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Frank Sinatra


12 December 1915 – 14 May 1998 (Aged 82)

Sinatra was a legendary American singer and actor, whose 60-year singing career saw him sell over 250 million records worldwide.

He is regarded as one of the most popular singers in history.

Often known by his nickname “Old Blue Eyes”, Sinatra was part of the renowned Rat Pack, along with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, among others.

Among his best-loved songs are “New York, New York”, “My Way”, “Strangers in the Night”, and “That’s Life”, while he also won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for From Here to Eternity.

During his career, Sinatra won eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1965.

He was also presented with the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1971.

Sinatra’s personal life was as colorful as his professional one, with four marriages, numerous affairs, as well as having an alleged relationship with the mafia.

In 1985, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, followed by the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997.

At the age of 82, Sinatra died from a heart attack, with his wife, Barbara, by his side.

Dermot Morgan


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31 March 1952 – 28 February 1998 (Aged 45)

Dermot Morgan was an adored Irish actor and comedian, best known for his role as Father Ted Crilly in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted (1995–1998).

Morgan was working as a teacher when he came to prominence on RTE television in Ireland in 1979. From there, he showed his immense comedic talents on The Live Mike and Scrap Saturday on RTE radio.

In 1995, Morgan secured the title role in Father Ted, which focused on the lives of three Irish Catholic priests on the fictional Craggy Island, located off the west coast of Ireland.

The show made Morgan a household name, receiving universal critical acclaim and is often labeled as one of the greatest sitcoms ever made.

At the age of 45, Morgan died of a heart attack at a dinner party to celebrate the culmination of the Father Ted series on 28 February 1998.

In 1999, a year after his death, the BAFTA Award for Best Comedy Performance was awarded to Dermot Morgan.

Vasili Arkhipov

(Soviet Navy Officer)

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30 January 1926 – 19 August 1998 (Aged 72)

Arkhipov was a Soviet Naval officer credited with saving the world from a probable nuclear war when he, as second-in-command, voted against his captain, preventing a nuclear strike during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Their flotilla was in international waters near Cuba and had dived to greater depths to evade their U.S. pursuers, but also out of reach of any radio communication.

The Americans started dropping signaling depth charges to draw the Soviet sub above the water, but the Soviet Captain Savitsky determined a war may have broken out since their last contact with Moscow.

Needing a unanimous vote to launch a nuclear strike, Arkhipov refused to back down. Such an attack would have been likely to cause a major global nuclear response, and potentially destroy much of the world.

On their return to the Soviet Union, the crew was chastised by their superiors for failing to follow orders, having surfaced instead of maintaining their secrecy and evading American forces.

A year earlier, in 1961, Arkhipov was deputy commander of the new ballistic missile submarine K-19. The submarine developed an extreme leak in its reactor coolant system while near Greenland.

Although they were able to save themselves from a nuclear meltdown, the entire crew, including Arkhipov, were irradiated.

All seven members of the engineering crew and their officer died soon after due to the high levels of radiation they were exposed to.

In the following two years, fifteen more sailors died from the after-effects.

Arkhipov died from kidney cancer at the age of 72, the cancer was attributed to his exposure to the radiation on K-19 in 1961.

He has been praised by many as “the man who saved the world.”

Florence Griffith Joyner


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21 December 1959 – 21 September 1998 (Aged 38)

Griffith Joyner, nicknamed Flo-Jo, was an American track athlete, who is considered the fastest woman of all time. 

The world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m still stand.

Flo-Jo designed many of her trademark slim bodysuits herself, while also having her six-inch nails painted red, white, blue, and gold.

In total, Griffith Joyner won three gold medals at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, after which she retired shortly after.

In reaction to her improved performances, Flo-Jo was accused of doping, however, she was repeatedly tested during competitions, particularly the 1988 Olympics, and she passed all of these drug tests

She died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure in 1998 at the age of 38.

