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|1955 by topic|
|Lists of leaders|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2708|
|Balinese saka calendar||1876–1877|
|British Regnal year||3 Eliz. 2 – 4 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar||甲午年 (Wood Horse)|
4651 or 4591
— to —
乙未年 (Wood Goat)
4652 or 4592
|- Vikram Samvat||2011–2012|
|- Shaka Samvat||1876–1877|
|- Kali Yuga||5055–5056|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 30|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 44|
|Thai solar calendar||2498|
2081 or 1700 or 928
— to —
2082 or 1701 or 929
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1955.|
1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1955th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 955th year of the 2nd millennium, the 55th year of the 20th century, and the 6th year of the 1950s decade.
- 1 Events
- 2 Births
- 3 Deaths
- 4 Nobel Prizes
- 5 References
- January 2 – José Antonio Remón Cantera, president of Panama, is assassinated at a race track in Panama City.
- January 3 – José Ramón Guizado becomes president of Panama.
- January 7 – Marian Anderson is the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
- January 17 – USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, puts to sea for the first time, from Groton, Connecticut.
- January 18–January 20 – Battle of Yijiangshan Islands: The Chinese Communist People's Liberation Army seizes the islands from the Republic of China (Taiwan).
- January 22 – In the United States, The Pentagon announces a plan to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) armed with nuclear weapons.
- January 23 – Sutton Coldfield rail crash kills 17 near Birmingham, England.
- January 25 – Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union announces the end of the war between the USSR and Germany, which began during World War II in 1941.
- January 28 – United States Congress authorizes President Dwight D. Eisenhower to use force to protect Formosa from the People's Republic of China.
- February 4 – "Baghdad Pact": Military treaty signed between Iraq and Turkey.
- February 9 – Apartheid in South Africa: 60,000 non-white residents of the Sophiatown suburb of Johannesburg are forcibly evicted.
- February 10 – The United States Seventh Fleet helps the Republic of China evacuate Chinese Nationalist army and residents from the Tachen Islands to Taiwan.
- February 12 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends the first U.S. advisors to South Vietnam.
- February 14 – WFLA-TV signs on the air in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida.
- February 16 – Nearly 100 die in a fire at a home for the elderly in Yokohama, Japan.
- February 19 – Southeast Asia Treaty Organization,(SEATO) established at a meeting in Bangkok.
- February 22 – In Chicago's Democratic primary, Mayor Martin H. Kennelly loses to the head of the Cook County Democratic Party, Richard J. Daley, 364,839 to 264,77.
- March – A young Jim Henson builds the first version of Kermit the Frog.
- March 2
- Claudette Colvin, a fifteen-year-old African-American girl, refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white woman after the driver demands it. She is carried off the bus backwards while being kicked and handcuffed and harassed on the way to the police station. She becomes a plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle (1956) which rules bus segregation to be unconstitutional.
- Serious floods in Australia.
- March 5
- WBBJ-TV signs on the air in the Jackson, Tennessee, with WDXI as its initial call-letters, to expanded American commercial television in mostly-rural areas.
- Elvis Presley makes his television debut on "Louisiana Hayride" carried by KSLA-TV Shreveport (although audio recordings exists, there is no known video footage of this appearance).
- March 7 – The Broadway musical version of Peter Pan, which had opened in 1954 starring Mary Martin, is presented on television for the first time by NBC-TV with its original cast, as an installment of Producers' Showcase. It is also the first time that a stage musical is presented in its entirety on TV almost exactly as it was performed on stage. This program gains the largest viewership of a TV special up to this time, and it becomes one of the first great TV family musical classics.
- March 17 – Richard Riot in Montreal: 6,000 people protest the suspension of French Canadian ice hockey star Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens by the National Hockey League following a violent incident during a match.
- March 19 – KXTV signs on the air in Sacramento, California.
- March 20 – The movie adaptation of Evan Hunter's novel Blackboard Jungle premieres in the United States, featuring the famous single "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets. Teenagers jump from their seats to dance to the song.
- April 1 – EOKA A starts a terrorist campaign against British rule in the Crown colony of Cyprus.
- April 5
- April 6 – Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- April 10 – In the NBA, the Syracuse Nationals defeat the Fort Wayne Pistons 92-91 in game seven to win the title.
