List of Famous people who died in 1959

Buddy Holly

Charles Hardin Holley
First Name Buddy
Died on February 3, 1959

Charles Hardin Holley, known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, to a musical family during the Great Depression, and learned to play guitar and sing alongside his siblings. His style was influenced by gospel music, country music, and rhythm and blues acts, which he performed in Lubbock with his friends from high school.

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Ritchie Valens

Richard Steven Valenzuela Reyes
First Name Ritchie
Last Name Valens
Born on May 13, 1941
Died on February 3, 1959 (aged 17)

Richard Steven Valenzuela, known professionally as Ritchie Valens, was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens was killed in a plane crash eight months into his recording career.

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Errol Flynn

First Name Errol
Born on June 20, 1909
Died on October 14, 1959 (aged 50)
Born in Australia, Tasmania
Height 186 cm | 6'1

Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was an Australian-born actor. Considered the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks, he achieved worldwide fame during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was known for his romantic swashbuckler roles, frequent partnerships with Olivia de Havilland, and reputation for his womanising and hedonistic personal life. His most notable roles include the eponymous hero in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), which was later named by the American Film Institute as the 18th greatest hero in American film history, the lead role in Captain Blood (1935), Major Geoffrey Vickers in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), and the hero in a number of Westerns such as Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and San Antonio (1945).

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Billie Holiday

Eleanora Fagan
First Name Billie
Last Name Holiday
Born on April 7, 1915
Died on July 17, 1959 (aged 44)
Height 165 cm | 5'5

Eleanora Fagan, known professionally as Billie Holiday, was an American jazz and swing music singer with a career spanning 26 years. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had an innovative influence on jazz music and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills.

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Cecil B. DeMille

First Name Cecil
Last Name DeMille
Born on August 12, 1881
Died on January 21, 1959 (aged 77)

Cecil Blount DeMille was an American film director and producer. Between 1914 and 1958, he made 70 features, both silent and sound films. He is acknowledged as a founding father of the American cinema and the most commercially successful producer-director in film history. His films were distinguished by their epic scale and by his cinematic showmanship. His silent films included social dramas, comedies, Westerns, farces, morality plays, and historical pageants.

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Andrew J. May

First Name Andrew
Last Name May
Born on June 24, 1875
Died on September 6, 1959 (aged 84)

Andrew Jackson May was a Kentucky attorney, an influential New Deal-era politician, and chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee during World War II, infamous for his rash disclosure of classified naval information that resulted in the loss of 10 American submarines and 800 sailors, and his subsequent conviction for bribery. May was a Democratic member of United States House of Representatives from Kentucky during the 72nd to 79th sessions of Congress.

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William Halsey Jr.

First Name William
Last Name Jr.
Born on October 30, 1882
Died on August 16, 1959 (aged 76)

William Frederick "Bull" Halsey Jr. was a fleet admiral in the United States Navy during World War II. He is one of four individuals to have attained the rank of fleet admiral of the United States Navy, the others being Ernest King, William Leahy, and Chester W. Nimitz.

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George Reeves

First Name George
Last Name Reeves
Died on June 16, 1959
Height 187 cm | 6'2

George Reeves was an American actor. He is best known for his role as Superman in the 1952–1958 television program Adventures of Superman.

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Mario Lanza

Alfred Arnold Cocozza
First Name Mario
Last Name Lanza
Born on January 31, 1921
Died on October 7, 1959 (aged 38)

Mario Lanza was an American tenor of Italian ancestry, and an actor and Hollywood film star of the late 1940s and the 1950s.

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Max Baer

Maximillian Adalbert Baer
First Name Max
Last Name Baer
Born on February 11, 1909
Died on November 21, 1959 (aged 50)
Height 189 cm | 6'2

Maximilian Adelbert "Max" Baer was an American boxer who was the World Heavyweight Champion from June 14, 1934, to June 13, 1935. His fights were both rated Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine. Baer was also a boxing referee, and had an occasional role on film or television. He was the brother of heavyweight boxing contender Buddy Baer and father of actor Max Baer Jr.. Baer is rated #22 on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.

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Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax

First Name Edward
Last Name Halifax
Born on April 16, 1881
Died on December 23, 1959 (aged 78)
Height 195 cm | 6'5

Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax,, known as The Lord Irwin from 1925 until 1934 and The Viscount Halifax from 1934 until 1944, was a senior British Conservative politician and diplomat of the 1930s. He held several senior ministerial posts during this time, most notably those of Viceroy of India from 1925 to 1931 and of Foreign Secretary between 1938 and 1940. He was one of the architects of the policy of appeasement of Adolf Hitler in 1936–38, working closely with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. However, after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 he was one of those who pushed for a new policy of attempting to deter further German aggression by promising to go to war to defend Poland.

