|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1970s – 1980s – 1990s 2000s 2010s|
|Years:||1984 1985 1986 – 1987 – 1988 1989 1990|
|1987 by topic:|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Works and introductions categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2740|
|British Regnal year||35 Eliz. 2 – 36 Eliz. 2|
— to —丁卯年十一月十一日
|- Vikram Samvat||2043–2044|
|- Shaka Samvat||1909–1910|
|- Kali Yuga||5088–5089|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||987–988|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 62
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 76
|Thai solar calendar||2530|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: 1987|
1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year that started on a Thursday, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It was the 1987th year of the Common Era, or A.D.; the 987th year of the 2nd millennium; the 87th year of the 20th century; and the 8th year of the 1980s. It was also the last year for 26 years to have all 4 digits different from each other until 2013.
- January 1 – Frobisher Bay, Northwest Territories, changes its name to Iqaluit. In 1999, it becomes the capital of Nunavut.
- January 2 – Chadian–Libyan conflict – Battle of Fada: The Chadian army destroys a Libyan armoured brigade.
- January 3 – Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- January 4 – 1987 Maryland train collision: An Amtrak train en route from Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts collides with Conrail engines at Chase, Maryland, killing 16.
- January 5 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan undergoes prostate surgery, causing speculation about his physical fitness to continue in office.
- January 8 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes for the first time above 2,000, gaining 8.30 to close at 2,002.25.
- January 13 – New York mafiosi Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Carmine Peruccia are sentenced to 100 years in prison for racketeering.
- January 16 – León Febres Cordero, president of Ecuador, is kidnapped by followers of imprisoned general Frank Vargas, who successfully demand the latter's release.
- January 20 – Terry Waite, the special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lebanon, is kidnapped in Beirut (released November 1991).
- January 22 – Pennsylvania Treasurer Budd Dwyer shoots and kills himself with a revolver during a televised press conference after being found guilty on charges of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering.
- January 29 – William J. Casey ends his term as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- January 31 – The last Ohrbach's department store closes in New York City after 64 years of operation.
- February 11
- February 20 – A second Unabomber bomb explodes at a Salt Lake City computer store, injuring the owner.
- February 23 – Supernova 1987A, the first "naked-eye" supernova since 1604, is observed.
- February 25 – St. Kitts and Nevis recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
- February 26 – Iran-Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebukes U.S. President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his National Security Council staff.
- February 27 – Antigua and Barbuda recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
- March 2 – American Motors is acquired by the Chrysler Corporation.
- March 4 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan addresses the American people on the Iran-Contra Affair, acknowledging that his overtures to Iran had 'deteriorated' into an arms-for-hostages deal.
- March 6 – Zeebrugge disaster: Roll-on/roll-off cross-channel ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes off Zeebrugge harbor in Belgium; 180 drown.
- March 9 – The Irish rock band U2 releases their studio album The Joshua Tree.
- March 18 – Woodstock of physics: The marathon session of the American Physical Society’s meeting features 51 presentations concerning the science of high-temperature superconductors.
- March 20 – AZT is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
- March 24 – Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and French Prime Minister and future President of France, Jacques Chirac, sign the agreement to construct the 4,800 acres (19 km2) Euro Disney Resort (now called Disneyland Paris) and to develop the Val d'Europe area of the new town Marne-la-Vallée in Paris, France.
- March 29 – The World Wrestling Federation (later WWE) produces Wrestlemania III from the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. The event is particularly notable for the record attendance of 93,173, the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America until February 14, 2010 when the 2010 NBA All-Star Game has an attendance of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium.
- March 31 – Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is given a 45-minute interview on television in the Soviet Union.
- April 13 – Portugal and the People's Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau will be returned to China in 1999.
- April 19 – The Simpsons cartoon first appears as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show.
- April 27 – The United States Department of Justice declares incumbent Austrian president Kurt Waldheim an "undesirable alien".
- April 30 – Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the Provincial Premiers agree on principle to the Meech Lake Accord which would bring Quebec into the constitution.
- May 9 – A Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-62 airliner, operated by LOT Polish Airlines, crashes into a forest just outside of Warsaw, killing all 183 people on board.
- May 11 – Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II
- May 14 – Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka executes a bloodless coup in Fiji.