- April 11
- April 12 – The Salk polio vaccine, having passed large-scale trials earlier in the United States, receives full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
- April 14 – The Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup for the 7th time in franchise history, but will not win again until 1997.
- April 15
- April 16 – Burma-Japanese peace treaty, signed in Rangoon on November 5, 1954, comes into effect, formally ending a state of war between the two countries that has not existed for a long time.
- April 17 – Imre Nagy, the communist Premier of Hungary, is ousted for being too moderate.
- April 18–April 24 – Asian-African Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia.
- May 5 – West Germany becomes a sovereign country recognized by important Western foreign countries, such as France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
- May 6 – Western European Union charter effective.
- May 7 – Newcastle United win the Football League First Division title for the fourth time. As of 2018 they are yet to win it since.
- May 9 – West Germany joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
- May 11 – Japanese National Railways' ferry Shiun Maru sinks after collision with sister ship Uko Maru in thick fog off Takamatsu, Shikoku, in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan; 166 passengers (many children) and two crew are killed. This event is influential in plans to construct the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge (built 1986-98).
- May 12 – New York's Third Avenue Elevated runs its last train between Chathem Square in Manhattan and East 149th Street in the Bronx, thus ending elevated train service in Manhattan.
- May 14 – Eight Communist Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, sign a mutual defence treaty in Warsaw, Poland, that is called the Warsaw Pact. It will be dissolved in 1991.
- May 15 – Austrian State Treaty, which restores Austria's national sovereignty, is concluded between the four occupying powers following World War II (the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, and France) and Austria, setting it up as a neutral country.
- May 25 – Joe Brown and George Band are the first to attain the summit of Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas, as part of a British team led by Charles Evans.
- June 7 – The television quiz program The $64,000 Question premieres on CBS-TV in the United States, with Hal March as the host.
- June 11 – Le Mans disaster: Eighty-three people are killed and at least 100 are injured after two race cars collide in the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans.
- June 13 – Mir mine, the first diamond mine in the Soviet Union, is discovered.
- June 16 – Lady and the Tramp, the Walt Disney company's 15th animated film, premieres in Chicago.
- June 26 – Freedom Charter of the anti-apartheid South African Congress Alliance adopted at a Congress of the People in Kliptown.
- July 7 – The New Zealand Special Air Service is formed.
- July 13 – Ruth Ellis is hanged for murder in London, becoming the last woman ever to be executed in the United Kingdom.
- July 17
- July 18
- The first nuclear-generated electrical power is sold commercially, partially powering the town of Arco, Idaho.
- Illinois Governor William Stratton signs the Loyalty Oath Act, passed by the state legislature, which mandates all public employees take a loyalty oath to Illinois and the United States, or lose their jobs.
- The first Geneva Summit meeting between the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France begins. It ends on July 23.
- July 22 – In Long Beach, U.S.A., Hillevi Rombin of Sweden was crowned Miss Universe.
- July 27 – El Al Flight 402 from Vienna, Austria to Tel Aviv via Istanbul is shot down over Bulgaria. All 58 passengers and crewmen aboard the Lockheed Constellation are killed.
- July 28 – The first Interlingua Congress in Tours, France, leading to foundation of the Union Mundial pro Interlingua.
- August 1 – the Lockheed U-2 makes its first flight
- August 18
- August 19 – Hurricane Diane hits the northeastern United States, killing over 200 people, and causing over $1.0 billion in damage.
- August 20 – Hundreds of people are killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.
- August 22 – Eleven schoolchildren are killed when their school bus is hit by a freight train in Spring City, Tennessee.
- August 25 – The last Soviet Army forces leave Austria.
- August 26 – Release in India of Satyajit Ray's film Pather Panchali.
- August 27 – First edition of the Guinness Book of Records is published, in London.
- September 2 – Under the guidance of Dr. Humphry Osmond, Christopher Mayhew ingests 400 mg of mescaline hydrochloride and allows himself to be filmed as part of a Panorama special for BBC TV in the U.K. that is never broadcast.
- September 6 – Istanbul pogrom: Istanbul's Greek minority is the target of a government-sponsored pogrom.
- September 10 – The long-running program Gunsmoke debuts on the CBS-TV network.
