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1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (dominical letter CB) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1988th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 988th year of the 2nd millennium, the 88th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1980s decade.
In the 20th century, the year 1988 has the most Roman numeral digits (11).
1988 was a crucial year in the early history of the Internet—it was the year of the first well-known computer virus, the 1988 Internet worm. The first permanent intercontinental Internet link was made between the United States (NSFNET) and Europe (Nordunet) as well as the first Internet-based chat protocol, Internet Relay Chat. The concept of the World Wide Web was first discussed at CERN in 1988.
The Soviet Union began its major restructuring towards a mixed economy at the beginning of 1988 and began its gradual collapse. The first extrasolar planet, Gamma Cephei Ab (confirmed in 2002) was detected this year and the World Health Organization began its mission to eradicate polio, a feat that is nearly complete as of 2015 .
- January – The cargo ship Khian Sea deposits 4,000 tons of toxic waste in Haiti after wandering around the Atlantic for sixteen months.
- January 1 – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is established, creating the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.
- January 2
- January 7–8 – In the Afghan War, 39 men of the Soviet Airborne Troops from the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment fight off an attack by 200 to 250 Mujahideen in the Battle for Hill 3234, later dramatized in the Russian film The 9th Company
- January 13 – Taiwan President Chiang Ching-kuo dies in Taipei; Vice-President Lee Teng-hui becomes president.
- January 15 – In Jerusalem, Israeli police and Palestinian protestors clash at the Dome of the Rock; several police and at least 70 Palestinians are injured.
- January 17 – The long running Australian soap opera, Home and Away premieres on Seven Network.
- January 25 – U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush and CBS News anchor Dan Rather clash over Bush's role in the Iran–Contra affair during a contentious television interview.
- January 26 – The Phantom of the Opera, the longest running Broadway play ever, opens.
- January 29 – The Midwest Classic Conference, a U.S. college athletic conference, is formed.
- March 3 – The Liberal Democrats, a new British political party, are formed.
- March 6 – Operation Flavius: A Special Air Service team of the British Army shoots dead 3 unarmed members of a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) Active service unit in Gibraltar.
- March 8
- Two United States Army helicopters collide in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, killing 17 servicemen.
- U.S. presidential candidate George H. W. Bush defeats Bob Dole in numerous Republican primaries and caucuses on "Super Tuesday". The bipartisan primary/caucus calendar, designed by Democrats to help solidify their own nominee early, backfires when none of the 6 competing candidates are able to break out of the pack in the day's Democratic contests. Jesse Jackson, however, wins several Southern state primaries.
- March 13
- March 16
- March 17
- March 19 – Corporals killings in Belfast: Two British Army corporals are abducted, beaten and shot dead by Irish republicans after driving into the funeral cortege of IRA members killed in the Milltown Cemetery attack.
- March 20 – Eritrean War of Independence: Having defeated the Nadew Command, the EPLF enters the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.
- March 24
- March 25 – The Candle demonstration in Bratislava, Slovakia is the first mass demonstration of the 1980s against the socialist government in Czechoslovakia.
- March 26 – U.S. presidential candidate Jesse Jackson defeats Michael Dukakis in the Michigan Democratic caucuses, becoming the temporary front-runner for the party's nomination. Dick Gephardt withdraws his candidacy after his campaign speeches against imported automobiles fail to earn him much support in Detroit.
- March 29 – African National Congress representative Dulcie September is assassinated in Paris.
- May 4 – PEPCON disaster in Henderson, Nevada: A major explosion at an industrial solid-fuel rocket plant causes damage extending up to 10 miles (16 km) away, including Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport.
- May 5 – The Ouvéa cave hostage taking ends in Ouvéa, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia.
- May 14 – Bus collision near Carrollton, Kentucky: A drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 71, hits a converted school bus carrying a church youth group from Radcliff, Kentucky. The resulting fire kills 27, making it tied for 1st in the U.S. for most fatalities involving 2 vehicles to the present day. Coincidentally, the other 2-vehicle accident involving a bus that also killed 27 occurred in Prestonburg, Kentucky on February 28, 1958.
