Famous People Who Died In 1979

Discover the most famous people died who died in the year 1979. This list includes people like John Wayne, Josef Mengele, Dhyan Chand, Sid Vicious, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and many more. This list of celebrities is loosely sorted by popularity. People featured on this list, include political leaders, artists, poets and physicists who died in 1979. This list includes people from United States, United Kingdom, Germany & France and many more countries.
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 1 
John Wayne
(American Actor Who was a Popular Icon During Hollywood's Golden Age)
John Wayne
74
Birthdate: May 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Winterset, Iowa, United States
Died: June 11

Famous for his roles in Western films in the mid-20th century, actor John Wayne was among the top box office draws for three decades. In a career spanning over half a century, he starred in 142 motion pictures. Upon his death, he came to be recognized as “an enduring icon who symbolized and communicated American values and ideals.”

 2 
Sid Vicious
(Musician)
Sid Vicious
40
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: May 10, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lewisham, South London
Died: February 2
Punk rock legend Sid Vicious was the lead singer and bassist of the Sex Pistols. He had a tumultuous life and was also accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death. He eventually died of a heroin overdose. His unreleased solo singles were collated and released as a posthumous album. 
 3 
Minnie Riperton
(American Singer-Songwriter)
Minnie Riperton
17
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 12
 4 
Nelson Rockefeller
(41st Vice President of the United States (1974 - 1977))
Nelson Rockefeller
19
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 8, 1908
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bar Harbor, Maine, United States
Died: January 26
Grandson of businessman John D. Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller was the U.S. vice president from 1975 to 1977 and the New York governor from 1959 to 1973. An arts connoisseur, he was the president of the Museum of Modern Art. He had also worked with Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.
 5 
Vivian Vance
(Actress)
Vivian Vance
9
Birthdate: July 26, 1909
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cherryvale, Kansas
Died: August 17
Vivian Vance is best remembered for her Emmy-winning role of Ethel Mertz in the sitcom I Love Lucy. Fans also loved her as Vivian Bagley in the sitcom The Lucy Show. A skilled stage actor, too, she also gained fame for playing Nancy Collister in the musical Let's Face It! 
 6 
Conrad Hilton
(American Businessman and Founder of the ‘Hilton Hotels’ Chain)
Conrad Hilton
14
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: December 25, 1887
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Antonio, New Mexico, United States
Died: January 3

Conrad Hilton was an American politician and businessman credited with founding the popular multinational hospitality company, Hilton Hotels Corporation. He is also the founder of a non-profit charitable organization called Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which aims at ending human suffering worldwide. In 1996, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize was created by the foundation in the memory of Conrad Hilton.

 7 
Lord Mountbatten
(Last Viceroy of British India)
Lord Mountbatten
41
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Frogmore House, Windsor, England
Died: August 27

The last Viceroy of India and the first governor-general of independent India, Lord Mountbatten was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman. Born to a prominent aristocratic family in England, he had a successful military career and was made the NATO Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean in his later career. He was assassinated in 1979.

 8 
Merle Oberon
(Actress)
Merle Oberon
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bombay, British India
Died: November 23

Merle Oberon was a British actress best known for playing Kitty Vane in the movie, The Dark Angel, for which she received her only Academy Award nomination. After her death, Michael Korda wrote a roman à clef titled Queenie, a novel about Oberon's real-life events. For her achievements, Merle Oberon was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 9 
Donny Hathaway
(American Soul Singer, Keyboardist and Songwriter)
Donny Hathaway
15
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: October 1, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 13
 10 
Ted Cassidy
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Lurch’ in the TV Series ‘The Addams Family’)
Ted Cassidy
83
Birthdate: July 31, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 16
Ted Cassidy is best known as Lurch from the series The Addams Family. His towering frame of 6 feet 9 inches helped him play tall characters in films and series. He also voiced the titular character in the series The Incredible Hulk and Phobeg in Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.
 11 
Mamie Eisenhower
(First Lady of the United States as the Wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower)
Mamie Eisenhower
11
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 14, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boone, Iowa, United States
Died: November 1

Mamie Eisenhower was the First Lady of the U.S. through her marriage to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her love for elegant attires got her featured on the New York Dress Institute’s list of the best-dressed women. She gave rise to the Mamie Look and the Mami Pink shade.