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Charles Starkweather

First Name Charles
Last Name Starkweather
Born on November 24, 1938
Died on June 25, 1959 (aged 20)

Charles Raymond "Charlie" Starkweather was an American spree killer who murdered eleven people in Nebraska and Wyoming between December 1957 and January 1958, when he was 19 years old. He killed ten of his victims between January 21 and January 29, 1958, the date of his arrest. During his spree in 1958, Starkweather was accompanied by his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate.

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The Big Bopper

Jiles Perry Richardson Jr.
First Name The
Born on October 24, 1930
Died on February 3, 1959 (aged 28)

Jiles Perry "J. P." Richardson Jr., known as The Big Bopper, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and disc jockey. His best known compositions include "Chantilly Lace" and "White Lightning", the latter of which became George Jones' first number-one hit in 1959. Richardson was killed in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959, along with fellow musicians Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, and the pilot Roger Peterson. The accident was famously referred to as "The Day the Music Died" in Don McLean's 1971 song "American Pie".

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Irakli Tsereteli

First Name Irakli
Born on November 20, 1881
Died on May 21, 1959 (aged 77)
Born in Georgia, Imereti

Irakli Tsereteli was a Georgian politician and a leading spokesman of the Social Democratic Party of Georgia and later Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) during the era of the Russian Revolutions.

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Frank Lloyd Wright

Franklin Lincoln Wright
First Name Frank
Last Name Wright
Born on June 8, 1867
Died on April 9, 1959 (aged 91)

Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, designer, writer, and educator. He designed more than 1,000 structures over a creative period of 70 years. Wright believed in designing in harmony with humanity and the environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was exemplified in Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture." Wright played a key role in the architectural movements of the twentieth century, influencing generations of architects worldwide through his works.

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Carl Switzer

First Name Carl
Last Name Switzer
Born on August 7, 1927
Died on January 21, 1959 (aged 31)

Carl Dean Switzer was an American singer, child actor, dog breeder and guide. He was best known for his role as Alfalfa in the short subjects series Our Gang.

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Albert Ketèlbey

Albert William Ketelbey
First Name Albert
Last Name Ketèlbey
Born on August 9, 1875
Died on November 26, 1959 (aged 84)

Albert William Ketèlbey was an English composer, conductor and pianist, best known for his short pieces of light orchestral music. He was born in Birmingham and moved to London in 1889 to study at Trinity College of Music. After a brilliant studentship he did not pursue the classical career predicted for him, becoming musical director of the Vaudeville Theatre before gaining fame as a composer of light music and as a conductor of his own works.

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Albert Hickman

First Name Albert
Last Name Hickman
Died on January 1, 1959

The 1959 San Diego F3H crash was the crash of a United States Navy McDonnell F3H-2N Demon in San Diego, California, on 4 December 1959. The pilot, Ensign Albert Joseph Hickman from VF-121, chose not to eject from the stricken aircraft, piloting it away from populated areas of Clairemont, including an elementary school, saving "as many as 700 people" on the ground, according to one estimate. The aircraft crashed into a canyon, with the pilot being the sole fatality. Hickman has been memorialized in the naming of an elementary school and a sports complex in San Diego. Several decades later, a similar crash occurred in University City, a neighborhood north of Clairemont.

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Abe Waddington

First Name Abe
Last Name Waddington
Born on February 4, 1893
Died on October 28, 1959 (aged 66)

Abraham "Abe" Waddington, sometimes known as Abram Waddington, was a professional cricketer for Yorkshire, who played in two Test matches for England, both against Australia in 1920–21. Between 1919 and 1927 Waddington made 255 appearances for Yorkshire, and in all first-class cricket played 266 matches. In these games, he took a total of 852 wickets with his left arm fast-medium bowling. Capable of making the ball swing, Waddington was admired for the aesthetic quality of his bowling action. He was a hostile bowler who sometimes sledged opposing batsmen and questioned umpires' decisions, behaviour which was unusual during his playing days.

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Lou Costello

Louis Francis Cristillo
First Name Lou
Last Name Costello
Born on March 6, 1906
Died on March 3, 1959 (aged 52)

Louis Francis Cristillo, professionally known as Lou Costello, was an American comedian, best known for his double act with straight man Bud Abbott and their routine "Who's on First?"

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