1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1961st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 961st year of the 2nd millennium, the 61st year of the 20th century, and the 2nd year of the 1960s decade. As MAD Magazine pointed out on its cover for the March 1961 issue, this was the first "upside-up" year — i.e., one in which the numerals that form the year look the same as when the numerals are rotated upside down, a strobogrammatic number — since 1881. The next such year will be 6009.
|Ab urbe condita||2714|
|Balinese saka calendar||1882–1883|
|British Regnal year||9 Eliz. 2 – 10 Eliz. 2|
|Chinese calendar||庚子年 (Metal Rat)|
4657 or 4597
— to —
辛丑年 (Metal Ox)
4658 or 4598
|- Vikram Samvat||2017–2018|
|- Shaka Samvat||1882–1883|
|- Kali Yuga||5061–5062|
|Japanese calendar||Shōwa 36|
|Julian calendar||Gregorian minus 13 days|
|Minguo calendar||ROC 50|
|Thai solar calendar||2504|
2087 or 1706 or 934
— to —
2088 or 1707 or 935
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1961.|
- January 3
- United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces that the United States has severed diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba. Cuba–United States relations are restored in 2015.
- At the National Reactor Testing Station near Idaho Falls, atomic reactor SL-1 explodes, killing three military technicians.
- Aero Flight 311 (Koivulahti air disaster): Douglas DC-3C OH-LCC of Finnish airline Aero crashes near Kvevlax (Koivulahti) on approach to Vaasa Airport in Finland killing all 25 on board, due to pilot error: an investigation finds that the captain and first officer were both exhausted for lack of sleep and had taken excessive alcohol at the time of the crash. It remains the deadliest air disaster to occur in the country.
- January 5
- Italian sculptor Alfredo Fioravanti marches into the U.S. Consulate in Rome, and confesses that he was part of the team that forged the Etruscan terracotta warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- After the 1960 military coup, General Cemal Gürsel forms the new government of Turkey (25th government).
- January 7 – Following a four-day conference in Casablanca, five African chiefs of state announce plans for a NATO-type African organization to ensure common defense. The Charter of Casablanca involves the Casablanca Group: Morocco, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, Guinea, and Mali.
- January 8 – In France, a referendum supports Charles de Gaulle's policies on independence for Algeria.
- January 9 – British authorities announce they have uncovered a large Soviet spy ring, the Portland Spy Ring, in London.
- January 17
- January 20 – John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 35th President of the United States.
- January 24 – A B-52 Stratofortress, with two nuclear bombs, crashes near Goldsboro, North Carolina.
- January 25
- In Washington, D.C., President John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential news conference. In it, he announces that the Soviet Union has freed the two surviving crewmen of a USAF RB-47 reconnaissance plane shot down by Soviet flyers over the Barents Sea July 1, 1960 (see RB-47H shot down).
- One Hundred and One Dalmatians is released in cinemas.
- Acting to halt 'leftist excesses', a junta composed of two army officers and four civilians takes over El Salvador, ousting another junta that had ruled for three months.
- January 26 – President John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his physician, the first woman to hold this appointment.
- January 28 – Supercar, the first family sci-fi TV series filmed in Supermarionation debuts on ATV.
- January 30 – President John F. Kennedy delivers his first State of the Union Address.
- January 31 – Ham the Chimp, a 37-pound (17-kg) male, is rocketed into space aboard Mercury-Redstone 2, in a test of the Project Mercury spacecraft, designed to carry United States astronauts into space.
- February 1 – The United States tests its first Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile.
- February 3 – China buys grain from Canada for $60 million.
- February 4 – The Portuguese Colonial War begins in Angola.
- February 5 – February 9 – In Congo, President Joseph Kasa-Vubu names Joseph Iléo as the new Prime Minister.
- February 9 – The Beatles perform for the first time at The Cavern Club.
- February 12 – The USSR launches Venera 1 towards Venus.
- February 13 – The Congo government announces that villagers have killed Patrice Lumumba.
