On This Day

Famous Deaths on October 31

  • 1147 Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, English politician and illegitimate son of King Henry I, dies at about 57
  • 1214 Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile, dies at 53
  • 1448 Johannes VIII Palaeologus, Emperor of Byzantine, dies
  • 1517 Fra Bartolommeo, Italian artist (b. 1472)
  • 1556 John Sleidanus, German humanist/historian (Commentary), dies at 50
  • 1634 Erasmus Widmann, German composer, dies at 62
  • 1641 Cornelis Jol, Dutch admiral and privateer, dies at about 41
  • 1654 Francisco Correa de Arauxo, Spanish organ composer, dies at about 70
  • 1659 John Bradshaw, English judge (b. 1602)
  • 1661 Mehmed Koprulu, Albanian great vizier of Turkey, dies
  • 1664 Willem Frederik of Nassau-Dietz, viceroy of Friesland, dies at 51
  • 1723 Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, monarch of Florence (1670-1723), dies at 81
  • 1732 Victor Amadeus II of Savoy (b. 1666)
  • 1733 Eberhard Ludwig, Duke of Württemberg, dies at 57
  • 1744 Leonardo Ortensio Salvatore de Leo, Italian opera composer, dies at 50
  • 1765 Duke of Cumberland, English politician/uncle of George III, dies

  • 1768 Francesco Maria Veracini, Italian opera composer, dies at 78
  • 1786 Princess Amelia Sophia of Great Britain, second daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach, dies at 75
  • 1793 Pierre-Victurnien Vergniaud, French politician and police leader, guillotined at 40
  • 1806 Sophie Mereau, German writer, dies at 36
  • 1815 Daniel Belknap, American composer, dies at 44
  • 1834 Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, French-American chemist and industrialist (E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company), dies at 63
  • 1851 Peter II, prince-bishop of Montenegro (1830-51) and poet (The Ray of The Microcosm), dies at 37
  • 1860 Johannes Nathan, Dutch murderer, the last ordinary execution in the Netherlands, hanged for killing his mother-in-law
  • 1860 Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, British admiral, dies at 84
  • 1863 Louis Ludwig Blenker, German/US brigadier general (Union), dies at 51
  • 1865 William Parson, 3rd Earl of Rosse & maker of large telescopes, dies
  • 1870 Mihály Mosonyi, Hungarian composer, dies at 55
  • 1879 Big Snake, brother of Ponca chief Standing Bear, dies
  • 1879 Jacob Abbott, American author (b. 1803)
  • 1879 Joseph Hooker, American General (b. 1814)
  • 1881 George Washington De Long, American Arctic Explorer, dies during his disastrous expedition to the North Pole at 37
  • 1883 Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of Arya Samaj
  • 1884 Marie Bashkirtseff, Russian diarist and painter, dies at 25
  • 1887 George Alexander Macfarren, British composer and musicologist, dies at 74
  • 1895 Franz Hedrich, Austria writer, dies at about 62

  • 1902 Jean-Baptist Colyns, Belgian violinist and composer, dies at 67
  • 1913 William Evans-Gordon, British politician (b. 1857)
  • 1916 Charles Taze Russell, American founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses (b. 1852)
  • 1917 Tibby Cotter, Australian cricket fast bowler and soldier (21 Tests, 49 wickets), dies in world's last successful cavalry charge, 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba at 33
  • 1918 Egon Schiele, Austrian painter and graphic artist, dies at 28
  • 1918 [Stephen] István Tisza, Hungarian PM (1903-05, 1913-17), assassinated by soldiers at 57
  • 1920 Alphonse Desjardins, Canadian founder of the Caisses populaires Desjardins, dies at 65

