|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1940s 1950s 1960s – 1970s – 1980s 1990s 2000s|
|Years:||1976 1977 1978 – 1979 – 1980 1981 1982|
|1979 by topic:|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Works and introductions categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2732|
|British Regnal year||27 Eliz. 2 – 28 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar||戊午年 (Earth Horse)
4675 or 4615
— to —
己未年 (Earth Goat)
4676 or 4616
|- Vikram Samvat||2035–2036|
|- Shaka Samvat||1901–1902|
|- Kali Yuga||5080–5081|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 54
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 68
|Thai solar calendar||2522|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1979.|
1979 (MCMLXXIX) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1979th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 979th year of the 2nd millennium, the 79th year of the 20th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1970s decade.
- January 1
- United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim heralds the start of the International Year of the Child. Many musicians donate to the Music for UNICEF Concert fund including ABBA, who wrote the song "Chiquitita" to commemorate the event.
- The United States and the People's Republic of China establish full diplomatic relations.
- The Canton of Jura comes into existence as the 26th canton of Switzerland, being formed from the predominantly French-speaking Catholic part of the Canton of Bern.
- January 4 – The State of Ohio agrees to pay $675,000 to families of the dead and injured in the Kent State shootings.
- January 7 – Vietnam and Vietnam-backed Cambodian insurgents announce the fall of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the collapse of the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge retreat west to an area along the Thai border.
- January 8 – Whiddy Island Disaster: The French tanker Betelgeuse explodes at the Gulf Oil terminal at Bantry, Ireland; 50 are killed.
- January 9 – The Music for UNICEF Concert is held at the United Nations General Assembly to raise money for UNICEF and promote the Year of the Child. It is broadcast the following day in the United States and around the world. Hosted by The Bee Gees, other performers include Donna Summer, ABBA, Rod Stewart and Earth, Wind & Fire. A soundtrack album is later released.
- January 16 – Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran flees Iran with his family, relocating to Egypt after a year of turmoil.
- January 19 – Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell is released on parole after 19 months at a federal prison in Alabama.
- January 29 – Brenda Ann Spencer opens fire at a school in San Diego, California, killing two faculty members and wounding eight students. Her justification for the action, "I don't like Mondays," inspired the Boomtown Rats to make a song of the same name.
- February 1
- February 2
- February 3 – Khomeini creates the Council of the Islamic Revolution.
- February 7
- February 10 – February 11 – The Iranian army mutinies and joins the Islamic Revolution.
- February 11 – Khomeini seizes power in Iran, overthrowing Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi.
- February 12 – Prime Minister Hissène Habré starts the Battle of N'Djamena in an attempt to overthrow Chad's President Félix Malloum.
- February 13 – The intense February 13, 1979 Windstorm strikes western Washington and sinks a 1/2-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.
- February 14
- In Kabul, Muslim extremists kidnap the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, who is later killed during a gunfight between his kidnappers and police.
- Following her 1972 sex reassignment surgery, musician Wendy Carlos legally changes her name from Walter. She later reveals this information in an interview in the May 1979 issue of Playboy Magazine.
- February 15 – A suspected gas explosion in a Warsaw bank kills 49.
- February 17 – The People's Republic of China invades northern Vietnam, launching the Sino-Vietnamese War.
- February 18 – The Sahara Desert experiences snow for 30 minutes.
- February 22 – Saint Lucia becomes independent of the United Kingdom.
- February 24 – Ethiopia recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- February 26 – A total solar eclipse arcs over northern Canada, and a partial solar eclipse is visible over almost all of North America and Central America.
- February 27 – The annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana is canceled due to a strike called by the New Orleans Police Department.
- March 1 – Scotland votes narrowly for home rule, which is not implemented, and Wales votes against it.
- March 4 – The U.S. Voyager I spaceprobe photos reveal Jupiter's rings.
- March 5 – Voyager I makes its closest approach to Jupiter at 172,000 miles.
- March 7 – The largest Magnetar (Soft gamma repeater) event is recorded.
- March 8 – Philips demonstrates Compact Disc publicly for the first time.
- March 13 – Maurice Bishop leads a successful coup in Grenada.
- March 14 – In China, a Hawker Siddeley Trident crashes into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.
- March 17 – The Penmanshiel Tunnel in the U.K. collapses, killing two workers.
- March 18 – Ten miners die in a methane gas explosion at Golborne Colliery near Wigan, Greater Manchester.
- March 25 – The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, is delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center, to be prepared for its first launch.
- March 26 – In a ceremony at the White House, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel sign a peace treaty.
- March 28
- March 29 – Sultan Yahya Petra of Kelantan, the 6th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State) of Malaysia, dies in office. He is replaced by Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang.
- March 30 – Airey Neave, World War II veteran and Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman, is killed by an Irish National Liberation Army bomb in the British House of Commons car park.
