On This Day

Famous Deaths on October 20

  • 460 Aelia Eudocia Athenais, Athenian-born Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire, consort of Theodosius II, and poet, dies at about 60
  • 1139 Henry X the Trotse, duke of Bayern (1126-38), dies
  • 1187 Urban III [Umberto Crivelli], Italian Pope (1185-87), dies
  • 1268 Conrad Hohenstaufen/Conradin, last Duke of Swabia, beheaded in Naples aged 16
  • 1274 Engelbert II of Falkenburg, archbishop of Cologne, dies
  • 1438 Jacopo di Piero della Quercia, Italian sculptor, dies at about 64
  • 1525 Joannes Custos, Dutch humanist, dies at about 50
  • 1570 João de Barros, Portuguese historian (b. 1496)
  • 1631 Michael Maestlin, German astronomer and mathematician (b. 1550)
  • 1640 John Ball, English Puritan clergyman and author (A Short Catechisme, containing all the Principal Grounds of Religion), dies at about 55
  • 1652 Antonio Coello, Spanish writer and dramatist (b. 1611)
  • 1676 Christopher Gibbons, English composer, dies at 61
  • 1713 Archibald Pitcairne, Scottish physician (b. 1652)

Charles VI

1740 Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1711-40), dies after falling ill on a hunting trip at 55

  • 1765 William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, English supreme commander, dies at 44
  • 1794 James Adam, Scottish architect and furniture designer, (partnership with brother Robert Adam) dies at about 64
  • 1819 Lambert-Francois Godecharle, Belgian composer and singer, dies at 66
  • 1842 Grace Darling, English heroine who saved shipwreck survivors, dies of tuberculosis at 26
  • 1864 Stephen Dodson Ramseur, American Major General (Confederate Army), dies at 27
  • 1865 Champ Ferguson, American Confederate guerrilla, found guilty of war crimes during US Civil War, executed and hung at 43
  • 1870 Michael William Balfe, Irish violinist and composer (The Bohemian Girl), dies at 62
  • 1876 Jeronimo de Bosch Kemper, Dutch sociologist and historian, dies at 68
  • 1882 Olegario Victor Andrade, Argentina poet (El arpa perdida), dies at 41
  • 1894 James Anthony Froude, English historian and novelist (The Nemesis of Faith), dies at 76
  • 1896 Félix Tisserand, French Astronomer, dies at 51
  • 1900 Charles Dudley Warner, American novelist (As We Go), dies at 70
  • 1900 Naim Frashëri, Albanian poet and writer, dies at 54
  • 1904 Henry Hiles, English composer, dies at 77
  • 1906 Buck Ewing, American MLB hall of fame catcher (NY Giants), dies at 67
  • 1907 Said Pasha Kurd, Kurdish statesman (b.1834)
  • 1910 David B. Hill, American politician and Governor of New York (1885-91), dies at 67
  • 1913 Leander Schlegel, Dutch composer, dies at 69
  • 1913 Daniel David Palmer, Canadian founder of chiropractic (1897 Palmer School of Chiropractic), dies of typhoid fever at 68
  • 1926 Eugene V. Debs, American labor leader and Socialist presidential candidate, dies at 70
  • 1927 Mikhail Ivanov, Russian composer, dies at 78
  • 1929 José Batlle y Ordóñez, President of Uruguay (1899, 1903-7, 1911-15), dies at 73
  • 1929 Rudolf Kittel, German theologist (Psalms), dies at 76
  • 1931 Emánuel Moór, Hungarian composer, pianist, and inventor of musical instruments, dies at 68
  • 1935 Adolphus Washington Greely, American Arctic explorer and recipient of the Medal of Honor, dies at 91
  • 1936 Anne Sullivan [Johanna Macy], American teacher who educated Helen Keller, dies at 70
  • 1940 Gunnar Asplund, Swedish modernist architect (The Woodland Crematorium), dies at 55
  • 1941 Ken Farnes English cricketer (15 Tests for England), dies in a plane crash during WWII at 30
  • 1942 May Robson, Australian born actress (Star is Born, Reckless), dies at 84
  • 1944 Gabriel Grovlez, French pianist, conductor (Opéra de Paris, 1914-34), and composer (L'Almanach aux images), dies at 65
  • 1950 Henry L. Stimson, American statesman (46th United States Secretary of State), dies at 83
  • 1952 Basil Radford, British actor (The Lady Vanishes, Whiskey Galore, Night Train), dies from a heart attack at 55
  • 1953 Werner Baumbach, German bomber pilot (Luftwaffe special bombing unit WWII), dies in a plane accident at 36
  • 1954 Wilbur Shaw, American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1937, 39, 40; Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 1991), dies in an airplane crash at 51
  • 1955 Eino Roiha, Finnish composer, dies at 51
  • 1959 Werner Krauss, German actor (Joyless Street), dies at 75 (b. 1884)

