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|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1920s 1930s 1940s – 1950s – 1960s 1970s 1980s|
|Years:||1953 1954 1955 – 1956 – 1957 1958 1959|
|1956 by topic:|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Works and introductions categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2709|
|British Regnal year||4 Eliz. 2 – 5 Eliz. 2|
— to —丙申年十一月三十日
|- Vikram Samvat||2012–2013|
|- Shaka Samvat||1878–1879|
|- Kali Yuga||5057–5058|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||956–957|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 31
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 45
|Thai solar calendar||2499|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1956|
- January 1 – The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium ends in Sudan.
- January 3 – By popular demand, Peter Pan, starring Mary Martin, is restaged live by Producers' Showcase on NBC-TV.
- January 8 – Operation Auca: Five U.S. missionaries Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, Jim Elliot and Pete Fleming are killed for trespassing by the Waodani of Ecuador shortly after making contact with them.
- January 16 – Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser vows to reconquer Palestine.
- January 25–26 – Finnish troops reoccupy Porkkala after Soviet troops vacate its military base. Civilians can return February 4.
- January 26 – The 1956 Winter Olympic Games open in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
- February 11 – British spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean resurface in the Soviet Union after being missing for 5 years.
- February 14–26 – 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
- February 16 – Only a little more than four months after the release of the 70mm version of Oklahoma!, the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, is released in CinemaScope 55. MacRae and Jones had previously starred in Oklahoma! Carousel, intended for showing in 55mm, ends up being shown only in 35mm.
- February 22 – Elvis Presley enters the United States music charts for the first time, with Heartbreak Hotel.
- February 23 – Norma Jean Mortenson legally changes her name to Marilyn Monroe.
- February 24 – Doris Day records her most famous song: Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). It is from Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which Day co-stars with James Stewart.
- February 25 – Nikita Khrushchev attacks the veneration of Joseph Stalin as a "cult of personality".
- March 1 – The International Air Transport Association finalizes a draft of the Radiotelephony spelling alphabet for the International Civil Aviation Organization.
- March 2 – Morocco declares its independence from France.
- March 9
- March 11 – After having opened in London the previous year, Laurence Olivier's film, Richard III, adapted from Shakespeare's play, has its U.S. premiere in theatres and on NBC Television on the same day. On TV it is not shown in prime time, but as an afternoon matinée, in a slightly cut version. It is one of the first such experiments of its kind. Olivier is later nominated for an Oscar for his performance.
- March 12
- March 13 – Elvis Presley releases his first Gold Album titled Elvis Presley.
- March 15 – The Broadway musical My Fair Lady opens in New York City.
- March 19 – At age 48, Dutch boxer Bep van Klaveren contests his last match in Rotterdam.
- March 20 – Tunisia gains independence from France.
- March 21 – The 28th Academy Awards ceremony is held.
- March 23 – Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic, and a national holiday is observed in the country including the former East Pakistan state.
- April 2 – The first episode of As the World Turns is broadcast on the CBS television network
- April 7 – Spain relinquishes its protectorate in Morocco.
- April 9 – Habib Bourguiba is elected prime minister of Tunisia. Confirmation needed
- April 14 – Videotape is first demonstrated at the 1956 NARTB (now NAB) convention in Chicago by Ampex. It is the demonstration of the first practical and commercially successful videotape format known as 2" Quadruplex.
- April 17 – Elizabeth II inaugurates Chew Valley Lake.
- April 18 – Maria Desylla-Kapodistria is elected mayor of Corfu and becomes the first female mayor in Greece.
- April 19
- April 21 – Former U.S. First Daughter Margaret Truman marries Clifton Daniel.
- April 27 – Heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano retires without losing a professional boxing match.
- May 2 – The United Methodist Church in America decides at its General Conference to grant women full ordained clergy status. It also calls for an end to racial segregation in the denomination.
- May 8
- May 9 – Manaslu, eighth highest mountain in the world, is first ascended.
- May 18 – Lhotse (main), the fourth highest mountain, is first ascended.