- March 31
- April 1
- April 1 – April 18 – Police lock Andreas Mihavecz in a holding cell in Bregenz, Austria and forget about him, leaving him there without food or drink.
- April 2 – Sverdlovsk Anthrax leak: A Soviet biowarfare laboratory at Sverdlovsk accidentally releases airborne anthrax spores, killing 66 plus an unknown amount of livestock.
- April 10
- April 11 – Tanzanian troops take Kampala, the capital of Uganda; Idi Amin flees.
- April 13 – The La Soufrière volcano erupts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
- April 15 – 1979 Montenegro Earthquake: A major earthquake (7.0 on the Richter scale) strikes Montenegro (then part of Yugoslavia) and parts of Albania, causing extensive damage to coastal areas and taking 136 lives; the old town of Budva is devastated.
- April 17 – Schoolchildren in the Central African Republic are arrested (and around 100 killed) for protesting against compulsory school uniforms. An African judicial commission later determines that Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa "almost certainly" took part in the massacre.
- April 20 – President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a swamp rabbit while fishing in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, USA.
- April 22 – The Albert Einstein Memorial is unveiled at The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.
- April 23 – Fighting in London between the Anti-Nazi League and the Metropolitan Police's Special Patrol Group. Protester Blair Peach receives fatal injuries during the incident, now officially attributed to the SPG.
- May 1 – Greenland is granted limited autonomy from Denmark, with its own Parliament sitting in Nuuk.
- May 4 – Counting in the previous day's British general election shows that the Conservatives have won and Margaret Thatcher becomes the country's first female prime minister, ending the rule of James Callaghan's Labour government.
- May 8 – The Woolworth's store in Manchester city centre in England is seriously damaged by fire; 10 shoppers die.
- May 9
- May 10 – The Federated States of Micronesia becomes self-governing.
- May 21
- May 23 – Afghanistan recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- May 25
- American Airlines Flight 191: In Chicago, a DC-10 crashes during takeoff at O'Hare International Airport, killing all 271 on board and two people on the ground in the deadliest aviation accident in U. S. history.
- John Spenkelink is executed in Florida, in the first use of the electric chair in America after the reintroduction of death penalty in 1976.
- Etan Patz, a six-year-old child, is kidnapped in New York. He is often referred to as the "Boy on the Milk Carton" and the investigation later sprouts into one of the most prolific child abduction cases of all time. This was a cold case until 2010 when it was re-opened.
- May 27 – Indianapolis 500: Rick Mears wins the race for the first time, and car owner Roger Penske for the second time.
- June – McDonald's introduces the Happy Meal.
- June 1
- June 2 – Pope John Paul II arrives in his native Poland on his first official, nine-day stay, becoming the first Pope to visit a Communist country. This visit, known as nine days that changed the world, brought about the solidarity of the Polish peoples against communism, ultimately leading to the rise of the Solidarity movement.
- June 3
- A blowout at the Ixtoc I oil well in the southern Gulf of Mexico causes at least 600,000 tons (176,400,000 gallons) of oil to be spilled into the waters, the worst oil spill to date. Some estimate the spill to be 428 million gallons, making it the largest unintentional oil spill until it was surpassed by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.
- General elections are held in Italy.
- June 4
- June 7 – The first direct elections to the European Parliament begin, allowing citizens from across all then-9 European Community member states to elect 410 MEPs. It is also the first international election in history.
- June 12 – Bryan Allen flies the man-powered Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel.
- June 18 – Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT II agreement in Vienna.
- June 20 – A Nicaraguan National Guard soldier kills ABC TV news correspondent Bill Stewart and his interpreter Juan Espinosa. Other members of the news crew capture the killing on tape.
- June 23 – Sydney: New South Wales Premier Neville Wran officially opens the Eastern Suburbs Railway. It operates as a shuttle between Central & Bondi Junction until full integration with the Illawarra Line in 1980.
- June 24 – Bologna: founding of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, an international opinion tribunal, at the initiative of Senator Lelio Basso.
- June 25 – Belgium: NATO Supreme Allied Commander Alexander Haig escapes an assassination attempt by the Baader-Meinhof terrorist organization.
- July 1
- July 3 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.
- July 4 – Cape Verde recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
- July 5 – Queen Elizabeth II attends the millennium celebrations of the Isle of Man's Parliament, Tynwald.
- July 8 – Los Angeles passes its gay and lesbian civil rights bill.
- July 9 – A car bomb destroys a Renault owned by Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at their home in France. A note purportedly from ODESSA claims responsibility.
- July 11 – NASA's first orbiting space station Skylab begins its return to Earth, after being in orbit for 6 years and 2 months.
- July 12
- The Gilbert Islands become fully independence of the United Kingdom as Kiribati.
- A Disco Demolition Night publicity stunt goes awry at Comiskey Park, forcing the Chicago White Sox to forfeit their game against the Detroit Tigers.
