Famous People Who Died in the 1990’s


As with the passage of time, the 1990s saw the lives of many greats come to an end. There were the legends like Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Dr. Seuss, Mickey Mantle, Mother Teresa, Gene Autry, Harry Carrey, Allen Ginsberg, Ginger Rogers, Joe DiMaggio, Stanley Kubrick and DeForest Kelly. And then there were the heartbreaking deaths of Brandon Lee, Diana Spencer, River Phoenix, John Candy, Kurt Cobain, JonBenet Ramsey, Phil Hartman and JFK Jr. who passed away before their time.

Read on to see who else left us in the 1990s for the ethereal world.



Ava Gardner (b. 1922) – One of the defining stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Del Shannon (b. 1934) – Rock and roll sensation from the 1960’s and singer of such

hits as ‘Runaway.’

Malcolm Forbes (b. 1919) – Publisher of influential Forbes magazine.

Sarah Vaughn (b. 1924) – Pioneering American jazz songstress.

Ryan White (b. 1971) – AIDS activist who had become an international focal point for

the disease’s impact.

Jim Henson (b. 1936) – Gifted entertainer and creator of the Muppets.

Sammy Davis Jr. (b. 1925) – Actor, singer, dancer, comedian and member of the Rat


Stevie Ray Vaughn (b. 1954) – Virtuoso blues guitarist and recording star.

Kenjiro Takayanagi (b. 1899) – Father of Japanese television.

Rex Harrison (b. 1908) – Renowned English actor of both stage and screen, winner of a

Tony award for Anne of a Thousand Days and Best Actor for My Fair Lady.

Yu Po Sun (b. 1897) – President of South Korea.

B.F. Skinner (b. 1904) – Influential member of the American psychological

establishment and a leader in the field of psychology.

Patrick White (b. 1912) – Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973.

Aaron Copeland (b. 1900) – American composer of contemporary classical music.

Le Duc Tho (b. 1911) – Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for work on

negotiations to end war in Vietnam, a prize he declined to accept.

Roald Dahl (b.1 916) – British author of both children’s fiction and novels.

Douglas Campbell (b. 1896) – First American ace pilot of World War I.

Robert Hofstadter (b. 1915) – Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961 for his role

in the discovery of nucleons.

Jimmy Van Heusen (b. 1913) – Prolific writer of music for film and television.

Karl Munchinger (b. 1915) – German conductor who helped popularize Pachelbel’s

Canon through recording and performance.

Pavel Cherenkov (b. 1904) – Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1958 for his work

with nuclear particles.

Greta Garbo (b. 1905) – Star of the silent film era and a member of the Hollywood


Johnny Wayne (b. 1918) – Longtime partner of Frank Shuster in Canadian comedy duo

Wayne and Shuster.

A.J.P. Taylor (b. 1906) – Prominent British historian.

Leonard Bernstein (b. 1918) – American conductor and composer.


Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets
Jim Henson

Sammy Davis Jr. - actor, singer, dancer and member of the Rat Pack
Sammy Davis Jr.

Leonard Bernstein - American conductor & composer
Leonard Bernstein

Greta Garbo - silent film actress
Greta Garbo

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Steve Clark (b. 1960) – Original guitarist for rock band Def Leppard.

Edwin Land (b. 1909) – Inventor of the instant camera from Polaroid.

Serge Gainesbourg (b. 1928) – Extremely popular French pop performer.

Leo Fender (b. 1909) – Originator of the Fender line of electric guitars and a pioneer of

modern popular music.

Rajiv Gandhi (b. 1944) – Prime Minister of India.

David Ruffin (b. 1941) – Singer from the influential soul group The Temptations.

Michael Landon (b. 1936) – Charismatic actor best known for his role in the television

program Stairway to Heaven.

Ali Sabri (b. 1920) – President of Egypt.

Frank Capra (b. 1897) – Hollywood director famous for the Christmas film It’s a

Wonderful Life.

Dr. Seuss (born Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904) – Children’s author beloved by millions.

Miles Davis (b. 1926) – Jazz trumpeter and musical revolutionary.

Redd Foxx (b. 1922) – American actor and entertainer.

Tennessee Ernie Ford (b. 1919) – Country singer associated with the hit "16 Tons."

Gene Roddenberry (b. 1921) – Creator of Star Trek.

Freddie Mercury (b. 1946) – Lead singer of rock band Queen.

Lee Atwater (b. 1951) – Advisor to two Republican presidential administrations.

Grahame Greene (b. 1904) – Prolific British novelist.