- September 14 – Pope Pius XII elevates many of the Apostolic vicariates in Africa to Metropolitan Archdioceses
- September 15 – Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita is published in Paris by Olympia Press.
- September 16 - The military coup to unseat President Juan Perón of Argentina is launched at midnight.
- September 16 - A Soviet Navy Zulu-class submarine becomes the first to launch a ballistic missile.
- September 18 – The United Kingdom formally annexes the uninhabited island of Rockall.
- September 19–21 – The President of Argentina, Juan Perón, is ousted in a military coup.
- September 19 – Hurricane Hilda kills about 200 people in Mexico.
- September 22 – Independent Commercial Television (ITV) begins broadcasting in the United Kingdom.
- September 24 – Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States suffers a coronary thrombosis while on vacation in Denver, Colorado. Vice President Nixon serves as Acting President while Eisenhower recovers.
- September 30 – Actor James Dean is killed when his automobile collides with another car at a highway junction near Cholame, California.
- October 2 – Alfred Hitchcock Presents debuts on the CBS TV network in the United States.
- October 3 – The Mickey Mouse Club debuts on the ABC-TV network in the United States.
- October 4 – The Reverend Sun Myung Moon is released from prison in Seoul, South Korea.
- October 5 – Disneyland Hotel opens to the public in Anaheim, California.
- October 11 – 70-mm film for projection is introduced with the theatrical release of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical film, Oklahoma!.
- October 14 – Organization of Central American States secretariat inaugurated.
- October 20 – Disc jockey Bill Randle of WERE (Cleveland) is the key presenter of a concert at Brooklyn High School (Ohio), featuring Pat Boone and Bill Haley & His Comets and opening with Elvis Presley, Elvis's first filmed performance, for a documentary on Randle titled The Pied Piper of Cleveland.
- October 26
- After the last Allied troops have left Austria and following the provisions of the Austrian Independence Treaty, the country declares its permanent neutrality.
- Ngô Đình Diệm proclaims Vietnam to be a republic with himself as its President (following the State of Vietnam referendum on October 23) and forms the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.
- October 27 – Film Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean, is released in the United States.
- October 29 – Soviet battleship Novorossiysk explodes at moorings in Sevastopol Bay, killing 608, the Soviet Union's worst naval disaster.
- November 1
- November 3 – The Rimutaka Tunnel opens on the New Zealand Railways, at 5.46 mi (8.79 km) the longest in the Southern Hemisphere at this time.
- November 5 – Racial segregation is outlawed on trains and buses in interstate commerce in the United States.
- November 19 – C. Northcote Parkinson first propounds 'Parkinson's law', in The Economist.
- November 20 – Bo Diddley makes his television debut on Ed Sullivan's Toast Of The Town show for the CBS-TV network.
- November 23 – The Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean are transferred from British to Australian control.
- November 26 – The British Governor of Cyprus declares a state of emergency on the island.
- December 1 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refuses to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger and is arrested, leading to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- December 4 – The International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations was founded in Luxembourg.
- December 5
- December 9 – Adnan Menderes of DP forms the new government of Turkey (22nd government)
- December 10 – Australian federal election, 1955: Robert Menzies' Liberal/Country Coalition Government is re-elected with a substantially increased majority, defeating the Labor Party led by H.V. Evatt. This election came in the immediate aftermath of the devastating split in the Labor Party, which led to the formation of the Democratic Labor Party. The DLP would preference against Labor and keep the Coalition in office until 1972.
- December 14
- The Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River in New York State opens to traffic.
- Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sri Lanka join the United Nations simultaneously, after several years of moratorium on admitting new members that began during the Korean War.
- December 20 – Cardiff is declared by the British Government as the capital of Wales.
- December 22 – American cytogeneticist Joe Hin Tjio discovers the correct number of human chromosomes, forty-six.
- December 31 – General Motors becomes the first American corporation to make a profit of over one billion dollars in one year.
- The Strömsund Bridge in Sweden is completed, being the first significant cable-stayed bridge of the modern era.