- February 14 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized in Berkeley, California.
- February 15
- President Kennedy warns the Soviet Union to avoid interfering with the United Nations pacification of the Congo.
- A Sabena Boeing 707 crashes near Brussels, Belgium, killing 73, including the entire United States figure skating team and several coaches.
- A total solar eclipse occurs in the southern part of Europe.
- February 25 – The last public trams in Sydney, Australia, cease operation, bringing to an end the Southern Hemisphere's largest tramway network.
- February 26 – Hassan II is pronounced King of Morocco.
- March–April – Drilling for Project Mohole is undertaken off the coast of Guadalupe Island, Mexico.
- March 1 – United States President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
- March 3 – Hassan II is crowned King of Morocco.
- March 8
- March 13
- Black and white £5 notes cease to be legal tender in the UK.
- A dam bursts in Kiev, USSR, killing 145.
- United States delegate to the United Nations Security Council Adlai Stevenson votes against Portuguese policies in Africa.
- United States President John F. Kennedy proposes a long-term "Alliance for Progress" between the United States and Latin America.
- Cyprus joins the Commonwealth of Nations, becoming the first small country in the Commonwealth.
- Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, takes in its first students.
- A second B-52 crashes near Yuba City, California after cabin pressure is lost and the fuel runs out. Two nuclear weapons are found unexploded.
- March 15
- South Africa announces it will withdraw from the Commonwealth of Nations upon becoming a republic (31 May). The nation rejoins the organization in 1994.
- The Union of Peoples of Angola, led by Holden Roberto, attacks strategic locations in the north of Angola. These events result in the beginning of the colonial war with Portugal.
- March 18
- March 29 – The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.
- March 30 – The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is signed at New York.
- April 5 – The New Guinea Council of Western Papua is installed.
- April 8 – The British passenger ship Dara blows up and sinks off Dubai; 238 passengers and crew are killed.
- April 11 – The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann begins in Jerusalem.
- April 12
- April 13 – In Portugal, a coup attempt against António de Oliveira Salazar fails.
- April 17
- April 18 – Portugal sends to Angola its first military reinforcement.
- April 20 – Fidel Castro announces that the Bay of Pigs Invasion has been defeated.
- April 22 – Algiers putsch: Four French generals who oppose de Gaulle's policies in Algeria fail in a coup attempt.
- April 23 – Judy Garland performs in a legendary comeback concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
- April 24 – The Swedish ship Vasa is removed from the water after being sunk 333 years earlier.
- April 27
- May 4 – U.S. Freedom Riders begin interstate bus rides to test the new U.S. Supreme Court integration decision.
- May 5 – Mercury program: Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space aboard Mercury-Redstone 3.
- May 6 – Tottenham Hotspur F.C. becomes the first team in the 20th century to win the English league and cup double. As of 2018[update] this is the last time Tottenham have won the English League.
- May 8 – Briton George Blake is sentenced to 42 years imprisonment for spying.
- May 9 – In a speech on "Television and the Public Interest" to the National Association of Broadcasters, FCC chairman Newton N. Minow describes commercial television programming as a "vast wasteland".
- May 14 – Civil rights movement: a Freedom Riders bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama and the civil rights protestors are beaten by an angry mob of Ku Klux Klan members.
- May 15 – J. Heinrich Matthaei alone performs the Poly-U-Experiment and is the first person to recognize and understand the genetic code. This is the birthdate of modern genetics.
- May 16 – Park Chung-hee takes over in a military coup in South Korea.
- May 19 – Venera 1 becomes the first man-made object to fly-by another planet by passing Venus (however, the probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier and does not send back any data).
- May 21 – Civil rights movement: Alabama Governor John Patterson declares martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out.
- May 22 – An earthquake rocks New South Wales.
- May 24 – Civil rights movement: Freedom Riders are arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for "disturbing the peace" after disembarking from their bus.
