Famous People Who Died In 1981

Discover the most famous people died who died in the year 1981. This list includes people like Bob Marley, Natalie Wood, Joe Louis, Albert Speer, Allen Ludden and many more. This list of celebrities is loosely sorted by popularity. People featured on this list, include political leaders, philosophers, psychologists and presidents who died in 1981. This list includes people from United States, United Kingdom, Germany & France and many more countries.
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 1 
Bob Marley
(Jamaican Singer, Musician and Songwriter Who is Considered One of the Pioneers of Reggae)
Bob Marley
116
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: February 6, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nine Mile, Jamaica
Died: April 11

Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer and songwriter who sold 20 million records in his career. He was the first international star to come from the ‘Third World’ and is considered one of the forerunners of reggae. A fusion of reggae, ska and rocksteady was his music’s hallmark. Marley died due to cancer at the age of 36.

 2 
Joe Louis
(One of the Greatest and Most Influential Boxers of All Time.)
Joe Louis
17
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chambers County, Alabama, United States
Died: April 12
Boxer Joe Louis, or the Brown Bomber, was the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949 and was the longest-reigning (single) heavyweight champion. The International Boxing Research Organization declared him the best heavyweight boxer of all time. He was also a skilled golfer and appeared in a 1952 PGA event.
 3 
Terry Fox
(Canadian Activist Who Became a National Hero and an Inspirational Figure for His Battle Against Cancer)
Terry Fox
33
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 28, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
Died: June 28

Terry Fox was a popular cancer research activist and humanitarian. Despite suffering from cancer and having lost one of his legs to cancer, he embarked on a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Although he died at the age of 22, his efforts resulted in a worldwide legacy and gave rise to the annual Terry Fox Run.

 4 
William Holden
(One of the Greatest Male Stars of Classical Hollywood Cinema)
William Holden
13
Birthdate: April 17, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: O'Fallon, Illinois, United States
Died: November 12

William Holden is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance in Stalag 17 and his Emmy-winning role in the TV film The Blue Knight. He also appeared in the films Sunset Boulevard and The Bridge on the River Kwai, and on Lux Radio Theatre. He was also a wildlife conservationist.

 5 
Allen Ludden
(Game Show Host)
Allen Ludden
27
Birthdate: October 5, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mineral Point, Wisconsin
Died: June 9

TV personality, actor, emcee, and game show host Allen Ludden is best remembered for hosting various incarnations of the game show, Password, for almost two decades. He also hosted other game shows and wrote a series of books for young readers. A much-beloved personality, he was the recipient of the 1961 Horatio Alger Award.

 6 
Omar Bradley
(1st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1949-53))
Omar Bradley
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clark, Missouri, United States
Died: April 8
 7 
Gloria Grahame
(Actress)
Gloria Grahame
9
Birthdate: November 28, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: October 5
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 8 
Anwar Sadat
(Former President of Egypt)
Anwar Sadat
18
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 25, 1918
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mit Abu al-Kum
Died: October 6
Anwar Sadat served as the president and prime minister of Egypt till his assassination in 1981. He was part of the Free Officers, a group that overthrew King Farouk. He became the first Muslim Nobel laureate, after winning the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty.
 9 
Jack Albertson
(Actor and Comedian Best Known for His Role as ‘John Cleary’ in the Film ‘The Subject Was Roses’)
Jack Albertson
4
Birthdate: June 16, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Malden, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 25

Jack Albertson was an eminent American actor having presence in films and plays alike, as evident from his successful performances in The Subject Was Roses both on the stage and on the big screen. The winner of Tony, Oscar and Emmy awards had such a passion for his career that he continued his acting despite being diagnosed for colorectal cancer.

 10 
Harry Chapin
(Singer Best Known for His Folk Rock & Pop Rock Songs)
Harry Chapin
4
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Greenwich Village, New York, United States
Died: July 16
Grammy-winning folk rock and pop rock singer Harry Chapin was one of the highest-paid artists of the 1970s, known for tracks such as Cat's in the Cradle. An avid philanthropist, he was part of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. He also won a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal
 11 
Fred Trump Jr.
(Aircraft pilot)
Fred Trump Jr.
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Died: September 26
 12 
Bobby Sands
(Former Member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army Who Died on a Hunger Strike)
Bobby Sands
16
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Died: May 5

Robert Gerard Sands, better known as Bobby Sands, was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, who died during a 1981 hunger strike, along with nine other strikers, protesting against the removal of Special Category Status from IRA prisoners. He had helped plot the 1976 Balmoral Furniture Company bombing.