- World population: 2,755,823,000
- Africa: 246,746,000
- Asia: 1,541,947,000
- Europe: 575,184,000
- South America: 190,797,000
- North America: 186,884,000
- Oceania: 14,265,000
|January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December · Date unknown|
- January 1
- January 2 – Vivien Savage, French singer
- January 5 – Mamata Banerjee, Indian politician, Chief Minister of West Bengal
- January 6 – Rowan Atkinson, English comedian and actor
- January 9 – J. K. Simmons, American actor
- January 10 – Michael Schenker, German guitarist (Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group)
- January 13
- January 14 – Kim Renders, Canadian writer, director, actor and designer (d. 2018)
- January 15
- January 17
- January 18
- January 19 – Sir Simon Rattle, English orchestral conductor
- January 20
- January 21 – Jeff Koons, American artist
- January 22 – Keiko Takahashi, Japanese actress
- January 25 – Petra Gerster, German television presenter and newscaster
- January 26
- January 27
- January 28
- January 29
- February 1 – Hans Werner Olm, German television and film comedian
- February 2 – Leszek Engelking, Polish poet, writer and translator
- February 3 – Kirsty Wark, Scottish television presenter
- February 6
- February 7 – Miguel Ferrer, American actor (d. 2017)
- February 8
- February 9
- February 10
- February 12 – Ai Satō, Japanese voice actress
- February 13 – Akiko Yano, Japanese singer-songwriter
- February 15
- February 17 – Mo Yan, Chinese writer
- February 19 – Jeff Daniels, American actor
- February 21 – Kelsey Grammer, American actor and comedian
- February 22 – David Axelrod, American political analyst
- February 23
- February 24
- February 28 – Gilbert Gottfried, American actor and comedian
- March 1 – Sir Timothy Laurence, English admiral and second husband of Anne, Princess Royal
- March 2
- March 3 – Kent Derricott, Canadian TV personality in Japan
- March 4 – Dominique Pinon, French actor
- March 5
- March 6
- March 7
- March 8 – Don Ashby, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1981)
- March 9
- March 10
- March 11 – Nina Hagen, German pop singer
- March 13
- March 15
- March 16
- March 17 – Gary Sinise, American actor, producer and director
- March 18
- March 19
- March 20 – Mariya Takeuchi, Japanese singer-songwriter
- March 21
- March 22
- March 23 – Moses Malone, American basketball player (d. 2015)
- March 24
- March 26 – Danny Arndt, Canadian ice hockey player
- March 27 – Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain
- March 28
- March 29
- March 31 – Angus Young, lead guitarist of Australian rock group AC/DC
- April 2 – Sirindhorn, Princess Royal of Thailand
- April 3
- April 5
- April 6 – Michael Rooker, American actor
- April 7
- April 8
- April 9 – Kate Heyhoe, American food writer
- April 11 – Kevin Brady, American politician
- April 13
- April 15 – Dodi Fayed, Egyptian businessman (d. 1997)
- April 16
- April 17 – Rob Bolland, Dutch musician, songwriter and music producer (Bolland & Bolland)
- April 18 – Bobby Castillo, American baseball player (d. 2014)
- April 21
- April 23
- April 24
- April 25
- April 26 – Chen Daoming, Chinese actor
- April 27
- April 28 – Eddie Jobson, English musician
- April 29
- April 30 – Zlatko Topčić, Bosnian writer and screenwriter
- May 1
- May 2
- May 3 – David Hookes, Australian cricketer (d. 2004)
- May 4
- May 6 – Tom Bergeron, American television host
- May 7 – Mayra Alejandra, Venezuelan actress (d. 2014)
- May 8 – Meles Zenawi, 10th Prime Minister of Ethiopia and 3rd President of Ethiopia (d. 2012)
- May 9 – Anne Sofie von Otter, Swedish mezzo-soprano
- May 10
- May 13 – Andy Pask, English bass player and composer (Landscape)
- May 14
- May 15
- May 16
- May 17 – Bill Paxton, American actor (d. 2017)
- May 18 – Chow Yun-fat, Hong Kong actor
- May 19
- May 20
- May 22
- May 24
- May 25
- May 26
- May 27 – Richard Schiff, American actor and comedian
- May 29
- May 30
- May 31
- June 1 – Chiyonofuji Mitsugu, Japanese sumo wrestler (58th Yokozuna grand champion) (d. 2016)
- June 2 – Dana Carvey, American actor and comedian
- June 5 – Fernando Borrego Linares, Cuban singer and songwriter (aka Polo Montañez)
- June 6