- May 17 – U.S.S. Stark is hit by two Iraqi-owned Exocet AM39 air-to-surface missiles killing 47 sailors.
- May 22
- May 28 – Nineteen year-old West German pilot Mathias Rust evades Soviet air defenses and lands a private plane on Red Square in Moscow. He is immediately detained (released on August 3, 1988).
- June 3 – Trade unionists in Vanuatu found the Vanuatu Labour Party.
- June 8 – The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act is passed, the first of its kind in the world.
- June 11 – The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, led by Margaret Thatcher, is re-elected for a third term at the 1987 general election.
- June 12 – During a visit to Berlin, Germany, U.S. President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
- June 17 – With the death of the last individual, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow becomes extinct.
- June 19
- Teddy Seymour is officially designated the first black man to sail around the world, when he completes his solo sailing circumnavigation in Frederiksted, St. Croix, of the United States Virgin Islands.
- Edwards v. Aguillard: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools whenever evolution is taught is unconstitutional.
- June 27 – A commercial HS 748 (Philippine Airlines Flight 206) crashes near Baguio City, Philippines, killing 50.
- June 28
- June 29 – South Korean president Roh Tae-Woo makes a speech promising a wide program of nationwide reforms, the result of June Democracy Movement.
- June 30 – Canada introduces a one dollar coin, nicknamed the "Loonie".
- July 1
- July 3
- In the Soviet Union, Vladimir Nikolayev is sentenced to death for cannibalism.
- Greater Manchester Police recover the body of 16-year-old Pauline Reade from Saddleworth Moor, after her killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley helped them in their search, almost exactly 24 years since Pauline was last seen alive.
- July 4 – A court in Lyon sentences former Gestapo boss Klaus Barbie to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.
- July 11
- July 12 – Konami releases Metal Gear (video game) in Japan for the MSX2.
- July 17 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the 2,500 mark for the first time, at 2,510.04.
- July 22 – Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali is shot in London; he dies August 28.
- July 25
- July 31
- Four hundred Iranian pilgrims are killed in clashes with Saudi Arabian security forces in Mecca.
- Docklands Light Railway in London, the first driverless railway in Great Britain, is formally opened by Elizabeth II.
- An F4-rated tornado devastates eastern Edmonton, Alberta. Hardest hit are an industrial park and a trailer park. 27 people are killed and hundreds injured, with hundreds more left homeless and jobless.
- August 4
- August 7 – The Colombian frigate Caldas enters Venezuelan waters near the Los Monjes Archipelago, sparking the Caldas frigate crisis between both nations.
- August 9 – Hoddle Street Massacre: Julian Knight, 19, goes on a shooting rampage in the Melbourne, Australia suburb of Clifton Hill, Victoria, killing 7 people and injuring 19 before surrendering to police.
- August 14
- All the children held at Kia Lama, a rural property on Lake Eildon, Australia, run by the Santiniketan Park Association, are released after a police raid.
- Aéropostale – The first Aeropostale clothing store opens in New York City, New York. It is a mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories.
- August 16
- Northwest Airlines Flight 255 (a McDonnell Douglas MD-82) crashes on takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan just west of Detroit killing all but one (4-year old Cecelia Cichan) of the 156 people on board.
- The followers of the Harmonic Convergence claim it was observed around the world.
- August 17 – Rudolf Hess is found dead in his cell in Spandau Prison. Hess, 93, is believed to have committed suicide by hanging himself with an electrical flex. He was the last remaining prisoner at the complex, which is soon demolished.
- August 19
- August 31 – Michael Jackson releases his hit album Bad.
- September 2 – In Moscow, the trial begins for 19-year-old pilot Mathias Rust, who flew his Cessna airplane into Red Square in May.
- September 3 – In a coup d'état in Burundi, President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza is deposed by Major Pierre Buyoya.
- September 7 – September 21 – The world's first conference on artificial life is held at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
- September 13 – Scavengers open an old radiation source abandoned in a hospital in Goiânia, causing the worst radiation accident ever in an urban area.
- September 17 – At a small rally in Harlem, televangelist Pat Robertson announces his candidacy for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination.
