Famous People Who Died In 1988

Discover the most famous people died who died in the year 1988. This list includes people like Roy Orbison, Richard Feynman, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pete Maravich, Georgy Malenkov and many more. This list of celebrities is loosely sorted by popularity. People featured on this list, include political leaders, physicists, artists and presidents who died in 1988. This list includes people from United States, United Kingdom, Germany & Pakistan and many more countries.
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 1 
Jean-Michel Basquiat
(American Artist Who Became Popular During the 1980s as Part of the Neo-Expressionism Movement)
Jean-Michel Basquiat
41
Birthdate: December 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: August 12

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist whose legacy has had an influence upon fashion, film, music, and literature. He serves as an inspiration to street artists as he started off as one, painting graffiti on buildings. After his death, at the age of 27, the value of his work has increased; in 2017, one of his paintings sold for a record $110.5 million.

 2 
Roy Orbison
(Known as 'The Caruso of Rock' & Famous for Songs 'Only the Lonely' and 'Running Scared')
Roy Orbison
20
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: April 23, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vernon, Texas, United States
Died: December 6
Six-time Grammy-winner Texan rocker Roy Orbison gained fame with songs such as Oh, Pretty Woman and Drove All Night. His shyness and stage fright made him dye his hair black and wear sunglasses. The "Caruso of Rock" was part of the Traveling Wilburys, along with legends such as Bob Dylan.
 3 
Andy Gibb
(English Singer-songwriter)
Andy Gibb
35
Birthdate: March 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stretford, England
Died: March 10
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 4 
Richard Feynman
(One of the Joint Winners of Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965)
Richard Feynman
26
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 11, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 15

Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, along with Julian Schwinger and Shin'ichirō Tomonaga, for his research on quantum electrodynamics. He also contributed to the development of the atomic bomb. Feyman made it to Physics World’s list of the 10 greatest physicists of all time.

 5 
Heather O Rourke
(American Child Actress.)
Heather O Rourke
21
Birthdate: December 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Santee, California, United States
Died: February 1
Child actor Heather O'Rourke is best remembered as Carol Anne Freeling from Steven Spielberg’s iconic horror film Poltergeist. Heather later appeared in two sequels of the film and a few series, including Webster. She suffered from Crohn’s disease and died at age 12, after a surgery to cure intestinal stenosis. 
 6 
Enzo Ferrari
(Italian racing driver)
Enzo Ferrari
9
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: February 18, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin
Died: August 14
Italian race-car driver Enzo Ferrari, also known as "il Commendatore" and "il Drake,” founded the motor-racing team Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix. He had also been part of the Italian army during World War I. He was posthumously inducted into the International Motorsports and the Automotive halls of fame.
 7 
Judith Barsi
(American Child Actress Best Known for Her Films: ‘Jaws: The Revenge’ and ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven’)
Judith Barsi
38
Birthdate: June 6, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Fernando Valley, California, United States
Died: July 25

A beloved child actress of the 1980s, Judith Barsi started acting when she was just five years old. She appeared in many commercials and TV shows before getting a chance to act in films as well. The child met a tragic end when she and her mother were murdered by her father who then died by suicide.

 8 
Chet Baker
(Trumpeter and Vocalist Known for Major Innovations in 'Cool Jazz')
Chet Baker
15
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yale, Oklahoma, United States
Died: May 13

Chet Baker was an American vocalist and jazz trumpeter. He achieved recognition during the 1950s and his innovations within cool jazz, a style of modern jazz music, earned him the nickname prince of cool. However, his drug addiction overshadowed much of his professional achievements. His life and work inspired the 2015 drama film Born to Be Blue.

 9 
Pete Maravich
(American Professional Basketball Player and One of the Best Ball Handlers of All Time)
Pete Maravich
27
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 5
Pete Maravich, or Pistol Pete, played for three NBA teams till injuries ended his career. He initially played under his father, head coach Press Maravich, for the LSU Tigers. He also became the NCAA Division I top scorer of all time, with 3,667 points and 44.2 points per game.
 10 
John Carradine
13
Birthdate: February 5, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: November 27

John Carradine is considered one of the most famous character actors in Hollywood history. With an extensive career spanning almost six decades, he became known for his roles in horror films. He holds 351 film and TV credits and is among the most prolific English-speaking actors of all time. Many of his descendants are also actors.

 

 11 
Robert A. Heinlein
(American Novelist Best Known as the 'Dean of Science Fiction Writers')
Robert A. Heinlein
10
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: July 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Butler, Missouri, United States
Died: May 8

Robert A. Heinlein was an American author, naval officer, and aeronautical engineer. Heinlein is credited with pioneering a literary subgenre called hard science fiction as he was among the first to stress the importance of scientific accuracy in fiction. Robert A. Heinlein is one of the most influential science-fiction writers of all time.

