|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1940s 1950s 1960s – 1970s – 1980s 1990s 2000s|
|Years:||1975 1976 1977 – 1978 – 1979 1980 1981|
|Ab urbe condita||2731|
|British Regnal year||26 Eliz. 2 – 27 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar||丁巳年 (Fire Snake)
4674 or 4614
— to —
戊午年 (Earth Horse)
4675 or 4615
|- Vikram Samvat||2034–2035|
|- Shaka Samvat||1900–1901|
|- Kali Yuga||5079–5080|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 53
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 67
|Thai solar calendar||2521|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1978.|
1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (dominical letter A), the 1978th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 978th year of the 2nd millennium, the 78th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1970s decade.
- January 1
- The Copyright Act of 1976 takes effect, making sweeping changes to United States copyright law.
- Air India Flight 855, a Boeing 747 passenger jet, crashes into the ocean near Bombay, killing 213.
- Edward M. Davis retires from the Los Angeles Police Department after 30 years on the force and more than 8 years as its police chief.
- January 4 – A referendum in Chile supports the policies of dictator Augusto Pinochet.
- January 5 – Bülent Ecevit, of CHP forms the new government of Turkey (42nd government).
- January 6 – The Holy Crown of Hungary (also known as Stephen of Hungary Crown) is returned to Hungary from the United States, where it was held since World War II.
- January 10 – Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, a critic of the Nicaraguan government, is assassinated; riots erupt against Somoza's government.
- January 14 – January 15 – The body of former U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda, following his death from cancer.
- January 16 – Robert F. Rock succeeds Edward M. Davis as LAPD's interim chief.
- January 18 – The European Court of Human Rights finds the British government guilty of mistreating prisoners in Northern Ireland, but not guilty of torture.
- January 19 – Federal Appeals Court Judge William H. Webster is appointed FBI Director.
- January 22 – Ethiopia declares the ambassador of West Germany persona non grata.
- January 24
- January 25 – January 27 – The Great Blizzard of 1978 strikes the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, killing 70.
- January 28 – Richard Chase, the "Vampire of Sacramento", is arrested.
- February 1 – Hollywood film director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees to France, after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.
- February 5 – February 7 – The Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 hits the New England region and the New York metropolitan area, killing about 100 and causing over US$520 million in damage.
- February 6 – King Dragon operation in Arakan: Burmese General Ne Win targets Muslim minorities in the village of Sakkipara.
- February 8 – United States Senate proceedings are broadcast on radio for the first time.
- February 11
- Pacific Western Airlines Flight 314, a Boeing 737-200, crashes in Cranbrook, British Columbia, killing 44 of the 50 people on board.
- Sixteen Unification Church couples wed in New York City.
- Somalia mobilizes its troops, due to an apparent Ethiopian attack.
- The People's Republic of China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
- February 13 – Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing: A bomb explodes outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, Australia, killing 2 garbagemen, a policeman and injuring several others.
- February 15
- February 16
- February 19 – Egyptian raid on Larnaca International Airport
- February 21 – Electrical workers in Mexico City find the remains of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in the middle of the city.
- March 1 – Charlie Chaplin's remains are stolen from Cosier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.
- March 2 – Soyuz 28 (Aleksei Gubarev, Vladimír Remek) is launched on a rendezvous with Salyut 6, with the first cosmonaut from a third country (besides the Soviet Union and United States) – Czechoslovak citizen Vladimír Remek.
- March 3
- March 6 – American porn publisher Larry Flynt is shot and paralyzed in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
- March 10 – Soyuz 28 lands.
- March 11 – Coastal Road massacre: Palestinian terrorists kill 34 Israelis.
- March 14 – Operation Litani: Israeli forces invade Lebanon.
- March 15 – Somalia and Ethiopia sign a truce to end the Ethio-Somali War.
- March 16 – Former Italian Premier Aldo Moro is kidnapped by the Red Brigades; 5 bodyguards are killed.
