|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1970s – 1980s – 1990s 2000s 2010s|
|Years:||1977 1978 1979 – 1980 – 1981 1982 1983|
|1980 by topic:|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Works and introductions categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2733|
|British Regnal year||28 Eliz. 2 – 29 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar||己未年 (Earth Goat)
4676 or 4616
— to —
庚申年 (Metal Monkey)
4677 or 4617
|- Vikram Samvat||2036–2037|
|- Shaka Samvat||1902–1903|
|- Kali Yuga||5081–5082|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 55
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 69
|Thai solar calendar||2523|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1980.|
1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1980th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 980th year of the 2nd millennium, the 80th year of the 20th century, and the 1st year of the 1980s decade.
- January 1 – Changes to the Swedish Act of Succession make Princess Victoria of Sweden first in line to the throne ("heir apparent") and therefore Crown Princess, ahead of her younger brother.
- January 4 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaims a grain embargo against the USSR with the support of the European Commission.
- January 6
- January 7 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation approving $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.
- January 9 – In Saudi Arabia, 63 Islamist insurgents are beheaded for their part in the siege of the Great Mosque in Mecca in November, 1979.
- January 11 – Nigel Short, 14, becomes the youngest chess player to be awarded the degree of International Master.
- January 20 – Cuba recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- January 21
- January 22 – Andrei Sakharov, Soviet scientist and human rights activist, is arrested in Moscow.
- January 24 – The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad is ordered liquidated due to bankruptcy, and debt owed to creditors.
- January 26 – Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.
- January 27 – Canadian Caper: Six United States diplomats, posing as Canadians, manage to escape from Tehran, Iran as they board a flight to Zürich, Switzerland.
- January 31 – The Spanish Embassy in Guatemala is invaded and set on fire, killing 36 people. It is called "Spain's own Tehran", similar to the 1979–80 Iran American hostage crisis.
- February 2 – Abscam: FBI personnel target members of the Congress of the United States in a sting operation.
- February 2–February 3 – The New Mexico State Penitentiary riot takes place; 33 inmates are killed and more than 100 inmates injured.
- February 4 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini names Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.
- February 13 – The 1980 Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York.
- February 15 – In Vanuatu, followers of John Frum's cargo cult on the island of Tanna declare secession as the nation of Tafea.
- February 16 – A total solar eclipse is seen in North Africa and West Asia.
- February 22 – The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice.
- February 23 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran's parliament will decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
- February 25 – A coup in Suriname ousts the government of Henck Arron; leaders Dési Bouterse and Roy Horb replace it with a National Military Council.
- February 27
- March 1
- March 3 –
- March 4 – Robert Mugabe is elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
- March 8 – The Soviet Union's first rock music festival starts.
- March 14 – In Poland, a plane crashes during an emergency landing near Warsaw, killing a 14-man American boxing team and 73 others.
- March 18 – Fifty people are killed at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, when a Vostok-2M rocket explodes on its launch pad during a fueling operation.
- March 20 – The Mi Amigo, the ship that housed pirate radio station Radio Caroline, sinks (Radio Caroline returns aboard a new ship in 1983).
- March 21
- March 22 – The Georgia Guidestones are erected in Elbert County, Georgia.
- March 24
At his funeral 6 days later, 42 people are killed amid gunfire and bombs.
- March 26 – A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reef gold mine in South Africa falls 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers), killing 23.
- March 27
- March 28 – Talpiot Tomb is found in Jerusalem.
- March 31 – Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad operates its final train.
- April 1
- The Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) is formed in Lusaka, Zambia.
- The Mariel boatlift from Cuba begins.
- New York City's Transport Works Union Local 100 goes on strike, which continues for 11 days.
- The 1980 United States Census begins. There are 226,545,805 United States residents on this day.
- April 2 – The St Pauls riot breaks out in Bristol.
- April 7 – The United States severs diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions, following the taking of American hostages on November 4, 1979.