 12 
Sylvester
(Singer-songwriter)
Sylvester
7
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Watts, California, United States
Died: December 16
 13 
Nico
(Singer Know for Her Song 'The Velvet Underground's' debut album 'The Velvet Underground & Nico')
Nico
23
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: July 18

Nico was a German musician, singer, and songwriter. Her work continues to serve as an inspiration to several musicians like Björk, Morrissey, and the English rock band The Cure. In 2017, Susanna Nicchiarelli directed Nico's biographical film titled Nico, 1988. Also an actress, Nico appeared in many films, including Andy Warhol's experimental underground film Chelsea Girls.

 14 
Pappy Boyington
12
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 4, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Died: January 11
 15 
Trevor Howard
(English Stage, Film, and Television Actor)
Trevor Howard
5
Birthdate: September 29, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cliftonville, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 7

British actor Trevor Howard achieved stardom with his bit role of Alec in the romantic drama film Brief Encounter. He started his career with Shakespearean stage roles and then served as a paratrooper during World War II. His performance as Walter Morel in Sons and Lovers got him nominated for the Academy Award.

 16 
Anne Ramsey
(Actress)
Anne Ramsey
19
Birthdate: March 27, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Died: August 11
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 17 
Roy Kinnear
(British Character Actor)
Roy Kinnear
5
Birthdate: January 8, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died: September 20

Roy Kinnear was a British actor known for playing important roles in Richard Lester's films, such as Help!, How I Won the War, and The Three Musketeers. Kinnear died in an accident while filming the 1989 sequel of The Three Musketeers. In 1994, the 'Roy Kinnear Trust' was founded in his honor. The foundation aims at helping differently-abled young adults.

 18 
Kenneth Williams
6
Birthdate: February 22, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Islington, London, England
Died: April 15

Kenneth Williams was an English actor. Although he suffered from depression throughout his life, Kenneth Williams continued playing comedy roles for which he was fondly regarded in the British entertainment industry. In 2006, Welsh actor Michael Sheen played Kenneth Williams in the television play Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa, which was inspired by his life and work.

 19 
Louis L’Amour
(Novelist)
Louis L’Amour
12
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: June 10
 20 
Klaus Fuchs
(Theoretical Physicist and Atomic Spy)
Klaus Fuchs
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: December 29, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rüsselsheim, German Empire
Died: January 28

German theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs worked on many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons. He was also an atomic spy who provided information about nuclear weapons production to the Soviet Union during World War II. He was convicted and jailed for nine years, following which he resumed his career as a physicist.

 21 
Hillel Slovak
(Musician)
Hillel Slovak
7
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel
Died: June 25
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 22 
John Houseman
(Romanian-Born American Actor, Director, and Producer)
John Houseman
6
Birthdate: September 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bucharest, Romania
Died: October 31

Romanian-born US actor and producer John Houseman is remembered for his Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning role in The Paper Chase. Primarily a character actor, he also gained fame as a theater director and producer and collaborated with director Orson Welles on many projects.

 23 
Joe Besser
(Comedian, Musician, Voice actor, Actor, Television actor)
Joe Besser
5
Birthdate: August 12, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis
Died: March 1
 24 
Art Rooney
(Founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
Art Rooney
4
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: January 27, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Coulterville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 25

Also known as The Chief, Art Rooney not only founded the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers but was also named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He won the Super Bowl four times as an owner and was a major force behind the NFL-AFL merger. He was also a track racing enthusiast.

 25 
Christina Onassis
(Businessperson, Socialite)
Christina Onassis
8
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: December 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: November 19

The daughter of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, Christina Onassis had an unhappy life. She lost both her parents shortly after her brother’s accidental death. She married and divorced 4 times and had a long struggle with eating disorders. She tragically died of a heart attack at 37.

 26 
Luis Walter Alvarez
8
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Francisco
Died: September 1

Experimental physicist and Nobel laureate Luis Walter Alvarez is best remembered for inventing the liquid hydrogen bubble chamber, which enabled the discovery of countless short-lived resonance particles. The University of California, Berkeley professor and MIT scientist had also been part of the development of the atomic bomb.

 27 
Charles Addams
(Former Cartoonist known for his darkly humorous and macabre characters)
Charles Addams
3
Birthdate: January 7, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Westfield, New Jersey, United States
Died: September 29

Mostly known as a cartoonist for The New Yorker, Charles Addams was known for including dark humor in his works. Also known by his pseudonym, Chas Addams, he gained fame for his cartoons about a family of ghosts, which later inspired The Addams Family series of the 1960s.