Person of interestHarry Houdini

1926 Harry Houdini [Erich Weisz], magician, dies in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured

Magician and Escape Artist Harry Houdini
Magician and Escape Artist
Harry Houdini
  • 1929 António José de Almeida, Portuguese politician and 6th President of Portugal (b. 1866)
  • 1939 Otto Rank [Rosenfeld], Austria psychoanalyst (Trauma of Geburt), dies
  • 1941 Herwarth Walden, German art writer and critic, dies in a Soviet prison at 63
  • 1943 Max Reinhardt [Goldmann], Austrian theatrical director (Oedipus Rex) and founder of the Salzburg Festival, dies at 70
  • 1945 Henry Ainley, English actor (As You Like It), dies at 66
  • 1948 Cissy van Marxfield [Setske Beek-de Han], Dutch children's writer, dies at 58
  • 1949 Edward Stettinius Jr. 48th US Secretary of State (1944-45) and diplomat, dies at 49
  • 1950 Carel T Scharten, Dutch poet and writer (Lost Paradise), dies at 72
  • 1950 Jozef C Bittremieux, Flemish theologist, dies at 72
  • 1952 U Chit Hlaing, Burmese politician (b. 1879)
  • 1955 William Woodward Jr., American businessman and horse breeder (Hanover National Bank), is shot by his wife after being mistaken for an intruder at 35
  • 1955 Alban Collignon, Belgian sport journalist, dies at 74
  • 1959 Jean Cabannes, French physicist (b. 1885)
  • 1960 H L Davis, American writer (Honey in the Horn, Pulitzer prize), dies at 64
  • 1963 Henry Daniell, British actor (The Great Dictator, Camille, Philadelphia Story, Body Snatchers), dies at 69
  • 1964 Theodore Freeman, American astronaut, dies at 34 in a T-38 jet air crash, 1st NASA astronaut fatality
  • 1965 Rita Johnson, American actress (Honolulu, All Mine to Give), dies from a brain hemorrhage at 53
  • 1967 Jan Mens, Dutch writer (Honor to God Alone), dies at 70
  • 1968 Malcolm Hale, American musician (Spanky and Our Gang), dies of monoxide poisoning at 27
  • 1969 Hugo Pfister, Swiss composer, dies at 55
  • 1971 Gerhard von Rad, German old testament expert, dies at 70
  • 1972 Bill Durnan, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1916)
  • 1975 Joseph Calleia, Maltese-American actor (Jungle Book, Gilda), dies at 78
  • 1975 SD Burman, Indian musician (b. 1906)
  • 1976 Linda Watkins, American actress (From Hell it Came, Harpy), dies at 68
  • 1977 Joan Tetzel, American actress (Hell Below Zero, Joy in the Morning), dies of cancer at 56

Person of interestGeorge Halas

1983 George Halas [Papa Bear], American NFL coach and pioneering owner of the Chicago Bears, dies of pancreatic cancer at 88

American Football Coach and Team Owner George Halas
American Football Coach and Team Owner
George Halas
  • 1984 Eduardo De Filippo, Italian playwright, director, actor and poet (7 Deadly Sins, Shoot Loud), dies at 84

MurderIndira Gandhi

1984 Indira Gandhi, 4th Prime Minister of India (1966-77, 1980-84), assassinated by two of her bodyguards at 66

4th Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi
4th Prime Minister of India
Indira Gandhi
  • 1985 Poul Reichhardt, Danish actor (Soldaten og Jenny, Det gælder os alle), dies at 72
  • 1985 Nikos Engonopoulos, Greek painter and poet (b. 1907)
  • 1985 Anton Christoforidis, Greek boxer (NBA light heavyweight title 1941), dies of a heart attack at 68
  • 1986 Robert S. Mulliken, American chemist and physicist (Nobel 1966), dies at 90
  • 1987 Joseph Campbell, mythologist (Mythic Image), dies at 83
  • 1988 John Houseman, Romanian actor (The Paper Chase, Rollerball, The Fog), dies of spinal cancer at 86
  • 1988 Alfred Pellan, Québécois painter (b. 1906)
  • 1989 Conrad Beck, Swiss composer, dies at 88
  • 1990 Graig Russel, Canadian travel expert/transvestite, dies
  • 1990 Hugh McPhillips, dies at 70
  • 1991 Bert Bertram, Australian actor (How to Steal a Million, Shamus), dies of cancer at 97
  • 1991 Johan Schmitz, actor (Gysbregt van Aemstel/Soldat van Orange), dies
  • 1991 Joseph Papp, Broadway producer (A Chorus Line), dies of cancer at 70
  • 1991 Gene Anderson, American professional wrestler (b. 1933)
  • 1993 Adriaan Venema, Dutch journalist/art dealer, commits suicide at 52
  • 1993 Edwin A Walker, US Maj-Gen, dies of lung cancer at 84

Person of interestFederico Fellini

1993 Federico Fellini, director (La Dolce Vita), dies of stroke at 73

Film Director and Scriptwriter Federico Fellini
Film Director and Scriptwriter
Federico Fellini