- April 10 – In Lisbon, Portugal, the governments of Spain and the United Kingdom agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain in 1985, closed since 1969.
- April 12
- April 14 – Iron Maiden's debut self-titled album Iron Maiden is released.
- April 15 – Libya and Syria recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- April 18 – Zimbabwe gains de jure independence from the United Kingdom; Robert Mugabe becomes Prime Minister.
- April 21 – Rosie Ruiz wins the Boston Marathon, but is later exposed as a fraud and stripped of her award.
- April 24 – Pennsylvania Lottery Scandal: the Pennsylvania Lottery is rigged by 6 men including the host of the live TV drawing, Nick Perry.
- April 24–April 25 – Operation Eagle Claw, a commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages, is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops are killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.
- April 25 – Dan-Air Flight 1008 crashes in Tenerife, killing all 146 occupants and marking the worst air disaster involving a British-registered aircraft in terms of loss of life.
- April 26 – Louise and Charmian Faulkner disappear from outside their flat in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia.
- April 27 – The Dominican embassy siege ends with all hostages released and the guerrillas flying to Cuba.
- April 28 – Swaziland recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- April 30
- May 4 – Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito dies. The funeral ceremony later becomes a large diplomatic meeting and media event, with more than 140 state delegations in Belgrade from all over the world (only the funeral of Pope John Paul II in April 2005 will have more news coverage and a higher number of delegations).
- May 7 – Paul Geidel, convicted of second-degree murder in 1911, is released from prison in Beacon, New York, after 68 years and 245 days (the longest-ever time served by an inmate).
- May 9
- In Florida, the Liberian freighter Summit Venture hits the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay. A 1,400-foot section of the bridge collapses and 35 people (most in a bus) are killed.
- The Norco shootout takes place in California.
- James Alexander George Smith "Jags" McCartney the Turks and Caicos Islands’ first Chief Minister, is killed in a plane crash over New Jersey.
- May 11 – Mobster Henry Hill is arrested for drug possession.
- May 14 – Botswana recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- May 17
- A Tampa, Florida court acquits 4 white police officers of killing Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, provoking 3 days of race riots in Miami.
- Internal conflict in Peru: On the eve of presidential elections, Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path attacks a polling location in the town of Chuschi, Ayacucho.
- May 18
- May 18–May 27 – Gwangju Massacre: Students in Gwangju, South Korea begin demonstrations, calling for democratic reforms.
- May 20 – 1980 Quebec referendum: Voters in Quebec reject by a vote of 60% a proposal to seek independence from Canada.
- May 21 – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released.
- May 22 – Pac-Man (the best-selling arcade game of all time) is released in Japan.
- May 24
- May 25 – Indianapolis 500: Johnny Rutherford wins for a third time in car owner Jim Hall's revolutionary ground effect Chaparral car; the victory is Hall's second as an owner.
- May 26
- John Frum supporters in Vanuatu storm government offices on the island of Tanna. Vanuatu government troops land the next day and drive them away.
- In South Korea, military government forces and pro-democracy protesters clash; 2,000 protesters die.
- Vernon Jordan is shot and critically injured in an assassination attempt in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Joseph Paul Franklin (the first major news story for CNN).
- June 1 – The first 24 hour news channel Cable News Network (CNN) is launched.
- June 3 – A series of deadly tornadoes strikes Grand Island, Nebraska, causing over $300m in damage, killing 5 people and injuring over 250.
- June 9 – In Los Angeles, comedian Richard Pryor is badly burned trying to freebase cocaine.
- June 10
- June 20 – Augusta AVA becomes the first federally recognized American Viticultural Area.
- June 23–September 6 – The 1980 United States heat wave claims 1,700 lives.
- June 23 – Tim Berners-Lee begins work on ENQUIRE, the system that will eventually lead to the creation of the World Wide Web in fall of 1990.
- June 25 – A Muslim Brotherhood assassination attempt against Syrian president Hafez al-Assad fails. Assad retaliates by sending the army against them.