- Carmine Galante, boss of the Bonanno crime family, is assassinated in Brooklyn.
- A fire at a hotel in Zaragoza, Spain, leaves 72 dead, the worst hotel fire in Europe in decades.
- July 16 – Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and Vice President Saddam Hussein replaces him.
- July 17 – Nicaraguan dictator General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns and flees to Miami.
- July 19
- The Sandinista National Liberation Front concludes a successful revolutionary campaign against the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship and assumes power in Nicaragua.
- Maria de Lurdes Pintasilgo becomes prime minister of Portugal.
- Maritza Sayalero of Venezuela wins the Miss Universe pageant; the stage collapses after contestants and news photographers rush to her throne.
- August 3 – Dictator Francisco Macías Nguema of Equatorial Guinea is overthrown in a bloody coup d'état lead by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
- August 4 – Opening game of the American Football Bundesliga played between Frankfurter Löwen and Düsseldorf Panther, first-ever league game of American football in Germany.
- August 5 – The Polisario Front signs a peace treaty with Mauritania. Mauritania withdraw from the Western Sahara territory it had occupied, and ceded it to the SADR.
- August 8 – Two American commercial divers, Richard Walker and Victor Guiel, die of hypothermia after their diving bell becomes stranded at a depth of over 160 metres (520 ft) in the East Shetland Basin. The legal repercussions of the accident would lead to important safety changes in the diving industry.
- August 9
- August 10 – Michael Jackson releases his breakthrough album Off the Wall. It sells 7 million copies in the United States alone, making it a 7x platinum album.
- August 11 – The former Mauritanian province of Tiris al-Gharbiyya in Western Sahara is annexed by Morocco.
- August 14 – A freak storm during the Fastnet Race results in the deaths of 15 sailors.
- August 20 – Grenada recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- August 24 – Ghana recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- August 27 – Lord Mountbatten of Burma and 3 others are assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. He was a British admiral, statesman and an uncle of The Duke of Edinburgh. On the same day, the Warrenpoint ambush occurs, killing 18 British soldiers.
- August 28 – The death toll of the previous day's IRA bombing reaches 5 when Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne, 83, dies in a hospital as a result of her injuries.
- August 29 – A national referendum is held in which Somali voters approve a new liberal constitution, promulgated by President Siad Barre to placate the United States.
- September 1
- September 4 – Jamaica recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- September 6 – Nicaragua and Uganda recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- September 7 – The first cable sports channel, ESPN, known as the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, is launched.
- September 8 – México recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- September 9 – The long-running comic strip For Better or For Worse begins its run.
- September 12 – Hurricane Frederic makes landfall at 10:00 p.m. on Alabama's Gulf Coast.
- September 16 – Two families flee from East Germany by balloon.
- September 20 – French paratroopers help David Dacko to overthrow Bokassa in the Central African Republic.
- September 22 – The South Atlantic Flash is observed near Bouvet Island, thought to be a nuclear weapons test conducted by South Africa and Israel.
- September 30 – The Hong Kong MTR begins service with the opening of its Modified Initial System (aka Kwun Tong Line).
- October 1 – Nigeria terminates military rule, and the Nigerian Second Republic is established.
- October 1 – October 6 – Pope John Paul II visits the United States.
- October 1 – The MTR, the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong, opens.
- October 3 – An EF4 Tornado hits Windsor Locks, CT causing extensive damage to the town.
- October 6 – Federal Reserve System changes from an interest rate target policy to a money supply target policy.
- October 9
- October 12
- October 14 – A major gay rights march in the United States takes place in Washington, D.C., involving tens of thousands of people.
- October 15 – Black Monday events, in which members of a political group sack a newspaper office, unfold in Malta.
- October 16 – A tsunami in Nice, France kills 23 people.
- October 17 – The Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the Baltimore Orioles in Game 7 of the World Series. Willie Stargell is named the Series MVP.
- October 19 – 13 Marines die in a fire at Camp Fuji, Japan as a result of Typhoon Tip.
- October 26 – Park Chung-hee, the President of South Korea, is assassinated by KCIA director Kim Jaegyu.
- October 27 – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gains independence from the United Kingdom.
- November 1 – Iran hostage crisis: Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urges his people to demonstrate on November 4 and to expand attacks on United States and Israeli interests.
- November 2
- November 3 – In Greensboro, North Carolina, 5 members of the Communist Workers Party are shot to death and 7 are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis, during a "Death to the Klan" rally.
- November 4 – Iran hostage crisis begins: 3,000 Iranian radicals, mostly students, invade the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages (53 of whom are American). They demand that the United States send the former Shah of Iran back to stand trial.
- November 5 – The radio news program Morning Edition premieres on National Public Radio in the United States.
- November 6 – At Montevideo, Uruguay, the International Olympic Committee adopts a resolution, whereby Taiwan Olympic and sports teams will participate with the name Chinese Taipei in future Olympics Games and international sports tournaments and championships.