- May 25 – Apollo program: President Kennedy announces before a special joint session of Congress his goal to put a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.
- May 27 – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Prime Minister of Malaya, holds a press conference in Singapore, announcing his idea to form the Federation of Malaysia, comprising Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo (Sabah).
- May 28 – Peter Benenson's article "The Forgotten Prisoners" is published in several internationally read newspapers. This is later considered the founding of the human rights organization Amnesty International.
- May 30 – Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, totalitarian despot of the Dominican Republic since 1930, is killed in an ambush, putting an end to the second longest-running dictatorship in Latin American history.
- May 31
- In France, rebel generals Maurice Challe and Andre Zelelr are sentenced to 15 years in prison.
- South Africa becomes a republic, and officially leaves the Commonwealth of Nations.
- President John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle meet in Paris.
- Benfica beats Barcelona 3-2 at Wankdorf Stadium, Bern and wins the 1960–61 European Cup (football).
- June 1 – Ethiopia experiences its most devastating earthquake of the 20th century, with a magnitude of 6.7. The town of Majete is destroyed, 45% of the houses in Karakore collapse, 17 kilometers (11 mi) of the main road north of Karakore are damaged by landslides and fissures, and 5,000 inhabitants in the area are left homeless.
- June 4 – Vienna summit: John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev meet during two days in Vienna. They discuss nuclear tests, disarmament and Germany.
- June 16 – Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev requests asylum in France while in Paris with the Kirov Ballet.
- June 17
- June 19 – The British protectorate ends in Kuwait and it becomes an emirate.
- June 22 – Moise Tshombe is released for lack of evidence of connection to the murder of Patrice Lumumba.
- June 23 – The Antarctic Treaty comes into effect.
- June 25 – Iraqi president Abd al-Karim Qasim announces he is going to annex Kuwait (such an annexation of Kuwait would occur in 1990).
- June 27 – Kuwait requests British help; the United Kingdom sends in troops.
- July 4 – The Soviet submarine K-19 suffers a reactor leak in the North Atlantic.
- July 5 – The first Israeli rocket, Shavit 2, is launched.
- July 8 – A mine explosion in Czechoslovakia leaves 108 dead.
- July 12 – A Czechoslovakian Ilyushin Il-18 crashes while attempting to land at Casablanca, Morocco, killing all 72 persons on board.
- Two dams that supplied water to the City of Pune in India burst causing lasting damage.
- July 17 – Baseball legend Ty Cobb dies at the age of 74 at Emory University Hospital.
- July 21 – Mercury program: Virgil I. Grissom, piloting the Mercury-Redstone 4 spacecraft Liberty Bell 7, becomes the second American to go into space (sub-orbital). After splashdown, the hatch prematurely opens, and the spacecraft sinks. (It is recovered in 1999.)
- July 25 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy gives a widely watched TV speech on the Berlin crisis, warning "we will not be driven out of Berlin." Kennedy urges Americans to build fallout shelters, setting off a four-month debate on civil defense.
- July 31
- August – The United States founds the Alliance for Progress.
- August 1 – The Six Flags Over Texas theme park officially opens to the public.
- August 6 – Vostok 2: Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov becomes the second human to orbit the Earth, and the first to be in outer space for more than one day.
- August 7 – Vostok 2 lands in the Soviet Union.
- August 10 – The United Kingdom applies for membership in the European Economic Community.
- August 11 – An annular solar eclipse was visible from Southern Ocean.
- August 13 – Construction of the Berlin Wall begins, restricting movement between East Berlin and West Berlin and forming a clear boundary between West Germany and East Germany, Western Europe and Eastern Europe. On August 22 Ida Siekmann jumps from a window in her tenement building trying to flee to the West, becoming the first of at least 138 people to die at the Wall.
- August 21 – Jomo Kenyatta is released from prison in Kenya.
- August 25 – João Goulart replaces Jânio Quadros as President of Brazil. He is ousted in 1964.