- June 26 – Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 crashes into the sea near Palermo after an explosion occurs in the air; 81 people die. A bomb or a missile is suspected to be the cause of the accident but no culprits are ever found.
- June 27 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs Proclamation 4771, requiring 18- to 25-year-old males to register for a peacetime military draft, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
- June 29 – Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is elected president of Iceland, making her the first woman democratically elected as head of state.
- July 4 – Chad and Mali recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- July 8 – A wave of strikes begins in Lublin, Poland.
- July 9
- July 15 – A severe and destructive thunderstorm strikes 4 counties in western Wisconsin, including the city of Eau Claire. It causes over $250m in damage, and 1 person is killed.
- July 16 – Former California Governor and actor Ronald Reagan is nominated for U.S. President, at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit. Influenced by the Religious Right, the convention also drops its long standing support for the Equal Rights Amendment, dismaying moderate Republicans.
- July 19 – Former Turkish Prime Minister Nihat Erim is killed by 2 gunmen in Istanbul, Turkey.
- July 19–August 3 – The 1980 Summer Olympics are held in Moscow, Soviet Union.
- July 25 – The album Back in Black is released by the Australian band AC/DC.
- July 27 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, deposed Shah of Iran, dies in Cairo.
- July 30
- August 2 – A terrorist bombing at the railway station in Bologna, Italy kills 85 people and wounds more than 200.
- August 2 – Moskow Olympic Games football final: Czechoslovakia - GDR
- August 7–August 31 – Lech Wałęsa leads the first of many strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard.
- August 10 – Hurricane Allen (category 3) pounds southeastern Texas.
- August 14 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter defeats Senator Edward Kennedy to win renomination, at the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
- August 14 – Dorothy Stratten, the 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Year is murdered by estranged husband Paul Leslie Snider, who subsequently commits suicide.
- August 17 – In Australia, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears from a campsite at Ayers Rock (Uluru), reportedly taken by a dingo.
- August 19 – In one of aviation's worst disasters, 301 people are killed when Saudia Flight 163 catches fire in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- August 31 – Victory of the strike in Gdańsk Shipyard, Poland. The Gdańsk Agreement is signed, opening a way to start the first in the communist bloc free organization (not controlled by regime) "Solidarność" i.e. Solidarity.
- September 1 – Terry Fox is forced to end his Marathon of Hope run outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after finding out that the cancer has spread to his lungs.
- September 2 – Ford Europe launches the Escort MK3, a new front-wheel drive hatchback.
- September 3 – Zimbabwe breaks diplomatic and consular relations with South Africa, even though it maintains a commercial mission in Johannesburg.
- September 5 – The St. Gotthard Tunnel opens in Switzerland as the world's longest highway tunnel at 10.14 miles (16.32 km), stretching from Göschenen to Airolo.
- September 12 – Kenan Evren stages a military coup in Turkey. It stops political gang violence, but begins stronger state violence leading to the execution of many young activists.
- September 17
- September 21 – Bülend Ulusu, ex admiral, forms the new government of Turkey (44th government, composed mostly of technocrats).
- September 22
- September 26
- September 27 – The Richmond Football Club defeats Collingwood by 81 points in the VFL Grand Final (They have yet to win another premiership since).
- September 29 – The Washington Post publishes Janet Cooke's story of Jimmy, an 8-year-old heroin addict (later proven to be fabricated).
- September 30 – Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Xerox introduce the DIX standard for Ethernet, which is the first implementation outside of Xerox, and the first to support 10 Mbit/s speeds.
- October 1
- October 3
- October 5 – British Leyland launches its new Metro, a three-door entry-level hatchback which is designed as the eventual replacement for the Mini. It gives BL a long-awaited modern competitor for the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Chevette.
- October 10
- October 14 – The Staggers Rail Act is enacted, deregulating American railroads.
- October 15
- October 18 – The Fraser Government is re-elected for a third consecutive term in Australia with a reduced majority.
- October 21 – World Series: The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals 4–2 in game 6.
