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John Wayne


26 May 1907 – 11 June 1979 (Aged 72)

John Wayne was an iconic American actor, best known for his many roles in Western films, such as The Alamo, The Searchers, Red River, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Wayne won his only Academy Award in 1969 for his performance in True Grit, while he also showed his range in other notable films such as The Quiet Man and The Longest Day.

In 1978, Wayne was diagnosed with stomach cancer and died a year later at the age of 72.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter posthumously awarded Wayne the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.

Josef Mengele

(Nazi Doctor)

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16 March 1911 – 7 February 1979 (Aged 67)

Mengele was a German SS officer during World War II and became a notorious physician in Auschwitz concentration camp, where he infamously carried out experiments on selected prisoners.

Following the end of the war, Mengele avoided capture and fled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, before later moving to Brazil.

He evaded many attempts by Nazi hunters to track him down.

Mengele died after suffering a stroke while swimming off the Brazilian coast, having lived under a false ID.

After his death came to light, Mengele’s body was exhumed for identification in 1985.

Dorothy Arzner


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3 January 1897 – 1 October 1979 (Aged 82)

Arzner was a pioneering American film director renowned for becoming one of the first women to establish herself in the industry.

Among her best-known films are The Wild Party, Christopher Strong, and Dance, Girl, Dance. 

She also became the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America.

Zeppo Marx


By Ralph F. Stitt / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

25 February 1901 – 30 November 1979 (Aged 78)

Zeppo was the youngest of the famous Marx Brothers comedy troupe.

He left the troupe in 1933 to pursue a career outside of the film industry.

In 1941, Zeppo founded Marman Products, which, among other things, made the clamps to transport the atomic bombs used by the U.S. in Japan at the end of World War II.

Zeppo also held numerous patents, one which monitored the heartbeat of cardiac patients became a successful business and made Zeppo a millionaire.

Marx died of lung cancer at the age of 79 and had his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Zeppo was the last of the Marx Brothers to die.

Sid Vicious


By L. Schorr / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

10 May 1957 – 2 February 1979 (Aged 21)

Vicious was an English bass guitarist and singer with the controversial British punk rock band The Sex Pistols.

After Vicious developed a relationship with American Nancy Spungen, they developed a co-dependence on drugs and spiraled out of control.

This ended with Spungen dying from a stab wound while in New York’s Chelsea Hotel with Vicious.

Vicious was released on bail and underwent drug rehabilitation.

After his release, Vicious’ mother held a party for him, where he obtained heroin and died that night in his sleep from an overdose. He was only 21.