Famous People Who Died In 1940

Discover the most famous people died who died in the year 1940. This list includes people like Neville Chamberlain, Leon Trotsky, Robert Wadlow, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcus Garvey and many more. This list of celebrities is loosely sorted by popularity. People featured on this list, include political leaders, artists, physicists and philosophers who died in 1940. This list includes people from United States, United Kingdom, Germany & Russia and many more countries.
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 1 
F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Best Known for His Novel 'The Great Gatsby')
F. Scott Fitzgerald
40
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: September 24, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died: December 21

Novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short-story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. However, he wasn’t much popular during his lifetime. His works gained international acclaim only in the years following his untimely death at 44. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

 2 
Leon Trotsky
(Russian Marxist Revolutionary Who Developed a Variant of Marxism Which Has Become Known as 'Trotskyism')
Leon Trotsky
60
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 7, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bereslavka, Ukraine
Died: August 21

A Russian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary, Leon Trotsky developed a political ideology called Trotskyism, which eventually had a considerable impact on Russian politics. He also played a vital role in leading the Red Army to victory in the Russian Civil War.

 3 
Marcus Garvey
(Jamaican Political Activist, Journalist and Founder and First President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association)
Marcus Garvey
12
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: August 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Ann's Bay, Jamaica
Died: June 10
Marcus Garvey is remembered as an iconic Black separatist leader who believed that all African-origin people in Europe and America should go back to Africa. He established the Universal Negro Improvement Association, but his activism was not accepted by civil rights activists, who believed in racial integration and not segregation.
 4 
J. J. Thomson
(British Physicist Who is Credited With the Discovery of the Electron)
J. J. Thomson
19
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 18, 1856
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 30

J. J. Thomson was a British physicist credited with the discovery of the electron, the first subatomic particle to be discovered. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1906 for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases. In 1884, he was appointed Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge. 

 5 
Emma Goldman
(American Anarchist Political Activist and Writer)
Emma Goldman
18
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: June 27, 1869
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kaunas, Lithuania
Died: May 14

Emma Goldman was a writer and anarchist political activist. She played an important role in popularizing the anarchist political philosophy in Europe and North America in the early and mid-20th century. Her lectures and writing spanned a wide variety of subjects, such as atheism, militarism, freedom of speech, homosexuality, capitalism, and free love.

 6 
Paul Klee
(Swiss-born German Artist Whose Work Exhibited Shades of 'Expressionism', 'Cubism', and 'Surrealism')
Paul Klee
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 18, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland
Died: May 29
The father of abstract art, Paul Klee’s works contained elements of surrealism, cubism, and expressionism, but they were not part of any specific school. He was also a skilled violinist and an avid reader. He also taught at the Bauhaus and experimented with various media, such as oil, watercolor, and ink.
 7 
Neville Chamberlain
(Prime Minister of the U.K.)
Neville Chamberlain
28
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 18, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Birmingham
Died: November 9

Neville Chamberlain was a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, Chamberlain served as UK's prime minister from 1937 to 1940. Known for his signing of the Munich Agreement, which is also called the Munich Betrayal, Neville Chamberlain is regarded by many as one of the most controversial prime ministers of the UK.

 8 
Smedley Butler
(United States Marine Corps officer)
Smedley Butler
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 30, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 21
 9 
Tom Mix
(Actor)
Tom Mix
1
Birthdate: January 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mix Run, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: October 12
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 10 
Robert Wadlow
(Tallest Person Ever Known)
Robert Wadlow
15
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 22, 1918
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States
Died: July 15

Also known as the Giant of Illinois and the Alton Giant, Robert Wadlow was the tallest person in recorded history, having reached 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) in height at the time of his death, at the age of 22. His continued growth was due to a medical condition that results in a high level of human growth hormone.

 11 
Mikhail Bulgakov
(Novelist and Playwright Best Known for His Novel 'The Master and Margarita')
Mikhail Bulgakov
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 15, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine
Died: March 10

Mikhail Bulgakov was a Russian writer, playwright, and medical doctor best remembered for his work The Master and Margarita, a novel which has been acclaimed as one of the 20th century's masterpieces. Over the years, his works have inspired several other personalities, including Salman Rushdie and Mick Jagger.    