- October 22 – The Thomson Corporation says that The Times and all associated supplements will close in March 1981 if no buyer can be found.
- October 25 – Proceedings on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction conclude at The Hague.
- October 27 – Six Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoners in Maze prison refuse food and demand status as political prisoners; the hunger strike lasts until December.
- October 30
- October 31
- November – Duration of the CESDAP plan is extended indefinitely.
- November 4 – United States presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter, exactly 1 year after the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.
- November 10 – November 12 – Voyager program: The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn, when it flies within 77,000 miles of the planet's cloud-tops and sends the first high resolution images of the world back to scientists on Earth.
- November 20
- November 21
- November 23 – Italy Earthquake of 1980: a magnitude 7 earthquake in southern Italy kills approximately 4,800 people and leaves 300,000 homeless.
- November 27 – Vanuatu recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- December 2 – American missionary Jean Donovan and three Roman Catholic nuns are murdered by a military death squad in El Salvador while volunteering to do charity work during the country's civil war.
- December 4 – Led Zeppelin issue a press release announcing their break-up due to the death of their drummer John Bonham.
- December 8 – John Lennon is shot dead outside his apartment in New York City by Mark David Chapman.
- December 11 – CERCLA is enacted by the U.S. Congress.
- December 14 - Four people are murdered at Bob's Big Boy on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles and 4 others are injured by two armed robbers, in what is one of the city's most brutal crimes ever.
- December 15 – The Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (Academy of the Asturian language) is created.
- December 16 – During a summit on the island of Bali, OPEC decides to raise the price of petroleum by 10%.
- The Right Livelihood Award is founded by Jakob von Uexkull. Hassan Fathy and Plenty International / Stephen Gaskin are its first winners.
- The World Hockey Association and NHL merge, adding teams in Connecticut, Quebec City, Alberta, and Manitoba to the league.
- January 1
- January 8
- January 9 – Sergio García, Spanish golfer
- January 10 – Sarah Shahi, American actress of Iranian and Spanish descent
- January 11 – Lovieanne Jung, American softball player
- January 12 – Ameriie, American singer
- January 13 – LaKisha Jones, American singer
- January 14
- January 16
- January 17
- January 18
- January 19
- January 20
- January 21
- January 22 – Jake Grove, American football player
- January 24
- January 25
- January 26 – Sanae Kobayashi, Japanese voice actress
- January 27 – Marat Safin, Russian tennis player
- January 28 – Nick Carter, American pop singer (Backstreet Boys)
- January 29
- January 30 – Wilmer Valderrama, Venezuelan/Colombian-American comedian
- February 2
- February 5
- February 6
- February 8 – Yang Wei, Chinese gymnast
- February 10
- February 11 – Matthew Lawrence, American actor (Boy Meets World)
- February 12
- February 14 – Michelle Ye, Hong Kong actress
- February 15
- February 16 – Ashley Lelie, American football player
- February 17 – Jason Ritter, American actor
- February 18
- February 19
- February 20
- February 21
- February 24 – Emma Johnson, Australian swimmer
- February 25 – Chris and Christy Knowings, American actors
- February 26 – Júlio César da Silva e Souza, Brazilian footballer
- February 27 – Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
- February 28
- February 29 – Simon Gagné, Canadian hockey player
- March 1 – Shahid Afridi, Pakistani cricketer
- March 2
- March 4
- March 7 – Laura Prepon, American actress
- March 9 – Matthew Gray Gubler, American actor and director.