- November 7 – U.S. Senator Edward Moore Kennedy announces that he will challenge President Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination.
- November 9
- The Carl Bridgewater murder trial ends in England with all 4 men found guilty. James Robinson, 45, and 25-year-old Vincent Hickey are sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended 25-year minimum for murder. 18-year-old Michael Hickey is also found guilty of murder and sentenced to indefinite detention. Patrick Molloy, 53, is found guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
- Nuclear false alarm: the NORAD computers and the Alternate National Military Command Center in Fort Ritchie, Maryland, detect an apparent massive Soviet nuclear strike. After reviewing the raw data from satellites and checking the early warning radars, the alert is cancelled.
- November 12
- November 14 – Iran hostage crisis: U.S. President Jimmy Carter issues Executive Order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States and U.S. banks in response to the hostage crisis.
- November 15 – British art historian and former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures Anthony Blunt's role as the "fourth man" of the 'Cambridge Five' double agents for the Soviet NKVD during World War II is revealed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom; she gives further details on November 21.
- November 16 – Bucharest Metro Line One is opened, in Bucharest, Romania (from Timpuri Noi to Semanatoarea stations, 8.63 km).
- November 17 – Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and African American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
- November 20 – Grand Mosque Seizure: A group of 200 Juhayman al-Otaybi militants occupy Mecca's Masjid al-Haram, the holiest place in Islam. They are driven out by French commandos (allowed into the city under these special circumstances despite their being non-Muslims) after bloody fighting that leaves 250 people dead and 600 wounded.
- November 21 – After false radio reports from the Ayatollah Khomeini that the Americans had occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is attacked by a mob and set afire, killing 4, disturbing Pakistan–United States relations.
- November 23 – In Dublin, Ireland, Provisional Irish Republican Army member Thomas McMahon is sentenced to life in prison for the assassination of Lord Mountbatten of Burma.
- November 28 – Air New Zealand Flight 901: an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashes into Mount Erebus in Antarctica on a sightseeing trip, killing all 257 people on board.
- December 3
- December 4 – The Hastie fire in Kingston upon Hull, England, leads to the deaths of three boys and begins the hunt for Bruce George Peter Lee, the UK's most prolific killer.
- December 5 – Jack Lynch resigns as Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland; he is succeeded by Charles Haughey.
- December 6 – The world premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
- December 9 – The eradication of the smallpox virus is certified, making smallpox the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.
- December 12
- A major earthquake and tsunami kills 259 people in Colombia.
- Coup d'état of December Twelfth: South Korean Army Major General Chun Doo-hwan orders the arrest of Army Chief of Staff General Jeong Seung-hwa without authorization from President Choi Kyu-ha, alleging involvement in the assassination of ex-President Park Chung Hee.
- The unrecognised state of Zimbabwe Rhodesia returns to British control and resumes using the name Southern Rhodesia.
- December 21 – A ceasefire for Rhodesia is signed at London.
- December 23 – The highest aerial tramway in Europe, the Klein Matterhorn, opens.
- December 24
- December 26 – In Rhodesia, 96 Patriotic Front guerrillas enter the capital Salisbury to monitor a ceasefire that begins December 28.
- The One Child Policy is introduced in China - it has since prevented about 400 million births. It is later loosened in 2013.
- VisiCalc becomes the first commercial spreadsheet program.
- The first usenet experiments are conducted by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis of Duke University.
- Worldwide per capita oil production reaches a historic peak.
- Chrysler receives government loan guarantees upon the request of CEO Lee Iacocca.
- Lego's golden age begins.
- The remains of Tsar Nicholas II and some of the Romanovs are discovered and exhumed near Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg).