 13 
Richard Boone
(Actor)
Richard Boone
4
Birthdate: June 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 10
 14 
Robert Montgomery
(American actor)
Robert Montgomery
1
Birthdate: May 21, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Beacon, New York
Died: September 27

Robert Montgomery was an American actor, producer, and director. Renowned for his versatility, Montgomery received two nominations for the prestigious Academy Award under the Best Actor category. Robert Montgomery was awarded a couple of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the film and TV industries.

 15 
Moshe Dayan
(Israeli Military & Political Leader)
Moshe Dayan
12
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Degania Alef, Israel
Died: October 16

Born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, military leader/politician Moshe Dayan, grew up to be an revered for his exploits against Israel’s Arab neighbors. His invasion of the Sinai peninsula is etched in his memoir, Diary of the Sinai Campaign. Following his death, his eye patch was sold on eBay for US$75,000.

 16 
Edith Head
(Costume designer)
Edith Head
5
Birthdate: October 28, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, United States
Died: October 24
Height: 5'1" (155 cm)
 17 
Jim Davis
(Actor)
Jim Davis
9
Birthdate: August 26, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edgerton, Missouri, United States
Died: April 26
 18 
Bill Haley
(Singer, bandleader, conductor,yodeler)
Bill Haley
3
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: July 6, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit
Died: February 9
 19 
Hoagy Carmichael
(Pianist and singer who composed many classic songs, including "Star Dust" and "Heart and Soul.")
Hoagy Carmichael
6
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: November 22, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
Died: December 27
 20 
Ross Martin
(Actors)
Ross Martin
5
Birthdate: March 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gródek, Poland
Died: July 3
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 21 
Samuel Barber
(Composer)
Samuel Barber
7
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: March 9, 1910
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 23
 22 
Adele Astaire
(American Dancer, Actress and Singer)
Adele Astaire
5
Birthdate: September 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Died: January 25
 23 
William Wyler
(Swiss-German-American Film Producer and Director)
William Wyler
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: July 27

William Wyler was a Swiss-German-American film producer and director. He is remembered for winning the Oscar for Best Director on three occasions. Wyler holds a record 12 nominations for the Oscar for Best Director. He is credited with helping numerous actors achieve stardom. Fourteen performers, including Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Olivia de Havilland won Oscars under William Wyler's direction.

 24 
Bernard Lee
(Actor)
Bernard Lee
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brentford, Middlesex, England, UK
Died: January 16
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 25 
Gerry Bertier
(American football player)
Gerry Bertier
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 20, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Died: March 20
 26 
Harry Harlow
(Psychologist)
Harry Harlow
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.
Died: December 6

Psychologist Harry Harlow proved that monkeys raised without their mothers exhibited abnormal psychological development. He had a long association with the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he conducted most of his experiments. He was criticized for using dramatic names, such as “pit of despair,” for his experimental devices.

 27 
Melvyn Douglas
(American Actor Who was Among One of the Few Performers to Win 'Triple Crown of Acting')
Melvyn Douglas
5
Birthdate: April 5, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, United States
Died: August 4

Melvyn Douglas was an American actor who achieved popularity in the 1930s. Over the course of his illustrious acting career, Douglas won two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, and an Emmy Award, becoming one of the few actors to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. Melvyn Douglas also won several other awards, including the prestigious Golden Globe Award. 

 28 
Robert Moses
(49th Secretary of State of New York (1927 - 1929))
Robert Moses
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 18, 1888
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 29

Robert Moses was an American public official. Often referred to as the master builder, Moses is credited with influencing the creation of the modern suburbs of Long Island, which in turn influenced a generation of urban planners, architects, and engineers. Robert Moses is widely regarded as one of the most polarizing personalities in urban development history in the US.

 29 
Mike Bloomfield
(singer, musician, guitarist, pianist)
Mike Bloomfield
4
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: July 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: February 15
 30 
Will Durant
(American Writer Best Known for His Work 'The Story of Civilization')
Will Durant
1
Birthdate: November 5, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: North Adams, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 7