- March 11 – Gabriela Pichler, Swedish film director and screenwriter
- March 13 – Caron Butler, American basketball player
- March 14 – Aaron Brown, English footballer
- March 16 – Todd Heap, American football player
- March 18 – Alexei Yagudin, Russian figure skater
- March 19
- March 20 – Jamal Crawford, American basketball player
- March 21
- March 23
- March 29 – Andy Scott-Lee, British singer (3SL)
- March 30 – Yalin, Turkish pop singer and songwriter
- March 31
- April 1
- April 4 – Björn Wirdheim, Swedish race car driver
- April 8 – Ben Freeman, British actor
- April 9
- April 10
- April 11 – Mark Teixeira, American baseball player
- April 12 – Brian McFadden, Irish rock singer (Westlife)
- April 13 – Colleen Clinkenbeard, American voice actress
- April 14 – Ayumi Ito, Japanese actress
- April 15 – Natalie Casey, English actress
- April 16
- April 17
- April 18 – Justin Amash, U.S. Representative
- April 20
- April 21
- April 22 – Nicolas Douchez, French footballer
- April 24
- April 25 – Kazuhito Tadano, Japanese baseball player
- April 26
- April 27 – Zayed Khan, Indian actor
- April 28 – Josh Howard, American basketball player
- April 29 – Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife)
- April 30 – Luis Scola, Argentine basketball player
- May 1 – Ana Claudia Talancón, Mexican actress
- May 2
- May 3 – Marcel Vigneron, American chef
- May 5 – Maia Hirasawa, Swedish pop singer
- May 6
- May 7 – Johan Kenkhuis, Dutch swimmer
- May 8 – Benny Yau, Canadian entertainer
- May 9
- May 10 – Pete Gray, Australian environmental activist (d. 2011)
- May 15 – Josh Beckett, American baseball player
- May 19 – Dean Heffernan, Australian footballer
- May 22 – Lucy Gordon, British actress (d. 2009)
- May 24 – Cecilia Cheung, Hong Kong actress
- May 28
- May 29 – Michael Stasko, Canadian actor
- May 30 – Steven Gerrard, English footballer
- June 1
- June 2 – Lindsey Yamasaki, Japanese-American basketball player
- June 5 – Mike Fisher, Canadian hockey player
- June 7 – Henkka Seppälä, Finnish bassist (Children of Bodom)
- June 10
- June 13
- June 15 – Almudena Cid Spanish rhythmic gymnast
- June 16
- June 17
- June 19 – Jason White, American football player
- June 22 – Ilya Bryzgalov, Russian ice hockey player
- June 23
- June 24
- June 25 – Nozomi Takeuchi, Japanese actress
- June 26 – Michael Vick, American football player
- June 29
- July 1 – Patrick Aufiero, American ice hockey player
- July 3
- July 5
- July 6 – Pau Gasol, Spanish basketball player
- July 7 – Michelle Kwan, American figure skater
- July 8
- July 9 – Kathia Rodriguez, Puerto Rican actress
- July 10
- July 15
- July 16
- July 17 – Ryan Miller, American ice hockey goaltender
- July 18 – Kristen Bell, American actress
- July 19
- July 20 – Gisele Bündchen, Brazilian supermodel
- July 21 – CC Sabathia, American baseball player
- July 22
- July 23 – Michelle Williams, American singer, actress, (Destiny's Child)
- July 25 – Rebeka Dremelj, Slovenian singer
- July 27 – Nick Nemeth, American professional wrestler
- July 28 – Noel Sullivan, Welsh singer (Hear'Say) and actor
- July 29 – Fernando González, Chilean tennis player
- July 30 – Diam's, French rapper
- August 3
- August 5 – Wayne Bridge, English footballer
- August 8 – Craig Breslow, American baseball pitcher
- August 9
- August 10 – Pua Magasiva, Samoan actor
- August 11 – Monika Pyrek, Polish pole vaulter
- August 12 – Maggie Lawson, American actress
- August 14 – Roy Williams, American football player
- August 16
- August 17
- August 18 – Damion Stewart, Jamaican footballer
- August 19 – Adrian Lulgjuraj, Albanian singer
- August 21
- August 23 – Rex Grossman, American football player
- August 24 – Rachael Carpani, Australian actress
- August 26
- August 27 – Derrick Strait, American football player
- August 28 – Debra Lafave, American teacher
- August 29
- September 2 – Dany Sabourin, French Canadian ice hockey goaltender
- September 3
- September 5 – Kevin Simm, English singer (Liberty X)
- September 6
- September 7
- September 8 – Eric Hutchinson, American singer-songwriter
- September 9
- September 11 – Mike Comrie, Canadian ice hockey player
- September 12
- September 13
- September 15 – Jolin Tsai, Taiwanese singer