- May 15 – Soviet war in Afghanistan: After more than 8 years of fighting, the Soviet Army begins withdrawing from Afghanistan.
- May 16
- May 24 – Section 28 (outlawing promotion of homosexuality in schools) is passed as law by Parliament in the United Kingdom.
- May 27 – Microsoft releases Windows 2.1.
- May 31 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan addresses 600 Moscow State University students, during his visit to the Soviet Union.
- US congress approved expansion of Medicare benefits to protect against "catastrophic" medical costs; the act was repealed in November 1989.
- June 5 – The first National Cancer Survivors Day is held.
- June 6 – Elizabeth II strips jockey Lester Piggott of his OBE, following his jailing for tax irregularities.
- June 10 –14 – Spontaneous 100,000 strong mass night-singing demonstrations in Estonian SSR eventually give name to the Singing Revolution.
- June 11
- The name of the General Public License (GPL) is mentioned for the first time.
- Wembley Stadium hosts a concert featuring stars from the fields of music, comedy and film, in celebration of the 70th birthday of imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela.
- June 14 – A small wildfire starts in Montana just north of the boundary for Yellowstone National Park. The Storm Creek fire expands into the park, then merges with dozens of other drought-inspired fires. Eventually, over 750,000 acres (3,000 km2) of Yellowstone – 36% of the park's area – burns before firefighters gain control in late September.
- June 23 – NASA scientist James Hansen testifies to the Senate that man-made global warming has begun.
- June 25 – The Netherlands defeats the Soviet Union 2–0 to win Euro 88.
- June 26 – Air France Flight 296 crashes into the tops of trees beyond the runway on a demonstration flight at Habsheim, France; 3 passengers are killed.
- June 27 – The Gare de Lyon rail accident occurs in Paris, France as a commuter train headed inbound to the terminal crashes into a stationary outbound train, killing 56 and injuring 57.
- June 28 – Four workers are exposed to poisonous gas at a metal-plating plant in Auburn, Indiana, in the worst confined-space industrial accident in U.S. history (a fifth victim dies two days later).
- June 29 – Morrison v. Olson: The United States Supreme Court upholds the law allowing special prosecutors to investigate suspected crimes by executive branch officials.
- June 30 – Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrates four bishops at Écône, Switzerland for his apostolate, along with Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer, without a papal mandate.
- August 5
- August 6 – 7 – Tompkins Square Park Police Riot in New York City: A riot erupts in Tompkins Square Park when police attempt to enforce a newly passed curfew for the park. Bystanders, artists, residents, homeless people and political activists are caught up in the police action that takes place during the night of August 6 and early into August 7.
- August 8 – 8888 Uprising: Thousands of protesters in Burma, now known as Myanmar, are killed during anti-government demonstrations.
- August 11 – Al-Qaeda is formed by Osama bin Laden.
- August 14 – Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Italian automobile manufacturer Ferrari, dies at the age of 90, after a long illness.
- August 17 – Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Lewis Raphel, are killed in a plane crash near Bahawalpur.
- August 18 – The Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana nominates George H. W. Bush for President and Dan Quayle for Vice President of the United States of America.
- August 19 – A truce begins in the Iran–Iraq War.
- August 20 – The Iran–Iraq War ends, with an estimated one million lives lost.
- August 21 – Major earthquake of magnitude 6.6 hits the Nepal-India border; an estimated 1,004 people are killed and more than 16,000 injured.
- August 25 – A fire destroys part of Chiado quarter, in Lisbon's historical center.
- August 26 – Mehran Karimi Nasseri, "The terminal man", decides to stay at the De Gaulle Airport in Paris, where he will continue to reside until August 1, 2006.
- August 28 – Seventy-five people are killed and 346 injured in one of the worst air show disasters in history at Germany's Ramstein Air Base, when three jets from the Italian air demonstration team, Frecce Tricolori, collide, sending one of the aircraft crashing into the crowd of spectators.
