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|Centuries:||19th century – 20th century – 21st century|
|Decades:||1920s 1930s 1940s – 1950s – 1960s 1970s 1980s|
|Years:||1950 1951 1952 – 1953 – 1954 1955 1956|
|1953 by topic:|
|Birth and death categories|
|Establishments and disestablishments categories|
|Works and introductions categories|
|Ab urbe condita||2706|
|British Regnal year||1 Eliz. 2 – 2 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar|| 壬辰年十一月十六日
— to —癸巳年十一月廿六日
|- Vikram Samvat||2009–2010|
|- Shaka Samvat||1875–1876|
|- Kali Yuga||5054–5055|
|- Ǹrí Ìgbò||953–954|
|Japanese calendar|| Shōwa 28
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 42
|Thai solar calendar||2496|
Year 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar.
- January 5 – Samuel Beckett's play Waiting For Godot has its first public stage première in French as En attendant Godot at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris.
- January 6 – The Asian Socialist Conference opens in Rangoon, Burma.
- January 7 – President Harry S. Truman announces the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb.
- January 12 – Estonian émigrés found a government in exile in Oslo.
- January 14
- Marshal Josip Broz Tito is chosen President of Yugoslavia.
- The CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel first meets to discuss the UFO phenomenon.
- January 15 – Georg Dertinger, foreign minister of East Germany, is arrested for spying.
- January 19 – 71.1% of all television sets in the United States are tuned in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.
- January 20 – Dwight D. Eisenhower succeeds Harry S. Truman as the 34th President of the United States.
- January 22 – The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller, opens on Broadway.
- January 24
- January 28 – Derek Bentley is executed for murder at Wandsworth Prison in London.
- January 31– February 1 – The North Sea flood of 1953 kills 1,836 people in the southwestern Netherlands (especially Zeeland), 307 in the United Kingdom and several hundred at sea, including 133 on the ferry MV Princess Victoria in the Irish Sea.
- February 1 – The surge of the North Sea Flood continues from the previous day.
- February 5 – Walt Disney's feature film Peter Pan, premieres.
- February 11
- February 12 – Nordic Council inaugurated.
- February 13 – Transsexual Christine Jorgenson returns to New York after successful sexual reassignment surgery in Denmark.
- February 16 – The Pakistan Academy of Sciences is established in Pakistan.
- February 19 – Georgia approves the first literature censorship board in the United States.
- February 25 – Release, in France, of Jacques Tati's film Les vacances de M. Hulot, introducing the gauche character of Monsieur Hulot.
- February 28
- March 1
- Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke after an all-night dinner with Soviet Union interior minister Lavrenty Beria and future premiers Georgi Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev. The stroke paralyzes the right side of his body and renders him unconscious until his death on March 5.
- Bernard Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg is made deputy constable and lieutenant governor of Windsor Castle.
- March 6 – Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov succeeds Joseph Stalin as Premier and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
- March 8 - The Russian Mafia are freed from prisons by the Malenkoy regime which ends the Bitch Wars.
- March 13 – The United Nations Security Council nominates Dag Hammarskjöld as United Nations Secretary General.
- March 14 – Nikita Khrushchev is selected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.
- March 17 – The first nuclear test of Operation Upshot-Knothole is conducted in Nevada, with 1,620 spectators at 3.4 km (2.1 mi).
- March 18 – An earthquake hits western Turkey, killing 250.
- March 19 – The 25th Academy Awards ceremony is held (the first one broadcast on television).
- March 25– 26 – Lari Massacre in Kenya: Mau Mau rebels kill up to 150 Kikuyu natives.
- March 26 – Jonas Salk announces his polio vaccine.
- March 29 - A fire at the Littlefield Nursing Home in Largo, Florida kills 33 persons, including singer-songwriter Arthur Fields.
- April 7 – Dag Hammarskjöld is elected United Nations Secretary General.
- April 8 – Jomo Kenyatta is sentenced to seven years in prison for the alleged organization of the Mau Mau Rebellion.
- April 10 – Melbourne Knights is founded as Croatia SC in Melbourne.
- April 13
- April 16
- President Eisenhower delivers his "Chance for Peace" speech to the National Association of Newspaper Editors.
- A four-story building in Chicago belonging to the Habar Corporation catches fire, killing 35 employees.