- June 7
- June 8
- June 10
- June 11 – Yuriy Sedykh, Ukrainian hammer thrower
- June 14
- June 15
- June 16 – Laurie Metcalf, American actress
- June 18 – Sandy Allen, American, world's tallest woman (d. 2008)
- June 20 – Tor Nørretranders, Danish author
- June 21
- June 22
- June 23
- June 24
- June 25
- June 26
- June 27
- June 28 – Shirley Cheriton, British actress
- June 29
- June 30
- July 1
- July 2
- July 3
- July 4 – Víctor Reymundo Nájera, Mexican politician
- July 5
- July 7
- July 8
- July 9
- July 10
- July 11
- July 12
- July 13 – Yoshitaka Tamba, Japanese actor
- July 14 – Ramon Jimenez Jr., Filipino attorney
- July 15
- July 16
- July 17
- July 18
- July 19 – Karen Cheryl, French singer, actress, radio and television presenter
- July 21
- July 22
- July 25 – Iman, Somalian model
- July 26
- July 27 – Allan Border, Australian cricketer
- July 31 – Jakie Quartz, French singer
- August 2
- August 3
- August 4
- August 6
- August 7
- August 8 – Diddú (Sigrún Hjálmtýsdóttir), Icelandic soprano and songwriter
- August 9 – Doug Williams, American football quarterback
- August 10 – Mel Tiangco, Filipina television anchor, journalist, and humanitarian
- August 12
- August 13 – Daryl, American magician (d. 2017)
- August 14 – Gillian Taylforth, English television actress
- August 17 – Richard Hilton, American businessman
- August 19
- August 20 – Agnes Chan, Hong Kong-born TV personality in Japan
- August 22
- August 23 – David Learner, British actor, Stephen M.Papuzek
- August 24 – Mike Huckabee, American politician, former Governor and 2008 Presidential candidate
- August 25 – John McGeoch, British musician, (d. 2004)
- August 27
- August 30
- August 31 – Edwin Moses, American athlete
- September 1
- September 2
- September 4
- September 6 – Raymond Benson, American author
- September 7 – Efim Zelmanov, Russian mathematician
- September 9 – John Kricfalusi, Canadian cartoonist
- September 12 – Peter Scolari, American actor and comedian
- September 15
- September 16
- September 17
- September 18 – Bob Papenbrook, American actor and voice actor (d. 2006)
- September 19 – Richard Burmer, American composer, sound designer and musician (d. 2006)
- September 21 – Richard Hieb, American astronaut
- September 24 – Shinbo Nomura, Japanese manga artist
- September 25
- September 28 – Stéphane Dion, Canadian politician
- September 30
- October 2 – Philip Oakey, Member of British pop group The Human League
- October 3 – Tommy Wiseau, American film director and actor, known for the 2003 "dark comedy" The Room
- October 5
- October 7
- October 8
- October 13 – Sergei Shepelev, Russian ice hockey player
- October 15
- October 17
- October 18
- October 19
- October 20 – Thomas Newman, American composer
- October 21
- October 24
- October 25 – Glynis Barber, South African-born British actress
- October 28
- October 29
- October 30 – Jeremy Black, British historian
- October 31 – Eduardo V. Manalo, 3rd Executive Minister (Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan) of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)
- November 1 – Joe Arroyo, Colombian salsa and tropical music singer (d. 2011)
- November 2 – Chris Burnett, American saxophone player, composer, veteran of US military jazz bands and band leader
- November 3
- November 4
- November 5
- November 6 – Maria Shriver, American television journalist, host; First Lady of California
- November 7 – Detlef Ultsch, German judo athlete
- November 9 – Karen Dotrice, Guernsey-born child actress
- November 10 – Roland Emmerich, German film director
- November 11 – Jigme Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan
- November 13 – Whoopi Goldberg, American actress and comedian
- November 14 – Koichi Nakano, Japanese bicycle racer
- November 17 – Peter Cox, English singer-songwriter (Go West)
- November 19 – Dianne de Leeuw, Dutch figure skater
- November 20 – Ray Ozzie, American computer programmer
- November 21
- November 22 – George Alagiah, Ceylonese-born British newsreader, journalist and television news presenter
- November 23
- November 24
- November 25 – Bruno Tonioli, film, music video and theater choreographer
- November 26 – Tracy Hickman, American author