- October 5
- Thousands riot in Algiers, Algeria against the National Liberation Front government; by October 10 the army has killed and tortured about 500 people in crushing the riots.
- Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet loses a national plebiscite on his rule; he relinquishes power in 1990.
- In Omaha, Nebraska, in the only vice presidential debate of the 1988 U.S. presidential election, the Republican vice presidential nominee, Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana, insists he has as much experience in government as John F. Kennedy did when he sought the presidency in 1960. His Democratic opponent, Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, replies, "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
- October 7 – War of the Worlds premieres in syndication.
- October 9 – The 1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup culminates in Australia's 25–12 victory over New Zealand at Auckland's Eden Park before 47,363 spectators.
- October 12
- October 13 – In the second U.S. presidential debate, held by U.C.L.A., the Democratic party nominee, Michael Dukakis, is asked by journalist Bernard Shaw of CNN if he would support the death penalty if his wife, Kitty, were to be raped and murdered. Gov. Dukakis' reply, voicing his opposition to capital punishment in any and all circumstances, is later said to have been a major reason for the eventual failure of his campaign for the White House.
- October 15 – Kirk Gibson hits a dramatic home run to win Game 1 of the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, over the Oakland Athletics, by a score of 5–4.
- October 19 – The United Kingdom bans broadcast interviews with IRA members. The BBC gets around this stricture through the use of professional actors.
- October 27 – Ronald Reagan decides to tear down the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow because of Soviet listening devices in the building structure.
- October 28 – Abortion: 48 hours after announcing it was abandoning RU-486, French manufacturer Roussel Uclaf states that it will resume distribution of the drug.
- October 29 – Pakistan's General Rahimuddin Khan resigns from his post as the governor of Sindh, following attempts by the President of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, to limit the vast powers Gen. Rahimuddin had accumulated.
- October 30
- November 1 – In the Israeli election, Likud wins 47 seats, Labour wins 49, but Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir remains in office.
- November 2 – The Morris worm, the first computer worm distributed via the Internet, written by Robert Tappan Morris, is launched from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S.
- November 3 – 5 – Thousands of South Korean students demonstrate against former president Chun Doo-hwan.
- November 3 – Sri Lankan Tamil mercenaries try to overthrow the Maldivian government. At President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's request, the Indian military suppresses the coup attempt within 24 hours.
- November 8 – United States presidential election, 1988: George H. W. Bush is elected over Michael Dukakis, becoming the first sitting Vice President of the United States in 152 years to be elected as President of the United States.
- November 10 – The United States Air Force acknowledges the existence of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk in a Pentagon press conference.
- November 11 – In Sacramento, California, police find a body buried in the lawn of 60-year-old boardinghouse landlady Dorothea Puente (7 bodies are eventually found and Puente is convicted of 3 murders and sentenced to life in prison).
- November 13 – Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian law student in Portland, Oregon, is beaten to death by members of the Neo-Nazi group East Side White Pride.
- November 15
- November 16
- The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR adopts the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration in which the laws of the Estonian SSR are declared supreme over those of the Soviet Union. The USSR declares it unconstitutional on 26 November.
- In the first open election in more than a decade, voters in Pakistan choose populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be Prime Minister. Elections are held as planned despite head of state Zia-ul-Haq's death earlier in August.
- November 18 – War on Drugs: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill providing the death penalty for murderous drug traffickers.
- November 21
- November 22 – In Palmdale, California, the first prototype B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is revealed.
- November 23 – Former Korean president Chun Doo Hwan publicly apologizes for corruption during his presidency, announcing he will go into exile.
- November 24 – The popular American cult television comedy Mystery Science Theater 3000 makes its debut on KTMA.
- November 30 – Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. buys RJR Nabisco for US$25.07 billion in the biggest leveraged buyout deal of all time.