 12 
Eric Gill
(The Greatest Artist-Craftsman of the 20th Century)
Eric Gill
2
Birthdate: February 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Died: November 17

English sculptor and printer Eric Gill first gained attention with his work Mother and Child. Apart from co-founding the St. Dominic’s Press, he also contributed to the illustrations and woodcuts for The Four Gospels. He was also infamous form his deviant sexual behavior, which included incest and animal abuse.

 13 
Fusajiro Yamauchi
(Japanese Entrepreneur Best Remembered as the Founder of 'Nintendo')
Fusajiro Yamauchi
0
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: November 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kyoto
Died: January 1

Fusajiro Yamauchi was a Japanese entrepreneur best remembered for founding Nintendo. He also served as the first president of the company. Yamauchi started the company as a hanafuda card-making unit. Nintendo Koppai cards were the only exception in a time when the Japanese government had banned other playing cards due to their association with gambling.  

 14 
Gerda Wegener
(Danish Illustrator, Painter and Partner of Transgender Woman Lili Elbe)
Gerda Wegener
6
Birthdate: March 15, 1886
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammelev, Denmark
Died: July 28

Gerda Wegener was a Danish painter and illustrator. She began painting as a young girl and received her training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. As a painter, she often depicted confident and elegant women performing a variety of activities in her works. She also painted fashion illustrations and what was labeled “lesbian erotica.” 

 15 
Walter Benjamin
(German Jewish Philosopher, Cultural Critic and Essayist)
Walter Benjamin
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: July 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26

Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish essayist, philosopher, and cultural critic. An eclectic thinker, Benjamin made significant contributions to literary criticism, aesthetic theory, and historical materialism. Although Benjamin's work did not earn much recognition during his lifetime, it continues to be revered by academics several years after his death.

 16 
Walter Chrysler
(Business person)
Walter Chrysler
4
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: April 2, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wamego, Kansas, U.S.
Died: August 18
 17 
Selma Lagerlöf
(First Woman to Win the Nobel Prize in Literature)
Selma Lagerlöf
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mårbacka, Värmland, Sweden
Died: March 16

Selma Lagerlöf was a Swedish teacher and author. In 1909, Lagerlöf became the first woman to receive the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1914, she became the first woman to be elected as a member by the Swedish Academy. In 1991, Selma Lagerlöf was depicted on a Swedish banknote, becoming the first woman to enjoy this honor, albiet posthumously.

 18 
Carl Bosch
(Chemist & Engineer)
Carl Bosch
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: August 27, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: April 26

Carl Bosch was a German engineer and chemist. He is credited with founding IG Farben, which went on to become one of the largest chemical companies in the world. He is also credited with developing the Haber–Bosch process, which is used even today for the production of ammonia. Carl Bosch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931.

 19 
Henry Ossian Flipper
(Military Leader)
Henry Ossian Flipper
12
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: March 21, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thomasville, Georgia, United States
Died: April 26

Then first Black to have graduated from West Point’s Military Academy, Henry Ossian Flipper was born to slave parents. He also became the first African-American to command US Army troops. He was dismissed unjustly on embezzlement charges and later worked as a civil engineer. His name was cleared posthumously.

 20 
Nathanael West
(Novelist)
Nathanael West
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 17, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: December 22
 21 
Udham Singh
(Indian Revolutionary Known for Assassinating ‘Michael O’Dwyer’, the Former Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab in India)
Udham Singh
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 26, 1899
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sunam, Punjab, India
Died: July 31
 22 
Lillian Wald
(American Nurse and the Founder of American Nursing Community)
Lillian Wald
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: March 10, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: September 1

Lillian Wald was an American nurse, author, and humanitarian. She is credited with establishing the Henry Street Settlement, a not-for-profit social service agency in New York City. After founding the agency, Lillian Wald became an activist and fought for the rights of minorities and women. She also supported racial integration and campaigned for suffrage.  