- January 1
- January 2
- January 3
- January 4 – Charity Rahmer, American actress
- January 6 – Bernice Liu, Hong Kong actress
- January 7 – Bipasha Basu, Indian actress and model
- January 8 – Stipe Pletikosa, Croatian football goalkeeper
- January 9 – Jake Shields, UFC fighter
- January 10
- January 11 – Siti Nurhaliza, Malaysian singer
- January 12
- January 14
- January 15 – Drew Brees, American football player
- January 16 – Aaliyah, American R&B singer/actress (d. 2001)
- January 17 – Sharon Chan, Hong Kong actress
- January 18
- January 20
- January 21 – Brian O'Driscoll, Irish rugby union player
- January 23 – Larry Hughes, American basketball player
- January 24 – Tatyana Ali, American actress
- January 27
- January 29 – BJ Flores, American boxer
- January 31 – Jenny Wolf, German speed skater
- February 1 – Julie Augustyniak, American footballer
- February 2
- February 8 – Martin Rowlands, Irish footballer
- February 9
- February 11 – Brandy Norwood, American singer and actress
- February 12
- February 13
- February 15 – Gordon Shedden, Scottish race car driver
- February 16 – Valentino Rossi, Italian motorcycle racer
- February 18 – Tyrone Burton, American actor
- February 19 – Mariana Ochoa, Mexican singer and actress
- February 21
- February 22 – Patrick Merrill, Canadian lacrosse player
- February 25 – László Bodnár, Hungarian footballer
- February 28 – Sébastien Bourdais, French racing driver
- March 4
- March 5 – Tang Gonghong, Chinese weightlifter
- March 6 – Érik Bédard, Canadian pitcher
- March 8 – Tom Chaplin, British singer (Keane)
- March 9 – Melina Perez, American professional wrestler
- March 11 – Benji Madden and Joel Madden, American musicians (Good Charlotte)
- March 12 – Pete Doherty, British singer and guitarist (The Libertines, Babyshambles)
- March 14
- March 15 – Kevin Youkilis, American baseball player
- March 17 – Samoa Joe, American wrestler
- March 18 – Adam Levine, American singer (Maroon 5)
- March 19 – Hedo Türkoğlu, Turkish basketball player
- March 20
- March 21 – Jimenez Lai, American architect
- March 23 – Bryan Fletcher, American football player
- March 25
- March 29 – Estela Giménez, Spanish gymnast
- March 30
- April 1 – Mikko Franck, Finnish conductor
- April 2 – Jesse Carmichael, American musician (Maroon 5)
- April 3
- April 4 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor (d. 2008)
- April 8
- April 9
- April 10
- April 11
- April 12
- April 13
- April 14
- April 16 – Christijan Albers, Dutch racing driver
- April 17 – Sung Si Kyung, South Korean pop/ballad singer
- April 18
- April 19
- April 21 – James McAvoy, Scottish actor
- April 22 – Daniel Johns, Australian musician (Silverchair)
- April 23
- April 24 – Laurentia Tan, Singaporean Paralympic equestrienne
- April 25 – Andreas Kuettel, Swiss ski jumper
- April 26 – Janne Wirman, Finnish keyboardist (Children of Bodom)
- April 27 – Travis Meeks, American musician (Days of the New)
- April 28 – Bahram Radan, Iranian actor
- April 29
- May 1 – Mauro Bergamasco, Italian rugby union player
- May 2 – Jason Chimera, Canadian ice hockey player
- May 3 – Danny Foster, English singer (Hear'Say)
- May 4
- May 5 – Vincent Kartheiser, American actor
- May 6
- May 9
- May 10 – Lee Hyori, South Korean entertainer
- May 12 – Adrian Serioux, Canadian soccer player
- May 13
- May 14 – Urijah Faber, WEC Featherweight Champion
- May 16 – Jessica Morris, American actress
- May 18 – Mariusz Lewandowski, Polish footballer
- May 19
- May 22 – Maggie Q, American actress
- May 23 – Matt Flynn, drummer for the alternative band, Maroon 5
- May 24
- May 25 – Jonny Wilkinson, English rugby union player
- May 26 – Ashley Massaro, American wrestler and model
- May 27 – Michael Buonauro, American comic creator
- May 28 – Jesse Bradford, American actor
- May 29 – Brian Kendrick, American wrestler
- May 30
- June 4 – Christopher Dorner, American soldier, policeman and multiple murderer (d. 2013)
- June 5 – Pete Wentz, American musician and lyricist
- June 8 – Pete Orr, Canadian baseball player
- June 9 – Émilie Loit, French tennis player
- June 12
- June 13 – Nila Håkedal, Norwegian beach volleyball player
- June 14 – Paradorn Srichaphan, Thai tennis player
- June 15 – Yulia Nestsiarenka, Belarusian athlete
- June 16 – Ari Hest, American singer-songwriter
- June 18
- June 19
- June 22 – Sandra Klösel, German tennis player
- June 23 – LaDainian Tomlinson, American football player
- June 24
- June 25 – Busy Philipps, American film actress
- June 26 – Ryan Tedder, American singer (OneRepublic)
- June 28
- June 29
- June 30
- July 1 – Forrest Griffin, American mixed martial arts fighter
- July 2
- July 3
- July 5
- July 9
- July 14 – Axel Teichmann, German cross-country skier
- July 15 – Travis Fimmel, Australian fashion model and actor
- July 16 – Kinya Kotani, Japanese singer
- July 17 – Mike Vogel, American Actor