- May 23 – French minister Pierre Mendès France resigns due to his government's policy on Algeria.
- May 24 – The first Eurovision Song Contest is broadcast from Lugano, Switzerland. The winning song is Refrain by Lys Assia (music by Géo Voumard, text by Émile Gardaz).
- May 25 – India announces the institution of diplomatic relations with Spain (still under Franco's rule)
- June 1 – Vyacheslav Molotov resigns as foreign minister of the Soviet Union; he later becomes ambassador in Mongolia.
- June 3 – British Rail renames 'Third Class' passenger facilities as 'Second Class' (Second Class facilities had been abolished in 1875, leaving just First Class and Third Class).
- June 5 – Elvis Presley introduces his new single, "Hound Dog", on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements.
- June 6 – In Singapore, chief minister David Marshall resigns after the breakdown of talks about internal self-government in London.
- June 8 – General Electric/Telechron introduces model 7H241 "The Snooz Alarm", first snooze alarm clock ever.
- June 10 – 1956 Summer Olympics: Equestrian events open in Stockholm, Sweden (all other events are held in November in Melbourne, Australia).
- June 13 – International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO).
- June 14 – The Flag of the United States Army is formally dedicated.
- June 15 – Eindhoven University of Technology is founded in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
- June 18 – The last foreign troops leave Egypt.
- June 21 - Playwright Arthur Miller appears before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
- June 23 – Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes the 2nd president of Egypt.
- June 28
- MP Sydney Silverman's bill for the abolition of the death penalty in the UK passes the British House of Commons.
- Labour riots in Poznań, Poland, are crushed with heavy loss of life. Soviet troops fire at a crowd that protests high prices, killing 53.
- The film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, is released only a few months after the film version of R&H's Carousel. It becomes the most financially successful film version of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical up to that time, and the only one to win an acting Oscar (Yul Brynner wins Best Actor for his performance as the King of Siam). It is also one of two Rodgers and Hammerstein films to be nominated for Best Picture (which it does not win).
- June 29
- June 30 – A TWA Lockheed Constellation and United Airlines Douglas DC-7 collide in mid-air over the Grand Canyon in Arizona, killing all 128 people aboard both aircraft in the deadliest civil aviation disaster to date; the accident leads to sweeping changes in the regulation of cross-country flight and air traffic control over the United States.
- July 2 – A lab experiment at Sylvania Electric Products results in an explosion.
- July 8 – The mountain Gasherbrum II is first ascended.
- July 10 – The British House of Lords defeats the abolition of the death penalty.
- July 16 – With the closing of its "Big Tent" show in Pittsburgh, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announces all subsequent circuses will be "arena shows" due to changing economics.
- July 24 – At New York City's Copacabana Club, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis perform their last comedy show together (their act started on July 25, 1946).
- July 25 – 72 kilometers (45 mi) south of Nantucket Island, the Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria sinks after colliding with the Swedish ship SS Stockholm in heavy fog, killing 51.
- July 26 – Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.
- July 30 – A Joint Resolution of Congress is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing "In God We Trust" as the U.S. national motto.
- July 31 – Cricket: Jim Laker sets an extraordinary record at Old Trafford in the fourth Test between England and Australia, taking 19 wickets in a first class match (the previous best was 17).
- August – The exhibition This Is Tomorrow opens at Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.
- August 6 – After going bankrupt in 1955, the American broadcaster DuMont Television Network has its final broadcast, a boxing match from St. Nicholas Arena.
- August 8 – 262 miners die in a fire in a coal mine in Marcinelle, Belgium.
- August 17 – West Germany bans the Communist Party of Germany.
- September 9 – Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.
- September 13 – The hard disk drive is invented by an IBM team led by Reynold B. Johnson.
- September 16 – Television broadcasting commences in Australia.
- September 21 – Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza García is assassinated.
- September 25 – The submarine Transatlantic telephone cable opens.
- September 27 - The Bell X-2 becomes the first manned aircraft to reach Mach 3.
