Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Clark Gable


1 February 1901 – 16 November 1960 (Aged 59)

Gable was an American actor who became a screen icon, starring opposite the cream of the crop from Hollywood’s golden age, earning the title ‘King of Hollywood’.

Among his most notable films is Mutiny on the Bounty, It Happened One Night, and his most famous role, as Rhett Butler, in Gone With the Wind.

Gable was known as much for his romances off-screen as he was on it.

He was married five times during his life, most notably for 3 years to actress Carole Lombard until her death in a plane crash in 1942.

The last film Gable starred in, The Misfits also proved to be Marilyn Monroe’s last completed role before her death.

Gable died of a heart attack only a few days after filming had finished.

Albert Camus


United Press International / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960 (Aged 46)

Camus was a French-Algerian author best known for his absurdist novels, such as The Stranger, and his political journalism.

Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957

Camus was killed in a car crash in Villeblevin, north-central France, at the age of 46.

Eddie Cochran


Liberty Records / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

3 October 1938 – 17 April 1960 (Aged 21)

Cochran was an American rock and roll star, who achieved iconic status with his hits ‘C’mon Everybody’ and ‘Summertime Blues’ before his untimely death in a car accident at the age of 21.

Following the end of a successful extended tour in the UK, Cochran was in a taxi on the way to the airport with his fiancé, Sharon Sheeley, singer Gene Vincent, and tour manager Pat Thompkins.

The speeding taxi’s tire burst, and crashed into a lamp post. Cochran threw himself across his fiancé to protect her but was thrown from the car when the door swung open.

He died in hospital the following day from severe head injuries.

All the other occupants survived, with Vincent suffering lasting injuries to his leg. The taxi driver was found guilty of dangerous driving, with his license revoked for 15 years.

A much greater volume of Cochran’s music has subsequently been released posthumously than while he was alive. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Zora Neale Hurston


Library of Congress / Public DomainCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

7 January 1891 – 28 January 1960 (Aged 69)

Hurston was an American writer and anthropologist, best known for her association with the Harlem Renaissance, an African-American literary movement, and her work ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’.

After a successful earlier career, Hurston slipped into relative obscurity in her later years and found it difficult to get work published, leaving her to struggle financially.

After her death, she was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida. Many of her papers were luckily saved from a burning order by a friend of hers who intervened.

Interest and recognition of Hurston’s work were revived in the 1970s, while a newly discovered manuscript of hers in the Smithsonian archives was published in 2001.

Melvin Purvis

(FBI Agent)

FBI / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

24 October 1903 – 29 February 1960 (Aged 56)

Purvis was an American FBI agent who found acclaim having successfully tracked down the notorious gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd.

Purvis retired from the Bureau aged only 31 in July 1935, following disagreements with J. Edgar Hoover.

He had already secured his place as one of the most accomplished agents in the FBI’s history.

At the age of only 56, Purvis was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

However, an investigation found it may have been due to an accident while cleaning a gun and trying to remove a jammed bullet.