- September 28 – The second Star Trek TV series The Next Generation premieres in syndication.
- October 3 – The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement is reached but still requires ratification. This agreement would be a precursor to NAFTA.
- October 11 – The first National Coming Out Day is held in celebration of the second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
- October 14–October 16 – The United States is caught up in a drama that unfolds on television as a young child, Jessica McClure, falls down a well in Midland, Texas, and is later rescued.
- October 15–October 16 – Great Storm of 1987: Hurricane-force winds hit much of South England, killing 23 people.
- October 19
- October 22 – The pilot of a British Aerospace BAE Harrier GR5 registered ZD325 accidentally ejects from his aircraft. The jet continues to fly until it runs out of fuel and crashes into the Irish Sea.
- October 23
- October 26 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average goes down 156.83 points.
- November 1 – InterCity 125 breaks world diesel powered train speed record reaching 238 km/h (147.88 mph).
- November 7 – Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumes the Presidency of Tunisia.
- November 8 – Enniskillen bombing: Eleven people are killed by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb at a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen.
- November 15 – In Braşov, Romania, workers rebel against the communist regime led by Nicolae Ceaușescu.
- November 16 – Parlatino Treaty of Institutionalization signed.
- November 17 – A tsunami hits the Gulf of Alaska.
- November 18
- November 22 – Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion incident – unknown perpetrators hijack the signal of WGN-TV for about 20 seconds, and WTTW for about 90 seconds, and displays a strange video of a man in a Max Headroom mask.
- November 25 – Category 5 Typhoon Nina smashes the Philippines with 165 miles per hour (266 km/h) winds and a devastating storm surge, causing destruction and 1,036 deaths.
- November 28 – South African Airways Flight 295 crashes into the Indian ocean off Mauritius due to a fire in the cargo hold; the 159 passengers and crew perish.
- November 29 – Korean Air Flight 858 is blown up over the Andaman Sea, killing 115 crew and passengers. North Korean agents are responsible for the bombing.
- December 1
- NASA announces the names of 4 companies awarded contracts to help build Space Station Freedom: Boeing Aerospace, General Electric's Astro-Space Division, McDonnell Douglas, and the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell.
- Queensland: Following a week of turmoil from his National Party of Australia colleagues, Joh Bjelke-Petersen resigns as Premier of Queensland. He is replaced by Mike Ahern, the only premier never to contest an election as premier.
- December 2 – Hustler Magazine v. Falwell is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- December 7 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-supervisor on the flight, then shoots both pilots.
- December 8
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict: First Intifada begins in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
- Queen Street massacre: In Melbourne, Australia, 22-year-old Frank Vitkovic kills 8 and injures another 5 in a Post Office building before committing suicide by jumping from the eleventh floor.
- The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C. by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
- Alianza Lima air disaster: A Peruvian Navy Fokker F27 crashes near Ventanilla, Peru, killing 43.
- December 9
- December 17
- December 18
- December 20 – In history's worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry MV Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
- December 21 – Turgut Özal, of ANAP forms the new government of Turkey (46th government).
- December 30 – Pope John Paul II issues the encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern).
Date unknown 
- The Pendolino train makes its debut in Italy.
- Tinker Hatfield designed the Nike Air Max.
- Shoko Asahara founds the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
- Thomas Knoll and John Knoll develop the first version of Photoshop.
- Maglite introduces the 2AAA Mini Maglite battery, targeted for medical and industrial applications.
- Barry Minkow's ZZZZ Best fraud unravels.
- Varroa destructor, an invasive parasite, is found in the U.S.
- Globalization - First Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Mainland China opens in Beijing near Tiananmen Square.
In fiction 
The following are references to year 1987 in fiction:
- 13 Going on 30 (2004): The scenes where Jenna is thirteen take place on May 26, 1987.
- American Psycho (2000): According to director Mary Harron on the DVD commentary, the film is set around the end of 1987. Patrick Bateman is seen reading Zagat's Survey of this year as well.
- Fargo (1996): The film takes place in Minnesota, 1987
- Adventureland (2009): The film takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, summer 1987
- Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (2009): The film takes place in Harlem, New York in 1987.
- Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004): There is a picture of a fat White Goodman with the caption "White Goodman – 1987" on it.