- October 5 – Cecil B. DeMille's epic film The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston as Moses, is released in the United States. It will be in the top ten of the worldwide list of highest-grossing films of all time adjusted for inflation.
- October 8 – Baseball pitcher Don Larsen of the New York Yankees throws the only perfect game in World Series history in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Yogi Berra catches the game. Dale Mitchell is the final out. The New York Yankees win the series. Larsen is named series MVP.
- October 10
- October 14 – Neo-Buddhism: Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Indian Dalit leader, converts to Buddhism along with 385,000 followers.
- October 15
- October 17 – The Game of the Century (chess): 13-year-old Bobby Fischer beats grandmaster Donald Byrne in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City.
- October 22 – Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom, France, and Israel secretly meet in and make plans to invade Egypt.
- October 23 – Hungarian Revolution breaks out against the pro-Soviet government. Hungary attempts to leave the Warsaw Pact.
- October 26 – Red Army troops invade Hungary.
- October 29
- October 31
- November 1
- The States Reorganisation Act of India reforms the boundaries and names of Indian states. Two new states Kerala and Karnataka were formed.
- City Lights Books publishes Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg.
- The film Oklahoma! (1955), previously released to select cities in Todd-AO, now receives a national release in CinemaScope, since not all theatres are yet equipped for Todd-AO. To accomplish this, the film had to be actually shot twice, rather than printing one version in two different film processes as is done today.
- November 3 – MGM's film The Wizard of Oz makes its TV debut on the CBS network. This marks the first time a major Hollywood film running more than ninety minutes is televised uncut in one evening. Up to then, only B-movies and British films had been telecast, often edited or in two parts if they ran more than ninety minutes. The longest film telecast prior to this was Olivier's version of Richard III, which, unlike Oz, was somewhat edited and not telecast in prime time.
- November 4 – 1956 Hungarian Revolution: More Soviet troops invade Hungary to crush a revolt that started on October 23. Thousands are killed, more are wounded, and nearly a quarter million leave the country.
- November 6 – United States presidential election, 1956: Republican incumbent Dwight D. Eisenhower defeats Democrat challenger Adlai E. Stevenson in a rematch of their contest 4 years earlier.
- November 7 – Suez Crisis: The United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution calling for the United Kingdom, France, and Israel to withdraw their troops from Arab lands immediately.
- November 13 – The United States Supreme Court declares Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama laws requiring segregated buses illegal, thus ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- November 14 – Fighting ends in Hungary. Confirmation needed
- November 15 – Middle East Technical University is founded in Ankara, Turkey.
- November 18 – At the reception of the Polish embassy in Moscow Nikita Khrushchev uttered his famous phrase "We will bury you".
- November 20 – In Yugoslavia, former prime minister Milovan Djilas is arrested after he criticizes Josip Broz Tito.
- November 22 – The 1956 Summer Olympics begin in Melbourne, Australia.
- November 23 – The Suez Crisis causes petrol rationing in Britain.
- November 28 – Roger Vadim's drama film And God Created Woman released in France as Et Dieu… créa la femme, propels Brigitte Bardot into the public spotlight as a "sex kitten".
- November 30 – Floyd Patterson wins the world heavyweight boxing championship that was vacant after the retirement of Rocky Marciano.
- December 2
- December 4 - The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) get together at Sun Studios for the first and last time in history.
- December 5 – Rose Heilbron becomes Britain's first female judge.
- December 9 – Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810 crashes into a mountain in British Columbia. All 62 people on board are killed.
- December 12 – Japan becomes a member of the United Nations.
- December 18 – To Tell the Truth debuts on CBS-TV.
- December 19 – John Bodkin Adams is arrested for the murder of 2 patients in Eastbourne, Great Britain.
- December 23 – British and French troops leave the Suez Canal region.
- December 31 – Bob Barker makes his TV debut as host of the game show Truth or Consequences.
Date unknown 
- Asian flu pandemic originates in China.
- Minamata disease is discovered.
- The Alpine Club of Canada, Toronto section, is founded.