- April 17 – Mickey Mantle hits a 565 foot (172 m) home run at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. Mantle's home run is believed to be the longest home run in baseball history by many historians.
- April 25 – Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish " Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid", their description of the double helix structure of DNA.
- May 2 – Hussein is crowned King of Jordan.
- May 5 – Aldous Huxley first tries the psychedelic hallucinogen mescaline, inspiring his book The Doors of Perception.
- May 9 – France agrees to the provisional independence of Cambodia with King Norodom Sihanouk.
- May 10 – The town of Chemnitz in East Germany becomes Karl Marx Stadt.
- May 11 – The Waco tornado outbreak: A F5 tornado hits in the downtown section of Waco, Texas, killing 114.
- May 15 – The Standards And Recommended Practices (SARPS) for Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) were adopted by the ICAO Council. These SARPS are in Annex 15 to the Chicago Convention and 15 May is celebrated by the AIS community as “World AIS Day”.
- May 18 – At Rogers Dry Lake, Californian Jackie Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier (in a F-86 Sabrejet at an average speed of 652.337 miles-per-hour).
- May 25 – Nuclear testing: At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducts its only nuclear artillery test: Upshot-Knothole Grable.
- May 29 – Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- June 1 – Uprising in Plzeň: Currency reform causes riots in Czechoslovakia.
- June 2 – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey.
- June 7 – Italian general election: the Christian Democracy party wins a plurality in both legislative houses.
- June 8
- June 9
- CIA Technical Services Staff head Sidney Gottlieb approves of the use of LSD in a MKULTRA subproject.
- Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequence: A tornado spawned from the same storm system as the Flint tornado hits in Worcester, Massachusetts, killing 94.
- June 13 – Hungarian Prime Minister Mátyás Rákosi is replaced by Imre Nagy.
- June 16 – The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia form diplomatic relations.
- June 17 – Workers Uprising in East Germany: The Soviet Union orders a division of troops into East Berlin to quell a rebellion.
- June 18 – Egypt declares itself a republic.
- June 30
- July 3 – First ascent of Nanga Parbat in the Pakistan Himalayas, the world's ninth highest mountain, is made by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl alone.
- July 4 – Strikes and riots hit coal mining regions in Poland.
- July 5 – The European Economic Community holds its first assembly in Strasbourg, France.
- July 9 – The US Treasury formally renames the Bureau of Internal Revenue; the new name (which had previously been used informally) is the Internal Revenue Service.
- July 10 – The Soviet official newspaper Pravda announces that Lavrenti Beria has been deposed as head of the NKVD.
- July 23 – Howard Hawks's musical film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, is released by 20th Century Fox.
- July 26
- Fidel Castro and his brother lead a disastrous assault on the Moncada Barracks, preliminary to the Cuban Revolution.
- The Short Creek Raid is carried out on a polygynous Mormon sect in Arizona.
- July 27 – The Korean War ends: United Nations Command (Korea) (United States), People's Republic of China, North Korea sign an armistice agreement at Panmunjom and the north remains communist while the south remains capitalist.
- August 5 – Operation Big Switch: Prisoners of war are repatriated after the Korean War.
- August 8 – Soviet prime minister Georgi Malenkov announces that the Soviet Union has a hydrogen bomb.
- August 12 – A magnitude 7.2 earthquake totally devastates most of the Ionian Sea islands in Greece's worst natural disaster in centuries.
- August 13 – Four million workers go on strike in France to protest against austerity measures.
- August 17 – The first planning session of Narcotics Anonymous is held in Southern California (see October 5).
- August 18 – The second Kinsey Report, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, is published in the US.
- August 19 – Cold War: The CIA helps to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, and retain Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the throne (see Operation Ajax).
- August 20
- August 25 – The general strike ends in France.
- September 4 – The discovery of REM sleep is first published by researchers Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman.
- September 5 – The United Nations rejects the Soviet Union's suggestion to accept China as a member.
- September 7 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes head of the Soviet Central Committee.
- September 12 - U.S. Representative John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
- September 25
- September 26 – Rationing of cane sugar ends in the UK.
- October – The UNIVAC 1103 is the first commercial computer to use random access memory.
- October 5
- Earl Warren is appointed Chief Justice of the United States by U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- The first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is held (the first planning session was held August 17).
- October 6 – United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) made a permanent specialized agency of the United Nations.