- July 18
- July 20 – Amr Shabana, Egyptian squash player
- July 21 – David Carr, American football player
- July 24
- July 25 – Allister Carter, English snooker player
- July 26
- July 27
- July 30
- August 1
- August 3 – Evangeline Lilly, Canadian actress
- August 5 – David Healy, Northern Irish footballer
- August 4 – Patryk Dominik Sztyber, Polish metal musician
- August 7 – Wendy van der Plank, English actress
- August 8 – Azumi Kawashima, Japanese idol and AV idol
- August 10
- August 11 – Bubba Crosby, American baseball player
- August 12 – Cindy Klassen, Canadian speed skater
- August 13 – Taizō Sugimura, Japanese politician
- August 15
- August 16 – Sarah Balabagan, Filipina prisoner and singer
- August 19 – Oumar Kondé, Swiss footballer
- August 20 – Jamie Cullum, English jazz pianist and singer
- August 22 – Matt Walters, American football player
- August 23 – Ritchie Neville, English singer (5ive)
- August 24 – Elva Hsiao, Taiwanese singer
- August 26
- August 27
- August 28
- August 29 – Justine Pasek, Miss Universe 2002
- August 30
- August 31
- September 1 – Neg Dupree, British comedian
- September 2
- September 3 – Julio Cesar, Brazilian football goalkeeper
- September 4 – Maxim Afinogenov, Russian ice hockey player
- September 5
- September 6 – Ned Collette, Australian singer and musician
- September 8 – Pink, American singer
- September 10
- September 11 – Ariana Richards, American actress
- September 12 – Jay McGraw, American author, son of TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw
- September 13 – Ivan Miljković, Serbian volleyball player
- September 14
- September 15
- September 16 – Fanny, French singer
- September 17 – Akin Ayodele, American football player
- September 18 – Alison Lohman, American actress
- September 19 – Noémie Lenoir, French supermodel
- September 20 – David Long, New Zealand musician
- September 22 – Jericho Rosales, Filipino actor
- September 23 – Lote Tuqiri, Australian rugby union player
- September 24
- September 25 – Rashad Evans, a fighter in the MMA sport UFC
- September 26 – Naomichi Marufuji, Japanese professional wrestler
- September 27 – Shinji Ono, Japanese football player
- September 28 – Bam Margera, American skateboarder
- September 29 – Artika Sari Devi, Putri Indonesia 2004
- September 30 – Vince Chong, Malaysian singer
- October 1
- October 3
- October 4 – Rachael Leigh Cook, American actress
- October 7
- October 9
- October 10
- October 11 – Gabe Saporta, Uruguayan singer (Cobra Starship)
- October 13
- October 14 – Stacy Keibler, American actress and model
- October 15 – Jaci Velasquez, American singer
- October 16 – Erin Brown, American actress
- October 17 – Kimi Räikkönen, Finnish race car driver
- October 18 – Ne-Yo, American singer and songwriter
- October 19 – Marc Elliott, British actor
- October 20
- October 23 – Jorge Solis, Mexican professional boxer
- October 28
- October 30 – Yukie Nakama, Japanese actress
- November 1
- November 3
- November 4 – Audrey Hollander, American pornographic actress
- November 6
- November 7 – Jon Peter Lewis, American singer and songwriter
- November 8 – Aaron Hughes, Northern Irish footballer
- November 9 – Dania Ramirez, Dominican-American actress
- November 12
- November 13 – Metta World Peace, American basketball player
- November 14
- November 17 – Matthew Spring, English footballer
- November 19
- November 20 – Ericson Alexander Molano, Colombian gospel singer
- November 21 – Kim Dong Wan, South Korean singer and actor
- November 22
- November 23
- November 27
- November 28
- November 29 – Jayceon Taylor, American rapper (The Game)
- December 3
- December 5 – Evonne Hsu, Taiwanese singer
- December 7
- December 8 – Raymond Lam, Hong Kong actor
- December 9 – Olivia Lufkin, English-Japanese singer, songwriter
- December 11 – Rider Strong, American Actor
- December 14 – Michael Owen, English footballer
- December 15 – Adam Brody, American actor
- December 16
- December 17
- December 18 – Amy Grabow, American actress
- December 19
- December 22 – Petra Majdič, Slovene cross-country skier
- December 23
- December 25 – Ferman Akgül, vocalist of Turkish nu-metal band maNga
- December 26
- December 27 – Carson Palmer, American football player
- December 28
- December 30
- December 31
- January 3 – Conrad Hilton, American hotelier (b. 1887)
- January 4 – Vincent Korda, Hungarian art director (b. 1897)
- January 5
- January 8 – Sara Carter, American bluegrass and country singer (b. 1898)
- January 11 – Jack Soo, Japanese-American actor (b. 1917)
- January 13 – Donny Hathaway, African-American musician (Where Is The Love?) (b. 1945)
- January 16
- January 19 – Tuffy Leemans, American football player (New York Giants) and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (b. 1912)
- January 25 – Robertson Hare, English actor (b.1891)