- September 19 - Tegan and Sara Quin, Canadian singer/songwriters
- September 21
- September 24
- September 25 – T.I. (Clifford Harris), African-American rap artist, film and music producer, actor and author
- September 26 – Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Swedish ice hockey players
- September 29
- September 30
- October 3 – Danny O'Donoghue, Irish singer-songwriter (The Script)
- October 4
- October 5 – James Toseland, English motorcycle racer
- October 8
- October 10
- October 12
- October 13
- October 14
- October 16
- October 17 – Ekaterina Gamova, Russian volleyball player
- October 18 – Reetinder Sodhi, Indian cricket player
- October 19 – José Bautista, Dominican baseball player
- October 21 – Kim Kardashian, American socialite and television personality
- October 24
- October 27 – Tanel Padar, Estonian singer, Eurovision Song Contest 2001 winner
- October 28
- October 29 – Ben Foster, American actor
- November 4 – Sabrina Colie, Jamaican actress
- November 5 – Christoph Metzelder, German footballer
- November 6 – Anri Jokhadze, Georgian pop singer
- November 7 – Gervasio Deferr, Spanish gymnast
- November 10 – Calvin Chen, Taiwanese pop singer
- November 11 – Willie Parker, American football player
- November 12 – Ryan Gosling, Canadian actor
- November 13 – Monique Coleman, American actress
- November 15 – Kevin Staut, French equestrian
- November 16 – Kayte Christensen, American basketball player
- November 17 – Isaac Hanson, American musician
- November 18
- November 19 – Adele Silva, English actress and model
- November 21
- November 22 – David Artell, English footballer
- November 23 – Jonathan Papelbon, American baseball player
- November 25
- November 26 – Satoshi Ohno, Japanese singer
- November 28 – Lisa Middelhauve, German singer (Xandria)
- November 29 – Janina Gavankar, American actress and musician
- December 1 – Joel A. Sutherland, Canadian author
- December 3
- December 5
- December 6
- December 7 – John Terry, English footballer
- December 9 – Ryder Hesjedal, Canadian professional cyclist
- December 10
- December 13
- December 15 – Sergio Pizzorno, English guitarist and songwriter, member of alternative rock band Kasabian
- December 18 – Christina Aguilera, American singer
- December 19
- December 20
- December 22 – Chris Carmack, American actor
- December 23 – Cody Ross, American baseball player
- December 27 – Bernard Berrian, American football player
- December 30 – Eliza Dushku, American actress
- December 31 – Richie McCaw, New Zealand rugby player
- January 1 – Adolph Deutsch, American composer (b. 1897)
- January 3 – Joy Adamson, Austrian-born conservationist and author (b. 1910)
- January 7 – Simone Mathieu, French tennis champion (b. 1908)
- January 8 – John Mauchly, American physicist and inventor (b. 1907)
- January 10 – George Meany, American labor leader (b. 1894)
- January 11 – Barbara Pym, English novelist (b. 1913)
- January 13 – Andre Kostelanetz, Russian-born conductor and arranger (b. 1901)
- January 17 – Barbara Britton, American actress (b. 1919)
- January 18 – Sir Cecil Beaton, English photographer (b. 1904)
- January 19 – William O. Douglas, American Supreme Court Justice (b. 1898)
- January 21 – Georges Painvin, French cryptographer (b. 1886)
- January 24 – Lil Dagover, German actress (b. 1887)
- January 28 – Franco Evangelisti, Italian composer (b. 1926)
- January 29 – Jimmy Durante, American actor, singer, and comedian (b. 1893)
- January 30 – Professor Longhair, American musician (b. 1918)
- February 2
- February 6 – Albert Kotin, American abstract expressionist painter (b. 1907)
- February 9 – Tom Macdonald, Welsh journalist and novelist (b. 1900)
- February 12 – Muriel Rukeyser, American poet (b. 1913)
- February 13 – David Janssen, American actor (b. 1931)
- February 14 – Luitkonwar Rudra Baruah, Assamese composer and actor
- February 17
- February 18 – Gale Robbins, American singer and actress (b. 1921)
- February 19 – Bon Scott, Scottish-born Australian rock singer (AC/DC) (b. 1946)
- February 20
- February 22 – Oskar Kokoschka, Austrian painter and poet (b. 1886)
- February 24 – Clement Martyn Doke, South African linguist (b. 1893)
- February 27
- March 1
- March 5
- March 9 – Heinz Linge, Hitler's personal valet (b. 1913).