- October 9
- Konrad Adenauer is re-elected as German chancellor.
- The Guyanese constitution is suspended.
- October 10 – Roland (Monty) Burton wins New Zealand air race in under 23 hours.
- October 12 – The play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial opens at Plymouth Theatre, New York.
- October 23 – The Philippines' DZAQ-TV3 (now ABS-CBN) makes its initial telecast, becoming Asia's first commercial television broadcaster.
- October 30 – Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves the top secret document of the United States National Security Council NSC 162/2, which states that the United States' arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.
- November 5 – David Ben-Gurion resigns as prime minister of Israel.
- November 9 – The Laotian Civil War begins between the Kingdom of Laos and the Pathet Lao.
- The Kingdom of Laos gains its independence from the French Army.
- In Cambodia the Khmer Issarak begins to fight the French Army and the nation joins the First Indochina War but the Kingdom is established.
- November 20 - The Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, piloted by Scott Crossfield, becomes the first manned aircraft to reach Mach 2.
- November 21
- Puerto Williams is founded in Chile as the southernmost settlement of the world.
- Authorities at the British Natural History Museum announce that the skull of the Piltdown Man, one of the most famous fossil skulls in the world, is a hoax.
- November 25 – England lose 6–3 to Hungary at Wembley Stadium, their first ever loss to a continental team at home.
- November 29 – French paratroopers take Dien Bien Phu.
- November 30 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda, is deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Benjamin Cohen, Governor of Uganda.
- December – Hugh Hefner publishes the first issue of Playboy magazine in the United States, featuring a centerfold nude photograph of Marilyn Monroe; it sells 54,175 copies at $.50 each.
- December 2 – The United Kingdom and Iran reform diplomatic relations.
- December 6 – With the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conductor Arturo Toscanini performs what he claims is his favorite Beethoven symphony, Eroica, for the last time. The live performance is broadcast nationwide on radio, and later released on records and CD.
- December 7 – A visit to Iran by American Vice President Richard Nixon sparks several days of riots. Three students are shot dead by police in Tehran. This event would become an annual commemoration. See August 19.
- December 8 – U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his Atoms for Peace address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
- December 10 – Albert Schweitzer is given the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize.
- December 17 – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves colour television (using the NTSC standard).
- December 23 – The Soviet Union announces officially that Lavrenti Beria has been executed.
- December 24 – Tangiwai disaster: A railway bridge collapses at Tangiwai, New Zealand, sending a fully loaded passenger train into the Whangaehu River; 151 are killed.
- December 25 – The Amami Islands are returned to Japan after 8 years of United States Military occupation.
- December 30 – The first colour television sets go on sale for about $1,175 (American dollars).
- The Japanese 10 yen coin is issued with serrated edges for a 5-year period, beginning in 1953. All 10 yen coins since have had smooth edges.
- Heavy massive rain, landslides, and flooding in western and southwestern Japan kill an estimated 2,566, and injure 9,433, mainly at Kizugawa, Wakayama, Kumamoto and Kitakyushu (June–August).
- January 2 – Vincent Racaniello, American Virologist
- January 4 – George Tenet, former American Central Intelligence Agency director
- January 5
- Mike Rann, Australian politician
- Pamela Sue Martin, American actress
- January 6 – Malcolm Young, Australian musician
- January 8 – Bruce Sutter, America baseball player
- January 10
- Pat Benatar, American rock singer
- Bobby Rahal, American race car driver
- January 13 – John Wake, English cricketer
- January 15
- Kent Hovind, American creation science evangelist
- Randy White, American football player
- January 19
- Desi Arnaz Jr., American actor
- Richard Legendre, Canadian tennis player and politician
- January 21
- Paul Allen, American entrepreneur
- Glenn Kaiser, Blues-rock, Heavy metal, Rock, R&B (Early Days)
- January 22
- Myung-whun Chung, South Korean conductor and pianist
- Jim Jarmusch, American director
- January 26
- Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and current Secretary General of NATO
- Lucinda Williams, American singer/songwriter
- January 28 – Colin Campbell, Canadian ice hockey player and executive
- January 29
- Teresa Teng, Chinese singer
- Ronnie Moore, English footballer
- January 31 – Sergei Ivanov, first deputy prime minister of Russia and former minister of defense of Russia
- February 2 – Duane Chapman, American bounty hunter
- February 4 - Kitaro, Japanese New Age musician
