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Rita Hayworth


17 October 1918 – 14 May 1987 (Aged 68)

Hayworth was a famous American actress and dancer, renowned for her stunning beauty, she became Hollywood’s biggest pin-up during the 1940s.

In 1946, she starred in ‘Gilda‘, perhaps her most recognized role, a poster of which famously appeared in the acclaimed 1994 film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

Among Hayworth’s other films were starring roles opposite Gene Kelly in ‘Cover Girl’, with Fred Astaire in ‘You’ll Never Get Rich‘ and with James Cagney in ‘Strawberry Blonde‘.

Astaire, a legendary dancer, would declare Hayworth as his favorite dance partner.

Over the course of her life, Hayworth was married five times, before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1980.

Hayworth died at the age of 68, with her suffering being seen as spurring increased awareness and research for Alzheimer’s.

Andy Warhol


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6 August 1928 – 22 February 1987 (Aged 58)

Warhol was a hugely influential American pop artist, and one of the most prolific of all time.

Among his best-known paintings are Campbell’s Soup Cans, Silver Car Crash, and Marilyn Diptych.

Among other ventures, Warhol also experimented with other forms of media, publishing books and producing over 60 films, including Sleep, a film which shows a man sleeping for six hours.

Warhol’s life was also notable for being celebrated among intellectuals, celebrities, as well as many wealthy patrons, which saw many of his works becoming some of the most expensive in history.

Warhol died after complications from gallbladder surgery at the age of 58.

The Andy Warhol Museum was established in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in celebration of his life’s work.

Fred Astaire


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10 May 1899 – 22 June 1987 (Aged 88)

Astaire was a legendary American dancer, celebrated as perhaps the most influential dancer in the history of film.

Renowned for his immaculate dress sense, among Astaire’s best-loved films are ‘Swing Time‘ opposite Ginger Rogers, ‘Holiday Inn’ with Bing Crosby, and ‘You’ll Never Get Rich‘ with Rita Hayworth, who he called his favorite dance partner.

Among the honors bestowed on Astaire are the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an Honorary Academy Award and an induction into the Television Hall of Fame.

Astaire died from pneumonia at the age of 88.



By Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

16 May 1919 – 4 February 1987 (Aged 67)

Liberace was a famous American pianist, a child prodigy who went on to become the best-paid entertainer in the world during his residency in Las Vegas.

Widely known for his flamboyant lifestyle, Liberace was the star of his own TV show for a time and accumulated huge wealth from sold-out concert tours around the world.

Having initially won a legal case over suggestions he was gay, in an effort to appease his largely female following.

However, it was confirmed years later that he was, in fact, gay.

Liberace died at the age of 67, with it initially being reported as a result of suffering from heart disease.

However, it was revealed his death was actually caused by pneumonia due to complications from AIDS. He had kept his illness private until his death.

Rudolf Hess

(Nazi Deputy Führer)

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26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987 (Aged 93)

Hess was a high ranking member of the German Nazi Party, who was appointed deputy leader to Adolf Hitler in 1933. He served in this position until 1941.

On May 10, 1941, Hess flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with Great Britain.

However, he was instead held as a prisoner of war for the remainder of the war.

After the war, he was convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials.

Hess spent the remainder of his life in Spandau prison in Berlin, where he was the sole prisoner from 1966 until his death.

Hess died from suicide at the age of 93 and was buried in Wunsiedel, Bavaria.

However, his grave became a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis, so in 2011 his body was exhumed and cremated, with his ashes scattered in an unknown location.

Primo Levi


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31 July 1919 – 11 April 1987 (Aged 67)

Levi was an Italian Jewish chemist, author and Holocaust survivor, having been held captive in Auschwitz for over a year.

Among his best-known works are the hugely influential and acclaimed The Periodic Table, and If This Is a Man, which was his account of the time he spent as a prisoner in Auschwitz concentration camp.

Levi died after a fall from the third-floor landing to the ground floor of the apartment building in which he had lived for most of his life.

It is not clear if it was an accident or suicide.

John Huston


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5 August 1906 – 28 August 1987 (Aged 81)

Huston was a famous American actor and director, responsible for directing some of the all-time great Hollywood films, including The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, and The Misfits.

Over the course of his career, Huston was nominated for an Academy Award on 15 occasions, winning two for directing and writing the screenplay for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

In an acting capacity, Huston won a Golden Globe Award for The Cardinal, and also memorably played the villain in Chinatown.

In 1964, Huston renounced his U.S. citizenship and became an Irish citizen, having grown to love the country on his many visits there.

Having been a heavy smoker during his life, Huston was diagnosed with emphysema in 1978, spending his final years reliant on an oxygen machine.

He died aged 81, from pneumonia as a result of his lung disease.

Huston, his daughter, Anjelica, and father, Walter, are the only family to have won an Academy Award in three successive generations.

Maria von Trapp


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26 January 1905 – 28 March 1987 (Aged 82)

Von Trapp was the stepmother of the famous Trapp Family Singers, whose memoir was the inspiration for The Sound of Music film and musical.

Born in Austria, von Trapp had been studying to become a nun before marrying an Austrian Baron and raising their ten children.

Instead of living under Nazi rule in Salzburg, the family fled to America.

After their home was abandoned, it was used by the Nazis as a headquarters for Heinrich Himmler.

In America, the family toured the country singing and moved to Vermont, where they set up a music camp.

Maria spent time as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, before returning to Vermont.

At the age of 82, Maria died from heart failure.

James Baldwin


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2 August 1924 – 1 December 1987 (Aged 63)

Baldwin was an American novelist, notably addressing issues such as race and humanity.

His best-known works are Notes of a Native Son, Nobody Knows My Name and The Fire Next Time.

Baldwin was open about his sexuality, having had relationships with both men and women. He was also a leading voice in America’s Civil Rights Movement.

At the age of 63, Baldwin died at his home in St. Paul de Vence, in the French Riviera, from stomach cancer.

Jackie Gleason


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26 February 1916 – 24 June 1987 (Aged 71)

Gleason was an American actor and comedian, best known for being the star of the television series The Jackie Gleason Show and The Honeymooners.

He also had notable film roles in The Hustler and Requiem for a Heavyweight.

A year before his death, Gleason was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and diabetes during the production of his final film, Nothing in Common.

Gleason succumbed to colon cancer at the age of 71.