- March 10 – Herman Tarnower, American doctor and murder victim (b. 1910)
- March 11 – Maud Hart Lovelace, American author (b. 1892)
- March 14
- March 16 – Tamara de Lempicka, Polish-born painter (b. 1898)
- March 18
- March 21 – Peter Stoner, American mathematician, astronomer and Christian apologist (b. 1888)
- March 24
- March 25
- March 28 – Dick Haymes, Argentine actor and singer (b. 1916)
- March 29 – Mantovani, Italian-born conductor and arranger (b. 1905)
- March 31
- April 4 – Red Sovine, American country & folk singer & songwriter (b. 1917)
- April 6 – John Collier, English writer (b. 1901)
- April 10 – Kay Medford, American actress (b. 1914)
- April 11 – Ümit Kaftancıoğlu, Turkish writer (b. 1935)
- April 12 – Clark McConachy, New Zealand snooker and billiards player (b. 1895)
- April 15
- April 19 – Tony Beckley, English character actor (b. 1927)
- April 20 – Katherine Kennicott Davis, American composer (b. 1892)
- April 21 – Sohrab Sepehri, Persian poet and painter (b. 1928)
- April 22 – Jane Froman, American singer and actress (b. 1907)
- April 24 – Alejo Carpentier, Cuban writer (b. 1904)
- April 25 – Mario Bava, Italian film director (b. 1914)
- April 26 – Cicely Courtneidge, British actress (b. 1893)
- April 27 – John Culshaw, British recording producer and musicologist (b. 1924)
- April 29 – Alfred Hitchcock, British suspense film director (b. 1899)
- April 30 – Luis Muñoz Marín, Puerto Rican poet, journalist, and politician (b. 1898)
- May 2 – George Pal, Hungarian-born animator and producer (b. 1904)
- May 4
- May 5 – Isabel Briggs Myers, American psychological theorist and co-creator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (b. 1897)
- May 8 – Geoffrey Baker, English field marshal (b. 1912)
- May 12 – Lillian Roth, American actress (b. 1910)
- May 14
- May 16 – Marin Preda, Romanian writer (b. 1922)
- May 18
- May 21 – Ida Kamińska, Polish actress (b. 1899)
- May 28 – Rolf Nevanlinna, Finnish mathematician (b. 1895)
- June 1 – Rube Marquard, American baseball player (New York Giants) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1886)
- June 7
- June 8 – Ernst Busch, German singer and actor (b. 1900)
- June 12
- June 13 – Walter Rodney, Guyanese historian and political figure (b. 1942)
- June 20 – Amy Key Clarke, English mystical poet (b. 1892)
- June 21 – Bert Kaempfert, German orchestra leader and songwriter (b. 1923)
- June 23
- June 24 – Boris Kaufman, Russian cinematographer (b. 1897)
- June 27 – Carey McWilliams, American author, editor, and lawyer (b. 1905)
- June 28 – José Iturbi, Spanish conductor and musician (b. 1895)
- July – Robert Brackman, American painter (b. 1898)
- July 1 – C. P. Snow, British physicist and novelist (b. 1905)
- July 4 – Gregory Bateson, British anthropologist, anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, semiotician and cyberneticist (b. 1904)
- July 6 – Gail Patrick, American actress (b. 1911)
- July 7
- July 9 – Vinicius de Moraes, Brazilian writer, poet and diplomat (b. 1913)
- July 15 – Ben Selvin, American orchestra leader & recording artist (b. 1898)
- July 17
- July 23 – Keith Godchaux, American musician of the band The Grateful Dead (b. 1948)
- July 24
- July 25 – Vladimir Vysotsky, Russian singer-songwriter, poet, actor (b. 1938)
- July 26
- July 27 – Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran (b. 1919)
- July 31
- August 1