Carmine Coppola (b. 1910) – American composer who worked extensively in film


Jiang Qing (b. 1914) – Former Chinese Communist Party leader.

Alfonso Garcia Robles (b. 1911) – Recipient of the Noble Peace Prize in 1982 for his

work establishing Central and South America as a Nuclear Free Zone.

Eric Carr (b. 1950) – Drummer for heavy metal band Kiss.

Olav V (b. 1903) – King of Norway.

Doc Pomus (b. 1925) – Prominent American songwriter.

Howard Ashman (b. 1950) – Lyricist for musicals and Disney films.

Arthur Murray (b. 1895) – Dance entrepreneur.


Michael Landon
Michael Landon

Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss

Redd Foxx
Redd Foxx

Eric Carr
Eric Carr

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Willie Dixon (b. 1915) – Influential blue musician who would inspire dozens of

important rock and roll bands through the 60’s and 70’s.

Bert Parks (b. 1914) – Entertainer best known for hosting and singing the theme for the

Miss America pageant.

Art Babbit (b. 1907) – Creator of the animated character ‘Goofy’ for Disney.

Menachem Begin – (b. 1913) – Former prime minister of Israel and winner of the

Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for ending the war with Egypt.

Sam Walton (b. 1918) – Famous American entrepreneur who founded the Wal-Mart

empire of retail stores.

Isaac Asimov (b. 1920) – Pioneer in the field of science fiction literature.

Benny Hill (b. 1924) – Irreverent British comedian and star of his own popular

television program.

Marlene Dietrich (b. 1901) – Early star of Hollywood films.

Lawrence Welk (b. 1903) – Beloved band leader and television personality.

John Cage (b. 1912) – Avant-garde composer.

John Sturges (b. 1911) – Director of action films from the 1950’s and 1960’s, notably

The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven.

Anthony Perkins (b.1932) – Actor famous for his work in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Eddie Kendricks (b. 1939) – Founding member of The Temptations singing group.

Roger Miller (b. 1936) – Songwriter known for his hits "King of the Road" and "Dang


Mark Goodson (b. 1915) – Producer of Family Feud, The Price Is Right and many

other popular television game shows.

Albert King (b. 1923) – Important blues guitarist and recording artist.

Dick York (b. 1928) – Star of television sitcom Bewitched.

Daniel Bovet (b. 1907) – Winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine for 1957, and discoverer

of antihistamines.

Sam Kinison (b. 1953) – Comedian and actor.

Robert Reed (b. 1932) – Star of television’s The Brady Bunch.

Jerome Brown (b. 1965) – Defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Willy Brandt (b. 1913) – Former chancellor of West Germany, and winner of the Nobel

Peace Prize in 1971 for improving relations with communist East Germany.

Arthur Wint (b. 1920) – First Jamaican to win a gold medal at the Olympics, for running

in 1948.

David Bohm (b. 1917) – Physicist and contributor to the development of the first atomic


Hal Roach (b. 1892) – Producer of innumerable television programs and films.


Benny Hill
Benny Hill

Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich

Lawrence Welk
Lawrence Welk

Dick York
Dick York

Sam Kinison
Sam Kinison

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Dizzy Gillespie (b. 1917) – Jazz trumpet pioneer and founding father of be-bop.

Rudolf Nureyev (b. 1938) – Famed Russian ballet dancer.

Audrey Hepburn (b. 1929) – Star of the silver screen in 1950’s and 60’s Hollywood.

Andre the Giant (b. 1946) – Popular wrestler in the WWF.

Robert W. Holley (b. 1922) – Nobel Prize winner for Medicine in 1968.

Ferruccio Lamborghini (b. 1916) – Founder of Lamborghini industrial empire.

Brandon Lee (b. 1965) – Actor and son of icon Bruce Lee.

Mick Ronson (b. 1946) – Former guitarist in David Bowie’s band, most famous for his

work on ‘Ziggy Stardust.’

William Randolph Hearst, Jr. (b. 1908) – Heir to the Hearst publishing empire.

Conway Twitty (b. 1933) – Country music star.

Fred Gwynne (b. 1926) – Star of television program The Munsters.

Raymond Burr (b. 1917) – Actor best known for his work in the Perry Mason series.

Jimmy Doolittle (b. 1896) – Leading figure in aviation and military aviation tactics.

River Phoenix (b. 1970) – Rising young actor.

Vincent Price (b. 1911) – Indelibly associated with the golden age of horror films.