- Rock of Ages (2012): The year in which this film takes place.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979): NASA launches the last of America's deep-space probes, the Space Shuttle Ranger 3, which is piloted by Captain William "Buck" Rogers.
- Set in 1987: the Doctor Who episode "Father's Day", 2005 takes place on November 7.
- Space: 1999 episode "The Rules of Luton" we learn that a world war, likely World War III, began sometime in 1987. It was described as 'The war to end all wars'.
- Computer/video games:
- Resident Evil: Michael Warren is elected mayor of Raccoon City.
- Shenmue (1999) – Story continues into 1987.
- Shenmue II (2001): The game is set in 1987
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is set in this year (as claimed by the newspaper, after beating a boss).
- Syphon Filter 3: Three levels take place in and around Kabul, Afghanistan during this year amidst the Soviet occupation, with Gabe Logan and Lian Xing pitted against Afghan rebels and Soviet troops.
- January 1
- January 2
- January 5 – Kristin Cavallari, American reality television star
- January 6 – Zhang Lin, Chinese swimmer
- January 7 – Lyndsy Fonseca, American actress
- January 8 – Freddie Stroma, English actor
- January 9 – Lucas Leiva, Brazilian football player
- January 10 – César Cielo, Brazilian swimmer
- January 12 – Naya Rivera, American actress
- January 13 – Jack Johnson, American hockey player
- January 15
- January 16 – Jake Epstein, Canadian actor
- January 24
- January 26 – Sebastian Giovinco, Italian football player
- January 27
- January 29 – Ksenia Kahnovich, Russian model
- January 30
- February 1
- February 2
- February 5
- February 7
- February 8 – Carolina Kostner, Italian figure skater.
- February 10 – Choi Siwon, South Korean recording artist.
- February 11 – Ellen van Dijk, Dutch road and track cycling world champion.
- February 14 – Edison Cavani, Napoli and Uruguayan footballer.
- February 16
- February 21
- February 25
- February 26 – Julia Bond, American pornographic actress
- March 1 – Kesha, American singer
- March 4 – Tamzin Merchant, English actress
- March 5 – Anna Chakvetadze, Russian professional tennis player
- March 6
- March 7 – Hatem Ben Arfa, Tunisian-French footballer
- March 9 – Bow Wow, American rapper
- March 10 – Emeli Sandé, is a Scottish recording artist and songwriter
- March 12
- March 13 – Marco Andretti, IRL driver
- March 14 – Aravane Rezaï, Iranian-French tennis player
- March 17 – Robert Kardashian Jr., American television personality, model, and talent manager
- March 19 – Josie Loren, American actress.
- March 20
- March 23 – Alan Toovey, Australian Rules Football Premiership player
- March 25 – Nobunari Oda, Japanese figure skater
- March 26 – YUI, Japanese singer-songwriter
- April 1 – Ding Junhui, Chinese snooker player
- April 3 – Park Jung Min, Korean singer, member of SS501
- April 4
- April 6 – Hilary Rhoda, American model
- April 8 – Royston Drenthe, Dutch footballer
- April 9
- April 10
- April 11
- April 12
- April 15 – Iyaz, singer from the British Virgin Islands
- April 16 – Aaron Lennon, English footballer
- April 18 – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, English supermodel
- April 19
- April 20 – John Patrick Amedori, American actor and musician
- April 22 – Mikel John Obi, Nigerian footballer
- April 27
- April 28 – Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Indian film actress and model
- April 29
- May 1 – Shahar Pe'er, Israeli tennis player
- May 2 – Nana Kitade, Japanese singer
- May 4
- May 6 – Moon Geun Young, Korean actress
- May 7 – Asami Konno, Japanese singer
- May 11 – Eniko Mihalik, Hungarian model
- May 13
- May 15 – Andy Murray, Scottish tennis player
- May 22 – Novak Djokovic, Serbian tennis player
- May 29 – Alessandra Torresani, American actress
- May 29 – Ak'Sent, American female rapper
