Famous People Who Died In 1972

Discover the most famous people died who died in the year 1972. This list includes people like Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, Harry S. Truman, Jackie Robinson, J. Edgar Hoover, C. Rajagopalachari and many more. This list of celebrities is loosely sorted by popularity. People featured on this list, include political leaders, poets, emperors & kings and military leaders who died in 1972. This list includes people from United States, Germany, United Kingdom & India and many more countries.
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 1 
Jackie Robinson
(First African-American to Play in Major League Baseball)
Jackie Robinson
52
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cairo, Georgia, United States
Died: October 24
The first African-American to play in MLB in the modern era, Jackie Robinson helped herald the end of racial segregation in baseball. He broke the baseball color line and encouraged black players not to be confined to the Negro leagues alone. In 1962, he became a Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.
 2 
Harry S. Truman
(33rd President of the United States)
Harry S. Truman
50
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 8, 1884
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, United States
Died: December 26

Harry Truman was the US president from 1945 to 1953 and his administration successfully guided the US economy through the post-war challenges. He established the Truman Doctrine to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. He authorised the first and only use of nuclear weapons during a war when he sanctioned bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

 3 
Roberto Clemente
(Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Right Fielder)
Roberto Clemente
26
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Carolina, Puerto Rico
Died: December 31

Roberto Clemente was a Puerto Rican baseball player who represented the Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball (MLB). Apart from being a popular player, Clemente was also a great humanitarian whose impact is still being felt in MLB. Since his untimely death at the age of 38, Clemente has been the subject of several documentaries, articles, and books.

 4 
Yip Man
(Martial Artist and a Grandmaster of the Martial Art 'Wing Chun')
Yip Man
18
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Foshan, China
Died: December 2

Yip Man was a Chinese martial artist best remembered for teaching martial arts to the famous Chinese American martial artist, Bruce Lee. Yip Man is credited with teaching not only Bruce Lee but also many other students who went on to become martial arts masters. A biographical martial arts film titled Ip Man was inspired by his life and career.

 5 
Dan Blocker
(Actor)
Dan Blocker
7
Birthdate: December 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: De Kalb, Texas, USA
Died: May 13
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
 6 
Kwame Nkrumah
(First President of Ghana)
Kwame Nkrumah
29
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 21, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nkroful
Died: April 27

Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian revolutionary and politician. He played an important role in the independence of the Gold Coast in 1957, after which he served as the first prime minister of Ghana from 1957 to 1960 and then as the first president of Ghana from 1960 to 1966. He also played an influential role as an advocate of Pan-Africanism.

 7 
M. C. Escher
(Dutch Graphic Artist Best Known for His Works: ‘Hand with Reflecting Sphere’, ‘Relativity’ and ‘Waterfall’)
M. C. Escher
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 17, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died: March 27
Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher is remembered for his woodcuts, mezzotints, and lithographs inspired by mathematics. He did not receive much appreciation till he turned 70, when he had his first retrospective exhibition. His notable works include Relativity and Waterfall. He also drew inspiration from nature and cityscapes.
 8 
Mahalia Jackson
(Singer, Television Personality)
Mahalia Jackson
20
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died: January 27

Mahalia Jackson was an American singer. During her career, which spanned four decades, Jackson played a major role in popularizing gospel blues in black churches across the United States. Regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential vocalists, Mahalia Jackson is credited with inspiring rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and soul singing styles.

 9 
George Sanders
(Actor Known for His Films: 'Rebecca', 'Foreign Correspondent' and 'All About Eve')
George Sanders
9
Birthdate: July 3, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 25

George Sanders was a British actor, music composer, singer-songwriter, and author. Characterized by his smooth bass voice and heavy English accent, Sanders often portrayed sophisticated but villainous roles. For his contribution to the film and TV industry, George Sanders was honored with a couple of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 10 
Edward VIII
(King of the UK, Emperor of India (20 Jan 1936 - 11 Dec 1936))
Edward VIII
33
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond Park, Surrey, England
Died: May 28

Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire for several months in 1936. He was also Emperor of India during this period. He served in the British Army during the First World War and became the king following his father’s death. However, he abdicated the throne only months into his reign.

 11 
Ezra Pound
(American Poet and Critic Known for His Works: ‘Ripostes’, ‘Hugh Selwyn Mauberley’ and the Epic Poem, ‘The Cantos’)
Ezra Pound
25
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 30, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Idaho, United States
Died: November 1
American poet Ezra Pound was a significant figure in the modernist poetry movement who developed imagism and gained fame with works such as Ripostes and The Cantos. He later promoted social credit theory. During World War II, he supported fascism, participating in radio broadcasts against the U.S. and Jews. 
 12 
Lester B. Pearson
(14th Prime Minister of Canada (1963 - 1968))
Lester B. Pearson
6
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: April 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newtonbrook, Toronto, Canada
Died: December 27

Lester B. Pearson was a Canadian statesman, scholar, diplomat, and soldier. He is best remembered for organizing the first United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) in an attempt to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis, for which he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. From 1963 to 1968, Lester B. Pearson served as the prime minister of Canada.