- August 30 – Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness signed at the United Nations in New York, coming into effect 13 December 1975.
- September 1
- September 7 – Tom and Jerry make a return with their first episode since 1958, Switchin' Kitten. The new creator, Gene Deitch, makes 12 more Tom and Jerry episodes until 1962.
- September 10 – During the F1 Italian Grand Prix on the circuit of Monza, German Wolfgang von Trips, driving a Ferrari, crashes into a stand, killing 14 spectators and himself.
- September 12 – The African and Malagasy Union is founded.
- September 14
- September 17
- September 18 – United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld dies in an air crash en route to Katanga, Congo.
- September 21 – In France, the OAS slips an anti-de Gaulle message into TV programming.
- September 24
- The old Deutsche Opernhaus in the Berlin neighborhood of Charlottenburg is returned to its newly rebuilt house as the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
- In the U.S., the Walt Disney anthology television series, renamed Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, moves from ABC to NBC after seven years on the air, and begins telecasting its programs in color for the first time. Years later, after Disney's death, the still-on-the-air program will be renamed The Wonderful World of Disney.
- September 28 – A military coup in Damascus, Syria effectively ends the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria.
- September 30 – The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is formed to replace the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC).
- October 1 – Baseball player Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hits his 61st home run in the last game of the season, against the Boston Red Sox, setting a new record for the longer baseball season. The record for the shorter season is still held by Babe Ruth.
- October 10 – A volcanic eruption on Tristan da Cunha causes the whole population to be evacuated to Britain, where they will remain until 1963.
- October 12 – The death penalty is abolished in New Zealand.
- October 17 – Paris massacre of 1961: French police in Paris attack about 30,000 protesting a curfew applied solely to Algerians. The official death toll is 3, but human rights groups claim 240 dead.
- October 18 – West Side Story is released as a film in the United States.
- October 19 – The Arab League takes over protecting Kuwait; the last British troops leave.
- October 25 – The first edition of Private Eye, the British satirical magazine, is published.
- October 26 – Cemal Gürsel becomes the fourth president of Turkey. (His former title is head of state and government; he is elected as president by constitutional referendum.)
- October 27
- October 29
- DZBB-TV Channel 7, the Philippines' third TV station, is launched.
- Devrim, the first ever car designed and produced in Turkey, is released. The project has been completed in only 130 days almost from scratch, a period including decision on the project, research, design, development and production of four vehicles.
- October 30
- October 31
- November 1
- November 2 – Kean opens at Broadway Theater in New York City for 92 performances.
- November 3 – The United Nations General Assembly unanimously elects U Thant to the position of acting Secretary-General.
- November 6 – The U.S. government issues a stamp honoring the 100th birthday of James Naismith.
- November 8
- November 9 – Robert White records a world air speed record of 4,093 mph (6,587 km/h) in an X-15.
- November 10 – Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is first published.
- November 11
- November 17 – Michael Rockefeller, son of New York Governor and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, disappears in the jungles of New Guinea.
- November 18 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.
- November 19 – A military uprising overthrows the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic.
- November 20
- The funeral of longtime House Speaker Sam Rayburn is held in Washington, D.C. Two former Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower) and one future one (Lyndon B. Johnson) join President Kennedy in paying their respects.
- İsmet İnönü of CHP forms the new government of Turkey (26th government, first coalition in Turkey, partner AP).
- November 21 – The "La Ronde" opens in Honolulu, the first revolving restaurant in the United States
- November 24 – The World Food Programme (WFP) is formed as a temporary United Nations program.
- November 30 – The Soviet Union vetoes Kuwait's application for United Nations membership.
- December 1 – Netherlands New Guinea raises the new Morning Star flag and changes its name to West Papua.
- December 2 – Cold War: In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro announces he is a Marxist–Leninist, and that Cuba will adopt socialism.
- December 5 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy gives support to the Volta Dam project in Ghana.
- December 9
- Tanganyika gains independence as a Commonwealth realm, with Julius Nyerere as its first Prime Minister, with Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Tanganyika, and represented locally by the Governor-General of Tanganyika.
