List of Famous people who died in 1978
James Warren Jones was an American cult leader, preacher and self-professed faith healer. He launched the Peoples Temple in Indiana during the 1950s. Jones and his inner circle orchestrated a mass murder-suicide of himself and his followers in his jungle commune at Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978.
Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Although he was the most pro-LGBT politician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40, after his experiences in the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
John Holland Cazale was an American actor. He appeared in five films over seven years, all of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather Part II (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and The Deer Hunter (1978), with the two Godfather films and The Deer Hunter winning. Cazale started as a theater actor in New York City, ranging from regional, to off-Broadway, to Broadway acting alongside Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Sam Waterston. Cazale soon became one of Hollywood's premier character actors, starting with his role as the doomed, weak-minded Fredo Corleone opposite longtime friend Al Pacino in Francis Ford Coppola's film The Godfather, its 1974 sequel, and Dog Day Afternoon. Cazale chose to continue acting despite having been diagnosed with lung cancer. He died in New York City on March 13, 1978, shortly after completing his role in The Deer Hunter.
Nancy Laura Spungen was the American girlfriend of Sid Vicious, bassist for the English punk rock band the Sex Pistols, and a figure of the 1970s punk rock scene. Spungen's life and death have been the subject of controversy among music historians and fans of the Sex Pistols.
Robert Archibald Shaw was an English actor, novelist, and playwright. He was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his role as Henry VIII in the drama film A Man for All Seasons (1966). He played the mobster Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973) and the shark hunter Quint in Jaws (1975).
Jacques Romain Georges Brel was a Belgian singer, songwriter, actor and director who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following—initially in Belgium and France, later throughout the world. He is considered a master of the modern chanson. Although he recorded most of his songs in French and occasionally in Dutch, he became an influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers, such as Scott Walker, David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many performers, including: Bowie; Walker, Ray Charles; Judy Collins; John Denver; The Kingston Trio; Nina Simone; Shirley Bassey; Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams.
Claude Antoine Marie François, also known by the nickname Cloclo, was a French pop singer, composer, songwriter, music producer, drummer and dancer. François co-wrote the lyrics of "Comme d'habitude", the original version of "My Way" and composed the music of "Parce que je t'aime mon enfant", the original version of "My Boy". Among his most famous songs are "Le Téléphone Pleure", "Le lundi au soleil", "Magnolias for Ever", "Alexandrie Alexandra" and "Cette année là".
Karl Ilitch Eliasberg was a Soviet conductor.
Terry Alan Kath was an American musician and songwriter, best known as a founding member of the rock band Chicago. He played guitar and sang lead vocals on many of the band's early hit singles. He has been praised by the band for his guitar skills and Ray Charles-influenced vocal style.
Pope John Paul I was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City from 26 August 1978 to his death 33 days later. He was the first pope to have been born in the 20th century. His reign is among the shortest in papal history, resulting in the most recent year of three popes and the first to occur since 1605. John Paul I remains the most recent Italian-born pope, the last in a succession of such popes that started with Clement VII in 1523.