List of Famous people who died in 1978

Jim Jones

First Name Jim
Last Name Jones
Born on May 13, 1931
Died on November 18, 1978 (aged 47)

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.

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Harvey Milk

Harvey Bernard Milk
First Name Harvey
Last Name Milk
Born on May 22, 1930
Died on November 27, 1978 (aged 48)

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.

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John Cazale

John Holland Cazale
First Name John
Last Name Cazale
Born on August 12, 1935
Died on March 13, 1978 (aged 42)
Height 179 cm | 5'10

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.

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Nancy Spungen

First Name Nancy
Last Name Spungen
Born on February 27, 1958
Died on October 12, 1978 (aged 20)

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.

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Robert Shaw

Robert Archibald Shaw
First Name Robert
Last Name Shaw
Born on August 9, 1927
Died on August 28, 1978 (aged 51)

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).

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Jacques Brel

Jacques Romain Georges Brel
First Name Jacques
Last Name Brel
Born on April 8, 1929
Died on October 9, 1978 (aged 49)

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.

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Claude François

Claude Antoine Marie François Mazzeï
First Name Claude
Last Name François
Born on February 1, 1939
Died on March 11, 1978 (aged 39)

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".

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Karl Eliasberg

First Name Karl
Last Name Eliasberg
Born on June 10, 1907
Died on February 12, 1978 (aged 70)
Born in Belarus

Karl Ilitch Eliasberg was a Soviet conductor.

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Terry Kath

First Name Terry
Last Name Kath
Born on January 31, 1946
Died on January 23, 1978 (aged 31)

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.

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John Paul I

Albino Luciani
First Name John
Last Name I
Born on October 17, 1912
Died on September 28, 1978 (aged 65)
Born in Italy, Veneto

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.

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Pedro Avilés Pérez

First Name Pedro
Last Name Pérez
Born on April 11, 1943
Died on September 15, 1978 (aged 35)
Born in Mexico, Sinaloa

Pedro Avilés Pérez, also known as "El León de la Sierra", was a Mexican drug lord in the state of Sinaloa beginning in the late 1960s.

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Kurt Gödel

Kurt Friedrich Gödel
First Name Kurt
Last Name Gödel
Born on April 28, 1906
Died on January 14, 1978 (aged 71)

Kurt Friedrich Gödel was a German-Austrian logician, mathematician, and analytic philosopher. Considered along with Aristotle and Gottlob Frege to be one of the most significant logicians in history, Gödel had an immense effect upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when others such as Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, and David Hilbert were analyzing the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics pioneered by Georg Cantor.

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Wyatt Emory Cooper

First Name Wyatt
Last Name Cooper
Born on September 1, 1927
Died on January 5, 1978 (aged 50)

Wyatt Emory Cooper was an American author, screenwriter, and actor. He was the fourth husband of Vanderbilt heiress and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and the father of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. As an actor, he was usually billed as Wyatt Cooper.

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Gig Young

Byron Elsworth Barr
First Name Gig
Born on November 4, 1913
Died on October 19, 1978 (aged 64)
Height 185 cm | 6'1

Gig Young was an American actor. He was thrice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Come Fill the Cup (1952), Teacher's Pet (1959), and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), winning for the last of these.

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Eddie Aikau

Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau
First Name Eddie
Last Name Aikau
Born on May 5, 1946
Died on March 17, 1978 (aged 31)

Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau was a Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer. As the first lifeguard at Waimea Bay on the island of Oahu, he saved over 500 people and became famous for surfing the big Hawaiian surf, winning several awards including the 1977 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.

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Henry Willson

First Name Henry
Last Name Willson
Born on July 31, 1911
Died on November 2, 1978 (aged 67)

Henry Leroy Willson was an American Hollywood talent agent who played a large role in developing the beefcake craze of the 1950s. He was known for his stable of young, attractive clients, including Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Chad Everett, Robert Wagner, Nick Adams, Guy Madison, Troy Donahue, Mike Connors, Rory Calhoun, John Saxon, Yale Summers, Clint Walker, Doug McClure, Dack Rambo, Ty Hardin, and John Derek. He noticed Rhonda Fleming as she was walking to Beverly Hills High School, brought her to the attention of David O. Selznick, and helped groom her for stardom. He was also instrumental in advancing Lana Turner's career.

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Peter Vogel

First Name Peter
Last Name Vogel
Born on March 22, 1937
Died on September 21, 1978 (aged 41)
Born in Germany, Bavaria

Peter Vogel was a German film actor. He appeared in 66 films between 1954 and 1978. He was born in Munich, Germany and died in Vienna, Austria, after committing suicide. His father was the actor Rudolf Vogel. He was married to the Austrian actress Gertraud Jesserer and is the father of actor-journalist Nikolas Vogel. was interred next to his father at Bogenhausener Friedhof, Germany.

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Adolf Dassler

First Name Adolf
Last Name Dassler
Born on November 3, 1900
Died on September 6, 1978 (aged 77)
Born in Germany, Bavaria

Adolf "Adi" Dassler was a German cobbler, inventor and entrepreneur who founded the German sportswear company Adidas. He was also the younger brother of Rudolf Dassler, founder of Puma. Dassler was an innovator in athletic shoe design and one of the early promoters who obtained endorsements from athletes to drive sale of his products. As a result of his concepts, Adi Dassler built the largest manufacturer of sportswear and equipment. At the time of his death Adidas had 17 factories and annual sales of one billion marks.

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Alexander Belov

First Name Alexander
Last Name Belov
Born on November 9, 1951
Died on October 3, 1978 (aged 26)
Born in Russia
Height 200 cm | 6'7

Alexander Alexandrovich Belov, commonly known as Sasha Belov was a Soviet basketball player. During his playing career, he played at the center position. Belov is most remembered for scoring the game-winning basket of the gold medal game of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Games, which gave the gold medal to the senior Soviet national team.

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Keith Moon

First Name Keith
Last Name Moon
Born on August 23, 1946
Died on September 7, 1978 (aged 32)
Height 173 cm | 5'8

Keith John Moon was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour and drug addiction.

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