There is nothing like a birthday. The cake, the presents, the attention. It is all about you! Unfortunately, not every birthday can be great. In this list we are going to focus on the lives of these twenty famous folks who passed away on their birthdays. Some of them were entertainers, while another played sports and yet another was part of ancient royalty. One of them was an outlaw, but we included him anyway because it stinks to die on your special day.
While these occurrences were mostly coincidental, it sure is interesting. Still, it is nice to use the coincidence of dying on one’s birthday to really look at what affect they had on the world both during and after their lives. Some of these people made great gains for women or minorities. Others simply gave us a nice reason to turn on the television or radio. Some made a world of difference in their chosen craft. Some of these people are still highly revered even today. After all, who hasn’t heard of Shakespeare?
From politics to music, to singing and acting, we hope you enjoy our list of 20 Celebrities Who Coincidentally Died on their Birthdays.
20 Ingrid Bergman
British actress Ingrid Bergman was probably most famous for her role in the huge movie hit, Casablanca. She received seven Oscar nods, three of which she won. She was born and died on August 29, passing away in the early 1980s. She was not only talented, but extremely beautiful as well. Apparently Roberto Rossellini thought so too. He and Bergman were involved in an affair, which occurred behind the scenes and culminated in Bergman becoming pregnant with Rossellini’s child. Amazingly, Bergman was able to recover from the extramarital affair, and she continued to work well into her golden years. She was 67 years old when she died.
19 William Shakespeare
While some say that Shakespeare died on his birthday, others are more skeptical about it. The playwright lived a long time ago; back in the 16th century. Therefore, there is a bit of debate about Shakespeare’s death. He died young, as was the norm back in the day. Add to that the fact that there were so many diseases floating around, and it becomes quite easy to understand why the details of his death are a bit blurry. What with all of the typhus, pneumonia, and tuberculosis going around, it seemed that people were dropping like flies left and right!
18 George Washington Carver
This man was not only an awesome scientific mind, but he educated people as well. He was a mainstay in the southern United States, born in Missouri and dying in Alabama. Carver passed away on January 5, 1943 and achieved fame through his ingenious discoveries involving the humble peanut. Since he spent so much time studying planting and crops, he was a shoo-in for the scientific gains he achieved in peanut planting. It takes over 500 peanuts to make just one (12-ounce) jar of delicious peanut butter, and we can thank Carver for that! The man passed away due to anemia (an iron deficiency in the blood.)
17 Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan was one of the biggest names in feminism. She was quite a force to be reckoned with! Friedan was not afraid to ruffle the feathers on either side of the political spectrum, and her guts and nerves of steel helped to catapult her to a pristine spot in the women’s movement. She passed away in 2006, on her 85th birthday, but she left behind an impressive legacy, one that would inspire and motivate women for years to come. She penned a book in the 1960s that challenged traditional gender roles. Her ideas were wild and imaginative, but helped to pave the way for women’s equality as we know it today.
16 Machine Gun Kelly
As the name would suggest, Machine Gun Kelly was a notorious fella in American history. He robbed banks, kidnapped victims, and stole front page news with his criminal antics. It almost seems fitting that such a wild and reckless dude would pass away on his birthday! Born and died on July 18th, Kelly found himself in jail and among dangerous company throughout his life. He also spent time in the same prison as Al Capone at one point. His cause of death was heart failure, and he achieved such notorious fame that he is placed on the same level of importance as Bonnie and Clyde.
15 Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.
This man is the son of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. Even so, the younger FDR was also prevalent in American politics, serving as a lawyer, businessman, and politician. He also served in the Navy as a junior naval officer and was awarded for his service during World War II and the battle of Casablanca. After the war, the junior Franklin D. Roosevelt headed to New York to work in law. In 1949 he joined the House of Representatives and he even took charge of a farm during his lifetime! He died on August 17th, 1988, on his 74th birthday.
14 Mel Street
A cool name for a cool dude. Mel Street was a country singer in America, and while the finale to his life was less than ideal, his musical career was pretty impressive. He was the star of his own television show which aired on Saturday nights for those groovy kids way back when. Before he moved to a large record label (GRT Records), he belonged to a much smaller company called Tandem. He made it to the Top 20 Hits list two times with “You Make Me Feel More Like a Man” and “Forbidden Angel.” Unfortunately, fame took its toll on Street, and he became very depressed. On his birthday (October 21, 1978), he took his own life.
13 Gertrude Astor
What took Gertrude Astor out was a stroke, which unfortunately ended her life on her 90th birthday. Born and died on November 9th, she did have a long life. Even though she lived to be 90 years old, she had never taken a husband to wed, but she did play the trombone and saxophone! She also was the first female actor to make a deal with Universal Studios (this happened way back in 1915.) The multi-talented lady starred in several silent films, such as Polly Redhead, The Lion Man, and The Cat and the Canary. She also starred in a number of comedies as well!
12 Kamehameha V
Born December 11, 1830 and dying December 11, 1872, Kamehameha V was also known as Lot Kapuaiwa (to his Hawaiian brethren.) He was a ruler in the Kingdom of Hawaii back in the mid-1800s. He used his kingship to ease the restrictions on rulers made in the constitution of 1852 in the Kingdom. In fact, he sought to create a new constitution, one that would grant him more kingly power. Unfortunately, Kamehameha V had poor health, and he was reported to have an internal abscess. In other words, he was morbidly obese. Too much fat around his heart ended up resulting in his death.