 23 
Abdelhamid Ben Badis
(Educator)
Abdelhamid Ben Badis
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 4, 1889
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Constantine, Algeria
Died: April 16
 24 
W. H. Davies
(British poet)
W. H. Davies
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: July 3, 1871
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newport, Wales
Died: September 26

After losing his father at age 3, Georgian poet W. H. Davies was raised by his grandparents. He later spent moving from place to place in the US and Canada, taking up odd jobs, and even lost his right foot while trying to jump a freight train.

 25 
Charles Freer Andrews
(Anglican Priest, Christian Missionary, Educator and Social Reformer)
Charles Freer Andrews
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 12, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: April 5

Charles Freer Andrews was a Christian missionary and Anglican priest. He was also an educator and social reformer. A close friend of Indian freedom fighters Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, he supported the Indian struggle for independence. Gandhi fondly called him Deenabandhu, or "Friend of the Poor". Even today, Andrews is widely respected in India. 

 26 
Nicolae Iorga
(34th Prime Minister of Romania (1931 - 1932))
Nicolae Iorga
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 17, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Botoșani, Romania
Died: November 27

Nicolae Iorga was a Romanian politician, historian, memoirist, poet, playwright, literary critic, and Albanologist. He is credited with co-founding the Democratic Nationalist Party. Nicolae Iorga is best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Romania from 19 April 1931 to 6 June 1932. 

 27 
Édouard Vuillard
(Painter)
Édouard Vuillard
1
Birthdate: November 11, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuiseaux, Saône-et-Loire, France
Died: June 21
 28 
Billy Hamilton
(Baseball player)
Billy Hamilton
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 16, 1866
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 15
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 29 
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia
(Prince)
Prince Wilhelm of Prussia
5
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 4, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Marmorpalais, Potsdam, Germany
Died: May 26
 30 
Isaac Babel
(Russian Author and Journalist Who Is Remembered for His Iconic Short Story Collections)
Isaac Babel
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: July 13, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Odesa, Ukraine
Died: January 27

Russian author Isaac Babel was a reporter before plunging into full-time writing. He is remembered for his short story collections Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories. One of his most popular stories was The Story of My Dovecote. He was part of the Soviet 1st Cavalry Army as Kiril Lyutov and documented the Polish-Soviet War.

 31 
Vsevolod Meyerhold
(Russian and Soviet Theatre Director, Actor and Theatrical Producer)
Vsevolod Meyerhold
1
Birthdate: February 9, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Penza, Russia
Died: February 2

Initially part of the Moscow Art Theatre, Russian director-actor Vsevolod Meyerhold is remembered for pioneering avant-garde theories of symbolism in theater. He also paved the path for biomechanics in Russian theater and created masterpieces such as The Magnificent Cuckold. He was executed, and his wife was murdered, during the Great Purge.

 32 
Spyridon Louis
(Greek Water Carrier, Marathon Runner and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Spyridon Louis
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 12, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marousi, Greece
Died: March 26

Spiridon Louis was a Greek water carrier-turned-national hero. Louis achieved widespread popularity after becoming the first person to win the modern-day Olympic marathon at the 1896 Olympics in Athens. A former soldier, Louis is an example of an early rags-to-riches story where he wins the Olympic medal at a crucial moment and later becomes a police officer.

 33 
Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark
(Queen)
Princess Maria of Greece and Denmark
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1876
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Died: December 14
 34 
Frederick Cook
(American Explorer, Physician, and Ethnographer)
Frederick Cook
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 10, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hortonville, New York, United States
Died: August 5

Apart from being a qualified physician, Frederick Cook was also a passionate explorer. He was initially the surgeon on explorer Robert E. Peary’s team. He later created controversy by conflicting with Peary, saying it was him and not Peary who had first explored the North Pole, though his claims were denounced.