Herbert Hoover

1964 Herbert Hoover, American politician, 31st President of the United States (1929-33), dies in NY at 90

  • 1964 Miles Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn, English diplomat (High Commissioner of Egypt and the Sudan), dies at 84
  • 1967 Yoshida Shigeru, Japanese politician and diplomat, Prime Minister of Japan (1946-54), dies at 89
  • 1968 Bud Flanagan [Chaim Reuben Weintrop], English comedian (duo with Chesney Alley), dies at 72
  • 1968 Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, African-American TV preacher, dies at 84
  • 1970 Patrick Wymark [Cheeseman], British actor (Skull, Tomb of Ligeia), dies of a heart attack at 44
  • 1972 Harlow Shapley, American astronomer (Sun's position in galaxy), dies at 86
  • 1977 Cassie Gaines, American rock musician (Lynyrd Skynyrd), dies in a plane crash at 28
  • 1977 Ronnie Van Zant, American rock musician (Lynyrd Skynyrd), dies in a plane crash at 29
  • 1977 Steve Gaines, American rock vocalist and guitarist (Lynyrd Skynyrd), dies in a plane crash at 28
  • 1983 Merle Travis, American country singer, dies at 75
  • 1983 Yves Thériault, French Canadian author , dies at 67
  • 1984 Carl Ferdinand Cori, Czech-American bio-chemist (Nobel 1947-discovery of how glycogen (animal starch) – a derivative of glucose – is broken down and resynthesized in the body, for use as a store and source of energy), dies at 87

Paul Dirac

1984 Paul Dirac, English physicist (quantum electrodynamics, Nobel 1933), dies at 82

  • 1986 Samora Machel, President of Mozambique, dies in air crash at 53
  • 1987 Andrey Nikolayevich Kolmogorov, Russian mathematician (theory of probability), dies at 84

Sheila Scott

1988 Sheila Scott, English aviator (completes 1st round-the-world solo flight by a woman), dies at 61

  • 1989 Anthony Quayle, British actor (Anne of 1000 Days, Lawrence of Arabia), dies from liver cancer at 76
  • 1990 Joel McCrea, American actor (Foreign Correspondent, Sullivan's Travels), dies of pulmonary complications at 84
  • 1990 Bridget Bate Tichenor (born Bridget Pamela Arkwright Bate), Mexican surrealist painter dies at 72
  • 1992 Orton Chirwa, Malawi lawyer, Minister of Justice, dies in captivity at 73
  • 1992 Werner Torkanowsky, German conductor (New Orleans Symphony, 1963-77; Bangor Symphony, 1981-92), dies of cancer at 66
  • 1993 Maurice Dolbier, American actor and author (Nowhere Near Everest; The Bus That Nobody Loved), dies at 81
  • 1993 Sugiyama Yasushi, Japanese Nihonga style painter, and designer, dies on his 84th birthday
  • 1994 Sergei Bondarchuk, Soviet director and actor (Destiny of a Man, War and Peace), dies of a heart attack at 74

Burt Lancaster

1994 Burton "Burt" Lancaster, American actor (Spartacus, Apartment, From Here to Eternity, Elmer Gantry), dies of heart attack at 80

  • 1994 Robert Medley, English artist and theater designer, dies at 88
  • 1994 Eberhard Feik, German actor (Tatort), dies at 50
  • 1994 Ivan Sviták, Czech philosopher and poet, dies at 69
  • 1994 Francis Steegmuller, American biographer (Cocteau), dies at 88
  • 1994 (Charles) Robert Medley, English abstract and figurative style painter, dies at 88
  • 1995 Bernadette Hingley, English priest, one of 1st women to be ordained in England, dies of cancer at 47
  • 1995 Christopher Stone, American actor (Dave-Dallas, Interns), dies at 53
  • 1995 Jack Rose, American screenwriter (The Seven Little Foys), dies at 83
  • 1995 Raymond Rasberry, American gospel pianist and singer, dies at 65
  • 1996 Bill Bedford, British test pilot (pioneered the development of V/STOL aircraft), dies at 75
  • 1996 Mary Tuck, British social researcher and civil servant, dies at 68
  • 1997 Henry Vestine, American guitarist (Canned Heat), dies of heart and respiratory failure at 52
  • 1999 Calvin Griffith, Canadian baseball team owner (Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 1955-84), dies at 87