- March 17 – The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz runs aground on the coast of Brittany.
- March 18
- March 22 – Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- March 26 – The control tower and some other facilities of New Tokyo International Airport, which were scheduled to open on March 31, are illegally occupied and damaged in a terrorist attack by New Left activists, forcing a rescheduling of its opening date to May 20.
- March 28
- San Francisco city council signs the U.S.'s most comprehensive homosexual rights bill.
- Stump v. Sparkman (435 U.S. 349): The Supreme Court of the United States hands down a 5–3 decision in a controversial case involving involuntary sterilization and judicial immunity.
- Daryl Gates succeeds Robert F. Rock as LAPD's chief, a role he will keep for the next 14 years.
- April 1
- New Zealand National Airways Corporation (the domestic airline of New Zealand) is merged with New Zealand's international airline, Air New Zealand.
- Dick Smith of Dick Smith Foods tows a fake iceberg to Sydney Harbour.
- The Philippine College of Commerce, through a presidential decree, is converted to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
- April 2 - Dallas debuted on CBS and gave birth to the modern day primetime soap opera.
- April 3 – The 50th Academy Awards are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles with Annie Hall winning Best Picture.
- April 7 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter decides to postpone production of the neutron bomb – a weapon which kills people with radiation but leaves buildings relatively intact.
- April 8 – Regular radio broadcasts of British Parliament proceedings start.
- April 9 – Somali military officers stage an unsuccessful coup against the government of Siad Barre; security forces thwart the attempt within hours, and several conspirators are arrested.
- April 10 – Volkswagen becomes the second (after Rolls-Royce) non-American automobile manufacturer to open a plant in the United States, commencing production of the Rabbit, the North American version of the Volkswagen Golf, at the Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant near New Stanton, Pennsylvania with a unionized (UAW) workforce (the plant closes in 1992).
- April 14 – 1978 Tbilisi Demonstrations: Thousands of Georgians demonstrate against an attempt by Soviet authorities to change the constitutional status of the Georgian language.
- April 18 – The U.S. Senate votes 68–32 to turn the Panama Canal over to Panamanian control on December 31, 1999.
- April 22
- Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta win the Eurovision Song Contest 1978 for Israel with their song "A-Ba-Ni-Bi".
- The One Love Peace Concert is held at National Heroes Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. Bob Marley unites 2 opposing political leaders at this concert, bringing peace to the civil war-ridden streets of the city.
- April 25 – St. Paul, Minnesota becomes the second U.S. city to repeal its gay rights ordinance after Anita Bryant's successful 1977 anti-gay campaign in Dade County, Florida.
- April 27 – Afghanistan President Daoud Khan is killed during a military coup; Nur Muhammad Taraki succeeds him beginning the Afghan Civil War which as of 2014 has not ended.
- April 30 – The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan is proclaimed under pro-communist leader Nur Muhammad Taraki.
- May 4
- May 5 – Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds gets his 3,000th major league hit.
- May 8
- May 9 – In Rome, the corpse of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro is found in a red Renault 4.
- May 12 – In Zaire, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining centre of the province of Shaba. The Zairean government asks the U.S., France and Belgium to restore order.
- May 12 – May 13 – A group of mercenaries led by Bob Denard oust Ali Soilih in the Comoros; 10 local soldiers are killed. Denard forms a new government.
- May 15 - Australia's longest serving prime minister sir Robert Menzies died
- May 15 – Students of the University of Tehran riot in Tabriz; the army stops the riot.
- May 17 – Charlie Chaplin's coffin is found some 15 km from the cemetery from which it was stolen, near Lake Geneva.
- May 18
- May 18 – May 19 – Belgian and French paratroopers fly to Zaire to aid the fight against the rebels.
- May 19 – May 20 – French Foreign Legion paratroopers land in Kolwezi, Zaire, to rescue Europeans in the middle of a civil war.
- May 20 – Mavis Hutchinson, 53, becomes the first woman to run across the U.S.; her trek took 69 days.
