Famous People Who Died In 1997

Discover the most famous people died who died in the year 1997. This list includes people like The Notorious B.I.G., Mother Teresa, John Denver, Andrew Cunanan, Chris Farley and many more. This list of celebrities is loosely sorted by popularity. People featured on this list, include artists, political leaders, poets and philosophers who died in 1997. This list includes people from United States, United Kingdom, France & Germany and many more countries.
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 1 
Princess Diana
(First Wife of Charles, Prince of Wales)
Princess Diana
135
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: July 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 31

The first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, Princess Diana was a member of the British royal family. As a princess, she became known for her unconventional approach to charity work. She was celebrated as a style icon and fashionista as well. She divorced Charles in 1996 and died in a tragic car accident the following year.

 2 
The Notorious B.I.G.
(One of the Greatest Rappers of All Time)
The Notorious B.I.G.
115
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: March 9

The Notorious B.I.G. was a rapper and songwriter and is considered one of the best ever. His debut album Ready to Die in 1994 was critically acclaimed. He was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in September 1996. His album Life After Death was released two weeks after his death. 

 3 
Chris Farley
(Actor and Comedian)
Chris Farley
78
Birthdate: February 15, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Died: December 18

A popular actor and comedian, Chris Farley's struggle with alcohol and drug addiction led to his suspension from the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL) on many occasions. He eventually died of a drug overdose at the age of 33, much like his idol John Belushi, who too died of a drug overdose at the same age!

 4 
James Stewart
(American Actor Known for His Distinctive Drawl and Everyman Screen Persona)
James Stewart
52
Birthdate: May 20, 1908
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 2

Best known for his everyman screen persona, James Stewart was ranked third in the greatest American male actors list published by the American Film Institute (AFI) in 1999. During his 55-year acting career, he displayed strong morality both on and off the screen, as a result of which he epitomized the ideal American man of the 20th century.

 5 
John Denver
(Best Know for His Songs 'Rocky Mountain High', 'Take Me Home, Country Roads', and 'Annie's Song')
John Denver
39
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 31, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Roswell, New Mexico, United States
Died: October 12

John Denver was one of the highest-selling and most popular singers during the 1970s. He was known for folk, pop and country music. Some of his greatest songs are Take Me Home Country Roads, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Rocky Mountain High, Sunshine on My Shoulders and Annie's Song. He died when a plane he was piloting crashed in California.

 6 
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
(The Best Hawaiian Musician of All Time)
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
41
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: May 20, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Died: June 26

Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwoʻole began his career as part of the Makaha Sons. He later went solo with the albums Ka 'Ano'I and Facing Future and also lent his support to the Hawaiian independence movement. His ever-increasing weight caused him chronic issues and eventually led to his death at 38.

 7 
Michael Hutchence
(Lead Singer and Lyricist of the Rock Band 'INXS')
Michael Hutchence
50
Birthdate: January 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died: November 22

Michael Hutchence, co-founder of the Australian rock band INXS, was known for his wild lifestyle, his affairs with celebrities, and his history of drug abuse. He was named to News.com’s list of the 15 greatest Australian singers of all time but unfortunately died by suicide in a Sydney hotel room.

 8 
Gianni Versace
(Italian Fashion Designer, Businessman and Founder of ‘Versace’)
Gianni Versace
52
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: December 2, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reggio Calabria, Italy
Died: July 15
Legendary Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace founded the brand Versace, reputed worldwide for its luxury products, including clothes, accessories, and fragrances. He had also designed for renowned artists and for series and movies, too. He was shot dead outside his Miami mansion, Casa Casuarina, by Andrew Cunanan. 
 9 
Robert Mitchum
(One of the Greatest Male Stars of Classic American Cinema)
Robert Mitchum
23
Birthdate: August 6, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 1
Robert Mitchum is best known for his film noirs, such as Undercurrent, and for defining the antihero in movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Fans loved him in The Story of G.I. and Joe and as U.S. Navy Captain Victor Henry in The Winds of War and its sequel.
 10 
Burgess Meredith
(One of the Most Accomplished Actors of the 20th Century)
Burgess Meredith
15
Birthdate: November 16, 1907
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: September 9
Burgess Meredith is best remembered as The Penguin from Batman and as Mickey Goldmill from the Rocky franchise. The two-time Academy Award-nominated actor has also won many Emmy awards. He played memorable roles in The Day of the Locust and Tail Gunner Joe and narrated for Twilight Zone: The Movie.
 11 
Jeff Buckley
(Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist)
Jeff Buckley
16
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Anaheim, California, United States
Died: May 29

Jeff Buckley was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. His only studio album, Grace, was included in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Since his untimely death at the age of 30, Jeff Buckley has been the subject of several documentaries. His death also inspired several artists to record songs in tribute to his life and career.