- November 27 – Bill Nye, American science presenter and public television host
- November 28 – Alessandro Altobelli, Italian football player
- November 29 – Howie Mandel, Canadian actor and game show host
- November 30
- December 3
- December 4 – Maurizio Bianchi, Italian musician
- December 7 – Priscilla Barnes, American actress
- December 8
- December 9 – Asashio Tarō IV, Japanese sumo wrestler
- December 12 – Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, Greek politician and businesswoman
- December 16
- December 17 – Brad Davis, American basketball player
- December 21 – Jane Kaczmarek, American actress
- December 23
- December 24
- December 27 – Barbara Olson, American television commentator (d. 2001)
- December 28 – Liu Xiaobo, Chinese literary critic and human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (d. 2017)
- December 31 – Jim Tracy, American baseball player
- Mark Marderosian, American cartoonist
- Sergey Zimov, Russian geophysicist and creator of Pleistocene Park
- Alan Myers, former drummer of new wave band Devo (d. 2013)
|January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December|
- January 1 – Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar, Indian scientist (b. 1894)
- January 2 – José Antonio Remón Cantera, 19th President of Panama (assassinated) (b. 1908)
- January 6 – Yevgeny Tarle, Soviet historian (b. 1874)
- January 11 – Rodolfo Graziani, Italian general (b. 1882)
- January 15
- January 18 – August Duesenberg, German-born American automobile manufacturer (b. 1879)
- January 20 – Robert P. T. Coffin, American poet (b. 1892)
- January 21 – Archie Hahn, American athlete (b. 1880)
- January 24 – Ira Hayes, U.S. Marine flag raiser on Iwo Jima (b. 1923)
- January 29 – Hans Hedtoft, 14th Prime Minister of Denmark (b. 1903)
- January 31 – John Mott, American YMCA leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1865)
- February 6 – Constantin Argetoianu, 41st Prime Minister of Romania (b. 1871)
- February 11 – Ona Munson, American actress (b. 1903)
- February 12
- February 20 – Oswald Avery, American physician and medical researcher (b. 1877)
- February 23 – Paul Claudel, French poet, dramatist, and diplomat (b. 1868)
- February 27 – Trixie Friganza, American actress (b. 1870)
- March 3 – Katharine Drexel, American Roman Catholic saint (b. 1858)
- March 8 – William C. deMille, American screenwriter and director (b. 1878)
- March 9 – Matthew Henson, American explorer (b. 1866)
- March 11 – Sir Alexander Fleming, Scottish scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1881)
- March 12 – Charlie Parker, American saxophonist (b. 1920)
- March 16 – Nicolas de Staël, Russian painter (b. 1914)
- March 19 – Mihály Károlyi, 1st President of Hungary and 20th Prime Minister of Hungary (b. 1875)
- March 22 – Maurice Schutz, French actor (b. 1866)
- March 23 – Arthur Bernardes, 12th President of Brazil (b. 1875)
- March 24 – John W. Davis, American politician, diplomat, and lawyer (b. 1873)
- March 30 – Ylla, Hungarian photographer (b. 1911) (jeep accident)
- April 7 – Theda Bara, American film actress (b. 1885)
- April 10 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French Jesuit priest, philosopher, paleontologist and geologist (b. 1881)
- April 11 – Clifton Sprague, American admiral (b. 1896)
- April 13 – Peyton C. March, United States Army General (b. 1864)
- April 18 – Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1879)
- April 25 – Constance Collier, stage and screen actress; acting coach (b. 1878)
- May 2 – Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, 10th Governor-General of Australia (b. 1872)
- May 4
- May 10
- May 11 – Gilbert Jessop, English cricketer (b. 1874)
- May 14
- May 16 – James Agee, American writer (b. 1909)
- May 17 – Owen Roberts, American Supreme Court Justice (b. 1875)
- May 18 – Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator (b. 1875)
- May 19 – Concha Espina, Spanish writer (b. 1869)
- May 22 – Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, American actor (b. 1891)
- May 26 – Alberto Ascari, Italian race-car driver (accident) (b. 1918)
- May 30 – Bill Vukovich, American race-car driver (accident) (b. 1918)
