • 1963 Monty Wooley, American actor (The Bishop's Wife, The Man Who Came to Dinner), dies at 74
  • 1963 Theodore von Kármán, Hungarian-born physicist (b. 1881)
  • 1963 Ted Weems [Wemyes], American jazz trombonist, violin player and big band leader, dies of emphysema at 61
  • 1964 Harold Morris, American pianist and composer, dies at 74
  • 1967 Zhou Zuoren, Chinese writer (b. 1885)
  • 1971 Helene Weigel, Austrian/German actress (Metropolis), dies at 70
  • 1972 Deniz Gezmiş, Turkish Left-wing Political Activist (b. 1947)
  • 1973 Ernest MacMillan, Canadian organist, conductor and composer, dies at 79
  • 1975 József Mindszenty [József Pehm], Hungarian cardinal who opposed fascism and communism in Hungary, dies at 83
  • 1976 Karel M J F Cruysberghs, Flemish author (On the Pulpit), dies at 85
  • 1978 Ethelda Bleibtrey, American swimmer (Olympic gold 100m, 300m, 4x100m freestyle relay 1920; first US female champion), dies at 76
  • 1978 Ko van Dijk Jr, Dutch actor (Zaak M P), dies at 61
  • 1982 Sam Baker, American actor, dies at 75
  • 1983 Kai Winding, Danish-American Jazz musician and trombonist ("Georgia On My Mind"), dies of a brain tumor at 60
  • 1984 Bonner Pink, Conservative Party politician
  • 1984 Mary Cain, Mississippi newspaper editor and politician (b. 1904)
  • 1985 Julie Vega, Filipina child actress and singer, dies at 16
  • 1985 Pete Desjardins, American platform and springboard diver (Olympic gold 1928), dies at 78

William J. Casey

1987 William J. Casey, American head of the CIA during the Iran-contra scandal (1981-87), dies of aspiration pneumonia at 73

  • 1988 Paul Wilson, American baritone doo-wop singer (Flamingos, 1952-64 - "Lovers Never Say Goodbye") dies at 53
  • 1990 Charles Farrell, American actor (7th Heaven, My Little Margie), dies at 89
  • 1991 Anthony van Kampen, writer (Ketelbinkie, Geschonden Eldorado), dies
  • 1991 Chucky Mullins, US soccer player, dies
  • 1991 Thomas A Carlin, dies at 62
  • 1991 Wilfrid Hyde-White, British actor (My Fair Lady, Peyton Place), dies at 87
  • 1992 Jilly Rizzo, restaurateur/friend of Frank Sinatra, dies in a car crash at 75