- January 1
- January 3 – Mel Gibson, American actor and director
- January 5 – Chen Kenichi, Japan-born Chinese chef
- January 7
- January 9
- January 16 – Martin Jol, Dutch football manager
- January 17 – Paul Young, English musician
- January 18 – Tom Bailey, English musician
- January 19 – Adriana Acosta, Argentine militant and field hockey player
- January 20 – Bill Maher, American actor, comedian, and political analyst
- January 21 – Geena Davis, American actress
- January 24 – Lounès Matoub, Algerian Berber Kabyle singer
- January 25 – Bronwyn Pike, Australian politician
- January 27 – Mimi Rogers, American actress
- January 29
- January 31 – Johnny Rotten, British punk musician and TV personality
- February 1 – Mike Kitchen, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
- February 2 – Adnan Oktar, a.k.a. Harun Yahya, Turkish Author
- February 3
- February 6 – Jon Walmsley, British actor (The Waltons)
- February 10 - Enele Sopoaga, Tuvaluan politician and diplomat
- February 11
- February 13
- February 14 – Tom Burlinson, Australian actor
- February 15 – Desmond Haynes, West Indian cricketer
- February 18 – Thomas Gradin, Swedish hockey player
- February 19
- February 24
- February 25 – Davie Cooper, Scottish footballer (d. 1995)
- February 26 – Keisuke Kuwata, Japanese musician
- February 29
- March 1 – Tim Daly, American actor
- March 2 – Eduardo Rodríguez, former President of Bolivia
- March 5
- March 7 – Bryan Cranston, American actor
- March 11 – Rob Paulsen, American voice actor
- March 13 – Dana Delany, American actress
- March 16 – Vladimír Godár, Slovak composer
- March 18 – Ingemar Stenmark, Swedish alpine skier
- March 19 – Yegor Gaidar, Russian economist and politician
- March 20 – Catherine Ashton, British politician
- March 21
- March 24 – Steve Ballmer, current CEO of Microsoft (2000-present)
- March 28
- March 30 – Shahla Sherkat, Iranian feminist journalist
- April 3
- April 4
- April 5 – Diamond Dallas Page, former American professional wrestler
- April 6
- April 12
- April 13 – Possum Bourne, New Zealand rally car driver (d. 2003)
- April 14 – Barbara Bonney, American soprano
- April 16
- April 18
- April 19 – Sue Barker, British tennis player and television presenter
- April 21 – Phillip Longman, American demographer
- April 26 – Koo Stark, British actress
- April 30 – Lars von Trier, Danish film director
- May 1 – Alexander Ivanov, Russian-born American chess Grandmaster
- May 4
- May 6 – Vladimir Lisin, Russian business oligarch
- May 7
- May 10 – Vladislav Nikolayevich Listyev, Russian journalist (d. 1995)
- May 13
- May 15 – Dan Patrick, American sports commentator
- May 17
- May 20 – Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Norwegian author
- May 23
- May 24 – Michael Jackson, Irish Anglican bishop
- May 26 – Lisa Niemi, American actress and dancer, widow of Patrick Swayze
- May 28
- June 3 – George Burley, Scottish football manager
- June 5 – Kenny G, American grammy-award winning saxophonist
- June 6 – Björn Borg, Swedish tennis player
- June 8 - Udo Bullmann, German politician
- June 9 – Patricia Cornwell, American novelist
- June 10 – Duke Georg Borwin of Mecklenburg, German head of the House of Mecklenburg
- June 11 – Joe Montana, American football player
- June 14 – King Diamond, Danish heavy metal musician
- June 15 – Robin Curtis, American actress
- June 20 – Cho Chikun, Korean professional Go player
- June 23 – Randy Jackson, African American musician and talent judge
- June 25
- June 26 – Chris Isaak, American musician
- June 27 – Heiner Dopp, German field hockey player
- June 28 – Noel Mugavin, Australian rules football player
- July 1 – Alan Ruck, American actor
- July 2 – Jerry Hall, American model and actress
