Famous People Who Died In Plane Crash

There is no doubt that the fear of a plane crash is amongst the most common fears that people harbour. The very thought of something going wrong mid-air and the plane plunging down to the earth is enough to make some people develop a real fear of flying. While the common man can avoid plane travel, it’s not a luxury celebrities can afford! With hectic schedules and numerous professional commitments, famous people from all walks of life are required to fly regularly. While flying is by no means a dangerous mode of travelling, plane crashes do occur from time to time which result in the deaths of numerous people each year in the most horrific manner. And when it’s a celebrity who dies in a plane crash, the entire world is plunged into shock and grief. One of the most shocking plane crash incidents was the one that led to the deaths of rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in 1959. Another highly unfortunate case was the crash in which three popular celebrities Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas perished together. Read on to learn more about famous people who died in plane crash.
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 1 
Buddy Holly
(Singer-Songwriter & Pioneer in Mid 1950's Rock and Roll)
Buddy Holly
74
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: September 7, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lubbock, Texas, United States
Died: February 3, 1959

Musician and singer-songwriter Buddy Holly was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. Born to a musical family, he learned to sing and play the guitar as a child. He began his career as a teenager and found much success within a short period. Sadly, he died in an aircraft crash when he was just 22 years old.

 2 
Ricky Nelson
(Musician)
Ricky Nelson
28
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 8, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey, United States
Died: December 31, 1985

Ricky Nelson was an American pop pioneer, rock & roll star, and singer-songwriter. After establishing himself as a top teen idol during the 1950s, Ricky Nelson went on to release several chartbusting songs. He achieved great popularity and was ranked 91st on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.

 3 
Patsy Cline
(One of the Most Influential Vocalists of the 20th Century)
Patsy Cline
29
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia, United States
Died: March 5, 1963

Patsy Cline was an American singer widely regarded as one of 20th century's most influential, celebrated, and respected vocalists. Her singing style helped influence several artists and musical genres. She also helped define the Nashville Sound style associated with country music. She has been a major influence on artists, such as Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Linda Ronstadt, and Dottie West.

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 4 
Rocky Marciano
(One of the Greatest Heavyweight Boxers of All Time)
Rocky Marciano
134
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brockton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 31, 1969
Rocky Marciano, also known as the Brockton Blockbuster, was the world’s only heavyweight champion to remain undefeated till the end of his career and held the heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. The International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee held the world’s highest heavyweight knockout-to-win ratio at 85.71%.
 5 
Otis Redding
(Singer-songwriter)
Otis Redding
43
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dawson, Georgia, United States
Died: December 10, 1967
The King of Soul Otis Redding, who had performed with the Pinetoppers, among others, is remembered for his track (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay, released after his death in a plane crash. It became the first posthumous Billboard R&B- and Hot 100-topping record. He also won two posthumous Grammys
 6 
John F. Kennedy Jr.
(Son of John F. Kennedy)
John F. Kennedy Jr.
51
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 25, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: July 16, 1999

John F Kennedy Jr was the son of former US President John F Kennedy. He tragically died at a young age of 38 when the plane he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts in 1999. He was a lawyer and a journalist and had founded the trendy political magazine, George, which stopped publication in 2001.   

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 7 
Roberto Clemente
(Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Right Fielder)
Roberto Clemente
55
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Carolina, Puerto Rico
Died: December 31, 1972

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.

 8 
Ritchie Valens
(A 'Rock and Roll' Pioneer and a Forefather of the 'Chicano Rock' Movement)
Ritchie Valens
36
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: February 3, 1959

Widely regarded as the pioneer of Latin rock and Chicano rock, Ritchie Valens was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter. Since his untimely death at the age of 17, Ritchie Valens has inspired several musicians and bands like Carlos Santana, Los Lonely Boys, and Los Lobos. Valens also inspired Robert Quine, Jimi Hendrix, Keith O'Conner Murphy, and Chris Montez among others.

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 9 
Carole Lombard
(American Actress Who was Known for Her Off-Beat Roles in Screwball Comedies)
Carole Lombard
32
Birthdate: October 6, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
Died: January 16, 1942

Carole Lombard was part of hits such as No Man of Her Own, To Be or Not to Be, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith, before dying in a plane crash at 33. She had redefined the screwball comedy genre. She was married to Hollywood legends William Powell and Clark Gable. 

 10 
Subhas Chandra Bose
(Indian Nationalist Who Participated in Indian Freedom Movement)
Subhas Chandra Bose
76
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cuttack, India
Died: August 18, 1945

An Indian nationalist known for his role in the country’s struggle for freedom from the British, Subhas Chandra Bose was a politician with radical views. He was part of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s. However, his association with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan made him a controversial figure.