- May 22 – Exiled leaders Ahmed Abdallah and Muhammad Ahmad return to the Comoros.
- May 25 – A bomb explodes in the security section of Northwestern University, wounding a security guard (the first Unabomber attack).
- May 26 – In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Resorts International, the first legal casino in the eastern United States, opens.
- May 28 – Indianapolis 500: Al Unser wins his third race, and the first for car owner Jim Hall.
- May 29 – Ali Soilih is found dead in the Comoros, allegedly shot when trying to escape.
- June 1 – The 1978 FIFA World Cup starts in Argentina.
- June 3 – The Congo Republic recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- June 6 – California voters approve Proposition 13, which slashes property taxes nearly 60%.
- June 9 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extends the priesthood and temple blessings to "all worthy males", ending a general policy of excluding "Canaanites" from priesthood ordination and temple ordinances.
- June 12 – Serial killer David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam," is sentenced to 365 years in prison.
- June 15 – King Hussein of Jordan marries 26-year-old Lisa Halaby, who takes the name Queen Noor.
- June 19
- June 20 – A magnitude 6.5 earthquake hits Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, killing 45 people, injuring hundreds and damaging some of the city's Byzantine landmarks.
- June 21
- June 22
- June 23 – Panama recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- June 24
- June 25 – Argentina defeats the Netherlands 3–1 after extra time to win the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
- June 26 – A bombing by Breton nationalists causes destruction in Palace of Versailles.
- June 28
- June 30 – Ethiopia begins a massive offensive in Eritrea.
- July 3 – The Amazon Co-operation Treaty (ACT) is signed.
- July 7 – The Solomon Islands become independent from the United Kingdom.
- July 11 – More than 200 tourists die in an explosion of a tanker-truck at a campsite in Costa Daurada, Spain.
- July 25
- August 6 – Pope Paul VI dies in Castel Gandolfo.
- August 17 – Double Eagle II becomes the first balloon to successfully cross the Atlantic Ocean, flying from Presque Isle, Maine, to Miserey, France.
- August 22 – Sandinistas seize the Nicaraguan National Palace.
- August 26 – Pope John Paul I succeeds Pope Paul VI as the 263rd Pope.
- September 3 – Annual Urs sharif of Gulam Ghous Qadri Sadikshah baba (R. A.) Maharashtra.
- September 5 – Camp David Accords: Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat begin the peace process at Camp David, Maryland.
- September 7
- September 8 – Iranian Army troops open fire on rioters in Tehran, killing 122, wounding 4,000.
- September 16 – General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq officially assumes the post of President of Pakistan.
- September 17 – The Camp David Accords are signed between Israel and Egypt.
- September 19 – Police in the West Midlands of England launch a massive murder hunt, when 13-year-old newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater is shot dead after disturbing a burglary.
- September 20 – General Rahimuddin Khan assumes the post of Martial Law Governor of Balochistan.
- September 25
- PSA Flight 182, a Boeing 727, collides with a small private airplane and crashes in San Diego, California; 144 are killed.
- Giuseppe Verdi's opera Otello makes its first appearance on Live from the Met, in a complete production of the opera starring Jon Vickers. This is the first complete television broadcast of the opera in the U.S. since the historic 1948 one.
- September 27 – The last Forest Brother guerilla movement fighter is discovered and killed in Estonia.
- September 28 – Pope John Paul I dies after only 33 days of papacy.
- October 1
- October 2
- October 7 – Wranslide in New South Wales: the Wran government is re-elected with an increased majority.
- October 8 – Australia's Ken Warby sets the current world water speed record of 317.6 mph (511.13 km/h) at Blowering Dam, Australia.
- October 10
- October 14
- October 16 – Pope John Paul II succeeds Pope John Paul I as the 264th pope, resulting in the first Year of Three Popes since 1605. He is the first Polish pope in history, and the first non-Italian pope since Pope Adrian VI (1522–1523). He will later die in 2005.