- July 3 – Rick Ducommun, Canadian actor and comedian
- July 5 – Sheila Walsh, Scottish Christian artist and former talk-show hostess
- July 9 – Tom Hanks, American actor and director
- July 11 – Sela Ward, American actress
- July 12 - Mel Harris, American actress
- July 14 – Vladimir Kulich, Czech actor
- July 15
- July 16 – Tony Kushner, American playwright
- July 18 – Sheila Aldridge, American singer (The Aldridge Sisters)
- July 19 – Yoshiaki Yatsu, Japanese professional wrestler
- July 24
- July 26
- July 30 – Delta Burke, American actress
- July 31
- August 2 – Jim Neidhart, American professional wrestler
- August 4 – Gerry Cooney, American former boxer
- August 5 – Maureen McCormick, American actress (The Brady Bunch)
- August 6 – Stepfanie Kramer, American actress (Hunter)
- August 8 - Chris Foreman, English rock guitarist (Madness)
- August 10
- August 12 – Bruce Greenwood, Canadian actor
- August 14 – Jackée Harry, American actress and television personality
- August 17 – Dave Jones, English football manager
- August 19 – Adam Arkin, American actor
- August 20 – Joan Allen, American actress
- August 21 – Kim Cattrall, English-born Canadian actress
- August 22 – Paul Molitor, American baseball player
- August 23 – Andreas Floer, German mathematician (d. 1991)
- August 24 – John Culberson, American politician
- August 26 – Mark Mangino, American football coach
- August 29 – Mark Morris, American choreographer
- August 31 – Masashi Tashiro, Japanese television performer
- September 1 – Bernie Wagenblast, American editor and broadcaster
- September 2 – Angelo Fusco, Provisional Irish Republican Army member
- September 3 – Pat McGeown, Provisional Irish Republican Army member (d. 1996)
- September 11 – Phillip D. Bissett, American politician
- September 12
- September 14
- September 15 – George Howard, American jazz saxophone musician (d. 1998)
- September 16
- September 17 – Brian Andreas, American writer, sculptor, painter, and publisher
- September 20
- September 21 – Jack Givens, American basketball player
- September 23 - Paolo Rossi, Italian soccer player
- September 24 – Gregory Peter Panos, American futurist, writer, inventor, virtual reality expert, human simulation visionary
- September 25 – Jamie Hyneman, American television co-host (MythBusters)
- September 26 – Linda Hamilton, American actress (The Terminator)
- September 29 – Sebastian Coe, British athlete, co-ordinator of the London 2012 Olympic Games
- September 30 – Gordon Elliott, British-Australian television personality and talk show host
- October 1 – Tara Buckman, American actress
- October 4 – Christoph Waltz, Austrian actor (Inglourious Basterds)
- October 8 – Stephanie Zimbalist, American actress (Remington Steele)
- October 10 – Amanda Burton, Irish actress
- October 11 – Nicanor Duarte, President of Paraguay
- October 16 – Rudra Mohammad Shahidullah, Bangladeshi poet (d. 1992)
- October 17 – Mae Jemison, African American astronaut
- October 18 – Martina Navratilova, Czech-American tennis player
- October 19 – Carlo Urbani, Italian physician (d. 2003)
- October 20 – Danny Boyle, English film director
- October 21 – Carrie Fisher, American actress (Star Wars)
- October 23 – Dwight Yoakam, American country singer/musician and actor
- October 26 – Rita Wilson, American actress and producer
- October 27 – Jaq D. Hawkins, British author, occultist and lecturer
- October 28 – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran
- November 8 - Richard Curtis, English film director, producer and screenwriter
- November 10 – Mohsen Badawi, Egyptian entrepreneur, political activist, and writer
- November 14 – Avi Cohen, Israeli football player
- November 17 – Kelly Ward, American actor
- November 18
- November 20 – Bo Derek, American actress and model