 12 
Jacques Cousteau
(Co-Inventor of the First Open-Circuit, Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus 'Aqua-Lung')
Jacques Cousteau
25
Birthdate: June 11, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France
Died: June 25

Jacques Cousteau was a French explorer, naval officer, filmmaker, conservationist, scientist, photographer, researcher, and author. Renowned for his exploration of various forms of life in water, Jacques Cousteau is credited with pioneering marine conservation and co-developing the Aqua-Lung, the first underwater breathing apparatus to achieve popularity and commercial success.

 13 
Brian Keith
(American Actor)
Brian Keith
13
Birthdate: November 14, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 24
Brian Keith is best remembered for playing Bill Davis in the sitcom Family Affair and Judge Milton C. Hardcastle in Hardcastle and McCormick. He also starred in the 1961 movie The Parent Trap and played President Theodore Roosevelt in The Wind and the Lion. He died of suicide by gunshot.
 14 
Mother Teresa
(Roman Catholic Nun, Founder and Active Member of the ‘Missionaries of Charity’)
Mother Teresa
205
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 26, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Skopje, North Macedonia
Died: September 5

An Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and a missionary, Mother Teresa was the founder of Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation. She was both an admired and controversial figure and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. While she was admired by many for her charitable work, she also earned criticism for her stance against abortion and contraception.

 15 
Fela Kuti
(Multi-Instrumentalist & the Creator of ‘Afro-beat’, a Genre that Fuses West African Music with American Funk & Jazz)
Fela Kuti
25
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: October 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Abeokuta, Nigeria
Died: August 2
Political activist and Afrobeat inventor Fela Kuti initially performed with his band Koola Lobitos and later renamed it Nigeria '70. He was inspired by the Black Power movement, which also gradually transformed his musical style. He married 27 women in 1978, to mark the anniversary of the Kalakuta Republic attack.
 16 
Red Skelton
(Comedian, Pantomimist)
Red Skelton
18
Birthdate: July 18, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vincennes
Died: September 17

Red Skelton is best remembered as the host of The Red Skelton Show. Apart from films and TV, he had also performed in vaudeville, casinos, and nightclubs. He was also a skilled painter and specialized in paintings of clowns, which earned him more than his acting projects.

 17 
Joanna Moore
(American Film and Television Actress)
Joanna Moore
6
Birthdate: November 10, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Parrott, Georgia, United States
Died: November 22

Joanna Moore was an American actress whose career reached its peak during the 1960s when she was often featured in popular TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents. However, she lost her popularity to drug and alcohol abuse, which worsened during the 1970s and 1980s. Eventually, she started making headlines for the wrong reasons and died of lung cancer in 1997.

 18 
William S. Burroughs
(Best Known for His Third Novel 'Naked Lunch')
William S. Burroughs
13
Birthdate: February 5, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: August 2
Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs soared to fame with his novels Junkie and Naked Lunch, with the latter being at the center of a censorship issue. Also known by his pseudonym, "William Lee," he exhibited artwork such as the Gunshot Paintings. He accidentally shot and killed his second wife.
 19 
Allen Ginsberg
(Best Known for His Poem ‘Howl’, Which is One of the Most Significant Products of the 'Beat Movement')
Allen Ginsberg
13
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 3, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 5
Allen Ginsberg, a Beat Generation poet, is best remembered for his 1956 poem Howl, which criticized U.S. capitalism and described homosexual acts, and was thus banned. He earned the National Book Award for The Fall of America and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986–1992.
 20 
Toshiro Mifune
(One of Japan's Greatest Actors Known Actors Who is Known for His Collaboration With Akira Kurosawa)
Toshiro Mifune
7
Birthdate: April 1, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Qingdao, China
Died: December 24

Toshiro Mifune was a Japanese actor best known for his collaboration with director Akira Kurosawa. The two worked together for 16 films, most of which are considered cinema classics. In 1986, Mifune was honored with the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon. In 2016, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 21 
Denver Pyle
(Actor and Director Known for His TV Series ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’)
Denver Pyle
12
Birthdate: May 11, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bethune, Colorado, United States
Died: December 25

Denver Pyle was an American actor and director. He achieved popularity during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s when he appeared in TV series like The Andy Griffith Show and The Doris Day Show. Also known for his charitable efforts, Denver Pyle sponsored a tournament called Uncle Jesse's Fishing Tournament, which raised over $160,000 in 10 years to support children's programs.