Anthony Burgess (b. 1917) – Best known as author of A Clockwork Orange.

Bill Bixby (b. 1934) – Prolific television and film actor.

Frank Zappa (b. 1940) – Rock and musician and virtuoso guitarist.

William L. Shirer (b. 1904) – Historian and chronicler of Germany’s Nazi era.

Arthur Ashe (b. 1943) – Former tennis champion and civil rights activist.

Albert Sabin (b. 1906) – Doctor responsible for the creation of the oral polio vaccine

which has saved thousands of lives since the 1960’s.

Wallace Stegner (b. 1909) – Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Cesar Chavez (b. 1927) – American civil rights leader.

Patricia Nixon (b. 1912) – Wife of ex-U.S. president Richard Nixon.

‘Curly-Joe’ DeRita (b. 1909) – Member of the Three Stooges comedy group.


Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn

Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie

River Phoenix
River Phoenix

Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee

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Cesar Romero (b. 1907) – American television and film actor known for his portrayal

of the Joker in the original Batman series.

Thomas ‘Tip’ O'[Neill (b. 1912) – Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Harry Nilsson (b. 1941) – Singer and performer.

Telly Savalas (b. 1924) – Beloved American performer and actor.

Jack Kirby (b. 1917) – Comic book pioneer.

Howard Martin Temin (b. 1934) – Discoverer of reverse-transcriptase and winner of

the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Neil Bonnett (b. 1946) – NASCAR driver.

Dinah Shore (b. 1916) – Singer.

Bill Hicks (b. 1961) – Comedian.

John Candy (b. 1950) – Comedic actor and film star.

Charles Bukowski (b. 1920) – Iconic writer.

Walter Lantz (b. 1899) – Creator of Woody the Woodpecker.

Kurt Cobain (b. 1967) – Songwriter and musician.

Richard Nixon (b. 1913) – Former American president.

Roland Ratzenberger (b. 1960) – Formula 1 driver.

Ayrton Senna (b. 1960) – Formula 1 champion.

George Peppard (b. 1928) – Actor and star of television’s The A-Team.

Jackie Kennedy (b. 1929) – Former American First Lady.

Henry Mancini (b. 1924) – Composer of the theme to the Pink Panther, Peter Gunn

and numerous other popular recordings.

Kim Il-sung (b. 1912) – President of North Korea.

Jessica Tandy (b. 1909) – Actress whose work stretched throughout a long cinematic


Burt Lancaster (b. 1913) – Heartthrob actor of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.

Raul Julia (b. 1940) – Film star and gifted actor.

Antonio Carlos Jobim (b. 1927) – Brazilian jazz legend.

Carmen McRae (b. 1920) – Influential jazz singer.


John Candy
John Candy

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon

Jessica Tandy
Jessica Tandy

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Donald Pleasence (b. 1919) – Actor best known for his role in Halloween.

James Herriot (b. 1916) – Veterinarian and author of many books chronicling his life

in the field.

Ronald Kray (b. 1933) – Notorious British crime figure.

Eazy-E (b. 1963) – Groundbreaking rapper and record label owner.

Burl Ives (b. 1909) – Singer, actor and entertainer.

Howard Cosell (b. 1918) – American sports personality and broadcaster.

Ginger Rogers (b. 1911) – Virtuoso dancer and movie star.

Art Fleming (b. 1924) – Original host of the game show Jeopardy.

Alexander Godunov (b. 1949) – Russian ballet dancer.

Jonas Salk (b. 1914) – Creator of the polio vaccine.

Lana Turner (b. 1921) – Controversial Hollywood actress.

Wolfman Jack (b. 1938) – Pioneering rock DJ rooted in the 1950’s and 60s.

Bob Ross (b. 1942) – Host of The Joy of Painting.

Jerry Garcia (b. 1942) – Founding member of The Grateful Dead.

Mickey Mantle (b. 1931) – Baseball legend.

Sterling Morrison (b. 1942) – Guitarist for The Velvet Underground.

Margaret Gorman (b. 1905) – First ever Miss America title holder.

Darren Robinson (b. 1967) – Rapper, member of The Fat Boys.

Robertson Davies (b. 1913) – Distinguished Canadian novelist and writer.

Philip Taylor Kramer (b. 1952) – Bassist for Iron Butterfly.

Rose Kennedy (b. 1890) – Mother of former American president John F. Kennedy.

Melvin Franklin (b. 1942) – Longtime member of vocal group The Temptations and

uncle of music star Rick James.