 13 
Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
(Politician & Civil Rights Activist)
Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
8
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 29, 1908
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 4
 14 
Cristóbal Balenciaga
(Fashion Designer)
Cristóbal Balenciaga
7
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: January 21, 1895
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Getaria, Spain
Died: March 24

Remembered as The King of Fashion, Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga had begun sewing at 10, helping his mother earn a living after his father’s death. A visit to Paris at 15 turned his luck around. A closeted gay, Balenciaga later revolutionized fashion with his signature flowy gowns and dresses.

 15 
Maurice Chevalier
(French Singer Best Known for His Signature Songs: "Livin' In The Sunlight", "Valentine", "Louise" and "Mimi")
Maurice Chevalier
3
Birthdate: September 12, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 1
Best remembered for the song Valentine and the musical Gigi, French musician Maurice Chevalier not only fought in World War I, but was also injured and later imprisoned. During World War II, he reluctantly agreed to perform in exchange of the release of a few French prisoners. 
 16 
Margaret Rutherford
(Best Known for Her Role as the ‘Duchess of Brighton’ in the Film ‘The V.I.P.s’)
Margaret Rutherford
11
Birthdate: May 11, 1892
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Balham, London, United Kingdom
Died: May 22

Margaret Rutherford was an English actress best known for playing the Duchess of Brighton in the 1963 drama film, The V.I.P.s, for which she won a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award. In 1961, she was made an Officer of the OBE. In 1967, she was elevated to become a DBE.

 17 
Walter Winchell
(Journalist, Radio Personality)
Walter Winchell
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1897
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 20
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 18 
Igor Sikorsky
(Aviator)
Igor Sikorsky
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 25, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Died: October 26

Igor Sikorsky was a Russian-American aviator known for his pioneering contributions to the development of both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Born in Russia, he immigrated to US as a young man and founded the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in 1923. He is also credited for developing the first of Pan American Airways' ocean-crossing flying boats. 

 19 
Frederick IX of Denmark
(King of Denmark (1947 - 1972))
Frederick IX of Denmark
4
Birthdate: March 11, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sorgenfri Palace, Lyngby, Denmark
Died: January 14

Frederick IX of Denmark reigned as the king of Denmark from 1947 until his death in 1972. Under his reign, the Danish society experienced a rapid change; the economy received a massive boost in the 1960s which allowed women to enter the labor market. In 1982, Frederick's statue was unveiled in Copenhagen, ten years after his death.

 20 
Miriam Hopkins
(American Actress Who was Known for Her Versatility)
Miriam Hopkins
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States
Died: October 9

Miriam Hopkins was an American actress widely regarded as a pioneer of TV drama. She became the first performer to earn an Academy Award nomination for a performance in a color film; she was nominated under the Best Actress category for her portrayal of the title role in the 1935 historical drama film, Becky Sharp.

 21 
Barbara Daly Baekeland
5
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: 1922 AD
Birthplace: Boston
Died: November 17

Socialite Barbara Daly Baekeland, former wife of Bakelite heir Brooks Baekeland, was killed by her son, Antony. She was apparently stabbed with a kitchen knife. Antony was found at the crime scene and confessed to the murder. She had reportedly tried treating Antony’s queer orientation and had even raped him.

 22 
Charles Atlas
(American Bodybuilder Best Remembered as the Developer of a Bodybuilding Method and Its Associated Exercise Program)
Charles Atlas
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 30, 1892
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Acri, Cosenza, Italy
Died: December 24

Italian-American bodybuilder Charles Atlas was known for co-creating a popular mail-order bodybuilding course. Beaten up and bullied as a skinny kid, he later used the Dynamic-Tension method to build his muscles. He then participated in vaudeville and later won titles such as the World’s Most Handsome Man.

 23 
C. Day Lewis
(British poet and Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972.)
C. Day Lewis
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 27, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ballintubber, Ireland
Died: May 22

C. Day-Lewis was an Anglo-Irish poet who also wrote many mystery stories. From 1968 to 1972, he served as the Poet Laureate. He also contributed as a publications editor during World War II, working for the Ministry of Information.

 24 
Oscar Levant
(American pianist)
Oscar Levant
6
Birthdate: December 27, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Died: August 14
 25 
Marilyn Maxwell
(Actress)
Marilyn Maxwell
2
Birthdate: August 3, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: March 20
 26 
Gil Hodges
(Baseball player)
Gil Hodges
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 4, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Princeton, Indiana, United States
Died: April 2
 27 
C. Rajagopalachari
(Indian Independence Activist and the Last Governor-General of India)
C. Rajagopalachari
18
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 9, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Thorapalli, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: December 25

Bharat Ratna-winner C. Rajagopalachari, nicknamed Rajaji or C.R., was the last Governor-General of India and the first Indian to hold the post. He had also served as an INC leader, the Governor of West Bengal, and the Premier of the Madras Presidency. He launched the Swatantra Party and propagated peace.