- February 7 – Dan Quisenberry, American baseball player (d. 1998)
- February 8 – Mary Steenburgen, American actress
- February 9
- Ciarán Hinds, Irish actor
- Rick Wagoner, American automotive executive
- February 10 – June Jones, American quarterback and current NCAA Football head coach at Southern Methodist University
- February 11 – Jeb Bush, American politician
- February 12 – Nabil Shaban, British disabled actor
- February 14 – Sergey Mironov, Russian statesman and Speaker of the Federation Council
- February 20 – Riccardo Chailly, Italian orchestral conductor
- February 21 – William Petersen, American actor
- February 22 – Geoffrey Perkins, British comedy producer, writer, actor (d. 2008)
- February 23 – Paul Krugman, American economist
- February 25
- José María Aznar, Spanish politician
- Martin Kippenberger, German artist
- February 26 – Michael Bolton, American pop singer
- February 28
- Osmo Vänskä, Finnish orchestral conductor
- Ricky Steamboat, American professional wrestler
- March 1 – Richard Bruton, Irish politician and economist
- March 2 – Russell Feingold, U. S. Senator
- March 3
- Arthur Antunes Coimbra, Brazilian footballer and manager
- Robyn Hitchcock, British singer-songwriter
- March 4
- Emilio Estefan, Cuban percussionist
- Rose Laurens, French singer-songwriter
- Kay Lenz, American actress
- March 6
- Jan Kjærstad, Norwegian author
- Jacklyn Zeman, American actress
- March 10 – Debbie Brill, Canadian high jumper
- March 11 – Bernie LaBarge, Canadian guitarist/vocalist
- March 12
- Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepalese politician
- Carl Hiaasen, American author
- Ron Jeremy, American pornographic actor
- March 16
- Isabelle Huppert, French actress
- Bryan Duncan, American Christian musician
- Richard Stallman, American free software proponent
- March 17 – Filemon Lagman, Filipino revolutionary (d. 2001)
- March 18 – Takashi Yoshimatsu, Japanese composer
- March 23 – Chaka Khan, American soul singer
- March 26
- Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island
- Elaine Chao, American politician and wife of Senator Mitch McConnell
- March 29 – Pekinel sisters, Turkish concert pianists
- April 2 – Jim Allister, Irish politician
- April 3 – Sandra Boynton, American author, songwriter, and illustrator
- April 4 – Robert Bertrand, Canadian politician
- April 6 – Andy Hertzfeld, American computer programmer
- April 9 – John Howard, English singer-songwriter
- April 11 – Andrew Wiles, British-born mathematician
- April 14 – Eric Tsang, Hong Kong actor
- April 16
- J. Neil Schulman, American writer and activist
- Peter Garrett, Australian musician and politician (Midnight Oil)
- April 18 – Rick Moranis, Canadian actor
- April 19 – Ruby Wax, American-born British comedian
- April 20 – Sebastian Faulks, English novelist
- April 22 – Juhani Komulainen, Finnish composer
- April 24 – Eric Bogosian, American actor, playwright, monologist, and novelist
- April 28
- Roberto Bolaño, Chilean author (d. 2003)
- Kim Gordon, American rock musician
- April 29 – Nikolai Budarin, Russian cosmonaut
- April 30 – Merrill Osmond, American pop singer
- May 2 – Valery Gergiev, Russian/Ossetian conductor
- May 4 – Salman Hashimikov, Soviet heavyweight wrestler
- May 5 – Dieter Zetsche, German auto executive
- May 6
- May 7 – Ian McKay, British soldier, (VC recipient) (d. 1982)
- May 8 – Alex Van Halen, Dutch-born American rock musician
- May 15
- George Brett, American Major League Baseball player
- Mike Oldfield, English composer
- May 16 – Pierce Brosnan, Irish actor
- May 19 – Victoria Wood, British actress
- May 20 – Robert Doyle, Australian politician
- May 24 – Alfred Molina, English actor
- May 26 – Michael Portillo, English politician
- May 29
- Aleksandr Abdulov, Russian actor (d. 2008)
- Danny Elfman, American composer
- May 30 – Colm Meaney, Irish actor
- May 31 – Kathie Sullivan, American singer
- June 1 – David Berkowitz, American serial killer
- June 4 – Susumu Ojima, Japanese entrepreneur
- June 7
- Johnny Clegg, South African zulu musician
- Dougie Donnelly, Scottish television broadcaster
- June 8 – Ivo Sanader, Croatian prime minister
- June 10 – John Edwards, American politician
- June 13 – Tim Allen, American actor
- June 20 – Ulrich Mühe, German actor (d. 2007)
- June 21 – Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan (d. 2007)
- June 22
- Cyndi Lauper, American singer
- Wim Eijk, Dutch archbishop
- June 24 – Ivo Lill, Estonian artist
- June 29
- Don Dokken, American rock singer and musician
- Colin Hay, Scottish-born Australian singer/songwriter
- July 1 – Jadranka Kosor, Croatian politician
- July 6 – Nanci Griffith, American folk singer-songwriter
- July 9 – François Diederich, Luxembourgish chemist
- July 10 – Rik Emmett, Singer\Songwriter and lead guitarist of the Canadian rock band Triumph
- July 14 – Bebe Buell, American model and singer
- July 15
- Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of Haiti
- Mila Pivnicki, wife of Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney
- July 19 – Shoichi Nakagawa, Japanese politician (d. 2009)
- July 21 – Jeff Fatt, purple Wiggles from 1991-2013.