- November 23
- November 26 – Dale Jarrett, American race car driver
- November 27 – William Fichtner, American actor
- November 28 – Lucy Gutteridge, English actress
- November 29
- December 5
- December 7 – Larry Bird, American basketball player
- December 9 - Jean-Pierre Thiollet, French writer
- December 11 – Lani Brockman, American playwright
- December 12
- December 13 – Majida El Roumi, Lebanese singer
- December 14 – Béla Réthy, German sports journalist
- December 16 – Duncan Faure, South African musician
- December 18 – Ron White, American comedian
- December 19 – Masami Akita, Japanese noise musician (also known as Merzbow)
- December 23 – Michele Alboreto, Italian race car driver (d. 2001)
- December 26 – David Sedaris, American essayist
- December 28
- December 29 – Fred MacAulay, Scottish comedian
- December 30
- December 31 – Hussein Ahmed Salah, Djiboutian marathon player
Date unknown 
- Ronan Bennett, Irish writer
- Shelagh Rogers, Canadian radio host
- Miladin Šobić, Montenegrin singer
- Susan Solomon, American atmospheric chemist
- January 3
- January 5 – Mistinguett, French singer (b. 1875)
- January 9 – Marion Leonard, American actress (b. 1881)
- January 12 – Norman Kerry, American actor (b. 1894)
- January 13 – Lyonel Charles Feininger, German painter (b. 1871)
- January 14 – Sheila Kaye-Smith, English writer (b. 1887)
- January 18 – Konstantin Päts, President of Estonia (b. 1874)
- January 21 – Sam Langford, Canadian boxer (b. 1883)
- January 24 – Sir Alexander Korda, Hungarian-born film director (b. 1893)
- January 27 – Erich Kleiber, German conductor (b. 1890)
- January 29 – H. L. Mencken, American writer (b. 1880)
- January 31 – A. A. Milne, English author (Winnie The Pooh) (b. 1882)
- February 2
- February 8 – Connie Mack, American baseball executive and manager (b. 1862)
- February 10 – Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard, British marshal of the Royal Air Force (b. 1873)
- February 18 – Gustave Charpentier, French composer (b. 1860)
- February 20 – James Cousins, Irish writer (b. 1873)
- February 26 – Elsie Janis, American singer and actress (b. 1889)
- February 29 – Elpidio Quirino, President of the Philippines (b. 1890)
- March 14 – David Browning, American Olympic diver (b. 1931)
- March 17
- March 18 – Louis Bromfield, American writer (b. 1896)
- March 20
- March 25
- March 30 – Edmund Clerihew Bentley, English inventor (b. 1875)
- March 31 – Ralph DePalma, Italian-born race car driver (b. 1884)
- April 6 – Pío Valenzuela, Filipino physician and one of the leaders of the Katipunan (b. 1869)
- April 15 – Kathleen Howard, Canadian born American opera singer & character actress (b. 1884)
- April 19 – Ernst Robert Curtius, Alsatian philologist (b. 1886)
- April 21
- April 24 – Henry Stephenson, British character actor (b. 1871)
- April 26 – Edward Arnold, American actor (b. 1890)
- April 29
- April 30 – Alben W. Barkley, Vice President of the United States (b. 1877)
- May 3 – Peter Watson, English art collector and benefactor (b. 1908)
- May 12 – Louis Calhern, American actor (b. 1895)
- May 17 – Austin Osman Spare, English magician (b. 1886)
- May 18 – Maurice Tate, English cricketer (b. 1895)
- May 20
- May 23 – Gustav Suits, Estonian poet (b. 1883)
- May 24 – Guy Kibbee, American actor (b. 1882)
- May 26 – Al Simmons, American baseball player (b. 1902)
- May 29 – Frank Beaurepaire, Australian Olympic swimmer (b. 1891)
- May 31 – Diedrich Hermann Westermann, German linguist (b. 1875)
- June 2
- June 4 – Katherine MacDonald, American silent film actress (b. 1891)
- June 6 – Margaret Wycherly, English stage & film actress (b. 1881)
- June 11 – Ralph Morgan, American actor (b. 1883)
- June 17 – Paul Rostock, German official, surgeon, and university professor (b. 1892)