- August 2 – Donald Ogden Stewart, American writer (b. 1894)
- August 7 – Jackie Cochran, American pilot (b. 1906)
- August 9 – Elliott Nugent, American actor (b. 1896)
- August 10 – Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan (b. 1917)
- August 14 – Dorothy Stratten, Canadian model (murdered) (b. 1960)
- August 19 – Otto Frank, German father of Jewish diarist Anne Frank (b. 1889)
- August 20 – Joe Dassin, French singer (b. 1938)
- August 22 – Norman Shelley, British actor (b. 1903)
- August 24 – Yootha Joyce, British actress (b. 1927)
- August 25 – Gower Champion, American theatre director, choreographer, and dancer (b. 1919)
- August 26
- September 3
- September 8 – Willard Libby, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1908)
- September 12 – Lillian Randolph, American actress (b. 1898)
- September 15 – Bill Evans, American jazz pianist (b. 1929)
- September 16
- September 17 – Anastasio Somoza Debayle, former President of Nicaragua (b. 1925)
- September 18 – Katherine Anne Porter, American author (b. 1890)
- September 19 – Sol Lesser, American film producer (b. 1890)
- September 23 – Jacobus Johannes Fouché, 2nd State President of South Africa (b. 1898)
- September 25
- October 6 – Hattie Jacques, British actress (b. 1922)
- October 7 – Sydney Gordon Russell, English designer and craftsman (b. 1892)
- October 10 – Billie Thomas, American actor (Buckwheat, Our Gang) (b. 1931)
- October 20 – Lady Isobel Barnett, British television personality (b. 1918)
- October 21 – Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician after whom Asperger syndrome was named (b. 1906)
- October 25
- October 27
- October 29 – Giorgio Borġ Olivier, 7th Prime Minister of Malta (b. 1911)
- November 4
- November 7 – Steve McQueen, American actor (b. 1930)
- November 9
- November 16 – Boris Aronson, Russian set designer (b. 1898)
- November 18 – Conn Smythe, Canadian NHL coach (b. 1895)
- November 20 – John McEwen, 18th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1900)
- November 22
- November 24 – George Raft, American actor (b. 1895)
- November 26 – Rachel Roberts, British actress (b. 1927)
- November 27 – F. Burrall Hoffman, American architect (b. 1882)
- November 29
- December 2 – Romain Gary, Lithuanian-born writer (b. 1914)
- December 3 – Sir Oswald Mosley, British fascist leader (b. 1896)
- December 4
- December 7 – Darby Crash, American rock songwriter, singer (The Germs) (b. 1958)
- December 8 – John Lennon, British singer, songwriter, and guitarist (The Beatles) (b. 1940)
- December 16
- December 18 – Alexei Kosygin, Russian politician, Premier of the Soviet Union (b. 1904)
- December 21 – Marc Connelly, American playwright (b. 1890)
- December 23 – Frank Norman, English novelist, playwright and autobiographer (b. 1930)
- December 24
- December 25 – Victoria Drummond, first woman marine engineer in Britain (b. 1894)
- December 26 – Richard Chase, American serial killer (b. 1950)
- December 28 – Sam Levene, American actor (b. 1905)
- December 29 – Tim Hardin, American musician (b. 1941)
- December 31
- Physics – James Watson Cronin, Val Logsdon Fitch
- Chemistry – Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, Frederick Sanger
- Medicine – Baruj Benacerraf, Jean Dausset, George D. Snell
- Literature – Czesław Miłosz
- Peace – Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
- Economics – Lawrence Klein