 28 
William Boyd
(Film Actor)
William Boyd
1
Birthdate: June 5, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hendrysburg, Ohio, United States
Died: September 12
 29 
Lee Morgan
(Jazz trumpeter)
Lee Morgan
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: July 10, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 19
 30 
Gustav Schwarzenegger
(Father of Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
Gustav Schwarzenegger
17
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 17, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Austria-Hungary
Died: December 13

Gustav Schwarzenegger was better known as actor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father than as the police chief of Austria. He was a master sergeant in Wehrmacht after his country was annexed by Nazi Germany. He was made a postal inspector after injuries he suffered in Russia ruled him out of the armed forces. He returned to the Austrian police force in 1947.

 31 
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
(Former King of Nepal)
Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
10
Birthdate: June 11, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kathmandu, Nepal
Died: January 31
Son of Nepalese king Tribhuvan, Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev took over as the king in 1955 and dissolved the Nepali constitution and parliament by a coup in 1960. He loved writing poetry and songs. His son, Birendra, who succeeded him, was later killed in the royal massacre in 2001.
 32 
Bruce Cabot
(Actor)
Bruce Cabot
10
Birthdate: April 20, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carlsbad, New Mexico, United States
Died: May 3
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 33 
Prithviraj Kapoor
(Actor Who Is Also Considered to Be One of the Founding Figures of Hindi Cinema)
Prithviraj Kapoor
4
Birthdate: November 3, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Samundri, Pakistan
Died: May 29

Padma Bhushan- and Dadasaheb Phalke Award-winning legendary actor and filmmaker Prithviraj Kapoor is known to be one of the pioneers of Hindi cinema. The patriarch of the Kapoor family of Bollywood, he also established Prithvi Theatres and later played the iconic role of Akbar in Mughal-e-Azam. He was also a Rajya Sabha MP.

 34 
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
(Third King of Bhutan)
Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
11
Birthdate: May 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trongsa
Died: July 21

The Dragon King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck had a major role in modernizing his tiny Himalayan country. In his 20-year reign, he built countless roads, schools, and hospitals. He also secured financial aid from India and other Asian countries. An avid reader, he also loved hunting and gardening.

 35 
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis
26
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 29, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: June 28

Best known for conceptualizing the Mahalanobis distance, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was a renowned Padma Vibhushan-winning Indian statistician who played a major role in his country’s industrialization policies of the Second Five-Year Plan. He also taught at his alma, Presidency College, and was one of the founders of the Indian Statistical Institute.

 36 
Berry Oakley
(Musician)
Berry Oakley
3
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: November 11
 37 
Moe Berg
(Baseball coach)
Moe Berg
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 2, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: May 29
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 38 
Leo G. Carroll
(Actor Known for His Roles in the TV Series ‘Topper’ & ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E')
Leo G. Carroll
0
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, England
Died: October 16
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 39 
Max Fleischer
(Animator)
Max Fleischer
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: July 19, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: September 25
 40 
Neville Lancelot Goddard
(Barbadian author who wrote on the Bible, mysticism, and self-help.)
Neville Lancelot Goddard
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: February 19, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Michael, Barbados
Died: October 1
 41 
Meena Kumari
(Legendary Indian Actress Best Known as 'The Tragedy Queen' )
Meena Kumari
7
Birthdate: August 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dadar, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: March 31

Known as Hindi cinema’s “Tragedy Queen,” Meena Kumari is remembered for her stellar performances in films such as Pakeezah and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. The four-time Filmfare-winning actor sank into alcoholism after her separation from her abusive husband, director Kamal Amrohi, and died of liver cirrhosis.

 42 
Lillian Moller Gilbreth
7
Birthdate: May 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
Died: January 2
 43 
John Berryman
(Poet, Writer, University teacher)
John Berryman
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 25, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: McAlester
Died: January 7
 44 
Joseph Cornell
(American Visual Artist and Film-Maker)
Joseph Cornell
1
Birthdate: December 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nyack, New York, United States
Died: December 29

Joseph Cornell was an American filmmaker and visual artist. He is best remembered as a pioneer and exponent of assemblage. Joseph Cornell is also known for his experimental films like Rose Hobart which were inspired by Surrealism.

 45 
Natalie Clifford Barney
(Playwright)
Natalie Clifford Barney
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: October 31, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 2
 46 
Clyde McPhatter
(Singer)
Clyde McPhatter
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 15, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, United States
Died: June 13
 47 
Lance Reventlow
(American Entrepreneur, Racing Driver and Heir to the Woolworth Fortune)
Lance Reventlow
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 24
 48 
Akim Tamiroff
(Academy Award Nominated Actor Known for His Films: 'The General Died at Dawn', 'For Whom the Bell Tolls')
Akim Tamiroff
1
Birthdate: October 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tiflis or Baku, Russian Empire
Died: September 17

Armenian-origin American film and TV actor Akim Tamiroff is best remembered for his Academy Award-nominated performances in The General Died at Dawn and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Considered the first big Armenian-American star, he also appeared in several series, such as Naked City and Tales of the Vikings.

 49 
Sonia Greene
(Writer)
Sonia Greene
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 16, 1883
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ichnia
Died: December 26
 50 
Tom Neal
(Actor)
Tom Neal
0
Birthdate: January 28, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, United States
Died: August 7