 35 
Big Nose Kate
(Prostitute)
Big Nose Kate
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 9, 1849
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nové Zámky, Slovakia
Died: November 2
 36 
Phan Boi Chau
(Political Figure)
Phan Boi Chau
0
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: December 26, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nghe An, Vietnam
Died: October 29
 37 
Wladimir Köppen
(Russian–German Geographer, Meteorologist and Climatologist)
Wladimir Köppen
1
Birthdate: September 25, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 22

Wladimir Köppen was a Russian-German meteorologist, geographer, botanist, and climatologist. He is best remembered for publishing the Köppen climate classification system, which is used even today. Wladimir Köppen made important contributions to many branches of science. He is also credited with coining the term aerology.

 38 
Italo Balbo
(Italian Fascist Politician Who Commanded the Country's Air Force and Served as Governor-General of Libya)
Italo Balbo
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 6, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ferrara
Died: June 28

Italian fascist politician Italo Balbo commanded the country’s air force under the dictatorial rule of Benito Mussolini. He was previously a leader of the Blackshirt militia. However, his pro-British sentiments made Mussolini move him away from Italy to make him the Governor-General of Italian Libya. He was killed by accidental friendly fire.

 39 
Oliver Lodge
(British Physicist, Inventor and Prinicpal Patent Holder and Developer of 'Radio')
Oliver Lodge
0
Birthdate: June 12, 1851
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Penkhull, England
Died: August 22

Best known for developing the radio-wave detector named coherer, Oliver Lodge had also served as the first principal of Birmingham University. He was made a Knights Bachelor and had also been a Royal Institution lecturer. His inventions revolutionized early wireless telegraph technology, though they were replaced by modern instruments later.

 40 
Ralph Modjeski
(Polish-American Civil Engineer)
Ralph Modjeski
0
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: January 27, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bochnia, Poland
Died: June 26

Born to actor Helena Modjeska, Polish-American engineer Ralph Modjeski was a talented pianist in his younger days. He later worked on the railroad bridge across the Mississippi and also re-designed the Quebec Bridge after a major disaster. Over his illustrious career, he had designed over 50 major bridges.

 41 
Saionji Kinmochi
(Former Prime Minister of Japan (1906 - 1909, 1911 - 1912))
Saionji Kinmochi
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 7, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: November 24

Born into nobility, Saionji Kinmochi came to prominence early in his life when he took part in the Meiji Restoration. He later entered politics and eventually rose to become the Prime Minister of Japan. During his reign, he tried to curtail military expenditure and keep the cabinet under party control. He wielded a moderating influence in Japanese politics even after retirement.

 42 
Mrs. Patrick Campbell
(Actress)
Mrs. Patrick Campbell
1
Birthdate: February 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 9
 43 
Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere
(Publisher)
Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere
0
Birthdate: April 26, 1868
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hampstead, England
Died: November 26
 44 
Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
(Author)
Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 4, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mysore
Died: August 3
 45 
Arthur Rostron
(Sailor)
Arthur Rostron
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 14, 1869
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bolton
Died: November 4
 46 
E.F. Benson
(British Writer and Archaeologist Best Known for His Collection of Novels 'Mapp and Lucia')
E.F. Benson
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: July 24, 1867
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington College, Berkshire, England
Died: February 29

Chiefly known as a novelist, biographer, and memoirist, Edward Frederic Benson began his career with the British School of Archaeology in Athens, publishing his first successful novel, Dodo: A Detail of the Day, during this period. Its popularity encouraged him to continue publishing, the most significant works among them being Mapp and Lucia series, and the biography of Queen Victoria.

 47 
DuBose Heyward
(Author)
DuBose Heyward
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 31, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Died: June 16
 48 
Kyösti Kallio
(The 4th President & the 8th Prime Minister of Finland)
Kyösti Kallio
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: April 10, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ylivieska, Finland
Died: December 19

Finnish politician Kyösti Kallio, who represented the Agrarian League, or the Center Party of Finland, had also led his country as its 4th president and 8th prime minister. He later became the first Finnish president to resign and also the only one who died in office, after he passed away following his farewell ceremonies.

 49 
Lluís Companys
(Former President of the Government of Catalonia)
Lluís Companys
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 21, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: El Tarròs, Spain
Died: October 15
 50 
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
(Politician)
James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 8, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland
Died: November 24