- October 17 – The New York Yankees clinch their 22nd World Series championship, defeating the Dodgers 7–2 in Los Angeles and winning the Series 4 games to 2.
- October 20 – The first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is held as a protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall riots.
- October 27 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin win the Nobel Peace Prize for their progress toward achieving a Middle East accord.
- November 2: 8:00 pm – The Republic of Ireland's second television channel RTÉ 2 goes on air (renamed Network 2, 1988; RTÉ Network Two, 1995; N2, 1997; and RTÉ Two in 2004).
- November 3
- November 5 – Rioters sack the British Embassy in Tehran.
- November 7
- November 9 – Tanzania recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- November 18 – Jonestown incident: In Guyana, Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass murder–suicide that claims 918 lives in all, 909 of them at Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan is assassinated by members of Peoples Temple shortly beforehand.
- November 19 – The first U.S. Take Back the Night march occurs in San Francisco.
- November 27 – In San Francisco, Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White.
- November 30 – Publication of The Times is suspended due to labor problems until November 13, 1979.
- December 4 – Dianne Feinstein succeeds the murdered George Moscone, to become the first woman mayor of San Francisco (she serves until January 8, 1988).
- December 6 – The Spanish Constitution officially restores the country's democratic government.
- December 11
- December 13 – The first Susan B. Anthony dollar enters circulation.
- December 15 – Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first major American city to go into default since the Great Depression, under Mayor Dennis Kucinich.
- December 16 – Train 87 from Nanjing to Xining collides with train 368 from Xi'an to Xuzhou near Yangzhuang railway station in China, killing 106, injuring 218.
- December 19 – Former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi is arrested and jailed for a week for breach of privilege and contempt of parliament.
- December 22
- The pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is held in Beijing, with Deng Xiaoping reversing Mao-era policies to pursue a program for Chinese economic reform.
- Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was subsequently convicted of the murder of 33 young men, is arrested.
- Argentina started the Operation Soberanía against Chile.
- December 25 – Vietnam launches a major offensive against the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia.
- Artificial insulin is invented.
- David Rorvik claims he has participated in a creation of a human clone in his book In His Image.
- Abortion is legalized in Italy for the first time.
- In Seoul, Korea, construction begins on Seoul Subway Line 2.
- Ford initiates a recall for the Pinto because of a public outcry resulting from deaths associated with gas tank explosions.
- The New York International Bible Society's New International Version of the complete Holy Bible translated into modern American English is published.
- The Soviet Union nuclear weapons stockpile exceeds the United States nuclear weapons stockpile.
- January 1
- January 2
- January 3
- January 4 – Karine Ruby, French snowboarder (d. 2009)
- January 5 – Franck Montagny, French Formula One driver
- January 7 – Emilio Palma, Argentine citizen, first human born in Antarctica
- January 9
- January 10 – Kanako Mitsuhashi, Japanese voice actress
- January 11 – Emile Heskey, English football player
- January 13
- January 14 – Shawn Crawford, American runner
- January 15 – Franco Pellizotti, Italian professional road racing cyclist