- February 2 – Meghan Collison, Canadian model
- February 3
- February 4 – Carly Patterson, American gymnast
- February 6 – Bailey Hanks, American singer, actress and dancer
- February 5 – Karin Ontiveros, Mexican beauty queen
- February 7
- February 9 – Lotte Friis, Danish swimmer
- February 11 – Li Chun, Chinese singer
- February 12
- February 13 – Aston Merrygold, English singer (JLS)
- February 14
- February 15
- February 16 – Kim Soo-hyun, South Korean actor
- February 17 – Natascha Kampusch, Austrian television hostess
- February 18
- February 20
- February 21 – Matthias de Zordo, German javelin thrower
- February 22
- February 24 – Rodrigue Beaubois, French basketball player
- February 27 – Mitch Mustain, professional football and baseball player
- February 28 – Markéta Irglová, Czech songwriter
- February 29 – Lena Gercke, German fashion model
- March 1 – Trevor Cahill, American baseball player
- March 2
- March 3
- March 4
- March 6
- March 8
- March 10 – Ivan Rakitić, Croatian and Swiss footballer
- March 11
- March 12 – Elly Jackson, English singer-songwriter (La Roux)
- March 13 – Tiffany Two, World's oldest cat (d. 2015)
- March 14
- Stephen Curry, American professional basketball player
- Sasha Grey, American actress, model, author, musician, and former pornographic actress
- March 15 – James Reimer, Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender
- March 16 – Jhené Aiko, American singer-songwriter
- March 17 – Grimes, Canadian artist musician and music video director
- March 19 – Clayton Kershaw, American baseball player
- March 21 – Lee Cattermole, English footballer
- March 22 – Tania Raymonde, American actress
- March 24 – Finn Jones, English actor
- March 25
- March 26 – Suvi Koponen, Finnish fashion model
- March 27
- March 28
- March 29 – Kelly Sweet, American singer
- March 30 – Richard Sherman, American football player
- April 1
- April 2
- April 3
- April 5 – Daniela Luján, Mexican pop singer and actress
- April 6
- April 7 – Ed Speleers, British actor
- April 8 – Saqib Saleem, Indian model and actor
- April 9 – Uee, South Korean idol singer and actress
- April 10 – Haley Joel Osment, American actor
- April 11
- April 12
- April 13
- April 14 – Ben Lloyd-Hughes, British actor
- April 15 – Eliza Sophie Caird, English singer–songwriter
- April 19 – Haruna Kojima, Japanese singer, actress, and idol (AKB48)
- April 21
- April 25
- April 26 – Gareth Evans, English footballer
- April 27 – Semyon Varlamov, Russian ice hockey player
- April 28 – Juan Mata, Spanish footballer
- April 29
- April 30 – Ana de Armas, Cuban actress
- May 1
- May 4 – Kellie Loder, Canadian singer-songwriter
- May 5
- May 6 – Ryan Anderson, American basketball player
- May 7 – Brandon Jones, American actor
- May 11
- May 12
- May 15 – Marcus Collins, English singer
- May 17
- May 18
- May 19 – Lily Cole, English supermodel
- May 21 – Park Gyu-ri, South Korean idol singer
- May 23
- May 24
- May 25
- May 26
- May 27 – Starshell, American actress, model, songwriter and singer
- May 28
- May 29 – Tobin Heath, FIFA Women's World Cup silver medal winning soccer player for the United States
- May 31
- June 1
- June 2 – Sergio Agüero, Argentine footballer
- June 4 – Li Man, Chinese actress
- June 5
- June 6 – Arianna Errigo, Italian fencer
- June 7
- June 8 – Reinaldo Zavarce, award-winning Venezuelan actor and singer
- June 9
- June 11
- June 12
- June 13 – Gabe Carimi, American football player