 12 
Joan Blondell
(American Actress Best Known for Her Film 'The Blue Veil')
Joan Blondell
6
Birthdate: August 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: December 25

Joan Blondell was an American actress whose film and TV career spanned over 50 years. She is perhaps best remembered for her portrayal of Annie Rawlins in the 1951 historical drama film The Blue Veil, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  

 13 
Charles Mingus
(One of The Greatest Jazz Musicians & Composers in History)
Charles Mingus
7
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nogales, Arizona, United States
Died: January 5
Jazz double bassist and pianist Charles Mingus is remembered for his stints with artists such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock, and was named to the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. His scores and recordings are preserved in the Library of Congress.
 14 
Mary Pickford
(One of the Most Popular Actresses of the 1910s and 1920s)
Mary Pickford
13
Birthdate: April 8, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: May 29

Academy Award-winning Canadian-American actor Gladys Marie Smith, better known by her pseudonym, Mary Pickford, was also one of the co-founders of Pickford–Fairbanks Studios and United Artists. She and 35 others co-founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was also known as "America's Sweetheart" of silent films.

 15 
Jack Haley
(Vaudevillian)
Jack Haley
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: June 6
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 16 
Zeppo Marx
(Actor, Comedian)
Zeppo Marx
5
Birthdate: February 25, 1901
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: November 30
 17 
Edgar Buchanan
7
Birthdate: March 20, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Humansville, Missouri, United States
Died: April 4
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 18 
Jack Soo
(Actor)
Jack Soo
1
Birthdate: October 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oakland, California, USA
Died: January 11
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 19 
Barbara Hutton
(Socialites)
Barbara Hutton
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 14, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 11
 20 
Thurman Munson
(Baseball Player)
Thurman Munson
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 7, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States
Died: August 2
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 21 
Richard Rodgers
(Composer – First Person To Win EGOT)
Richard Rodgers
3
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 28, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arverne, New York, United States
Died: December 30
 22 
Darla Hood
(Actress)
Darla Hood
6
Birthdate: November 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leedey, Oklahoma, United States
Died: June 13
Height: 5'1" (155 cm)
 23 
Fulton J. Sheen
(Archbishop)
Fulton J. Sheen
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 8, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: El Paso, Illinois
Died: December 9

Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen was also a prominent radio and TV personality. Known for his stint on the NBC radio show The Catholic Hour, he also hosted the popular TV programs Life Is Worth Living and The Bishop Fulton Sheen Show. He also wrote extensively on communism, love, and peace.

 24 
Josef Mengele
(German Physician Known for His Atrocities at the Auschwitz II Concentration Camp)
Josef Mengele
103
Listed In: Criminals
Birthdate: March 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bavaria, Germany
Died: February 7

Known as Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele was the chief doctor of Auschwitz concentration camp and was responsible for killing thousands of Jews as well as torturing the prisoners mercilessly and conducting inhuman experiments on them. These included injecting them with chemicals and stitching twin children together. Despite his horrible crimes, the infamous Nazi doctor could never be captured.

 25 
Jim Hutton
(Actor)
Jim Hutton
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Binghamton, New York, USA
Died: June 2
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
 26 
Dhyan Chand
(One of the Greatest Field Hockey Players in History)
Dhyan Chand
26
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 29, 1905
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: December 3

Known as The Magician of field hockey, Dhyan Chand, one of the greatest hockey players from India, is remembered for his three Olympic gold medals and for his ability to control the ball. The Padma Bhushan awardee initially loved wrestling but deviated to hockey after joining the army.

 27 
A. Philip Randolph
(Leader of the African-American civil-rights movement,)
A. Philip Randolph
6
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: April 15, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Crescent City
Died: May 16
 28 
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
(4th President of Pakistan and 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan)
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
23
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 5, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Larkana, Pakistan
Died: April 4

Pakistani barrister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto served as the prime minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977. He had also been the president of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He founded and chaired the Pakistan People's Party. His reign witnessed the formation of Bangladesh and the signing of the Simla Agreement.

 29 
Peggy Guggenheim
(Art Collector)
Peggy Guggenheim
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 23
 30 
Nicholas Ray
(Director)
Nicholas Ray
5
Birthdate: August 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Galesville, Wisconsin, USA
Died: June 16
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 31 
Elizabeth Bishop
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: February 8, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 6
 32 
George Brent
(Actor)
George Brent
1
Birthdate: March 15, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ballinasloe, Ireland
Died: May 26
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 33 
Herbert Marcuse
(Philosopher and Sociologist His Best-Known Works are "Eros and Civilization" (1955) and "One-Dimensional Man.")
Herbert Marcuse
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 29

The proponent of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, Herbert Marcuse largely influenced the leftist student revolts of the 1960s. Equipped with a PhD in German literature, he wrote Hegel’s Ontology and the Theory of Historicity, with Martin Heidegger. His Eros and Civilization spoke at length about capitalism.