- January 19 – Bamboo Mañalac, Filipino musician and singer
- January 24
- January 25 – Gordie Dwyer American former NHL player and coach
- January 26 – Kelly Stables, American actress
- January 28
- January 31 – Ibolya Oláh, Hungarian singer
- February 2
- February 5
- February 7 – Ashton Kutcher, American actor (That '70s Show)
- February 12
- February 13 – Niklas Bäckström, Finnish hockey player (Minnesota Wild)
- February 14
- February 15 – Tuan Le, American poker player
- February 16
- February 17 – Jacob Wetterling, American child kidnapping victim (missing since 1989)
- February 19
- February 20 – Julia Jentsch, German actress
- February 22 – Jenny Frost, English singer (Atomic Kitten)
- February 23 – Dan Snyder, Canadian hockey player (d. 2003)
- February 24
- February 27 – Kakha Kaladze, Georgian and A.C. Milan footballer
- February 28
- March 1
- March 2 – Tomáš Kaberle, Czech hockey player
- March 4 – Denis Dallan, Italian rugby union footballer
- March 6 – Sage Rosenfels, American football player
- March 8 – Mohammed Bouyeri, Dutch mobster, murderer of Theo van Gogh
- March 10 – Benjamin Burnley, American musician (Breaking Benjamin)
- March 11 – Didier Drogba, Ivorian footballer
- March 12
- March 13
- March 14
- March 15 – Flavio Furtado, Cape Verdean boxer
- March 17 – Jason M. Burns, American writer
- March 20 – Roel van Velzen, Dutch Musician
- March 21 – Rani Mukerji, Indian actress
- March 22 – Josh Heupel, American football player
- March 23
- March 29 – Igor Rakočević, Serbian basketball player
- March 31
- April 1
- April 3
- April 4
- April 5 – Franziska van Almsick, German swimmer
- April 6
- Tim Hasselbeck, American football player
- April 7 – Duncan James, English singer (Blue)
- April 9
- April 12
- April 13 – Kyle Howard, American television and movie actor
- April 16
- April 17
- April 19 – James Franco, American actor
- April 20
- April 21 – Jukka Nevalainen, Finnish drummer (Nightwish)
- April 23 – Princess Tamara Czartoryski-Borbon, Spanish athlete
- April 25 – Duncan Kibet, Kenyan long-distance runner
- April 26
- Stana Katic, American film actress
- April 28 – Nate Richert, American musician and former actor
- May 1 – James Badge Dale, American actor
- May 3
- May 4
- May 6 – Aleksandr Fyodorov, Russian bodybuilder
- May 7
- May 10
- May 11 – Laetitia Casta, French supermodel and actress
- May 12
- May 13
- May 15
- May 18 – Ricardo Carvalho, Portuguese footballer
- May 19 – Marcus Bent, English footballer
- May 21
- May 22 – Katie Price (Jordan), English model and television personality
- May 23
- May 25 – Brian Urlacher, American football player
- May 26 – Benji Gregory, former American actor
- May 29
- June 1 – Antonietta Di Martino, Italian high-jumper
- June 2
- June 4 – Simone Maludrottu, Italian boxer
- June 5 - Nick Kroll, American actor and comedian
- June 6
- June 7
- June 8 – Maria Menounos, American actress, journalist, and television presenter
- June 9
- June 10
- June 11 – Joshua Jackson, Canadian actor
- June 15
- June 18 - Tara Platt American voice actress/actress
- June 19
- June 20
- June 21
- June 22
- June 24
- June 25
- June 27 – Anna Kumble, English pop singer and TV presenter
- June 28 – Ha Ji-won, South Korean actress and singer
- June 29 – Nicole Scherzinger, American pop lead singer (The Pussycat Dolls)
- June 30
- July 1 – Hillary Tuck, American actress
- July 2 – Diana Gurtskaya, Blind Georgian singer
- July 3 – Mizuki Noguchi, Japanese long-distance runner
- July 4
- July 6
- July 8 - Rachael Lillis, American actress
- July 9
- July 10 - Jesse Lacey, American singer-songwriter
- July 12
- July 15 – Greg Sestero, French-American actor and model
- July 18
- July 20
- July 21
- July 22 – Candace Kroslak, American actress