Elizabeth Montgomery (b. 1933) – Actress best known for her role on the television

series Bewitched.

Ida Lupino (b. 1918) – British filmmaker and actress who opened doors for women in

the movie business.

Pierre Schaeffer (b. 1910) – Creator of the ‘musique concrete’ movement in

experimental sound.


Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers

Bob Ross
Bob Ross

Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle

Elizabeth Montgomery
Elizabeth Montgomery

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Tupac Shakur (b.1971) – Influential rapper and actor.

Francois Mitterrand (b. 1916) – Former president of France.

Gene Kelly (b. 1912) – Virtuoso dancer, actor and choreographer.

Minnie Pearl ( b. 1912) – Comedian and actress, best known for her roles in Hee Haw

and the Grand Ole Opry.

George Burns (b. 1896) – Influential comedian and actor.

Christopher Robin Milne (b. 1920) – Son of A.A. Milne and the inspiration for the

character of Christopher Robin in the Winnie the Pooh series of books.

Erma Bombeck (b. 1927) – Beloved American humor writer.

Jon Pertwee (b. 1919) – British actor famous for his role as Dr. Who.

Albert R. Broccoli (b. 1909) – Film producer responsible for the James Bond series.

Timothy Leary (b. 1920) – Counterculture icon and proponent of mind-expansion

through drug use.

Ray Combs (b. 1956) – Former host of the Family Feud game show.

Veronica Guerin (b. 1958) – Irish reporter known for covering powerful crime figures.

Thomas Kuhn (b. 1922) – American scientific philosopher.

Seymour Horace Knox III (B, 1926) – Owner of the Buffalo Sabres NHL franchise.

Nevill Francis Mott (b. 1905) – British knight and Nobel Prize winner for Physics.

Bill Monroe (b. 1911) – Pioneer of bluegrass music and talented musician.

Spiro Agnew (b. 1918) – Former Vice President of the United States during the Nixon


Dorothy Lamour (b. 1914) – Actress famous for her roles opposite Bob Hope in the

1940’s and 50’s.

Bradley Nowell (b. 1968) – Lead singer of Sublime.

Alger Hiss (b. 1904) – U.S. State Department employee who was embroiled in a spying

scandal in the late 1940’s.

Mark Lenard (b. 1924) – Actor best known for his role as Sarek, Spock’s father in the

Star Trek television and film franchise.

JonBenet Ramsey (b. 1990) – Beauty pageant winner and media darling.

Carl Sagan (b. 1934) – Astronomer and popular science educator.

Jerry Siegel (b. 1914) – Co-creator of Superman.

Audrey Meadows (b. 1922) – Television wife of Jackie Gleason the sitcom The


Jonathan Larson (b. 1960) – Playwright responsible for mega-hit Rent.

McLean Stevenson (b. 1927) – Actor most famous for his part in the television comedy



Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly

George Burns
George Burns

Minnie Pearl
Minnie Pearl

JonBenet Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey

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Townes Van Zandt (b. 1944) – Folk singer and key member of the Nashville music


Paul Tsongas (b. 1941) – Former U.S. senator and figure in the Democratic presidential

nomination in 1992.

Colonel Tom Parker (b. 1909) – Flamboyant former manager of Elvis Presley.

The Notorious B.I.G. (b. 1972) – The stage name of rapper Christopher Wallace.

Deng Xiaoping (b. 1904) – Leader of the People’s Republic of China.

Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926) – Poet and voice of the Beat Generation.

Jeff Buckley (b. 1966) – Recording artist and talented guitarist.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau (b. 1910) – Oceanographer and filmmaker.

Robert Mitchum (b. 1917) – Iconic American actor.

James Stewart (b. 1908) – Star of the silver screen for decades, considered by some

to be the most significant actor in the history of Hollywood.

Diana Spencer (b. 1961) – Princess of Wales and beloved British public figure.

Gianni Versace (b. 1946) – Fashion designer.

William S. Burroughs (b. 1914) – Author and counter-culture proponent.

Eugene Shoemaker (b. 1928) – Pioneer in the field of planetary science.

Mother Teresa (b. 1910) – Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun and humanitarian.

Mobutu Sese Seki (b. 1930) – President of Zaire.

Red Skelton (b. 1913) – Actor and comedian.

Burgess Meredith (b. 1907) – Actor known for his role as The Penguin in the original

Batman television program.

John Denver (b. 1943) – Popular singer and songwriter.

Michael Hutchence (b. 1960) – Lead singer of the pop band INXS.

Kathy Acker (b. 1947) – Experimental writer and novelist.