 34 
Jayaprakash Narayan
(Indian Independence Activist Who is Remembered for Leading the Mid-1970s Opposition Against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi)
Jayaprakash Narayan
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 11, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bihar, India
Died: October 8

Jayaprakash Narayan was a theorist, political leader, socialist, and Indian independence activist. Often referred to as the Hero of Quit India Movement, Jayaprakash Narayan was honored with the prestigious Magsaysay Award in 1965 for Public Service. He was posthumously honored with India's highest civilian award—The Bharat Ratna—in 1999.

 35 
Jean Renoir
(French Film Director & Screenwriter Known for His Films 'La Grande Illusion' and 'The Rules of the Game')
Jean Renoir
1
Birthdate: September 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montmartre, Paris, France
Died: February 12

Jean Renoir was a French film director, screenwriter, and producer. The son of the prominent painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean was one of the first filmmakers to be known as an auteur. He started working during the silent film era and made more than 40 silent films. In 1975, he received a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.

 36 
Barnes Wallis
(English Scientist and Engineer Known for Inventing the ‘Bouncing Bomb’ and ‘Earthquake Bomb’)
Barnes Wallis
2
Birthdate: September 26, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ripley, Derbyshire, England
Died: October 30

Barnes Wallis was an English engineer, inventor, and scientist. He played an important role during the Second World War by inventing the bouncing bomb which was used in Operation Chastise by the Royal Air Force to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley. Barnes Wallis is also credited with inventing the earthquake bomb and his version of the geodetic airframe.

 37 
Nino Rota
(Composer)
Nino Rota
0
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 3, 1911
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: April 10
 38 
Nadia Boulanger
(One of the Most Influential Teachers of Musical Composition of the 20th Century)
Nadia Boulanger
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: September 16, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 22

Born to a music instructor father, French composer and conductor Nadia Boulanger was no stranger to music as a kid. The first woman to conduct prime orchestras, she had the who’s who of the music industry, such as Elliott Carter, Roy Harris, and Quincy Jones, on her list of students.

 39 
Philippe Cousteau
(French Diver, Sailor, Pilot, Director and Cinematographer Specializing in Environmental Issues)
Philippe Cousteau
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 30, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toulon, France
Died: June 28
 40 
Emmett Kelly
(Circus performer)
Emmett Kelly
7
Birthdate: December 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sedan, Kansas, US
Died: March 28
 41 
Peter Butterworth
(Actor)
Peter Butterworth
0
Birthdate: February 4, 1915
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bramhall, Cheshire, England, UK
Died: January 16
 42 
Lowell George
(Musician, Singer, Composer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Record producer)
Lowell George
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hollywood
Died: June 29
 43 
Lester Flatt
(American Bluegrass Guitarist and Mandolinist)
Lester Flatt
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 19, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Overton County, Tennessee, United States
Died: May 11
 44 
Sara Carter
(Singer-songwriter, Singer)
Sara Carter
0
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 21, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Copper Creek, Virginia
Died: January 8
 45 
Hafizullah Amin
(Former Foreign Minister of Afghanistan)
Hafizullah Amin
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 1, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paghman, Afghanistan
Died: December 27
Hafizullah Amin was an Afghan politician, teacher, and communist revolutionary. He is credited with co-founding the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is best remembered for his service as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1 May 1978 to 28 July 1979. An influential politician, Hafizullah Amin also served as the Minister of National Defence in 1979.
 46 
Al Capp
(Cartoonist, Writer, Journalist)
Al Capp
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1909
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Haven
Died: November 5
 47 
Ahmad Zahir
(Singer)
Ahmad Zahir
9
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kabul, Afghanistan
Died: June 14
 48 
John Cromwell
(Film Director)
John Cromwell
2
Birthdate: December 23, 1886
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States
Died: September 26
 49 
Agostinho Neto
(Former President of Angola)
Agostinho Neto
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ícolo e Bengo
Died: September 10

MPLA leader Agostinho Neto was Angola’s first president. Born to school teacher parents, Neto grew up to become a poet and later studied medicine. However, while pursuing his academic career, he also participated in indigenous movements. Following his arrest and the subsequent unrest, he joined the Angolan liberation movement.

 50 
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
(American Astronomer and Astrophysicist)
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
2
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: May 10, 1900
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wendover, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: December 7

After losing her father at 4, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin was raised singlehandedly by her mother. The incredibly talented Cecilia studied at Cambridge but failed to secure a degree because of her gender. She later joined Harvard and opposing prevalent beliefs, proposed that stars were mainly made of hydrogen and helium.