 28 
Louis L'Amour
(Novelist)
Louis L'Amour
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: June 10
 29 
Richard S. Castellano
(Actor)
Richard S. Castellano
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 10
 30 
Isamu Noguchi
(American Landscape Architect and Artist Who Designed the Modern Piece of Furniture Known as the 'Noguchi Table')
Isamu Noguchi
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1904
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: December 30

Isamu Noguchi was an American landscape architect and artist best remembered for designing the iconic Noguchi table. His sculptures are credited with bridging East and West and some of his works are considered landmarks of 20th-century art. In 1982, he won the Edward MacDowell Medal. In 1987, he received the National Medal of Arts for his contribution to the arts. 

 31 
Daws Butler
(Actor, Dub actor)
Daws Butler
2
Birthdate: November 16, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toledo
Died: May 18
 32 
Dennis Day
(Singer, Radio, Television, and Film Personality)
Dennis Day
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: June 22
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 33 
Henry Murray
(Psychologist)
Henry Murray
1
Birthdate: May 13, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: June 23
 34 
Leonard Frey
(Actor)
Leonard Frey
0
Birthdate: September 4, 1938
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 24
 35 
Roy Buchanan
(Musician, Guitarist)
Roy Buchanan
1
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: September 23, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ozark
Died: August 14
 36 
Mickey Thompson
(American Auto Racing Driver, Builder and Promoter)
Mickey Thompson
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Alhambra, California, United States
Died: March 16

The first American racing driver to exceed 400 mph, Mickey Thompson was also an important auto racing builder and promoter, known for forming sanctioning bodies like SCORE International and Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group. A hot rodder from the very beginning, he won many track and dragster championships, later establishing Mickey Thompson Equipment Co. to manufacture high performance equipment for racers.

 37 
Ella Raines
(Actress)
Ella Raines
1
Birthdate: August 6, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fall City, Washington, United States
Died: May 30
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 38 
Hal Ashby
(Film director)
Hal Ashby
2
Birthdate: September 2, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ogden, Utah, United Statesamer
Died: December 27
 39 
Raj Kapoor
(Actor Known for His Films, ‘Awaara’, ‘Boot Polish’ and Referred as 'The Greatest Showman of Indian Cinema')
Raj Kapoor
11
Birthdate: December 14, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Died: June 2

Raj Kapoor was an Indian film actor, producer, and director best remembered for his contribution to the Hindi film industry. The recipient of 11 Filmfare Awards and three National Film Awards, Raj Kapoor is regarded as one of the greatest Indian actors of all time. In 1987, he was honored with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest honor in cinema.

 40 
Henry Armstrong
(Professional Boxer, A World Boxing Champion)
Henry Armstrong
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 12, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbus, Mississippi, united States
Died: October 24
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 41 
Colleen Moore
(Actress)
Colleen Moore
1
Birthdate: August 19, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Port Huron, Michigan, U.S.
Died: January 25
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 42 
Virginia Satir
(American author)
Virginia Satir
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 26, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wisconsin
Died: September 10
 43 
Max Robinson
(Broadcaster)
Max Robinson
0
Birthdate: May 1, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Died: December 20
 44 
Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.
(Lawyer, Politician)
Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.
2
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: August 17, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada
Died: August 17
 45 
Ken Murray
(Comedian)
Ken Murray
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: July 14, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: October 12
 46 
Frank Zamboni
(Inventor)
Frank Zamboni
1
Birthdate: January 16, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Eureka, Utah, United States
Died: July 27
 47 
Hans Urs von Balthasar
(Theologian and Catholic Priest Known for His 15-Volume Trilogy on Beauty, Goodness, and Truth)
Hans Urs von Balthasar
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 12, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lucerne, Switzerland
Died: June 26

Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar was one of the chief figures behind the formation of the Community of St. John. He also co-launched the Catholic journal Communio and penned numerous books on themes such as classical literature. Declared a cardinal, he died shortly before his investiture.

 48 
Frederick Loewe
(Composer)
Frederick Loewe
0
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: June 10, 1901
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 14
 49 
Georgy Malenkov
(Soviet Politician Who Briefly Succeeded Joseph Stalin as the Leader of the Soviet Union)
Georgy Malenkov
15
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: December 6, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Orenburg, Russia
Died: January 14

Georgy Malenkov was a Soviet politician who succeeded Joseph Stalin as the leader of the Soviet Union. He also played a major role during World War II as he was given sole responsibility of Soviet Union's missile program during the war. Almost inseparable from any account of Stalin's biographies, Malenkov was played by Jeffrey Tambor in The Death of Stalin.

 50 
Alan Paton
(Writer, Autobiographer, Screenwriter)
Alan Paton
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 11, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pietermaritzburg
Died: April 12

Alan Paton was a South African anti-apartheid activist and author best remembered for his novels, Too Late the Phalarope and Cry, the Beloved Country. Through his works, Paton aimed at exposing the apartheid oppression to reform his society. He was honored on various occasions for his exceptional contribution to literature. The Alan Paton Award is presented annually in his honor.