- June 14 – Kevin McHale, American actor, dancer and singer
- June 15 – Cristopher Toselli, Chilean footballer
- June 16 – Keshia Chanté, Canadian singer-songwriter, model and actress
- June 17 – Stephanie Rice, Australian swimmer
- June 21 – Alejandro Ramírez, Costa Rican chess Grandmaster
- June 22
- June 23
- June 24
- June 25
- June 26
- Samanda (Amanda and Samantha Marchant), British acting duo
- Remy LaCroix, American pornographic actress
- June 27
- June 28 – Kanon Wakeshima, Japanese singer and cellist
- June 29 – Éver Banega, Argentine footballer
- June 30
- July 2 – Lee Chung-yong, Korean footballer
- July 4 – Angelique Boyer, French-Mexican actress and singer
- July 7
- July 8
- July 10
- July 11 – Joan Smalls, Puerto Rican model
- July 12 – LeSean McCoy, American football player
- July 13
- July 14 – James Vaughan, English footballer
- July 15 – Aimee Carrero, American actress
- July 16 – Sergio Busquets, Spanish footballer
- July 17 – Summer Bishil, American actress
- July 18 – Ambyr Childers, American actress
- July 19
- July 20
- July 21 – DeAndre Jordan, American basketball player
- July 23 – Paul Anderson, English footballer
- July 24 – Han Seung-yeon, South Korean idol singer dancer and actress
- July 25
- July 26
- July 28
- July 30 – Alexander Vlahos, Welsh actor
- July 31
- August 1
- August 2
- August 4 – Jen Lilley, American actress
- August 5
- August 7 – Beanie Wells, American football running back
- August 8
- August 12
- August 15- Zaira Nara, Argentine model
- August 16
- Ismaïl Aissati, Moroccan footballer
- Tara Teng, Canadian model, human rights activist, blogger, public speaker and television presenter
- Rumer Willis, American actress and singer
- August 17
- August 18
- August 19
- August 21
- August 22
- August 23
- August 24 – Rupert Grint, English actor
- August 25
- August 26
- August 27 – Alexa Vega, American actress
- August 29 – Bartosz Kurek, Polish volleyball player
- August 30 – Ernests Gulbis, Latvian tennis player
- August 31 – Tanaya Henry, American model and actress
- September 1
- September 2
- September 3 – Jérôme Boateng, German footballer
- September 5
- September 6
- September 7
- September 8 – Chantal Jones, American fashion model and actress
- September 9
- September 10
- September 11 – Lee Yong-dae, South Korean male badminton player
- September 12
- September 13 – John Park, American singer
- September 14 – Martin Fourcade, French biathlete
- September 15
- September 16 – Teddy Geiger, American singer-songwriter
- September 17 – Pavel Mamayev, Russian footballer
- September 18 – Arizona Muse, American model
- September 19
- September 21
- September 22 – Bethany Dillon, contemporary Christian music artist
- September 23 – Juan Martín del Potro, Argentine tennis player
- September 25 – Ragasya, Indian actress and model
- September 26
- September 28
- September 29
- October 1 – Cariba Heine, Australian actress and performer
- October 2 – Andreas Moe, Swedish singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist
- October 3
- October 4
- October 5
- October 6 – Maki Horikita, Japanese actress
- October 7 – Diego Costa, Spanish footballer
- October 8 – Hanne Gaby Odiele, Belgian model
- October 11 – Rika Izumi, Japanese actress
- October 14
- October 15 – Mesut Özil, German football player
- October 17 – Yuko Oshima, Japanese idol, singer and actress (AKB48)
- October 20
- October 21 – Blanca Suárez, Spanish actress
- October 22 – Parineeti Chopra, Bollywood actress.