- July 23
- July 25
- July 26
- July 28 - Hitomi Yaida, Japanese singer
- July 31
- August 3 – Mariusz Jop, Polish footballer
- August 4 – Kurt Busch, American race-car driver
- August 5 - Carolina Duer, Argentine world champion boxer
- August 6
- August 7
- August 8
- August 9 – Daniela Denby-Ashe, English actress
- August 17
- August 18
- August 21
- August 23
- August 24 – Rafael Furcal, Dominican baseball player
- August 25 – Kel Mitchell, American actor
- August 28 – Kelly Overton, American actress
- August 29 – Danielle Hampton, Canadian actress
- August 30 – Swizz Beatz, American record producer and rapper
- August 31 – Ido Pariente, Israeli mixed martial artist
- September 3 – Tinkara Kovač, Slovenian singer and musician
- September 4 – Wes Bentley, American actor
- September 6
- September 7 – Devon Sawa, Canadian actor
- September 11
- September 12 – Ruben Studdard, African-American singer
- September 14
- September 15 – Eiður Guðjohnsen, Icelandic football player
- September 20
- September 22 – Harry Kewell, Australian footballer
- September 23 – Worm Miller, American screenwriter, director, actor
- September 24 – Wietse van Alten, Dutch archer
- September 25
- September 28 – Pastora Soler, Spanish singer
- September 29 – Kurt Nilsen, Norwegian singer
- September 30 – Candice Michelle, American professional wrestler and model
- October 2 – Ayumi Hamasaki, Japanese singer
- October 3 – Shannyn Sossamon, American actress
- October 4
- October 5
- October 9 – Nicky Byrne, Irish musician (Westlife)
- October 10 – Francis Escudero, Filipino congressman, senator (Chiz)
- October 14
- October 18
- October 20
- October 21 – Joey Harrington, American football player
- October 23 – John Lackey, American baseball player
- October 24 – Carlos Edwards, Trinidadian footballer
- October 25
- October 26
- October 27 – Vanessa-Mae, Singaporean violinist
- October 28 – Justin Guarini, American singer
- October 29 – Travis Henry, American football player
- October 30 – Matthew Morrison, American actor and singer
- November 1
- November 3 – Tim McIlrath, American punk singer (Rise Against)
- November 5 – Bubba Watson, American golfer
- November 6
- November 7
- November 8 – Ali Karimi, Iranian football player
- November 9 – Sisqó, African-American actor and singer
- November 10
- November 11 – Jyothika, Indian actress
- November 13 – Hsu Wei Lun, Taiwanese actress (d. 2007)
- November 14
- November 17
- November 18 – Damien Johnson, Northern Irish footballer
- November 19 – Matt Dusk, Canadian jazz musician & singer
- November 21 – Annie, Norwegian singer
- November 24 – Katherine Heigl, American actress
- November 25 – Shiina Ringo, Japanese singer and musician
- November 26 – Jun Fukuyama, Japanese voice actor
- November 27 – Mike Skinner, English musician
- November 29 – Ludwika Paleta, Polish-Mexican actress
- November 30
- December 1 – Mat Kearney, American singer/songwriter and musician
- December 2
- December 5 – Olli Jokinen, Finnish ice hockey player
- December 7 – Shiri Appleby, American actress
- December 8
- December 9
- December 10 – Brandon Novak, American freestyle skateboarder and TV/radio personality
- December 12 – Monica Bîrlădeanu, Romanian actress
- December 15 – Jerome McDougle, American football player
- December 16 – Joe Absolom, British actor
- December 17
- December 18
- December 19 - Patrick Casey, American screenwriter and actor
- December 20
- December 21 – Shaun Morgan, lead singer of South African band Seether
- December 22 – Edo Maajka, Bosnian rapper
- December 23
- December 24 – Yıldıray Baştürk, Turkish footballer
- December 24 – Paula Seling, Romanian singer and radio DJ
- December 26 – Kaoru Sugayama, Japanese volleyball player
- December 28 - John Legend, American singer