- July 22 – Sylvia Chang, Taiwanese actress
- July 23 – Najib Abdul Razak, current Prime Minister of Malaysia
- July 24 – Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator
- July 25 – Tim Gunn, American fashion expert
- July 27 – Yahoo Serious, Australian filmmaker
- July 29
- Ken Burns, American documentary filmmaker
- Geddy Lee, Canadian rock musician ( Rush)
- August 1 – Steven Krasner, American sportswriter
- August 2 – Butch Patrick, American child actor and musician
- August 5 – Rick Mahler, American baseball player (d. 2005)
- August 8 – Nigel Mansell, English Formula One driver
- August 9 – Robert Cray, American musician
- August 11 – Hulk Hogan, American professional wrestler
- August 12 – Carlos Mesa, former President of Bolivia
- August 14 – Cliff Johnson, American game designer
- August 15
- Carol Thatcher, British television personality, daughter of Margaret Thatcher
- Mark Thatcher, British businessman, son of Margaret Thatcher
- August 16 – Kathie Lee Gifford, American singer and actress
- August 18 – Louie Gohmert, American politician
- August 19 – Benoît Régent, French actor (d. 1994)
- August 24 – Ron Holloway, American tenor saxophonist
- August 26 – Pat Sharkey, Irish footballer
- August 27 – Alex Lifeson, Canadian rock musician ( Rush)
- August 29 – James Quesada, Nicaraguan-born anthropologist
- August 30 - Robert Parish, American basketball player
- August 31 – György Károly, Hungarian author
- September 2 – John Zorn, American musician
- September 4
- Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, American actor
- Fatih Terim, Turkish footballer and manager
- September 6 – Anne Lockhart, American actress
- September 7 – Mammootty, Indian actor
- September 8 – Stu Ungar, American poker player (d. 1998)
- September 10 – Amy Irving, American actress
- September 11 – Lesley Visser, American sportscaster and journalist
- September 12
- Nan Goldin, American photographer
- Stephen Sprouse, American fashion designer, artist, and photographer (d. 2004)
- September 13 - Ann Dusenberry, American film actress
- September 18 – Betsy Boze, American dean and CEO, Kent State University Stark
- September 21 – Andrew Heermans, American musician, recording engineer, music producer
- September 22 – Ségolène Royal, French politician
- September 23 – Alexey Maslov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Ground Forces
- September 27 – Greg Ham, Australian rock musician ( Men at Work)
- September 29
- Denis Potvin, Canadian Hall of Fame hockey player
- Randy West, American radio personality and game show announcer
- September 30 – Deborah Allen, American singer
- October 1 – Grete Waitz, Norwegian athlete (d. 2011)
- October 2 – Brandon Wilson, American author and explorer
- October 4 - Kerry Sherman, American actress
- October 9 – Tony Shalhoub, American actor
- October 12
- Serge Lepeltier, French politician
- Les Dennis, British comedian and television presenter
- October 14 – Shelley Ackerman, American astrologer, actress, writer
- October 15
- Larry Miller, American actor and comedian
- Tito Jackson, American singer and guitarist ( The Jackson 5)
- October 16 – Martha Smith, American model and actress
- October 21 – Hugh Wolff, American orchestral conductor
- October 22 – Loyiso Nongxa, South African mathematician
- October 24
- Steven Hatfill, American physician, virologist and bio-weapons expert
- David Wright, Composer and producer, co-founder of AD Music
- October 26 – Keith Strickland, American musician ( The B-52s)
- October 27
- Robert Picardo, American actor
- Peter Firth, British actor
- October 31 – Michael J. Anderson, American actor
- November 1 – Susan Tse, Hong Kong actress and opera singer
- November 3 – Dennis Miller, American comedian and radio host
- November 4 – Carlos Gutierrez, American politician