Jack Lynch

1999 Jack Lynch, Irish politician and Taoiseach (1966-73 and 1977-79), dies at 82

  • 2001 Ted Ammon, American financier and investment banker, bludgeoned to death at 52
  • 2002 Barbara Berjer, American soap opera actress (Another World), dies at 82
  • 2002 Bernard Fresson, French actor (Hiroshima Mon Amour), dies at 71
  • 2003 Jack Elam, American actor (The Dakotas, East Street, Rio Lobo), dies at 82
  • 2003 Čkalja [Miodrag Petrović], Serbian actor and one of the most popular comedians of former Yugoslavia, dies at 79
  • 2004 Anthony Hecht, American poet, dies at 81
  • 2004 Chuck Hiller, American MLB second baseman (first NL player in history to hit a grand slam HR in World Series play, 1962), dies from leukemia at 70
  • 2005 Shirley Horn, American jazz singer and pianist, dies at 71
  • 2005 Endon Mahmood, First Lady of Malaysia, wife of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, dies of breast cancer at 64
  • 2005 Eva Švankmajerová, Czech surrealist artist, dies of cancer at 65

Jane Wyatt

2006 Jane Wyatt, American actress (Father Knows Best), dies at 96

  • 2006 Frank Vicari, American jazz, session, and touring saxophonist (Maynard Ferguson; Woody Herman; Tom Waits; Saturday Night Live), dies at 75
  • 2007 Max McGee, American football player (Green Bay Packers), dies at 75
  • 2007 Paul Raven, British bass-player (Killing Joke, Ministry), dies of a heart attack at 46
  • 2008 Gene Hickerson, American football Hall of Famer (b. 1935)
  • 2008 Sœur Emmanuelle, Belgian-French religious sister, dies at 99
  • 2008 Pierre Sancan, French composer (Sonatine for flute and piano; La Légende de Icare), pianist, conductor, and teacher (Conservatoire de Paris, 1956-85), dies at 92

Bob Guccione

2010 Bob Guccione, American publisher (Penthouse magazine), dies at 79

  • 2010 Parthasarathy Sharma, Indian cricket batsman (5 Tests, 1 x 50), dies at 62
  • 2010 Farooq Leghari, 8th President of Pakistan (1993-97), dies at 70
  • 2010 Harvey Phillips, American tubist (NYC Ballet Orchestra), dies at 80

Muammar Gaddafi

2011 Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan revolutionary, political theorist and dictator (1969-2011), beaten to death in captivity by a Misratan militia at between 68–71

  • 2011 Moatassem Gaddafi, Son of Moammar Gaddafi and National Security Adviser of Libya (b. 1977)
  • 2011 Tone Pavček, Slovenian poet and translator (b. 1928)
  • 2013 Lawrence Klein, American economist who created computer models to forecast economic trends (1980 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences), dies at 93
  • 2014 John Hoskyns, Policy Advisor to Margaret Thatcher (1979-82), dies at 87
  • 2014 Pavle Merku, Italian-Slovene composer and ethnomusicologist, dies at 87
  • 2014 Lili Carati, Miss Italy 1975 and actress (Alcove), dies at 58
  • 2014 Oscar de la Renta, Domincan American fashion designer (Coty Hall of Fame-1973), dies at 82
  • 2015 Cory Wells [Emil Lewandowski], American rock vocalist (3 Dog Night-Joy to the World), dies at 74
  • 2015 Don Rendell, English jazz musician and arranger, dies at 89
  • 2016 Junko Tabei, Japanese mountain-climber, 1st woman to climb Mount Everest, dies at 77
  • 2018 Wim Kok, Dutch politician, Dutch Prime Minister (1994-2002), dies at 80
  • 2019 Nick Tosches, American writer (bio of Jerry Lee Lewis), dies at 69
  • 2020 Derryl Cousins, American baseball umpire (World Series 1988, 99, 2005; MLB All-Star Game 1987, 98, 2008), dies from cancer at 74
  • 2020 Bruno Martini, French soccer goalkeeper (31 caps; Auxerre, Nancy, Montpellier), dies from heart failure at 58
  • 2020 Bill Mathis, American football halfback (AFL All Star 1961, 63; New York Titans/Jets), dies at 81
  • 2021 Dragan Pantelić, Serbian soccer goalkeeper (19 caps Yugoslavia; Radnički Niš, Bordeaux), dies at 69
October 20 Highlights