 22 
Betty Shabazz
(Educator and Activist Best Known as the Wife of African-American Activist Malcolm X)
Betty Shabazz
10
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: May 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pinehurst, Georgia, United States
Died: June 23

Civil rights activist and educator Betty Shabazz, or Betty X, was the wife of Black nationalist leader Malcolm X. Raised by her adoptive parents in Detroit, she met Malcolm X at a Nation of Islam event in Harlem. She died when her apartment was set on fire set by her grandson.

 23 
Ben Hogan
(American Professional Golfer Who is One of the Greatest Players in the History of the Game)
Ben Hogan
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 13, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stephenville, Texas, United States
Died: July 25

Ben Hogan was a professional golfer who is considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He won nine career professional major championships, tying with Gary Player for fourth all-time. He had a deep influence on golf swing theory. Famous for his legendary ball-striking ability, he also possessed fierce determination and an iron will.  

 24 
Lillian Disney
(Wife of Walt Disnry)
Lillian Disney
17
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 15, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Spalding, Idaho, United States
Died: December 16
 25 
Townes Van Zandt
(Country Singer & Songwriter Best Known for His Songs: 'Pancho and Lefty' and 'For the Sake of the Song')
Townes Van Zandt
10
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: March 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died: January 1

Country singer Townes Van Zandt is remembered for his melancholy and lyrical tracks. His hits such as Pancho and Lefty and To Live Is to Fly have influenced many artists of subsequent generations. He struggled with depression and spent a considerable part of his life in cheap shacks and motels.

 26 
Viktor Frankl
(Psychiatrist)
Viktor Frankl
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1905
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leopoldstadt, Vienna, Austria
Died: September 2

Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl founded logotherapy. He also authored several books, most notably his bestselling autobiographical depiction of his ordeal at various Nazi concentration camps, Man's Search for Meaning. He had lost his parents, brother, and wife in the Holocaust. He later won honors such as the Oskar Pfister Award.

 27 
Mobutu Sese Seko
(President of Zaire (1965 - 1997))
Mobutu Sese Seko
20
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lisala, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Died: September 7

Mobutu Sese Seko was a Congolese military officer and politician. From 1965 to 1997, Mobutu served as the president of Zaire. During his long reign as the president, Mobutu garnered notoriety for nepotism and corruption. His life and work inspired Belgian filmmaker, Thierry Michel, to make a three-part documentary titled Mobutu, King of Zaire.

 28 
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
(Qawwal and Ghazal Singer)
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
46
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 13, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Faisalabad
Died: August 16
Pakistani Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, also known as the "Shahenshah-e-Qawwali," belonged to the Patiala “gharana” of classical music. He revolutionized Qawwali, even collaborating with Western artists and composing for Hollywood movies such as Dead Man Walking and The Last Temptation of Christ, and many Hindi movies, too.
 29 
Roy Lichtenstein
(American Pop Artist Who Became a Major Figure in the New Art Movement During the 1960s)
Roy Lichtenstein
19
Birthdate: October 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died: September 29
Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist who became a major figure in the new art movement during the 1960s alongside artists like Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist. Among his most famous works are Drowning Girl and Whaam! Roy Lichtenstein was honored with the prestigious National Medal of the Arts in 1995.
 30 
Audra Lindley
(Actress)
Audra Lindley
4
Birthdate: September 24, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: October 16
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 31 
Paulo Freire
(Educator and Philosopher)
Paulo Freire
5
Birthdate: September 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Recife, Brazil
Died: May 2
An advocate of critical consciousness as a form of pedagogy, Paulo Freire grew up amid abject poverty in a Depression-hit Brazil. Remembered for his iconic work Pedagogy of the Oppressed, the revered educator who supported dialogic education had also won accolades such as the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.
 32 
Magda Gabor
(Hungarian-American Actress and Socialite)
Magda Gabor
7
Birthdate: June 11, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: June 6

The elder sister of Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor, Magda Gabor was an actor who had appeared in the film Modern Girls and on a few TV shows. She was rumored to be the mistress of the Portuguese ambassador to Hungary and had later married 6 times.