11 Levi P. Morton
Levi P. Morton may be an oft-forgotten name in United States history, but he was the 22nd vice president of the country. He was born on May 16, 1824 and died the same day in 1920. He served as governor of his native New York before advancing to vice presidency. He was asked to be the running mate for James A. Garfield, but he refused. Instead, he became the veep for President Benjamin Harrison. Morton lived a long life and served in a lengthy political career. He died at the ripe old age of 96. He also had an affinity for animals, and was the President of the New York Zoological Society from 1987 to 1909.
10 Johnny Longden
Talk about a dreary Valentine’s Day! Johnny Longden was born and died on February 14. He passed away at the age of 96 and was a Triple Crown winner. He was a British jockey and rode atop a whopping 6,032 winning horses throughout his racing career, which spanned nearly four decades. He was quite an impressive jockey, and finally stopped racing in 1966. Yet he did not abandon his equestrian desires. He trained horses and even led one of them (Majestic Prince) to victory in the Kentucky Derby. That record made history, as Longden became the first person to both ride and train a winning horse.
9 Grace Bradley
The gorgeous Grace Bradley was born in Dana Point, California on September 21, 1913. She died quite recently, in 2010 on the same day. She had a movie career that often saw her playing the “good girl” and she was a prevalent acting figure in the 1930 and 1940s. Besides acting, she could sing, dance, and play the piano. She was a quadruple threat! She started performing in nightclubs to help out her mother with finances, and she soon rose to stardom. At the tender young age of 19, Bradley starred in Too Much Harmony. Later in life she ended up fighting for the rights to some of her films.
8 llen Drury
Allen Drury was a famed novelist and penned the famous Advise and Consent. He died at the age of 80 on September 2, 1998. His novel won a Pulitzer Prize and was a ground-breaking book in the political sphere. For his part, Drury worked as a reporter for The New York Times and wrote 18 other novels, as well as 5 nonfiction tomes. He was known for playing with morality in his writings and was not afraid to voice his opinions through his novels and characters. He was a private man, favoring books over intimate relationships. He passed away after suffering from cardiac arrest on his birthday.
7 Corrie ten Boom
What a name! Corrie ten Boom died on April 15, 1983, her 91st birthday. She was famous for helping persecuted Jews flee and hide from the Nazis during the Holocaust. According to reports, Corrie ten Boom and her family helped about 800 people during that horrific time. She was a religious woman from the Netherlands and she and her family ended up being outed by a Dutch neighbor. They were then sent to prison for helping Jews. Corrie survived the ordeal and wrote all about it in a book called The Hiding Place. She went back to the Netherlands to found a rehabilitation center for those who had survived the Nazi concentration camps. A Christian, her ministry was international, reaching over 60 countries.
6 Fran Warren
Fran Warren, whose real name was Francis Wolfe, was a singer in America and lived from March 4, 1926 to March 4, 2013. She was very famous for singing “Sunday Kind of Love”, which was released back in 1947. Besides singing, she performed in nightclubs and acted for over five decades. She signed to RCA Records as a solo artist but also sang a highly successful duet with Tony Martin. She then transitioned to MGM Records. Warren died of natural causes due to old age, and left behind albums such as Mood Indigo, Something’s Coming, and Come Into My World.
5 Sidney Bechet
If you love jazz, then you probably have Heard of Sidney Bechet. Born on May 14, 1897 and died on the same day in 1959, Bechet achieved a sky-high level of fame with his musical prowess. He even has a society named after him! Known as the “Almost-forgotten Jazz Immortal,” Bechet paved the way for many jazz musicians, especially those in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. Bechet was the perfect man for the job, considering his Creole roots and expert flute-playing. He played waltzes, quadrilles, as well as in brothels and on the streets. He was also well-known for his saxophone skills.
Yes, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is named after him, but Rafael has much more to his name than that! He was one of the most prominent artists of the Renaissance period in Italy. His classicism and variety of madonnas are still lauded throughout the art world. He also created a work of art for the Palace of the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Born to a painter, Rafael began his craft at a young age. He was Perugino’s apprentice before taking a cue from da Vinci, Michelangelo, and the like. He is most famous for his fresco painting.
3 Maury Chaykin
Canadian-American actor Maury Chaykin was born on July 27, 1949 and died the same day in 2010 at the relatively young age of 61 years old. He passed away due to kidney illness and was famous for acting for over three decades in various films. Some of his most prestigious acting can be seen in Dances With Wolves and The Sweet Hereafter. He was the recipient of a Genie Award (the Canadian Oscar0 as well as two Gemini Awards (the Canadian Emmys.) More recently, he worked as a producer in the television show Entourage, and he starred in Less Than Kind, a Canadian television series.
2 Ella Baker
You can’t think of civil rights without mentioning Ella Baker. She worked with the NAACP (becoming field secretary), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Born on December 13, 1903 and dying the same day in 1986, Baker grew up in North Carolina and was able to see racial discrimination first-hand. She moved up north to New York City after earning her university degree. She traveled, fundraised, and recruited civil rights activists. In 1981, a documentary came out to chronicle her life and success. She also adopted the Swahili name, Fundi, which means “a person who passes down a craft to the next generation.”
1 Joe Tinker
We needed to add an athlete to this list, no? Joe Tinker was most famous for being a shortstop and he played on various baseball teams, such as the Chicago Cubs, the Orphans, the Whales, and the Reds. He was born on July 27, 1880 in Kansas and died the same day in 1948 in Ohio. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame shortly before he died. He was a true pro in the hit-and-run plays and had a lifetime batting average of .266. He stole a total of 336 bases and played 13 full baseball seasons throughout his career. He was known as being a batter with a powerful swing and was a keen analyst of the game.