- January 26 – Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, Vice President of the United States (b. 1908)
- February 2
- February 3 – Aaron Douglas, American painter (b. 1899)
- February 7 – Josef Mengele, German Nazi war criminal (b. 1911)
- February 9 – Dennis Gabor, Hungarian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1900)
- February 10 – Edvard Kardelj, Yugoslav communist political leader, economist, partisan and publicist (b. 1910)
- February 12 – Jean Renoir, French film director (b. 1894)
- February 14 – Reginald Maudling, British politician (b. 1917)
- February 15 – George Dunning, cartoon director and animator (b. 1920)
- February 17 – William Gargan, American actor (b. 1905)
- February 22 – Sigrid Schauman, Finnish painter (b. 1877)
- February 23 – W.A.C. Bennett, Canadian politician (b. 1900)
- March 1
- March 11 – Victor Kilian, American actor (b. 1891)
- March 15 – Léonide Massine, Russian dancer and choreographer (b. 1896)
- March 19 – Richard Beckinsale, British actor (b. 1947)
- March 22 – Ben Lyon, American actor (b. 1901)
- March 23 – Ted Anderson, English footballer (b. 1911)
- March 24 – Yvonne Mitchell, English actress (b. 1915)
- March 26 – Jean Stafford, American writer (b. 1915)
- March 28 – Emmett Kelly, American clown (b. 1898)
- March 29 – Sultan Yahya Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra, King of Malaysia (b. 1917)
- March 30
- April 1 – Barbara Luddy, American actress (b. 1908)
- April 4
- April 6 – Ivan Vasilyov, Bulgarian architect (b. 1893)
- April 10 – Nino Rota, Italian composer (b. 1911)
- April 24 – John Carroll, American actor (b. 1906)
- May 2 – Giulio Natta, Italian chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1903)
- May 6 – Milton Ager, American songwriter (b. 1893)
- May 11
- May 16
- May 22 – Kurt Jooss, German dancer and choreographer (b. 1901)
- May 26 – George Brent, Irish actor (b. 1899)
- May 29 – Mary Pickford, Canadian actress and studio founder (b. 1892)
- June 1
- June 2 – Jim Hutton, American actor (b. 1934)
- June 4 – Lazar Lagin, Soviet satirical and children's writer (b.1903)
- June 6 – Jack Haley, American actor (b. 1898)
- June 8 – Muriel Coben, Canadian baseball and curling player (b. 1921)
- June 9 – Cyclone Taylor, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1884)
- June 11
- June 13
- June 14 – Ahmad Zahir, Afghan singer and composer (b. 1946)
- June 16 – Nicholas Ray, American film director (b. 1911)
- June 17 – Duffy Lewis, American baseball player (b. 1888)
- June 19 – Paul Popenoe, American eugenicist (b. 1888)
- June 21 – Angus MacLise, American rock percussionist (Velvet Underground) (b. 1938)
- June 22
- June 25 – Dave Fleischer, American animator (b. 1894)
- June 29 – Lowell George, American rock musician (Little Feat) (b. 1945)
- July 3 – Louis Durey, French composer (b. 1888)
- July 8
- July 9 – Roddy McMillan, Scottish actor (b. 1923)
- July 10 – Arthur Fiedler, American conductor (Boston Pops) (b. 1894)
- July 12 – Minnie Riperton, American R&B singer (Lovin' You) (b. 1947)
- July 13
- July 15 – Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Mexican President (b. 1911)
- July 16 – Alfred Deller, English countertenor (b. 1912)
- July 22 – Sándor Kocsis, Hungarian footballer (b. 1929)
- July 28 – George Seaton, American screenwriter and director (b. 1911)
- July 29 – Bill Todman, American game show producer (b. 1916)
- August 2
- August 3 – Bertil Ohlin, Swedish economist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)
- August 6 – Feodor Felix Konrad Lynen, German biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1911)
- August 9 – Walter O'Malley, American baseball executive (b. 1903)
- August 10
- August 12 – Ernst Boris Chain, German-born biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (b. 1906)
- August 16 – John Diefenbaker, Canadian Prime Minister (b. 1895)
- August 17 – Vivian Vance, American actress (b. 1909)
- August 19
- August 20 – Christian Dotremont, Belgian painter and writer (b. 1922)
- August 21 – Stuart Heisler, American film and television director (b. 1896)
- August 22 – James T. Farrell, American novelist (b. 1904)
- August 24 – Hanna Reitsch, German aviator (b. 1912)
- August 25 – Stan Kenton, American jazz pianist (b. 1911)
- August 26 – Alvin Karpis, last of America's depression era criminals. (b. 1907)
- August 27 – Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, British Viceroy of India (assassinated) (b. 1900)
- August 29 – Samuel Irving Newhouse, Sr., American media entrepreneur and publisher (b. 1895)
- August 30 – Jean Seberg, American actress (b. 1938)
- August 31 – Sally Rand, American dancer (b. 1904)
- September 1 – Doris Kenyon, American actress (b. 1897)
- September 2 – Felix Aylmer, British actor (b. 1889)
- September 4 – Canuplin, Filipino magician and bodabil entertainer (b. 1904)