- October 27 – Evan Turner, American basketball player
- October 28
- October 30 – Janel Parrish, American actress and singer-songwriter
- October 31 – Sébastien Buemi, Swiss racing driver
- November 1
- November 2
- November 3 – Angus McLaren, Australian actor
- November 5 – Virat Kohli, Indian international cricketer
- November 6
- November 7
- November 8
- November 9
- November 12 – Russell Westbrook, American basketball player
- November 15 – B.o.B, American rapper, singer and record producer
- November 19 – Patrick Kane, American hockey player
- November 20 – Rhys Wakefield, Australian actor
- November 21 – Len Väljas, Canadian cross-country skier
- November 22 – Jamie Campbell Bower, English actor
- November 24 – Sabi, American pop singer-songwriter, dancer and actress
- November 25
- November 29 – Russell Wilson, American football player
- November 30
- January 1 – Margot Bryant, British actress (b. 1897)
- January 2 – E. B. Ford, British geneticist (b. 1901)
- January 5 – Pete Maravich, American basketball player (b. 1947)
- January 6 – L. P. Davies, English novelist (b. 1914)
- January 7 – Trevor Howard, British actor (b. 1913)
- January 11 – Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, American pilot, United States Marine Corps fighter ace (b. 1912)
- January 12 – Hiram Bingham IV, American diplomat (b. 1903)
- January 13 – Chiang Ching-kuo, Chinese politician, 3rd President of the Republic of China (b. 1910)
- January 14 – Georgy Malenkov, Soviet politician, 5th Prime Minister of the Soviet Union (b. 1902)
- January 15 – Seán MacBride, Irish Republican Army leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1904)
- January 16 – Ballard Berkeley, British actor (b. 1904)
- January 20 – Philippe de Rothschild, French vineyard owner (b. 1902)
- January 22 – Parker Fennelly, American comedian and actor (b. 1891)
- January 25 – Colleen Moore, American actress (b. 1899)
- January 28 – Klaus Fuchs, German-British physicist and spy (b. 1911)
- February 1 – Heather O'Rourke, American actress (b. 1975)
- February 3 – Robert Duncan, American poet (b. 1919)
- February 5 – Emeric Pressburger, Hungarian-British film producer (b. 1902)
- February 11 – Marion Crawford, Scottish nanny of Elizabeth II (b. 1909)
- February 12 – S. Nadarajah, Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer and politician
- February 13
- February 14 – Frederick Loewe, Austrian-American composer (b. 1901)
- February 15 – Richard Feynman, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)
- February 16 – Karp Osipovich Lykov, Russian Old Believer and survivalist
- February 19
- February 25 – Kurt Mahler, German-Australian mathematician (b. 1903)
- March 1 – Joe Besser, American actor and comedian (b. 1907)
- March 3 – Lois Wilson, American actress (b. 1894)
- March 5 – Alberto Olmedo, Argentine comedian and actor (b. 1933)
- March 7
- March 8
- March 9 – Kurt Georg Kiesinger, German politician, 3rd Chancellor of Germany (b. 1904)
- March 10
- March 13
- March 16 – Erich Probst, Austrian football player (b. 1927)
- March 20
- March 21 – Edd Roush, American baseball player (Cincinnati Reds) and member of the MLB Hall of Fame, (b. 1893)
- March 22 – Lester Rawlins, American stage and screen director (b. 1924)
- March 25 – Robert Joffrey, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1930)
- March 31 – Sir William McMahon, twentieth Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1908)
- April 1 – Jim Jordan, American actor (b. 1896)
- April 3 – Milton Caniff, American cartoonist (b. 1907)
- April 6 – John Clements, British actor (b. 1910)
- April 11
- April 12
- April 15 – Kenneth Williams, British actor and raconteur (b. 1926)
- April 17
- April 18 – Pierre Desproges, French humorist (b. 1939)
- April 21 – I. A. L. Diamond, American screenwriter (b. 1920)
- April 22 – Irene Rich, American actress (b. 1891)
- April 23 – Michael Ramsey, British bishop, 100th Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1904)
- April 26