- November 5 – Florentino V. Floro, Filipino dwarf judge
- November 8 – John Musker, American animation director
- November 11 – Harley Venton, American actor
- November 13 – Waswo X. Waswo, American photographer
- November 14 – Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of France
- November 18 – Alan Moore, English writer and magician
- November 19
- Robert Beltran, American actor
- Tom Villard, American actor (d. 1994)
- November 23 – Francis Cabrel, French singer
- November 24 – Tod Machover, American composer
- November 25 – Graham Eadie, Australian rugby player
- November 27 – Boris Grebenshchikov, Russian rock musician, one of the "fathers" of Russian rock
- November 29
- Vlado Kreslin, Slovenian singer
- Alex Grey, American artist
- Christine Pascal, French actress, director and screenwriter (d. 1996)
- December 2 - Joel Fuhrman, American certified family physician
- December 6 – Gary Ward, American baseball player
- December 8
- Kim Basinger, American actress
- Norman G. Finkelstein, American political scientist
- Sam Kinison, American comedian (d. 1992)
- December 13
- Ben Bernanke, American economist and Federal Reserve System chairman
- Bob Gainey, Canadian hockey player
- December 17 – Ikue Mori, Japanese drummer, composer, and graphic designer
- December 18 – Khas-Magomed Hadjimuradov, Chechen bard
- December 21 – András Schiff, Hungarian concert pianist and conductor
- December 22 – David Leisner, American guitarist and composer
- December 28 – Tatsumi Fujinami, Japanese professional wrestler
- December 29 – Stanley Williams, American gang member (d. 2005)
- December 30 – Dana Key, American Christian musician, guitarist and preacher ( DeGarmo & Key) (d. 2010)
- December 31 – James Remar, American actor
- Peter Lord, British film producer and director
- Jing Jing Luo, Chinese composer
- Phil Ortiz, American animator
- January 1 – Hank Williams, American musician (b. 1923)
- January 4
- January 9 – Marguerite Pitre, Canadian murderer (executed) (b. 1909?)
- January 13 – Edward Marsh, English polymath and civil servant (b. 1872)
- January 21 – Mary Mannering, early 20th century English stage actress (b. 1876)
- January 28 – James Scullin, 9th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1876)
- January 30 – Lionel Belmore, English actor (b. 1867)
- February 2 – Alan Curtis, American actor (b. 1909)
- February 5 – Iuliu Maniu, Romanian politician (b. 1873)
- February 9 – Cecil Hepworth, English director (b. 1874)
- February 12 – Hal Colebatch, Australian politician (b. 1872)
- February 19 – Nobutake Kondō, Japanese admiral (b. 1886)
- February 23 – Sir Cecil Hunter Rodwell, British colonial administrator (b. 1874)
- February 24 – Gerd von Rundstedt, German field marshal (b. 1875)
- February 25 – Sergei Winogradsky, Russian scientist (b. 1856)
- February 27 – Paul Hurst, American actor (b. 1888)
- March 2 – James Lightbody, American middle distance runner (b. 1882)
- March 3 – James J. Jeffries, American boxing champion (b. 1875)
- March 5
- March 7 – Edward Sedgwick, American director (b. 1892)
- March 13 – Johan Laidoner, Commander-in-chief of the Estonian Army (b. 1884)
- March 14 – Klement Gottwald, 5th President of Czechoslovakia (b. 1896)
- March 20 – Graciliano Ramos, Brazilian writer (b. 1892)
- March 23
- March 24
- March 28 – Jim Thorpe, American athlete (b. 1887)
- March 31 – Ivan Lebedeff, Russian actor (b. 1895)
- April 2
- April 4 – King Carol II of Romania (b. 1893)
- April 9 – Eddie Cochems, American father of the forward pass in football (b. 1877)
- April 20 – Erich Weinert, German writer, Communist, and member of the KPD (b. 1890)
- April 25 – Ron Clements, American animation director and producer
- April 27 – Maud Gonne, English-born Irish revolutionary, feminist and actress (b. 1866)
- April 29 – Alice Prin, "Kiki de Montparnasse", French artists’ model (b. 1901)