Person of interestRiver Phoenix

1993 River Phoenix, American actor (Stand By Me), dies of drug overdose at 23


  • 1994 John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy, English art historian and director of British Museum (1974-76), dies at 80
  • 1994 Jole Silvani [Niobe Quaiatti], Italian actress (La citta' Delle), dies
  • 1994 Lester Sill, pioneer music publisher/record producer, dies at 76
  • 1994 William John Readings, literary theorist, dies at 34
  • 1995 Alan Bush, English composer pianist and teacher, dies at 94
  • 1995 Derek Anthony Enright, British Labour politician, dies at 60
  • 1995 Henry A Walter Richard Percy, 11th Duke of Northumberland, dies at 42
  • 1995 Lavad "Dr Hepcat" Durst, vocal/piano, dies at 82
  • 1995 Leonard Ernest John Chant, social worker, dies at 57
  • 1995 Lloyd Lambert, American bassist (Guitar Slim), dies at 67
  • 1995 Louis Levy Jr, music publisher, dies at 84
  • 1995 Rosalind Cash, American actress (Emma-Go Tell It on the Mountain), dies of cancer at 56
  • 1995 Wallace Edward Rowling, Prime Minister of NZ (1974-1975), dies at 68
  • 1996 Andrew Hutchings, British trade union leader, dies at 88
  • 1996 John Gorman, printer and socialist historian, dies at 66
  • 1996 Peter Doig, British Labour Party politician, dies at 85
  • 1996 Arthur Peterson, American actor (Soap, Mission: Impossible, Crisis), dies from Alzheimer's disease at 83
  • 1997 Wilfrid Oulton, British Royal Air Force officer, dies at 86
  • 1998 Elmer Vasko, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1935)
  • 1998 Bernard J. Dwyer, American politician (Rep-D-NJ 1981-93), dies at 77
  • 1998 Kenneth Darling, British Army Commander-in-chief Allied Forces, dies at 89
  • 1999 Greg Moore, Canadian race car driver (b. 1975)
  • 2000 Watanabe Kazuki Japanese musician (Raphael) (b. 1981)
  • 2000 Ring Lardner, Jr., American screenwriter (b. 1915)
  • 2001 Régine Cavagnoud, French skier (b. 1970)
  • 2001 Art Wall Jr, American golfer (Masters 1959), dies of respiratory failure at 77
  • 2002 Lionel Poilâne, French baker and entrepreneur, dies at 57
  • 2002 Michail Stasinopoulos, Greek politician and 1st President of Greece, dies at 99
  • 2002 Raf Vallone, Italian actor (A View From the Bridge), dies at 86
  • 2003 Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Indian Carnatic vocalist, dies at 95

  • 2003 Richard Neustadt, American political historian (b. 1919)
  • 2005 Mary Wimbush, British actress (Oh! What a Lovely War, The Archers), dies at 81
  • 2005 John "Beatz" Holohan, American drummer (Bayside), dies in an auto accident at 31
  • 2005 Hal Anger, American biophysicist and electrical engineer who invented the gamma camera, dies at 85

Person of interestP. W. Botha

2006 P. W. Botha, President of South Africa (1984-89) and Prime Minister (19778-84), dies at 90

President of South Africa P. W. Botha
President of South Africa
P. W. Botha
  • 2007 Ray Gravell, Welsh rugby union footballer (Wales and the British Lions), dies of a heart attack at 56
  • 2009 Qian Xuesen, Chinese scientist who worked on the Manhattan Project and who pioneered engineering cybernetics, dies at 97
  • 2009 Tom Wheatcroft, English businessman and car collector (Donington Grand Prix Collection ), dies at 87
  • 2010 Maurice Lucas, American basketball player, dies at 58
  • 2010 Theodore Sorenson, American presidential advisor to JFK and author (Kennedy), dies at 82
  • 2011 Flórián Albert, Hungarian footballer (European Footballer of the Year 1967), dies at 70
  • 2011 Liz Anderson, American country music singer-songwriter (Mama Spank, The Game of Triangles), dies of heart and lung disease at 81
  • 2011 Manfred Mayrhofer, Austrian Indo-European philologist (Indo-Iranian languages), dies at 85
  • 2012 Konstantin Vyrupayev, Soviet wrestler (Greco-Roman Bantamweight Olympic Gold 1956), dies at 82
  • 2012 Brian Cobby, British actor (Evita, The Nudist Story) and the first male voice of the British speaking clock, dies from health complications at 83
  • 2015 Gus Savage, American politician (Rep-D-IL, 1981- 93), dies at 90
  • 2015 Gregg Palmer [Palmer Edvind Lee], American actor (Scream, To Hell & Back), dies at 88
  • 2016 Tammy Grimes, American stage actress (Unsinkable Molly Brown), dies at 82
  • 2016 James Galanos, American fashion designer (Coty Hall of Fame 1959), dies at 92
  • 2016 Natalie Babbitt, American children's writer (Tuck Everlasting), dies of lung cancer at 84

Person of interestWillie McCovey

2018 Willie McCovey, American Baseball Hall of Fame 1st baseman (6 x MLB All Star; NL MVP 1969; NL home run leader 1963, 68, 69; SF Giants), dies of an infection at 80

Baseball Hall of Fame 1st Baseman Willie McCovey
Baseball Hall of Fame 1st Baseman
Willie McCovey

Person of interestSean Connery

2020 Sean Connery, Scottish actor and producer (James Bond films, Indiana Jones), dies at 90

  • 2020 Rance Allen, American gospel singer and musician (Rance Allen Group - Miracle Worker), dies at 71
  • 2020 Marius Žaliūkas, Lithuanian soccer centre back (25 caps; Hearts, Leeds, Rangers), dies from motor neurone disease at 36
October 31 Highlights