- June 2 – Sonakshi Sinha, Indian Actress
- June 3
- June 4 – Mollie King, British singer
- June 6 – Luo Zilin, Miss Universe China 2011 4th runner-up and model
- June 9 – Rheagan Wallace, American actress
- June 11 – Dappy, English Rapper
- June 12 – Abbey Lee Kershaw, Australian model
- June 14 – Cameron Russell, American model
- June 16
- June 17 – Nozomi Tsuji, Japanese singer
- June 20
- June 22 – Lee Min Ho, South Korean actor and model
- June 24 – Lionel Messi, Argentine football player
- June 26 – Samir Nasri, French footballer
- June 27 – Ed Westwick, English actor
- July 2 – Ruslana Korshunova, Kazakhstani model (d. 2008)
- July 3
- July 6
- July 7 – Julianna Guill, American actress
- July 12
- July 16 – AnnaLynne McCord, American actress
- July 17 – Jeremih, American recording artist and producer
- July 24 – Mara Wilson, American actress
- July 25 – Michael Welch, American actor
- July 27 – Marek Hamsik, Slovakian football player
- July 28
- July 29 – Dyana Liu, American actress
- July 31 – Michael Bradley, American soccer player
- August 2 – Jessie Daniels, American actress, songwriter, and Christian musician
- August 3 – Kim Hyung Jun, South Korean singer, DJ (SS501)
- August 4 – Philip Younghusband, British-Filipino footballer
- August 5 – Genelia D'Souza, Indian actress, model, and host
- August 6
- August 7 – Sidney Crosby, Canadian hockey player
- August 8 – Katie Leung, Scottish actress
- August 14 – James Buckley, English actor
- Tim Tebow, American football player
- August 18 – Mika Boorem, American actress
- August 19 – Nico Hülkenberg, German racing driver
- August 20 – Cătălina Ponor, Romanian gymnast
- August 21
- August 24 – Anže Kopitar, Slovene ice hockey player
- August 25
- September 2
- September 3 – James Neal, Canadian ice hockey player
- September 4 – Maryna Linchuk, Belarusian model
- September 7
- September 8 – Wiz Khalifa, American rapper
- September 9
- September 11
- September 15 – Clare Maguire, British singer-songwriter
- September 19 – Danielle Panabaker, American actress
- September 22 – Tom Felton, English actor
- September 23 – Skylar Astin, American actor
- September 24
- September 28 – Hilary Duff, American actress and singer
- September 29 – Kyle Riabko, Canadian pop singer, guitarist
- September 30 – Ramy Ashour, Egyptian squash player
- October 2
- October 3 – Zuleyka Rivera, Puerto Rican beauty queen who held the titles Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2006 and Miss Universe 2006
- October 4 – Marina Weisband, German politician
- October 8 – Aya Hirano, Japanese voice actress and singer
- October 9 – Zuleyka Rivera, Miss Universe 2006
- October 12 – Besian Idrizaj, Austrian footballer
- October 15 – Mizuho Sakaguchi, Japanese woman footballer
- October 16 – Seungho, Korean pop singer, member of MBLAQ
- October 18
- October 20 – Levy Li, Miss Malaysia Universe 2008
- October 24 – Charlie White, American figure skater
- October 27
- October 28 – Na Yeon Choi, South Korean female professional golfer
- October 29
- November 3
- November 4
- November 5 – Kevin Jonas, American singer/songwriter
- November 6
- November 7 – Rachele Brooke Smith, American actress and dancer
- November 8 – Samantha Droke, American actress
- November 11 – Yuya Tegoshi, Japanese singer (NEWS, Tegomass)
- November 12 – Jason Day, Australian golfer
- November 17 – Kat DeLuna, American singer
- November 18 – Jake Abel, American Actor
- November 23
- November 24 – Elena Satine, American film actress and singer
- November 25 – Dolla, American Rapper (d. 2009)
- November 28 – Karen Gillan, Scottish actress
- November 30 – Dougie Poynter, English musician (McFly)
- December 2 – Teairra Marí, American singer
- December 3
- December 4
- December 7 – Aaron Carter, American singer and actor
- December 8 – Susanne Riesch, German alpine skier
- December 10 – Gonzalo Higuaín, Argentine footballer