- December 29 – Alexis Amore, Peruvian actress, dancer, and model
- December 30
- December 31 – Eisa Al Dah, Emirati professional boxer
- Fabian Göranson, Swedish illustrator
- Tomicah Tillemann, American diplomat and social entrepreneur
- Shubham Gupta, Indian writer
- January 5
- January 8 – André François-Poncet, French politician and diplomat (b. 1887)
- January 9 – Noble Johnson, American actor (b. 1881)
- January 13
- January 14
- January 18
- January 22 – Herbert Sutcliffe, English cricketer (b. 1894)
- January 23
- January 26 – Leo Genn, English actor (b. 1905)
- January 27 – Oskar Homolka, Austrian actor (b. 1898)
- January 29 – Tim McCoy, American actor (b. 1891)
- February 2 – Wendy Barrie, British actress (b. 1912)
- February 9 – Warren King, American cartoonist (b. 1916)
- February 11
- February 15 – Ilka Chase, American actress (b. 1900)
- February 18 – Maggie McNamara, American actress (b. 1928)
- February 19 - Pankaj Mullick, Bengali composer and singer (b. 1904)
- February 22 – Ernest Palmer, American cinematographer (b. 1885)
- February 27 – Vadim Salmanov, Russian composer (b. 1912)
- February 28
- March 1 – Paul Scott, English writer (b. 1920)
- March 11
- March 12 – John Cazale, American actor (b. 1935)
- March 18
- March 19 – Gaston Julia, French mathematician (b. 1893)
- March 20 – Jacques Brugnon, French tennis player (b. 1895)
- March 21 – Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (Carroll Daly), 5th President of Ireland (b. 1911)
- March 22 – Karl Wallenda, American circus performer (b. 1905)
- March 23 – Haim Ernst Wertheimer, Israeli biochemist, recipient of the Israel Prize (b. 1893)
- March 31 – Charles Best, American-born medical scientist (b. 1899)
- April 8
- April 9 – Michael Wilson, American screenwriter (b. 1914)
- April 14
- April 16 – Lucius D. Clay, American military governor of Germany after World War II (b. 1897)
- April 19 – Joe Dougherty, first voice of Porky Pig (b. 1898)
- April 21 – Sandy Denny, English singer (b. 1947)
- April 22
- April 25 – Leo Najo, American baseball player (b. 1899)
- April 27 – John Doeg, American tennis champion (b. 1908)
- May 1 – Aram Khachaturian, Armenian composer (b. 1903)
- May 6 – Ethelda Bleibtrey, American Olympic swimmer (b. 1902)
- May 8 – Duncan Grant, Scottish painter (b. 1885)
- May 9 – Aldo Moro, former Prime Minister of Italy (assassinated) (b. 1916)
- May 12 – Robert Coogan, American actor (b. 1924)
- May 14 – Robert Menzies, 12th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1894)
- May 22 – Joe Colombo, American gangster (b. 1914)
- May 24 – Barry Atwater, American actor (b. 1918)
- May 26 – Tamara Karsavina, Russian ballerina (b. 1885)
- May 28 – Arthur Brough, British actor (b. 1905)
- June 1 – John W. Burton American film producer, and cinematographer (b. 1906)
- June 4 - Mark R. Shaw, American temperance movement leader and Prohibition Party candidate for vice-president in 1964, (b. 1889)
- June 7 – Ronald George Wreyford Norrish, British chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1897)
- June 9 – Prince Nicholas of Romania (b. 1903)
- June 18 – Walter C. Alvarez, American physician (b. 1884)
- June 20 – Mark Robson, Canadian film director (b. 1913)
- June 22 – Jens Otto Krag, Danish politician, former Prime Minister (b. 1914)
- June 24 – Robert Charroux, French writer (b. 1909)
- June 25 – Barry Brown, American actor and writer (b. 1951)
- June 27 – Josette Day, French actress (b. 1914)
- June 28 – Clifford Dupont, 1st President of Rhodesia (b. 1905)
- June 29 – Bob Crane, American actor (b. 1928)
- July 1 – Kurt Student, Luftwaffe general and commander of the German airborne forces during World War II. (b. 1890)
- July 3 – Edouard Kutter, Luxembourg photographer (b. 1887)