Pol Pot

(Cambodian Dictator)

Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

19 May 1925 – 15 April 1998 (Aged 72)

Pol Pot was a Cambodian leader between 1975 and 1979, also leading the Khmer Rouge, a group of peasant revolutionaries, from 1963 to 1997.

Pot’s military dictatorship saw Cambodia officially called Democratic Kampuchea.

It is estimated out of a population of 8 million, that between 1 and 3 million Cambodians were killed by or died as a result of his 4-year regime.

The causes of death were essentially execution, starvation, or being overworked.

The mass graves he commanded his people to dig for those killed came to be known as “the killing fields.”

After losing the Cambodian–Vietnamese War in 1979, Pol Pot fell from power and relocated with the Khmer Rouge to the jungles of southwest Cambodia.

Pol Pot was arrested in 1997, having not been seen in public since shortly after his fall from power.

He was sentenced to life-long house arrest, dying a year later at the age of 72.

Akira Kurosawa


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23 March 1910 – 6 September 1998 (Aged 88)

Kurosawa was a Japanese film director, whose career spanned 57 years while directing 30 films. He is regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in cinematic history.

Among his most famous films are Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Ran, and Ikiru. 

In 1990, Kurosawa was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his hugely influential body of work.

While working on a film in 1995, Kurosawa fell and broke his back.

His injuries confined him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and led to a swift deterioration of his health.

Kurosawa died after suffering from a stroke at the age of 88.

Archie Moore


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13 December 1916 – 9 December 1998 (Aged 81)

Moore was an American professional boxer and the longest-reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time, stretching from December 1952 to May 1962.

From 1935 to 1963, Moore had one of the longest professional careers in boxing history.

He is recognized as being one of the sports greatest ever punchers, winning 132 of his 219 fights by knockout.

After finishing his boxing career, Moore became heavily involved in African American causes, while he also helped to train George Foreman for the “Rumble in the Jungle” against Muhammad Ali in 1974.

Moore founded an organization called Any Boy Can in the 1960s, which taught boxing to underprivileged youth in the San Diego area. He also made numerous acting appearances in television and film.

In the 1980s, Moore worked as a youth boxing instructor, mainly in the ghettos of San Diego and Los Angeles, where he also taught children about the dangers of drug abuse.

In 1990, Moore was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He is widely remembered as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the sport’s history.

Archie Moore died from heart failure just shy of his 82nd birthday.

Phil Hartman


24 September 1948 – 28 May 1998 (Aged 49)

Hartman was a Canadian-American comedic actor best known for his roles in Sgt. BilkoJingle All the Way, and Small Soldiers, as well as being a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1994.

Most notably among his many roles, however, was on The Simpsons, where he voiced beloved characters such as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure.

Universally liked and seen as a good guy by all who worked with him, Hartman was tragically shot three times and killed by his third wife, Brynn, while he slept in his bed at the age of 49.

Bryn, who had been struggling with alcohol and drug use, committed suicide shortly after, leaving their two young children without their parents.

Roddy McDowall


Photo by Alan Light / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

17 September 1928 – 3 October 1998 (Aged 70)

McDowall was an English-American actor, who is best known for playing Cornelius and Caesar in the original film series of Planet of the Apes.

Among the numerous films he starred in were Cleopatra, The Longest DayThe Greatest Story Ever ToldBedknobs and Broomsticks, and A Bug’s Life.

McDowall also served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was an accomplished photographer.

He died from lung cancer at the age of 70.

Tammy Wynette


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5 May 1942 – 6 April 1998 (Aged 55)

Wynette was a renowned American country music singer-songwriter.

She is one of the biggest-selling female singers of all time, best known for her hit single “Stand By Your Man.”

Her most successful music partnership was with fellow country singer George Jones, with whom she endured a stormy marriage from 1968 to 1975.

They recorded 10 albums together in total.

Having undergone multiple operations during her life, as well as experiencing numerous medical problems, Wynette died from a blood clot in her lung at the age of 55.

Wynette was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1998.