- Australian federal election, 1961: Robert Menzies' Liberal/Country Coalition Government is re-elected with a one-seat majority, narrowly defeating the Labor Party led by Arthur Calwell. One of the closest election results in Australian history, such a result would not be replicated again until 2016. Notably, former Prime Minister Earle Page lost his seat, although he died a few days later never knowing the result.
- December 10 – The Soviet Union severs diplomatic relations with Albania.
- December 11
- December 14 – Walt Disney's first live-action Technicolor musical, Babes in Toyland, a remake of the famous Victor Herbert operetta, is released, but flops at the box office.
- December 15 – An Israeli war crimes tribunal sentences Adolf Eichmann to death for his part in The Holocaust.
- December 17 – A circus tent fire in Niterói, Brazil kills 323.
- December 18 – India opens hostilities in its annexation of Portuguese India, the colonies of Goa, Damao and Diu.
- December 19
- December 21 – In Congo, Katangan prime minister Moise Tshombe recognizes the Congolese constitution.
- December 23 – Luxembourg's national holiday, the Grand Duke's Official Birthday, is set on June 23 by Grand Ducal decree.
- December 30 – Congolese troops capture Albert Kalonji of South Kasai (who soon escapes).
- December 31 – Ireland's first national television station, Telefís Éireann (later RTÉ), begins broadcasting.
- January 1
- January 2
- January 5 – Iris DeMent, American singer-songwriter
- January 7 – Supriya Pathak, Indian actress
- January 8 – Calvin Smith, American athlete
- January 9
- January 10 – Mark Venturini, American actor (d. 1996)
- January 11
- January 13
- January 14
- January 16 – Peter Tanfield, British concert violinist
- January 17 – Maia Chiburdanidze, Georgian chess player
- January 18
- January 19 – William Ragsdale, American actor
- January 22
- January 24 – Guido Buchwald, German football player
- January 26
- January 28 – Arnaldur Indriðason, Icelandic writer
- January 27 – Gillian Gilbert, British keyboard player
- January 29 – Petra Thümer, German swimmer
- January 30 – Dexter King, American social activist, son of Martin Luther King Jr.
- January 31 – Lloyd Cole, English rock singer-songwriter
- February 1 – Volker Fried, German field hockey player
- February 2 – Michael Kay, American sportscaster
- February 3 – Jim Balsillie, Canadian CEO and philanthropist
- February 6 – Yuko Kobayashi, Japanese voice actress
- February 8 – Vince Neil, American singer
- February 9
- February 10 – George Stephanopoulos, American political consultant and commentator
- February 11 – Mary Docter, American speed skater
- February 13 – Henry Rollins, American musician and activist
- February 14 – Maria do Carmo Silveira, Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe
- February 15
- February 17
- February 18 – Hironobu Kageyama, Japanese singer
- February 19 – Justin Fashanu, English footballer (d. 1998)
- February 20
- February 21 – Geoff Moore, American Christian musician
- February 22 – Akira Takasaki, Japanese guitarist
- February 25 – Davey Allison, American race car driver (d. 1993)
- February 27 – James Worthy, American basketball player and analyst
- February 28
- March 3
- March 4
- March 5 – Charles Poliquin, Canadian strength coach
- March 6 – John Blake American football coach
- March 9
- March 10
- March 11 – Elias Koteas, Canadian film and television actor
- March 14
- March 16
- March 17
- March 21
- March 23
- March 24
- March 25 – Reggie Fils-Aimé, American businessman
- March 27 – Tak Matsumoto, Japanese guitarist (B'z)
- March 28 – Byron Scott, American basketball player and coach
- March 29
- March 31 – Gary Winick, American filmmaker (d. 2011)
