Deaths in History on December 20

  • 217 Pope Zephyrinus, Bishop of Rome (199-217)
  • 860 King Ethelbald of Wessex
  • 910 Alfonso III the Great, King of Leon, Galicia and Asturias, dies
  • 1022 Elvira Mendes, wife of Alfonso V of Castile (b. 996)
  • 1073 Dominic of Silos, Spanish Benedictine monk and Roman Catholic saint, dies at 73 [exact birthdate uncertain]
  • 1355 Stefanus IX Uros IV Dusan, king (1331-46)/Serbia (1346-55), dies
  • 1494 Matteo Maria Boiardo, Italian poet
  • 1524 Thomas Linacre, English scholar and physician
  • 1590 Ambroise Paré, French physician (b. 1510)
  • 1676 John Galle, Flemish engraver and printer, dies at 76
  • 1679 Johan Maurits, Prince of Nassau-Siegen (Maurits House), dies at 75
  • 1708 Willem van Bemmel, Dutch painter and etcher, dies at 78
  • 1722 Kangxi Emperor of China, 4th Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, dies at 68
  • 1723 Augustus Quirinus Rivinus, German physician and botanist, dies at 71
  • 1740 Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon, English military officer and statesman (b. 1675)
  • 1749 Pakubuwono II, susuhunan of Mataram Java, dies
  • 1768 Carlo Innocenzo Fragoni, Italian poet, dies at 76
  • 1786 Hannah Ocuish, at 12 is hanged for murder in New London Connecticut; the youngest ever executed in US
  • 1798 Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, Dutch engraver and art collector, dies at 72

SacagaweaSacagawea (c. 1788-1812)

Shoshone interpreter for the Lewis and Clark expedition, dies at 24

  • 1815 Giovanni Meli, Sicilian poet (Buccolica), dies at 75
  • 1856 Francesco Bentivegna, Italian revolutionary (b. 1820)
  • 1862 Robert Knox Scottish surgeon, anatomist and zoologist
  • 1875 Michail P Pogodin, Russian historian/writer (Povesti), dies at 75
  • 1921 Hans Hartwig von Beseler, German Colonel General, dies at 71
  • 1929 Emile Loubet, French premier (1892)/president (1899-1906), dies at 90
  • 1935 Martin O'Meara, Australian WWI soldier and Victoria Cross honoree, dies at 50
  • 1936 Baron De Borchgrave, Belgian ambassador, murdered in Madrid

Erich LudendorffErich Ludendorff (1865-1937)

German general during World War I, dies of liver cancer at 72

  • 1938 Annie Armstrong, American missionary leader, dies at 88
  • 1939 Hans Langsdorff, German Kriegsmarine (navy) captain commits suicide after scuttling his ship, the 'Admiral Graf Spee,' due to damage from the Battle of the River Plat (near Argentina)
  • 1941 Igor Severyanin, Russian poet (b. 1887)
  • 1944 Abbas Hilmi II, viceroy of Egypt (1892-1914), dies at 70
  • 1953 Henry Horatio Dixon, Irish Biologist (cohesion-tension theory in plants), dies at 84
  • 1954 James Hilton, English author (Lost Horizon), dies at 54
  • 1956 Ramon Carrillo, Argentine neuroscientist and Public Health minister (b. 1906)
  • 1961 Earle Page, eleventh Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1880)

Moss HartMoss Hart (1904-1961)

American playwright (You Can't Take it With You, Act 1), dies of a heart attack at 57

  • 1965 Egon Freiherr von Eickstedt, German anthropologist (classified human into races), dies at 73

John SteinbeckJohn Steinbeck (1902-1968)

American author (Grapes of Wrath, Nobel Prize 1940, 1962), dies at 66

  • 1973 Luis Carrero Blanco, Prime Minister of Spain (1973), assassinated by ETA
  • 1976 Richard J Daley, American politician (38th Mayor-Chicago-D:1955-76), dies of a heart attack at 74
  • 1989 Kurt Böhme, German bass, dies at 81
  • 1991 Andries Dirj Copier, Dutch glass designer (the Guild glass), dies at 90
  • 1991 Fop I Brouwer, Dutch biologist, radio presenter, and writer (Everything That Lives and Grows), dies at 79
  • 1991 Simone Beck, French chef, teacher, and cookbook author (with Julia Child - Mastering the Art of French Cooking), dies at 87
  • 1991 Stephen Birnbaum, American tourism writer, dies at 54
  • 1993 W Edwards Deming, US economist (helped Japan after WW II), dies at 93
  • 1994 Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State (1961-69), dies at 85
  • 1994 J C "Jody" Bateman, fiddler, dies at 75
  • 1995 John Henry Jacques, English co-operative retailer, and politician, dies at 90
  • 1996 Amata Kabua, President of Marshall Islands (1979-96), dies

Carl SaganCarl Sagan (1934-1996)

American scientist, astronomer and author (Broca's Brain, Cosmos, Contact) known for his research on extraterrestrial life, dies of pneumonia after suffering from myelodysplasia at 62

  • 1996 Roger Peacock, English writer (Thursday is missing, dies at 76
  • 1997 Denise Levertov, American poet and essayist (Joy Beneath the Skin), dies at 74
  • 1997 Vincent Ciccone, inventor (Blow-Pops candy), dies at 81
  • 1998 Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, British biophysicist (Nobel 1963), dies at 84
  • 1998 Chester P. Lyons, Canadian naturalist and author (b. 1915)
  • 2000 Mirza Ghulam Hafiz, Bangladesh statesman, politician, and philanthropist (b. 1920)

Léopold Sédar SenghorLéopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001)

Senegalese poet and 1st President of Senegal (1960-80), dies at 95

  • 2005 Maniam Moorthy, Malaysian climber
  • 2006 Shi Yuejun, Chinese serial killer
  • 2007 Nataline Sarkisyan, American leukemia patient dies after Cigna HealthCare denied coverage for a medically recommended liver transplant at 17
  • 2009 Jack Hixon, English football talent scout (b. 1921)
  • 2010 Brian Hanrahan, British journalist (b. 1949)
  • 2010 James R. Mann, American attorney and politician (b. 1920)
  • 2017 Bernard Francis Law, Disgraced American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church (1982-2002), dies at 86