 33 
Sheldon Leonard
(Actor)
Sheldon Leonard
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Died: January 11
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 34 
James A. Michener
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: February 3, 1907
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 16
 35 
Laura Nyro
(Songwriter)
Laura Nyro
8
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, USA
Died: April 8
 36 
Richard Jaeckel
(Actor)
Richard Jaeckel
4
Birthdate: October 10, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Long Beach, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: June 4
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 37 
Ennis Cosby
(Teacher)
Ennis Cosby
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 16

The only son of comedian Bill Cosby, Ennis Cosby made headlines when he was shot dead at 27, in an attempted robbery on a deserted Southern California road. He was dyslexic and discussed his disability with the children he taught as a student-teacher at the Alfred E. Smith Elementary School.

 38 
Diosdado Macapagal
(Former President of the Philippines)
Diosdado Macapagal
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 28, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lubao, Pampanga, Philippine Islands
Died: April 21

Diosdado Macapagal was a Filipino politician who served as the president of the Philippines from 1961 to 1965. Prior to his presidency, Macapagal served as the sixth vice-president from 1957 to 1961. Diosdado Macapagal is credited with inspiring his daughter Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who later became the president of the Philippines.

 39 
Georg Solti
(Hungarian-British Orchestral and Operatic Conductor Who has appeared With Opera Companies in Munich, Frankfurt and London)
Georg Solti
3
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: October 21, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: September 5

Georg Solti was an operatic and orchestral conductor. He is best remembered for his association with opera companies in London, Frankfurt, and Munich. He also worked with the popular Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he served as a music director for a long time. Solti became the subject of a 1987 biographical TV documentary titled This Is Your Life.

 40 
Dora Maar
(French Photographer and Painter Known for Her Nine-Year Relationship with 'Pablo Picasso')
Dora Maar
2
Listed In: Photographers
Birthdate: November 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 16

Born to a French mother and a Croatian father, Dora Maar spent her childhood in Argentina and later studied art in Paris. The renowned surrealist artist and photographer later gained fame as Pablo Picasso’s lover and muse, and was featured in his paintings such as Weeping Woman.

 41 
Jack Kent Cooke
(Businessman)
Jack Kent Cooke
1
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: October 25, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Died: April 6
 42 
Nicolette Larson
(Best known for her work in the late 1970s)
Nicolette Larson
23
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 17, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Helena, Montana, United States
Died: December 16
 43 
Curt Flood
(Baseball player)
Curt Flood
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 18, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston
Died: January 20
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 44 
Charles Kuralt
(The First Anchor of 'CBS News Sunday Morning')
Charles Kuralt
5
Birthdate: September 10, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wilmington, North Carolina, United States
Died: July 4
 45 
Marjorie Reynolds
(American Actress Known for Her Role as 'Linda Mason' in the 1942 Musical Film 'Holiday Inn')
Marjorie Reynolds
6
Birthdate: August 12, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buhl, Idaho, United States
Died: February 1

Marjorie Reynolds was an American actress and dancer best known for her performance in the 1942 musical Holiday Inn which showcased her dancing skills. Also known for her contribution to the TV industry, Marjorie Reynolds has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the television section.

 46 
Tony Williams
(Drummer)
Tony Williams
4
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 12, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died: February 23
 47 
Don Messick
(Actor, Dub actor, Stage actor)
Don Messick
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buffalo
Died: October 24
 48 
Pamela Harriman
(58th United States Ambassador to France)
Pamela Harriman
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: March 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Farnborough, Hampshire, England
Died: February 5

Apart from serving as the US ambassador to France and as a Democratic political activist, Pamela Harriman had also been in the news for her three marriages, all to high-profile men, namely, Randolph Churchill, Leland Hayward, and W. Averell Harriman. She also had countless affairs with rich and influential men.

 49 
Jeanne Calment
(Oldest Person Ever)
Jeanne Calment
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 21, 1875
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Arles
Died: August 4
Jeanne Calment was a French supercentenarian who lived till 122 years and was, till her death in 1997, the longest-living documented human in history. She attributed her longevity to olive oil, wine, and chocolate. Some experts believe she had died long back and her daughter had falsely assumed her identity.
 50 
Clyde Tombaugh
(Astronomer, University teacher)
Clyde Tombaugh
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: February 4, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Streator
Died: January 17

Though he wasn’t formally educated in astronomy, Clyde Tombaugh was immensely interested in the subject since childhood and had built his own telescope after high school. He grew up to discover Pluto, then regarded as the ninth planet but later declared a "dwarf planet," and many other celestial bodies.