- June 5
- June 11 – Walter Hampden, American actor (b. 1879)
- June 17 – Carlyle Blackwell, American actor (b. 1884)
- June 19 – Adrienne Monnier, French poet (b. 1892)
- June 26 – Engelbert Zaschka, German helicopter pioneer (b. 1895)
- June 29 – Max Pechstein, German painter (b. 1881)
- July 3 – Beatrice Chase, English writer (b. 1874)
- July 4 – Sir William Glasgow, Australian army officer, politician and diplomat (b. 1876)
- July 9 – Adolfo de la Huerta, 38th President of Mexico (b. 1881)
- July 13
- July 20 – Calouste Gulbenkian, Armenian businessman and philanthropist (b. 1869)
- July 23 – Cordell Hull, United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1871)
- July 31 – Robert Francis, American actor (b. 1930)
- August 1 – William Hamilton, American Olympic athlete (b. 1883)
- August 2
- August 5 – Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-born Brazilian singer and actress (b. 1909)
- August 8 – Grace Hartman, American actress (b. 1907)
- August 12
- August 13 – Florence Easton, English-born operatic soprano (b. 1882)
- August 17 – Fernand Léger, French painter and sculptor (b. 1881)
- August 27 – Augusto Turati, Italian fascist politician (b. 1888)
- August 28 – Emmett Till, American murder victim (b. 1941)
- September 1 – Philip Loeb, American actor (b. 1891)
- September 20 – Robert Riskin, American screenwriter (b. 1897)
- September 23 – Martha Norelius, American Olympic swimmer (b. 1908)
- September 24 – Ib Schønberg, Danish actor (b. 1902)
- September 25 – José Tamborini, Argentine physician and politician (b. 1886)
- September 30
- October 1 – Charles Christie, American film studio owner (b. 1880)
- October 4 – Alexander Papagos, Greek Field Marshal (b. 1883)
- October 7 – Rodolphe Seeldrayers, German journalist and administrator, 4th President of FIFA (b. 1876)
- October 8 – Iry LeJeune, Cajun musician (b. 1928)
- October 9
- October 13
- October 17 – Dimitrios Maximos, Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1873)
- October 18 – José Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (b. 1883)
- October 19 – John Hodiak, American actor (b. 1914)
- October 27 – Juan de Dios Martínez, 23rd President of Ecuador (b. 1875)
- October 31 – William Woodward, Jr., American banker and horse breeder, shot to death by his wife (b. 1920)
- November 1 – Dale Carnegie, American writer and lecturer (b. 1888)
- November 4 – Cy Young, American baseball player (Cleveland Spiders) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1867)
- November 5 – Maurice Utrillo, French artist (b. 1882)
- November 7 – Tom Powers, American actor (b. 1890)
- November 11 – Jerry Ross, American lyricist and composer (b. 1926)
- November 12 – Alfréd Hajós, Hungarian swimmer and architect (b. 1878)
- November 13 – Moshe Pessach, chief rabbi of Volos (b. 1869)
- November 14 – Robert E. Sherwood, American playwright (b. 1896)
- November 15 – Lloyd Bacon, American actor and director (b. 1889)
- November 17 – Helmuth Weidling, German general (b. 1891)
- November 22 – Shemp Howard, American actor and comedian (The Three Stooges) (b. 1895)
- November 27 – Arthur Honegger, French-born Swiss composer (b. 1892)
- November 30 – Alta Bates, nurse anesthetist and founder of Alta Bates Hospital (b. 1879)
- December 1 – Chief Thundercloud, American character actor (b. 1899)
- December 5 – Jirō Minami, Japanese general and Governor-General of Korea (1936-1942) (b. 1874)
- December 6
- December 8 – Hermann Weyl, German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher (b. 1885)
- December 13 – António Egas Moniz, Portuguese neurologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1874)
- December 15 – Otto Braun, German politician, former Minister President of the Free State of Prussia (b. 1872)
- December 21 – Garegin Nzhdeh, Armenian statesman (b. 1886)
- December 22 – Otto Eppers, American cartoonist (b. 1893)
- December 25
- December 27 – Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter, English soldier (b. 1881)
- Physics – Willis Eugene Lamb and Polykarp Kusch
- Chemistry – Vincent du Vigneaud
- Physiology or Medicine – Axel Hugo Theodor Theorell
- Literature – Halldór Kiljan Laxness
- Peace – not awarded