- May 16 – Django Reinhardt, Belgian musician (b. 1910)
- May 19 – Dámaso Berenguer, Spanish politician (b. 1873)
- May 29 – Man Mountain Dean, American professional wrestler (b. 1891)
- May 30 – Dooley Wilson, American actor (b. 1886)
- June 1 – Alex James, Scottish football (soccer) player (b. 1901)
- June 5
- June 9 – Godfrey Tearle, American actor (b. 1884)
- June 15 – Henry Scattergood, American cricketer (b. 1877)
- June 18 – René Fonck, French aviator, top Allied World War I Flying Ace (b. 1894)
- June 19
- June 26 – Lavrentiy Beria, Soviet politician (b. 1899)
- July 9 – Annie Kenney, British working-class suffragette (b. 1879)
- July 12 – Herbert Rawlinson, English actor (b. 1885)
- July 16 – Hilaire Belloc, French-born British writer and historian (b. 1870)
- July 17 – Maude Adams, American actress (b. 1872)
- July 26 – Nikolaos Plastiras, Greek general and politician (b. 1883)
- July 29 – Richard William Pearse, New Zealand airplane pioneer (b. 1877)
- July 31 – Robert Taft, American politician, United States Senate Majority Leader (b. 1889)
- August 7 – Abner Powell, Major league baseball player (b. 1860)
- August 11 – Tazio Nuvolari, Italian racing driver (b. 1892)
- August 15 – Ludwig Prandtl, German physicist (b. 1875)
- August 22 – Jim Tabor, American baseball player (b. 1916)
- August 25 – Jessie Aspinall, Australian doctor, first female junior medical resident at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (b. 1880)
- August 30 – Gaetano Merola, Italian conductor (b. 1881)
- September 2 – General Jonathan Wainwright, American Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1883)
- September 5 – Francis Ford, American actor and director (b. 1881)
- September 7 – Nobuyuki Abe, Japanese politician and military leader (b. 1875)
- September 8 – Fred M. Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1890)
- September 12
- September 15 – Erich Mendelsohn, German architect (b. 1887)
- September 17 – Wenxiu, consort of China's last emperor Puyi (b. 1909)
- September 27 – Hans Fritzsche, Senior Nazi official, one of only three acquitted at the Nuremberg Trials (b. 1900)
- September 30
- September 26 – Xu Beihong, Chinese painter (b. 1895)
- September 28 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer (b. 1889)
- October 3 – Arnold Bax, English composer (b. 1887)
- October 6 – Porter Hall, American actor (b. 1888)
- October 8
- October 11 – Robin Bush, younger sister of President George Walker Bush (b. 1949)
- October 12 – Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, Swedish politician (b. 1862)
- October 13 – Millard Mitchell, American actor (b. 1903)
- October 14 – Arthur Wimperis, English illustrator and playwright (b. 1874)
- October 25 – Holger Pedersen, Dutch linguist (b. 1867)
- October 27 – Thomas Wass, English cricketer (b. 1873)
- November 8
- November 9
- November 21 – Larry Shields, American musician (b. 1893)
- November 22 – Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, Indian/Pakistani historian, biographer, littérateur and scholar of Islam (b. 1884)
- November 27 – Eugene O'Neill, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
- November 28 – Rudolf Bauer, German-born painter (b. 1889)
- November 29
- November 30 – Francis Picabia, French painter and poet (b. 1879)
- December 10 – Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Indian-born Islamic scholar and translator (b. 1872)
- December 14 – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, American writer (b. 1896)
- December 19 – Robert Andrews Millikan, American physicist Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1868)
- December 25
- William Haselden, Spanish cartoonist (b. 1872)
- Lee Shubert, Polish-born theatre owner and operator (b. 1871)
- December 27
- December 31 – Albert Plesman, Dutch aviation pioneer (b. 1889)