Harry Blackstone, Jr. (b. 1934) – Famous magician.

James Bennett Griffin (b. 1905) – Influential archaeologist.

Alfred Hershey (b. 1908) – Noble Prize winner for Medicine as a result of his work on

bacteria and genetics.

William J. Brennan (b. 1906) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice.


The Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G.

James "Jimmy" Stewart
James "Jimmy" Stewart

Diana Spencer
Diana Spencer

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

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Sonny Bono (b.1935) – Singer turned American senator.

Carl Perkins (b. 1932) – Rock and roll pioneer and composer of "Blue Suede Shoes."

Jack Lord (b. 1920) – Television and film actor known for his role in the James Bond

series as well as Hawaii Five-O.

Carl Wilson (b. 1946) – Member of the pop group The Beach Boys.

Harry Caray (b. 1917) – Famed baseball announcer.

Henny Youngman (b. 1906) – Comedian.

J.T. Walsh (b. 1943) – Hollywood actor and notorious villain.

Lloyd Bridges (b. 1913) – Well-respected actor with a long resume on both television

and the big screen.

Benjamin Spock (b. 1903) – Pediatrician and author.

Wendy O. Williams (b. 1949) – Influential punk band leader.

Tammy Wynette (b. 1942) – Grand lady of country music.

Pol Pot (b. 1925) – Tyrannical leader of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.

James Earl Ray (b. 1928) – The man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr.

Frank Sinatra (b. 1915) – One of the most popular musical figures of all time.

Eddie Rabbit (b. 1941) – Country and pop musician.

Phil Hartman (b. 1948) – Comedian and actor, former Simpsons and Saturday Night

Live cast member.

Barry M. Goldwater (b. 1909) – Former American presidential candidate and political


George Wallace (b. 1919) – Former governor of Alabama, serving four separate


Gene Autry (b. 1907) – America’s famous singing cowboy.

Frank Yankovic (b. 1915) – The Polka King and proponent of Slovenian music.

Flip Wilson (b. 1933) – Comedian and actor.

Bob Kane (b. 1915) – Creator of the Batman comic books.

Ted Hughes (b. 1930) – Influential poet.

Roy Rogers (b. 1911) – Star of countless western films.

Shari Lewis (b. 1933) – Puppeteer and children’s entertainer best known for her voicing

of Lamb Chop.


Tammy Wynette
Tammy Wynette

Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra

Phil Hartman
Phil Hartman

Gene Autry
Gene Autry

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Hussein bin Talal (b. 1935) – King of Jordan.

Buddy Knox (b. 1933) – Rock and roll songwriter and performer.

Gene Siskel (b. 1946) – Half of the Siskel and Ebert film critic duo.

Big L (b. 1974) – Prominent rapper.

Dusty Springfield (b. 1939) – Songstress known for her hits in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Stanley Kubrick (b. 1928) – Influential film director and auteur of The Shining and

2001: A Space Odyssey.

Joe DiMaggio (b. 1914) – Legendary baseball player.

David Strickland (b. 1969) – American television actor.

Boxcar Willie (b. 1931) – Country music star.

Rory Calhoun (b. 1922) – Actor prominent in classic western films.

Owen Hart (b. 1965) – Professional wrestler.

Mel Torme (b. 1925) – Respected singer and performer.

DeForest Kelley (b. 1920) – Actor best known for his role as Dr. McCoy in the Star

Trek franchise.

John F. Kennedy, Jr. (b. 1960) – Publisher and son of former American president John

F. Kennedy.

Allen Funt (b. 1914) – Host of television’s Candid Camera.

George C. Scott (b. 1928) – Actor famous for his turn as General George Patton in the

biopic of the same name.

Greg Moore (b. 1975) – Race car driver.

Walter Payton (b. 1954) – Star running back with the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

Scatman John (b. 1942) – Singer and recording artist.

Madeline Kahn (b. 1942) – Comedic actress and star of several Mel Brooks films.

Grover Washington, Jr. (b. 1943) – Jazz saxophonist.

Hank Snow (b. 1914) – Country music recording artist best known for "I’m Movin’ On"

and "I’ve Been Everywhere."

Curtis Mayfield (b. 1942) – Soul singer and musical genius.

Clayton Moore (b. 1914) – Actor known for his role as television’s The Lone Ranger.

Richard Danko (b. 1942) – Founding member of The Band.


Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick

Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio

DeForest Kelley
DeForest Kelley

Clayton Moore
Clayton Moore

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