- June 22 – Walter de la Mare, English poet, short story writer, and novelist (b. 1873)
- June 23 – Reinhold Glière, Russian composer (b. 1875)
- June 26 – Clifford Brown, American jazz trumpeter (b. 1930)
- July 7 – Gottfried Benn, German poet (b. 1886)
- July 8 – Giovanni Papini, Italian essayist, poet, novelist (b. 1881)
- July 10 – Joe Giard, American baseball player (b. 1898)
- July 11 - John T. Raulston, Scopes Monkey Trial judge (b. 1868)
- July 20 – James Alexander Calder, Canadian politician (b. 1868)
- August 2 – Albert Woolson, last surviving Union veteran of the American Civil War (b. 1847)
- August 11 – Jackson Pollock, American painter (b. 1912)
- August 14
- August 16
- August 23 – Peaches Browning, American actress (b. 1910)
- August 25 – Alfred Kinsey, American sex researcher (b. 1894)
- September 6 - Lee Jung Seob, Korean oil painter (b. 1916)
- September 11 – Billy Bishop, Canadian pilot (b. 1894)
- September 20 – Flora Eldershaw, Australian novelist, critic, and historian (b. 1897)
- September 22 – Frederick Soddy, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1877)
- September 27
- September 29 – Anastasio Somoza García, President of Nicaragua (b. 1896)
- October 1 – Albert Von Tilzer, American songwriter (b. 1878)
- October 2 – George Bancroft, American actor (b. 1882)
- October 9 – Marie Doro, American stage & silent film actress (b. 1882)
- October 12 – Don Lorenzo Perosi, Italian composer (b. 1872)
- October 17 – Anne Crawford, British actress (b. 1920)
- October 19 – Isham Jones, American musician (b. 1894)
- October 22 – Hannah Mitchell, English socialist and suffragette (b. 1872)
- October 25 – Risto Ryti, 5th President of Finland (b. 1889)
- October 26 – Walter Gieseking, French conductor (b. 1895)
- November 1 – Pietro Badoglio, Italian general and prime minister (b. 1871)
- November 5 – Art Tatum, American jazz pianist (b. 1909)
- November 6 – Paul Kelly, stage & screen actor (b. 1899)
- November 10
- November 14 – Peter R. de Vries, Dutch crime reporter (b. 1956)
- November 19 – Francis L. Sullivan, English actor (b. 1903)
- November 22 – Theodore Kosloff, Russian-born ballet dancer, choreographer and actor (b. 1882)
- November 24 – Guido Cantelli, Italian conductor (b. 1920)
- November 26 – Tommy Dorsey, American trombonist and bandleader (b. 1905)
- November 27 – Hugo Ballin, American artist, film production designer, and director (b. 1879)
- December 2 – Dell Henderson, Canadian actor (b. 1883)
- December 6 – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, A founding father of modern India, the architect of its constitution and Indian dalit leader (b. 1891)
- December 7 – Huntley Gordon, Canadian actor (b. 1887)
- December 10 – David Shimoni, Israeli poet and writer (b. 1891)
- December 14 – Juho Kusti Paasikivi, 7th President of Finland (b. 1870)
- December 16 – Nina Hamnett, Welsh artist (b. 1890)
- December 17 – Eddie Acuff, American actor (b. 1903)
- December 26 – Holmes Herbert, English actor (b. 1882)
- December 30 – Ruth Draper, American actress (b. 1884)
Date unknown 
- Lotte Herrlich, regarded as the most important female photographer of German naturism
Nobel Prizes 
- Physics – William Shockley, John Bardeen, Walter Houser Brattain
- Chemistry – Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, Nikolay Semenov
- Physiology or Medicine – André Frédéric Cournand, Werner Forssmann, Dickinson W. Richards
- Literature – Juan Ramón Jiménez
- Peace – Not Awarded
Further reading 
- London Institute of World Affairs, The Year Book of World Affairs 1957 (London 1957) full text online, comprehensive reference book covering 1956 in diplomacy, international affairs and politics for major nations and regions