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Carl Sagan


9 November 1934 – 20 December 1996 (Aged 62)

Sagan was a hugely influential American astronomer and scientist.

He is best known for co-writing and hosting the groundbreaking Emmy-winning tv series Cosmos.

It is estimated that Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people and is the most widely watched series in the history of American public television.

In 1983, Sagan, an anti-nuclear activist, introduced the idea of “nuclear winter”. 

He campaigned for nuclear disarmament and strongly opposed U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

Sagan was honored countless times throughout his career.

He died of pneumonia after suffering from bone marrow disease and after having undergone three bone marrow transplants.

Tupac Shakur


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16 June 1971 – 13 September 1996 (Aged 25)

Tupac Shakur was a famous American rapper, widely acknowledged as one of the most influential rappers ever.

Shakur has sold over 75 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

Hailing from East Harlem, New York, Tupac was embroiled in a feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers, ultimately leading to his murder in a drive-by shooting.

On September 7, 1996, Tupac was shot four times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

He was taken to a hospital, where he died six days later from his injuries. His murder has never been solved.

In 2017, Shakur was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bob Paisley


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23 January 1919 – 14 February 1996 (Aged 77)

Paisley was one of the most successful English football managers of all time, who spent almost fifty years with Liverpool as a player and manager.

Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti are the only managers to have won the European Cup three times. 

He is also one of five managers to have won the top English league as player and manager at the same club.

Paisley guided Liverpool to win twenty honors in nine seasons, including six League Championships, three League Cups, and three European Cups.

He won the Manager of the Year Award six times, before retiring from management in 1983.

He died after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years at the age of 77.

Gene Kelly


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23 August 1912 – 2 February 1996 (Aged 83)

Kelly was an influential American dancer and actor who transformed the Hollywood musical.

He is credited with almost single-handedly changing the American public’s conception of male dancers.

Kelly is remembered in particular for his lead role in Singin’ in the Rain, regarded as one of the best dance films ever made.

Among his other well-known films is An American in Paris, Hello, Dolly!Inherit the WindAnchors Aweigh, and What a Way to Go!

In 1952, Kelly was given an Academy Honorary Award for his immense influence and contribution to film.

Among many other awards, Kelly received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1985.

After suffering from declining health, Kelly died following a stroke at the age of 83.

Ella Fitzgerald


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25 April 1917 – 15 June 1996 (Aged 79)

Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer often referred to as ‘Lady Ella’, ‘the First Lady of Song’ and ‘the Queen of Jazz’.

She went on to win 13 Grammy Awards and her albums sold more than 40 million copies.

Among her notable works, were her collaborations with Louis Armstrong and Count Basie, as well as her adored interpretation of the Great American Songbook.

In recognition of her immense musical contribution, Fitzgerald was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967, and in 1992, she was given the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 1993, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was set up to give charitable grants towards academic opportunities for children, music education, basic care needs for the less fortunate, and medical research.

In her final years, Fitzgerald suffered from diabetes, resulting in double leg amputation below the knee in 1993.

She died following a stroke at the age of 79.

Eva Cassidy


2 February 1963 – 2 November 1996 (Aged 33)

Cassidy was an American jazz and blues singer and guitarist.

She was essentially unknown outside her native Washington, D.C. when she died of cancer in 1996.

Cassidy’s music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her versions of “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow” were played on Britain’s BBC radio.

As a result of this, her music’s popularity grew and saw her album ‘Songbird’ climb to the top of the UK Albums Charts, nearly three years after its initial release.

The album’s success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased airplay around the world.

Her posthumously released recordings have sold more than ten million copies, including three UK number-ones.

René Lacoste

(Tennis Player/Businessman)

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2 July 1904 – 12 October 1996 (Aged 92)

Lacoste was one of tennis’s ‘Four Musketeers’ along with Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, and Henri Cochet. They were stars of the game during the 1920s and ’30s.

Lacoste won ten Grand Slam titles, seven singles and three doubles, before health problems derailed his career, forcing his early retirement in 1929.

Following his retirement, Lacoste turned his attention to business and created the world’s first tennis ball machine, the first metal tennis racket and a new type of golf driver.

He was also the founder of the Lacoste clothing line, with its signature crocodile emblem on the left breast. By the 1980s, the Lacoste brand was synonymous with class and prestige.

In his later years, Lacoste suffered from prostate cancer, before he died of heart failure following surgery on a broken leg at the age of 92.

Mary Leakey


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6 February 1913 – 9 December 1996 (Aged 83)

Leakey was a British paleoanthropologist who, along with her husband Louis, discovered several significant fossils that furthered our understanding of human evolution.

Among her finds, was the first fossilized skull of an extinct ape believed to be ancestral to humans and another remarkable skull discovery at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, eastern Africa.

She also discovered footprints and ancient hominin fossils that were more than 3.75 million years old, at another site south of Olduvai Gorge.

After the death of her husband in 1972, Leakey became director of excavations at Olduvai. She also trained her son, Richard, in the field of palaeoanthropology.

She died at the age of 83.