- July 8 – Aagot Nissen, Norwegian actress (b. 1882)
- July 10 – Takashi Suzuki, Japanese politician. (b. 1882)
- July 14 – Gaston Ragueneau, French athlete (b. 1881)
- July 16 – Howard Estabrook, American actor (b. 1884)
- July 20 – Gerald Warner Brace, American writer, educator, sailor and boat builder (b. 1901)
- July 25 – Helen Corke, English writer (b. 1882)
- July 30 – Umberto Nobile, Italian aviator and polar explorer (b. 1885)
- August 2
- August 4 – Frank Fontaine, American comedian and singer (b. 1920)
- August 5
- August 6
- August 7 – Eddie Calvert, British musician (b. 1922)
- August 11 – Hugh MacDiarmid, Scottish poet (b. 1892)
- August 14 – Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator (b. 1907)
- August 16 – Jean Acker, American actress (b. 1893)
- August 21 – Charles Eames, American architect and designer (b. 1907)
- August 22 – Jomo Kenyatta, Kenyan statesman (b. 1894)
- August 24 – Louis Prima, Italian-American singer and actor (b. 1910)
- August 26 – Charles Boyer, French actor (b. 1899)
- August 28
- August 31 – Lee Garmes, American cinematographer (b. 1898)
- September 7 – Keith Moon, English drummer (The Who) (b. 1946)
- September 9 – Jack Warner, Canadian film studio founder (b. 1892)
- September 11
- September 12 – Frank Ferguson, American actor (b. 1899)
- September 15 – Willy Messerschmitt, German aircraft engineer (b. 1898)
- September 23 – Lyman Bostock, American baseball player (b. 1950)
- September 24 – Ruth Etting, American singer (b. 1896)
- September 25 – Bret Morrison, American voice actor (b. 1912)
- September 26 – Manne Siegbahn, Swedish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1886)
- September 28 – Pope John Paul I (b. 1912)
- September 30 – Edgar Bergen, American actor and ventriloquist (b. 1903)
- October 6 – Johnny O'Keefe, Australian singer (b. 1935)
- October 9 – Jacques Brel, Belgian singer (b. 1929)
- October 10 – Ralph Metcalfe, American athlete (b. 1910)
- October 12 – Nancy Spungen, American groupie and girlfriend of Sid Vicious (b. 1958)
- October 16 – Dan Dailey, American actor (b. 1915)
- October 19 – Gig Young, American actor (b. 1913)
- October 20 – Gunnar Nilsson, Swedish race car driver (cancer) (b. 1948)
- October 23 – Maybelle Carter, American singer (b. 1909)
- October 28 – Geoffrey Unsworth, British cinematographer (b. 1914)
- October 30 – Wallace MacDonald, Canadian actor (b. 1891)
- November 6 – Harry Bertoia, Italian artist and designer (b. 1915)
- November 7 – Gene Tunney, American boxer (b. 1897)
- November 8 – Norman Rockwell, American artist and illustrator (b. 1894)
- November 10 – Theo Lingen, German actor (b. 1903)
- November 15 – Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (b. 1901)
- November 16 – Claude Dauphin, French actor (b. 1903)
- November 18 – Jim Jones, Peoples Temple founder (b. 1931)
- November 20
- November 23 – Jacques Bergier, French writer (b. 1912)
- November 27
- November 28 – André Morell, British actor (b. 1909)
- December 8 – Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel (b. 1898)
- December 10
- December 11 – Vincent du Vigneaud, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)
- December 12 – Fay Compton, English actress (b. 1894)
- December 15 – Chill Wills, American actor (b. 1902)
- December 22 – Olaf M. Hustvedt, American admiral (b. 1886)
- December 27 – Houari Boumédiènne, President of Algeria (b. 1932)
- Physics – Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, Arno Allan Penzias, Robert Woodrow Wilson
- Chemistry – Peter D. Mitchell
- Medicine – Werner Arber, Daniel Nathans, Hamilton O. Smith
- Literature – Isaac Bashevis Singer
- Peace – Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat and Menachem Begin
- Economics – Herbert A. Simon