- December 12
- December 18
- December 19 – Karim Benzema, French footballer
- December 20
- December 21 – Valerie Concepcion, Filipina actress
- December 27 – Lily Cole, British model
- December 28 – Thomas Dekker, American actor
- December 30 – Jake Cuenca, Spanish-Filipino actor and model
- December 31
- January 9 – Arthur Lake, American actor (b. 1905)
- January 14 – Douglas Sirk, German-born film director (b. 1897)
- January 15 – Ray Bolger, American actor, singer, and dancer (b. 1904)
- January 16 – Joyce Jameson, American actress (b. 1932)
- January 21 – Charles Goodell, American politician (b. 1926)
- January 22 – Budd Dwyer, American politician (b. 1939)
- January 25 – Nahuel Moreno, Argentine Trotskyist leader (b. 1924)
- January 27
- January 31 – Yves Allégret, French film director (b. 1905)
- February 2
- February 3 – Donald Aronow, Creator of the Cigarette Boat (Assassinated) (b. 1927)
- February 4 – Liberace, American pianist (b. 1919)
- February 5 – William Collier, American actor (b. 1902)
- February 10 – Robert O'Brien, racing driver (b. 1908)
- February 14 – Dmitry Kabalevsky, Russian composer (b. 1904)
- February 20 – Lev Russov, Russian painter (b. 1926)
- February 22
- February 24 – Jim Connors, American radio personality (b. 1940)
- February 25
- February 27 – Joan Greenwood, English actress (b. 1921)
- February 28 – Stephen Tennant, British aristocrat and playboy (b. 1906)
- (Date unknown) – Lou Darvas, American artist and cartoonist (b. 1913)
- March 2 – Randolph Scott, American actor (b. 1898)
- March 3 – Danny Kaye, American singer, actor, and comedian (b. 1918)
- March 7 – Waldo Salt, American screenwriter (b. 1914)
- March 11 – Joe Gladwin, English actor (b. 1906)
- March 12 – Woody Hayes, football coach at Ohio State (b. 1913)
- March 13 – Gerald Moore, English pianist (b. 1899)
- March 19 – Louis-Victor de Broglie, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1892)
- March 21
- March 22 – Joan Shawlee, American actress (b. 1926)
- March 26
- March 28
- April 1 – Henri Cochet, French tennis champion (b. 1901)
- April 2
- April 3 – Tom Sestak, American football player (b. 1936)
- April 4 – C. L. Moore, American writer (b. 1911)
- April 11
- April 15 – Masatoshi Nakayama, Japanese Karate Master (b. 1913)
- April 17
- April 19
- April 26 – John Ernest Silkin, British politician (b. 1923)
- April 28 – Ben Linder, American engineer (b. 1959)
- May 3 – Dalida, French singer (b. 1933)
- May 4
- May 6 – William J. Casey, American Central Intelligence Agency director (b. 1913)
- May 7 – Colin Blakely, Irish actor (b. 1930)
- May 14 – Rita Hayworth, American actress (b. 1918)
- May 17 – Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish economist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1898)
- May 19 – James Tiptree, Jr, American author (b. 1915)
- May 21 – Alejandro Rey, Argentine actor (b. 1930)
- May 24 – Hermione Gingold, English actress (b. 1897)
- May 27 – John Howard Northrop, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891)
- June 2
- June 3 – Will Sampson, American actor (b. 1933)
- June 6 – Fulton Mackay, Scottish actor (b. 1922)
- June 9 – Madge Kennedy, American actress (b. 1891)
- June 10 – Elizabeth Hartman, American actress (suicide) (b. 1943)
- June 11 – Ralph Guldahl, American golf champion (b. 1911)
- June 13
- June 19 – Teresa Cormack, New Zealand murder victim (b. 1981)
- June 22
- June 24 – Jackie Gleason, American actor and comedian (b. 1916)
- July 2 – Michael Bennett, American theater director and choreographer (b. 1943)
- July 3 – Viola Dana, American actress (b. 1897)
- July 10 – John Hammond, American record producer (b. 1910)
- July 17
- July 20 – Richard Egan, American actor (b. 1921)
- July 22 – Jack Lescoulie, American actor (b. 1917)
- July 26
- July 28 – Jack Renshaw, Australian politician, former Premier of New South Wales (b. 1909)