Marlene Dietrich

1992 Marlene Dietrich, German American actress and singer (The Blue Angel, Shanghai Express), dies in Paris at 90

  • 1992 Gaston Reiff, Belgian athlete (Olympic gold 1948), dies at 71
  • 1993 Ann Todd, English actress (The Paradine Case, Taste of Fear), dies of a stroke at 84
  • 1993 Minnie Gentry, actress (Def by Temptation), dies in NY at 77
  • 1994 Fred Sadoff, actor (Quiet American), dies of AIDS at 67
  • 1994 Haskell Sadler, American blues singer and guitarist, dies at 59
  • 1994 Helen Lessore, English artist, dies at 86
  • 1994 Montague Modlyn, broadcaster, dies at 72
  • 1994 Moses Rosen, Chief Rabbi of Romania (1948-94), dies at 81
  • 1995 Maria Pia de Braganca, Portuguese journalist and writer who claimed to be the bastard daughter of King Carlos I of Portugal, dies at 88
  • 1995 Leonard "Red" Truss, American R&B singer (The Steelers - "Get It From The Bottom"), dies at 47
  • 1995 Nicholas Palmer, TV writer/producer, dies at 57
  • 1995 Noel Brotherston, Northern Irish footballer (b. 1956)
  • 1995 Hilda Toledano (b. 1907)
  • 1995 Clarence Paul [Pauling], American songwriter, and record producer (Motown; Stevie Wonder - "Fingertips"), dies at 67
  • 1996 Frank Hercules, writer, dies at 85
  • 1996 Geoffrey Dawes, physiologist, dies at 78
  • 1996 Geoffrey Hodges, bomb disposal expert, dies at 87
  • 1996 Joseph Stone, lawyer, dies at 79
  • 1996 Leon Joseph Suenens, cardinal, dies at 91
  • 1996 Michael Gerzon, British mathematician and audio pioneer (Ambisonics), dies at 50
  • 1996 Leo Joseph Suenens, Belgian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, dies at 91
  • 1999 Dennis Riley, American composer (Masques (for wind quintet)), dies at 55
  • 1999 Johnny Morris, British broadcaster and actor (Once in a Lifetime), dies at 82
  • 2000 Leonard Salzedo, British composer, mostly for ballet (The Witch Boy), dies at 78
  • 2002 Otis Blackwell, American songwriter ("Fever"; "Don't Be Cruel"; "Great Balls Of Fire"; All Shook Up"), dies of a heart attack at 70
  • 2002 Saleh Selim, Egyptian football player and 10th president of the Egyptian Al-Ahly Sporting Club, dies at 71
  • 2002 Murray Adaskin, Canadian violinist, composer, conductor (Saskatoon Symphony), and teacher (University of Saskatchewan), dies at 96
  • 2003 Art Houtteman, baseball player (b. 1927)
  • 2004 Philip Kapleau, American Zen teacher and founder (Rochester Zen Center in New Haven), dies at 91
  • 2004 Barney Kessel, American jazz guitarist (The Wrecking Crew), dies at 80
  • 2006 Lillian Asplund, last American RMS Titanic survivor (b. 1906)
  • 2006 Shigeru Kayano, Japanese Ainu activist (b. 1926)
  • 2006 Grant McLennan, co-founder of Australian band The Go-Betweens (b. 1958)
  • 2006 Lorne Saxberg, Canadian television journalist (b. 1958)
  • 2007 Enéas Carneiro, Brazilian politician (b. 1938)
  • 2007 Curtis Harrington, American film director (b. 1926)
  • 2007 Đorđe Novković, Croatian pop singer-songwriter (Pro Arte), and television personality (Hrvatski Idol), dies at 63
  • 2009 Valentin Varennikov, Soviet-Russian general and statesman, dies at 85
  • 2009 Kevin Grubb, former NASCAR driver (b. 1978)
  • 2010 Robin Roberts, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (7 x MLB All Star; won 28 consecutive complete games 1952-53; Philadelphia Phillies), dies at 83
  • 2012 George Lindsey, American actor, dies at 83
  • 2013 Giulio Andreotti, Italian Prime Minister, dies at 94
  • 2014 Farley Mowat, Canadian author, dies at 92
  • 2014 Jimmy Ellis, American boxer & WBA heavyweight champion, dies from dementia at 74
  • 2014 Leslie Thomas, Welsh writer (The Virgin Soldiers), dies at 83
  • 2015 Errol Brown, British-Jamaican singer-songwriter (Hot Chocolate - "You Sexy Thing"), dies at 71
  • 2015 Jim [James] Wright, American politician (D-Texas) (Speaker of the House 1987-1989), dies at 92
  • 2016 Reg Grundy, Australian media and television mogul (Neighbours, Prisoner), dies at 92
  • 2016 Niklaus Schilling, Swiss film director (Dormire, Atem, Rheingold), dies at 72
  • 2017 Steven Holcomb, American Bobsledder (Olympic gold, 2010), dies in his sleep, with mix of alcohol and prescription medication found in his blood, at 37
  • 2018 Cirilo Bautista, Filipino writer and poet, dies at 76
  • 2018 Herbert E. Brekle, German typographer and linguist, dies at 82
  • 2018 Brad Steiger, American author and paranormal researcher, dies at 82
  • 2018 Khaled Mohieddin, Egyptian military officer (member of the Revolutionary Command Council), dies at 95
  • 2018 Eric Geboers, Belgian motocross racer and five-time world champion, drowns at 55
  • 2018 George G. Hall, Northern Irish applied mathematician, dies at 93
  • 2019 Seymour Nurse, West Indian cricket batsman (29 Tests @ 47.60, 6 x 100; TS 258; Barbados), dies at 85
  • 2020 Millie Small, Jamaican ska singer, and songwriter ("My Boy Lollipop"), dies of a stroke at 72
  • 2020 Steve Blackmore, Welsh rugby union prop (4 caps; Cardiff RFC), dies from a brain tumour at 58
  • 2020 Brian Howe, British rock singer (Bad Company, 1986-93 - "This Love"; "Holy Water"), dies of a heart attack at 66
  • 2021 Carlos Timoteo Griguol, Argentine soccer midfielder (Atlanta, Rosario Central) and manager (Ferro Carril Oeste, Real Betis, River Plate), dies from COVID-19 at 84
  • 2021 Pervis Staples, American gospel vocalist (The Staple Singers -"Uncloudy Day"), dies at 85
  • 2021 Kentaro Miura, Japanese manga author (Berserk), dies at 54
May 6 Highlights