 11 
Jim Croce
(Folk and Rock Singer Best Known for His Third album 'You Don't Mess Around with Jim')
Jim Croce
28
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 10, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 20, 1973

Jim Croce was an American rock and folk singer-songwriter. At the peak of his popularity, Jim Croce died in a plane crash at age 30. Many of his works were released posthumously and achieved popularity. Jim Croce's music has been used in many popular films, such as The Hangover Part II, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Hobbs & Shaw.

 12 
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy
(Publicist for 'Calvin Klein')
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy
18
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: January 7, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: White Plains, New York, United States
Died: July 16, 1999
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was a Calvin Klein publicist and the wife of John F. Kennedy Jr. Her fashion sense was often compared to that of her mother-in-law, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. A plane carrying Carolyn, her husband, and her older sister crashed off Martha's Vineyard in July 1999, killing all three.
 13 
Francis Gary Powers
(American Military Officer)
Francis Gary Powers
13
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jenkins, Kentucky, United States
Died: August 1, 1977

Francis Gary Powers was an American pilot. His Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) U-2 spy plane was shot down in what came to be known as the 1960 U-2 incident. He was performing photographic aerial reconnaissance deep inside Soviet territory when the incident occurred. He survived and later worked as a helicopter pilot for KNBC in Los Angeles.

 14 
Homi Bhabha
(Indian physicist)
Homi Bhabha
16
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: October 30, 1909
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: January 24, 1966

Padma Bhushan-winning physicist Homi Bhabha revolutionized the Indian nuclear program singlehandedly. Born into an affluent family, he was educated at Cambridge. Initially geared toward a career in mechanical engineering, he later drifted to physics, eventually contributing to the formation of TIFR. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is named after him.

 15 
Glenn Miller
(Trombonist)
Glenn Miller
43
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944
 16 
Bessie Coleman
(American Civil Aviator and the First African-American Woman to Hold a Pilot License)
Bessie Coleman
32
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: January 26, 1892
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Texas, United States
Died: April 30, 1926

Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator and the first African-American woman to hold a pilot license. Nicknamed Queen Bess, Coleman became a high-profile pilot in the air shows organized in the United States. Bessie Coleman died at the age of 34 in a plane crash. Her efforts to promote aviation inspired the Native American communities.

 17 
James Horner
(Composer, conductor, and orchestrator of film scores)
James Horner
10
Birthdate: August 14, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: June 22, 2015
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 18 
Dean Paul Martin
(Son of American Entertainer Dean Martin)
Dean Paul Martin
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 17, 1951
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States
Died: March 21, 1987

Dean Paul Martin made his way into pop singing at the age of thirteen when he joined the pop group Dino, Desi & Billy. He earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance in Players. He also became a successful tennis player and competed in junior competition at Wimbeldon. At the age of 16, he obtained his pilot's license.

 19 
Jim Reeves
(Singer-Songwriter)
Jim Reeves
12
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: August 20, 1923
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Galloway, Texas, United States
Died: July 31, 1964
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 20 
Samantha Smith
(American Peace Activist and Child Actress Who Became Famous for Her Anti-War Outreaches During the Cold War)
Samantha Smith
13
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: June 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Houlton, Maine, United States
Died: August 25, 1985

Samantha Smith was an American schoolgirl, child actress, and peace activist. She achieved popularity during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States of America; she visited the Soviet Union as a goodwill ambassador which attracted extensive media attention. She also took part in peacemaking activities in Japan before dying in an airplane crash at age 13.

 21 
Audie Murphy
(One of the Most Decorated American Combat Soldiers of World War II)
Audie Murphy
200
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingston, Texas, United States
Died: May 28, 1971

Audie Murphy displayed such valor as an American soldier in World War II that he did not have problems establishing a successful acting career after the war, as he was already famous for his heroism which he demonstrated by single-handedly holding off many German soldiers for an hour before leading a successful counterattack despite being wounded and out of ammunition.

 22 
Hansie Cronje
(South African Cricketer Who was Banned from Cricket for His Role in Match-Fixing Scandal)
Hansie Cronje
13
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 25, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
Died: June 1, 2002

Hansie Cronje was a South African international cricketer. He captained the South African national cricket team in the 1990s. In 2000, he was implicated in a cricket match-fixing scandal and banned from the sport for life. He died in a plane crash in 2002. It was rumored that he was murdered on the orders of a cricket betting syndicate.