- July 31 – Joseph E. Levine, American film producer (b. 1905)
- August 1 – Pola Negri, Polish born actress (b.1897)
- August 6 – Ira C. Eaker, World War II United States Army Air Forces general (b. 1896)
- August 11 – Clara Peller, American actress (b. 1902)
- August 16 – Nick Vanos, American basketball player (b. 1963)
- August 17
- August 19 – Hayden Rorke, American actor (I Dream of Jeannie) (b. 1910)
- August 26 – Georg Wittig, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1897)
- August 28 – John Huston, American film director and actor (b. 1906)
- August 29 – Lee Marvin, American actor (b. 1924)
- September 3 – Rusty Wescoatt, American actor (b. 1911)
- September 4
- September 11
- September 12 – John Qualen, Canadian actor (b. 1899)
- September 13 – Mervyn LeRoy, American film producer and director (b. 1900)
- September 16 – Howard Moss, American poet, dramatist, and critic (b. 1922)
- September 17 – Harry Locke, British character actor (b. 1913)
- September 19 – Einar Henry Gerhardsen, former Prime Minister of Norway (b. 1897)
- September 21 – Jaco Pastorius, American bassist (b. 1951)
- September 22
- September 23 – Bob Fosse, American theater choreographer and director (b. 1927)
- September 25
- September 29 – Henry Ford II, president of Ford Motor Company (b. 1917)
- September 30 – Herbert Sobel, US Army officer, made famous by Band of Brothers (b. 1912)
- October 2
- October 3
- October 7 – Cedric Phatudi, Chief Minister of Lebowa bantustan (b. 1912)
- October 8 – Spencer Gordon Bennett, American film producer (b. 1893)
- October 9
- October 12
- October 13
- October 15 – Donald Wandrei, American writer (b. 1908)
- October 19
- October 20 – Andrey Kolmogorov, Russian mathematician (b. 1903)
- October 22 – Lino Ventura, Italian actor (b. 1919)
- October 24 – Kelvin Martin, New York Criminal (b. 1964)
- October 28 – André Masson, French artist (b. 1896)
- October 29 – Woody Herman, American jazz musician (b. 1913)
- October 30 – Joseph Campbell, American mythologist, author (b. 1904)
- November 1 – René Lévesque, Canadian politician and premier of Quebec (b. 1922)
- November 5
- November 7 – Arne Borg, Swedish Olympic swimmer (b. 1901)
- November 10 – Seyni Kountche, former President of Niger (b. 1931)
- November 16 – Zubir Said, Singaporean composer who composed Singapore's national anthem (b. 1907)
- November 21 – Ivan Jandl, Czech actor (b. 1937)
- November 25 – Zohar Argov, Israeli singer (b. 1955)
- November 25 – Duncan Sandys, British politician (b. 1908)
- November 30 – James Baldwin, American writer (b. 1924)
- December 1 – Punch Imlach, Canadian NHL coach (b. 1918)
- December 2
- December 4 – Rouben Mamoulian, Armenian-American film director (b. 1898)
- December 10 – Jascha Heifetz, Lithuanian-born violinist (b. 1901)
- December 17 – Linda Wong, porn star (b. 1951)
- December 21
- December 22 – Alice Terry, American actress (b. 1899)
- December 24 – Joop den Uyl, Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1973 until 1977 (b. 1919)
- December 25 – Ruf Bonner, Soviet Jewish exilee (b. 1900)
- December 27 – Priscilla Dean, American actress (b. 1896)
- December 29 – Patrick Bissell, American dancer (b. 1957)
Date unknown 
- John Pierotti, American cartoonist (b. 1911)
- Huang Yao, Chinese artist (b. 1917)
- Syd Hartley, English professional association football player (b. 1914)
Nobel Prizes 
- Physics – J. Georg Bednorz, Karl Alexander Müller
- Chemistry – Donald J Cram, Jean-Marie Lehn, Charles J. Pedersen
- Medicine – Susumu Tonegawa
- Literature – Joseph Brodsky
- Peace – Oscar Arias Sanchez
- Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – Robert Solow
Right Livelihood Award 
- Johan Galtung, Chipko movement, Hans-Peter Dürr / Global Challenges Network, Institute for Food and Development Policy / Frances Moore-Lappé and Mordechai Vanunu