- April 27 – David Scarboro, British actor (b. 1968)
- May 3 – Lev Pontryagin, Russian mathematician (b. 1908)
- May 5 – George Rose, English actor (b. 1920)
- May 8 – Robert A. Heinlein, American science fiction author (b. 1907)
- May 10
- May 11 – Kim Philby, British spy (b. 1912)
- May 12 – Chet Baker, American jazz trumpeter (b. 1929)
- May 14 – Willem Drees, Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1948 until 1958 (b. 1886)
- May 15
- May 16 – Charles Keeping, British illustrator (b. 1924)
- May 18 – Daws Butler, voice actor (b. 1916)
- May 21 – Sammy Davis Sr., American dancer (b. 1900)
- May 23 – Aya Kitō, Japanese Writer (b. 1962)
- May 25 – Ernst Ruska, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
- May 27 – Florida Friebus, American actor (b. 1909)
- May 29 – Vladimír Menšík, Czech actor (b. 1929)
- May 30 – Ella Raines, American actress (b. 1920)
- May 31 – Arthur Olliver, Australian footballer (b. 1918)
- July 3 – Gabriel Dell, American actor (b. 1919)
- July 4 – Adrian Adonis, American wrestler (b. 1954)
- July 8 – Ray Barbuti, American athlete (b. 1905)
- July 12 – Joshua Logan, American stage and film director (b. 1908)
- July 17 – Bruiser Brody, American professional wrestler (b. 1946)
- July 18 – Nico, singer-songwriter, fashion model, actress and Warhol socialite (b. 1938)
- July 21 – Jack Clark, American television personality and game show host (b. 1921)
- July 25
- July 27 – Frank Zamboni, American inventor (b. 1901)
- July 31 – Trinidad Silva, American actor (b. 1950)
- October 1
- October 2 – Alec Issigonis, Greek-British engineer (b. 1906)
- October 3 – Franz Josef Strauss, German politician (b. 1915)
- October 7 – Billy Daniels, American singer (b. 1915)
- October 9 –
- October 11
- October 12
- October 13 – Melvin Frank, American screenwriter and director (b. 1913)
- October 15 – Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, English composer, music critic, pianist, and writer (b. 1892)
- October 18 – Frederick Ashton, English dancer and choreographer (b. 1904)
- October 19 – Son House, American musician (b. 1902)
- October 22 – Henry Armstrong, American boxer (b. 1912)
- October 23 – Asashio Tarō III, Sumo wrestler (b. 1929)
- October 27 – Charles Hawtrey, English actor (b. 1914)
- October 31 – John Houseman, Romanian-American actor and producer (b. 1902)
- November 1 – George J. Folsey, American cinematographer (b. 1898)
- November 7 – Sy Mah, Canadian marathoner (b. 1926)
- November 9
- November 11 – William Ifor Jones, Welsh conductor and organist (b. 1900)
- November 12
- November 13 – Antal Doráti, Hungarian conductor (b. 1906)
- November 14 – Takeo Miki, Japanese politician, 41st Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1909)
- November 15 – Mona Washbourne, British actress (b. 1903)
- November 17 – Sheilah Graham, English-born gossip columnist (b. 1904)
- November 19 – Christina Onassis, American shipping magnate (b. 1950)
- November 21 – Carl Hubbell, American baseball player (New York Giants) and member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1903)
- November 22 – Luis Barragán, Mexican architect (b. 1902)
- November 27 – John Carradine, American actor (b. 1906)
- December 2 – Tata Giacobetti, Italian singer and lyricist (Quartetto Cetra) (b. 1922)
- December 4 – Osman Achmatowicz, Polish chemist (b. 1899)
- December 6
- December 10 – Richard S. Castellano, American actor (b. 1933)
- December 16 – Sylvester James, American R&B singer, disco performer (b. 1948)
- December 17 – Jerry Hopper, American film and television director (b. 1907)
- December 20 – Max Robinson, American broadcast journalist, and ABC News World News Tonight co-anchor (b. 1939)
- December 21
- December 22 – Francisco Alves Mendes Filho, Brazilian environmental activist (murdered) (b. 1944)
- December 23 – Carlo Scorza, Italian Fascist politician (b. 1897)
- December 26
- December 27
- December 30 – Isamu Noguchi, Japanese-American artist (b. 1904)
Right Livelihood Award