 23 
Cassie Gaines
17
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 9, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Miami, Oklahoma, United States
Died: October 20, 1977
 24 
Steve Gaines
(Musician)
Steve Gaines
13
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: September 14, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Miami, Oklahoma, USA
Died: October 20, 1977
 25 
Marcel Cerdan
(French Professional Boxer and World Middleweight Champion)
Marcel Cerdan
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 22, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria
Died: October 28, 1949
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 26 
Amy Johnson
(Aviator)
Amy Johnson
17
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: July 1, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: January 5, 1941
 27 
Myles Munroe
(Writer)
Myles Munroe
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 20, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nassau, Bahamas
Died: November 9, 2014
 28 
Jenni Rivera
(American Singer Known for Her Work in 'Banda', 'Mariachi' and 'Norteño' Music Genres)
Jenni Rivera
224
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States
Died: December 9, 2012
Jenni Rivera is remembered for her work in the genre of Regional Mexican music, especially in the Banda, Norteño, and Mariachi styles. The 22-time Billboard Latin Music Award-winning artist had also produced her own reality shows and starred in films. She died in a plane crash at age 43. 
 29 
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
(Princess)
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
15
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 22, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tatoi Palace, Tatoi, Greece
Died: November 16, 1937
 30 
Steve Fossett
(The First Person to Fly Solo Nonstop Around the World in a Balloon and in a Fixed-Wing Aircraft)
Steve Fossett
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 22, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee, United States
Died: September 3, 2007

Apart from being the first solo balloonist to circumnavigate the world, Steve Fossett also competed the first non-stop solo flight across the world. The adventurer also owned a securities company. His plane went missing on a 2007 mission in western Nevada, and he was declared dead on the discovery of the wreckage.

 31 
Mike Todd
(Producer)
Mike Todd
9
Birthdate: June 22, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Died: March 22, 1958
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 32 
David Angell
(Producer)
David Angell
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: West Barrington, Rhode Island, USA
Died: September 11, 2001
 33 
Junaid Jamshed
(Singer)
Junaid Jamshed
11
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: September 3, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
Died: December 7, 2016
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 34 
Ilan Ramon
(Fighter pilot)
Ilan Ramon
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 20, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ramat Gan, Israel
Died: February 1, 2003
 35 
Ginette Neveu
(Violinist)
Ginette Neveu
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: August 11, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 28, 1949
 36 
Jesse Robredo
(Filipino Politician)
Jesse Robredo
8
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Naga
Died: August 18, 2012

Jesse Robredo was a Filipino politician best remembered for his service as the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government from 2010 until his death in 2012. He is also remembered for his service as the Mayor of Naga on two occasions. In 2000, Jesse Robredo became the first Filipino mayor to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

 37 
Alan Kulwicki
(American Auto Racing Driver and Team Owner)
Alan Kulwicki
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Greenfield, Wisconsin, United States
Died: April 1, 1993
 38 
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, 1972
 39 
John Garang
(Politician)
John Garang
16
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 23, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Twic East County
Died: July 30, 2005

Revolutionary leader and president of Southern Sudan John Garang was the man behind the term "Sudanism," which promoted cohesiveness among the people of Sudan. Orphaned at 10, he completed his education on scholarships but later rejected an offer from UCB to go to Tanzania. He died in a helicopter crash.

 40 
Wiley Post
(Native American Aviator Who Completed the First Solo Flight around the World)
Wiley Post
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: November 22, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grand Saline, Texas, United States
Died: August 15, 1935

Native American aviator Wiley Post scripted history as the first person to complete a solo flight around the world. Post and actor/humorist Will Rogers were killed when their flight crashed in Alaska in 1935. Post had created many high-altitude records and invented one of the world’s first pressure suits.

 41 
Omar Torrijos
(Elected official)
Omar Torrijos
11
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 13, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Santiago, Panama
Died: July 31, 1981
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.
 42 
John T. Walton
(Sam Walton's Son)
John T. Walton
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 8, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newport, Arkansas, United States
Died: June 27, 2005
 43 
Albert Scott Crossfield
(Naval officer)
Albert Scott Crossfield
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 2, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: April 19, 2006
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 44 
Bertram Home Ramsay
(Navy officer)
Bertram Home Ramsay
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 20, 1883
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hampton Court or London, England
Died: January 2, 1945
 45 
Ron Brown
(Politician)
Ron Brown
4
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 3, 1996
 46 
G. David Schine
(American Film Producer)
G. David Schine
5
Birthdate: September 11, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gloversville, New York, United States
Died: June 19, 1996

Born to hotel tycoon Junius Myer Schine, G. David Schine was educated at Harvard. He was dragged into a controversy for his association with anti-communist Sen. Joe McCarthy. A plane crash killed both him and his wife, former Miss Universe Hillevi Rombin, and their son who was piloting the plane.

 47 
George Skakel
(Businessperson)
George Skakel
4
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: July 16, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: October 3, 1955
 48 
Rodney Culver
(American Football Player)
Rodney Culver
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 23, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: May 11, 1996
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 49 
Frank Maxwell Andrews
(Military General)
Frank Maxwell Andrews
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 3, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Died: May 3, 1943
 50 
Hobey Baker
(First American Star in Ice Hockey by the Hockey Hall of Fame)
Hobey Baker
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 21, 1918
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)