Will Durant was an American writer, philosopher, and historian. He is credited with writing The Story of Philosophy which helped popularize philosophy in the USA. Will is also remembered for co-writing an 11-volume set of books titled The Story of Civilization along with his wife Ariel. Will and Ariel were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 31 
Christy Brown
(Writer)
Christy Brown
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 7
 32 
Paddy Chayefsky
(Screenwriter)
Paddy Chayefsky
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: August 1
 33 
William Saroyan
(American-Armenian novelist)
William Saroyan
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 31, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fresno
Died: May 18
 34 
Marcel Breuer
(Architect & Furniture Designer)
Marcel Breuer
3
Listed In: Architects
Birthdate: May 21, 1902
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pécs, Austria-Hungary
Died: July 1
Hungarian architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer was a major figure of the International Style of design. His innovative designs made use of new technology and materials, such as steel furniture resembling the designs of bicycle handle bars, also known as the Wassily chair. He inspired the documentary Breuer's Bohemia.
 35 
Arthur O'Connell
(Actor)
Arthur O'Connell
0
Birthdate: March 29, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: May 18
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 36 
Omar Torrijos
(Elected official)
Omar Torrijos
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 13, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Santiago, Panama
Died: July 31
Omar Torrijos was a Panamanian political leader who served as the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981. Although he was never officially elected as the president of Panama, Torrijos held titles, such as Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution. One of the most influential Panamanian personalities during his generation, Omar Torrijos introduced many social reforms in Panama.
 37 
Francesca Woodman
(Photographer)
Francesca Woodman
5
Listed In: Photographers
Birthdate: April 3, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Denver
Died: January 19
 38 
A. J. Cronin
(Scottish Novelist Best Known for His Novel 'The Citadel')
A. J. Cronin
2
Listed In: Physicians
Birthdate: July 19, 1896
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cardross, Scotland
Died: January 6
A. J. Cronin was a Scottish novelist and physician best remembered for his 1937 novel The Citadel. The novel, which received the National Book Award in 1937, helped inspire the creation of the National Health Service. Many of his books, including The Citadel, have been adapted to films. His novella Country Doctor inspired a TV series titled Dr. Finlay's Casebook.
 39 
Jacques Lacan
(Psychoanalyst, Psychiatrist)
Jacques Lacan
8
Birthdate: April 13, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 9
French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jacques Lacan is remembered for his philosophical approach that explored Freudian concepts, to which he applied elements of structuralism and anthropology to create his own concepts. His controversial suggestions led to his expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association. One of his key concepts was “Return to Freud.”
 40 
Hazel Scott
(Jazz Pianist)
Hazel Scott
7
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 11, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Port au Spain, Trinidad
Died: October 2
 41 
Ann Harding
(Actress)
Ann Harding
1
Birthdate: August 7, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Died: September 1
 42 
Eric Williams
(Politician)
Eric Williams
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 25, 1911
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: March 29
 43 
Harold Urey
(American Physical Chemist Who Won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 for the Discovery of Deuterium)
Harold Urey
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: April 29, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Walkerton, Indiana, United States
Died: January 5

Harold Urey was an American physical chemist best remembered for his pioneering work on isotopes. He is credited with the discovery of deuterium, for which he received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934. Harold Urey also played a key role in the development of the infamous atom bomb.

 44 
Hans Adolf Krebs
(British Biologist Who was a Pioneer Scientist in the Study of Cellular Perspiration)
Hans Adolf Krebs
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: August 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hildesheim, Germany
Died: November 22

Born to an ENT surgeon in Germany, Hans Adolf Krebs followed in his father’s footsteps and studied medicine. After fleeing Nazi Germany, he went to England, where he joined the University of Cambridge as a researcher. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist is remembered for his groundbreaking discovery of cellular respiration.

 45 
Lotte Lenya
(Austrian-American Actress, Singer, and Diseuse)
Lotte Lenya
5
Birthdate: October 18, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 27
 46 
Ziaur Rahman
(President of Bangladesh from 1977 to 1981)
Ziaur Rahman
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 19, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gabtali Upazila, Bangladesh
Died: May 30

Ziaur Rahman was a Bangladeshi Army officer and politician. He served as the President of Bangladesh from 21 April 1977 to 30 May 1981. He played a major role in the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971. Ziaur Rahman is also credited with founding the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. 

 47 
Wally Wood
(Former Comic book artist, illustrator and cartoonist best known for his work on the humor magazine, Mad)
Wally Wood
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Menahga, Minnesota, United States
Died: November 2
 48 
Georges Brassens
(Singer)
Georges Brassens
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 22, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sète, France
Died: October 29
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 49 
George Jessel
(Actor)
George Jessel
0
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: April 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: May 23
 50 
Lydia Lopokova
(Ballet dancer)
Lydia Lopokova
1
Listed In: Dancers
Birthdate: October 21, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian
Died: June 8

Apart from being a renowned Russian ballerina, Lydia Lopokova was also the wife of well-known economist John Maynard Keynes and was thus known as Lady Keynes. She toured across Europe and America and appeared in plays such as The Lady of the Slipper and Age of Reason.