- September 5 – Alberto di Jorio, Italian Roman Catholic cardinal (b. 1884)
- September 6 – Guy Bolton, British playwright (b. 1884)
- September 7 – Alan Browning, English actor (b. 1926)
- September 8 – Jean Seberg, American actress (b. 1938)
- September 9 – Norrie Paramor, British music producer (b. 1914)
- September 10 – Agostinho Neto, Angolan nationalist (b. 1922)
- September 14 – Nur Muhammad Taraki, President of Afghanistan (b. 1917)
- September 20
- September 21 – Bernard L. Austin, American admiral (b. 1902)
- September 22 – Abul Ala Maududi, Pakistani journalist and philosopher (b. 1903)
- September 24 – Carl Laemmle, Jr., American film studio executive (b. 1908)
- September 26
- September 27
- September 28 – John Herbert Chapman, Canadian physicist (b. 1921)
- September 29 – Francisco Macías Nguema, first president of Equatorial Guinea (executed) (b. 1924)
- October 1
- October 3
- October 5 – Ken Strong, American football player (New York Giants) and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (b. 1906)
- October 6 – Elizabeth Bishop, American poet (b. 1911)
- October 10 – Dr Christopher Evans, British psychologist and computer scientist (b. 1931)
- October 12
- October 13
- October 15 – Jacob L. Devers, American general (b. 1887)
- October 16 – Johan Borgen, Norwegian author (b. 1903)
- October 17 – S.J. Perelman, American humorist (b. 1904)
- October 22 – Nadia Boulanger, French composer and composition teacher (b. 1887)
- October 26
- October 27 – Charles Coughlin, radio host and Catholic Priest, (b. 1891)
- October 30
- November 1 – Mamie Eisenhower, First Lady of the United States (b. 1896)
- November 5 – Al Capp, American cartoonist (b. 1909)
- November 6 – Chick Evans, American golf champion (b. 1890)
- November 11 – Dimitri Tiomkin, Russian film composer (b. 1894)
- November 13 – Freda Betti, French opera singer (b.1924)
- November 17 – Immanuel Velikovsky, Russian author and psychiatrist (b. 1895)
- November 21
- November 26 – Marcel L'Herbier, French movie-maker (b. 1888)
- November 23 – Merle Oberon, British actress (b. 1911)
- November 29 – Zeppo Marx, American actor and comedian (b. 1901)
- November 30 – Joyce Grenfell, British actress and comedienne (b. 1910)
- December 3 – Dhyan Chand, Indian hockey player (b. 1905)
- December 5
- December 10 – Ann Dvorak, American actress (b. 1911)
- December 13 – Jon Hall, American actor (b. 1915)
- December 15 – Ethel Lackie, American Olympic swimmer (b. 1907)
- December 22 – Darryl F. Zanuck, American film producer (b. 1902)
- December 23 – Peggy Guggenheim, American art collector (b. 1898)
- December 25
- December 27 – Hafizullah Amin, General Secretary of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, President of Afghanistan (b. 1929)
- December 30 – Richard Rodgers, American composer (b. 1902)
- Dave Line, British author
- Physics – Sheldon Lee Glashow, Abdus Salam, Steven Weinberg
- Chemistry – Herbert C. Brown, Georg Wittig
- Medicine – Allan M. Cormack, Godfrey N. Hounsfield
- Literature – Odysseas Elytis
- Peace – Mother Teresa
- Economics – Theodore Schultz, Arthur Lewis
- The Doctor Who story City of Death is set in 1979, its year of broadcast.
- The events of the 2011 fictional movie Super 8 take place during the winter and summer of 1979.
- "Total Eclipse of the Sun: 1979 February 26". HM Nautical Almanac Office. 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "1979: Three die in Golborne mine blast". On This Day. BBC. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "1979: Early election as Callaghan defeated". On This Day. BBC. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "1979: Thatcher wins Tory landslide". Election 2005. BBC News. 2005-04-05. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "1979: Queen oversees Manx millennium". On This Day. BBC. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- Google book review: Turnen and sport: transatlantic transfers author: Annette R. Hofmann, accessed: 12 January 2010
- Limbrick, Jim (2001). North Sea Divers - a Requiem. Hertford: Authors OnLine. pp. 160–162. ISBN 0 7552 0036 5.
- US Marine Corps
- "1979: Paperboy's killers convicted". On This Day. BBC. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- False Alarms on the Nuclear Front
- Tendler, Stewart; Bradley, Ian (1979-11-16). "Professor Blunt named as spy". The Times (60476) (London). p. 1.
- Mr. Anthony Blunt. Hansard HC Deb (21 November 1979) 974/402-520.
- Caryl, Christian, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century (2013), 1979 as worldwide turning point; excerpt and text search
- Facts on File. Facts on File Yearbook: 1979 (1980) weekly factual report on events worldwide.
- Hodson, H.V. Annual Register of World Events 1979 (1980), in deptth coverage of major countries
- Paxton, John, ed. Statesman's Yearbook 1978-1979 (1980), statistical details on all countries