- April 1
- April 2 – Christopher Meloni, American actor
- April 3
- April 5 – Lisa Zane, American actress
- April 6 – Gene Eugene, Canadian actor and singer (d. 2000)
- April 7
- April 9 – Mick Kennedy, Irish footballer (d. 2019)
- April 10 – Rudy Dhaenens, Belgian road bicycle racer (d. 1998)
- April 11 – Vincent Gallo, American actor
- April 12 – Lisa Gerrard, Australian musician
- April 14
- April 17
- April 18 – Jane Leeves, English actress
- April 20
- April 21 – Cathy Cavadini, American voice actress
- April 22 – Alo Mattiisen, Estonian musician and composer (d. 1996)
- April 23
- April 26
- April 27 – Moana Pozzi, Italian porn actress (d. 1994)
- April 28 – Futoshi Matsunaga, Japanese serial killer
- April 29 – Fumihiko Tachiki, Japanese voice actor
- April 30 – Isiah Thomas, African-American basketball player, coach and team owner
- May 1 – Marilyn Milian, American judge
- May 2 – Steve James, English snooker player
- May 3
- May 4
- May 5
- Hiroshi Hase, Japanese professional wrestler
- Sarah Zivale, American actress
- May 6
- May 7 – Robert Spano, American conductor and pianist
- May 8
- May 9
- May 10 – Danny Carey, American drummer (Tool, Pigmy Love Circus)
- May 11
- May 12 – Billy Duffy, British guitarist (The Cult)
- May 13 – Dennis Rodman, American basketball player and actor
- May 14
- May 16
- May 17 – Enya, Irish musician
- May 18 – Jim Bowden, American baseball executive
- May 20 – Clive Allen, British footballer
- May 22
- May 23
- May 24 – Ilaria Alpi, Italian journalist (d. 1994)
- May 27 – Peri Gilpin, American actress
- May 28 – Roland Gift, British singer and musician (Fine Young Cannibals)
- May 29 – Melissa Etheridge, American musician
- May 30
- May 31
- June 1
- June 2 – Dez Cadena, American musician
- June 3
- June 4
- June 5
- June 6 – Tom Araya, Chilean-born rock musician (Slayer)
- June 8 – Katy Garbi, Greek singer
- June 9
- June 10
- June 14 – Boy George, born George O'Dowd, British singer-songwriter and music producer
- June 15 – Dave McAuley, Northern Irish boxer
- June 17
- June 18
- June 19 – Bidhya Devi Bhandari, 2nd President of Nepal
- June 20 – Karin Kania, German speed skater
- June 21 – Joko Widodo, 7th President of Indonesia
- June 23
- June 24
- June 25
- June 26 – Greg LeMond, American cyclist
- June 27
- June 28
- June 29
- July 1
- Diana, Princess of Wales, British Princess and first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (d. 1997)
- Vito Bratta, American rock guitarist
- Ivan Kaye, English actor
- Jefferson King, British bodybuilder and wrestler
- Carl Lewis, American athlete
- Fredy Schmidtke, German track cyclist (d. 2017)
- Michelle Wright, Canadian country music artist
- July 2
- July 3
- July 4
- July 5 – Patrizia Scianca, Italian voice actress
- July 6
- July 7
- July 8
- July 9 – Raymond Cruz, American actor
- July 10
- July 11
- July 12 – Mark McGann, English actor, director, writer and musician
- July 14 – Jackie Earle Haley, American actor
- July 15
- July 16
- July 17
- July 18 – Elizabeth McGovern, American actress and musician
- July 19
- July 21
- July 22
- July 23
- July 24 – Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army
- July 25
- Katherine Kelly Lang, American Actress
- Hugo Teufel III, 2nd Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security
- July 26
- July 28 – Aleksandr Kurlovich, Soviet-Belarusian Olympic weightlifter (d. 2018)
- July 30 – Laurence Fishburne, American actor and film director
- August 3
- August 4
- August 5
- August 7
- August 8
- August 9 – John Key, 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand
- August 10 – Beatrice Alda, American actress and filmmaker
- August 11 – Jukka Tapanimäki, Finnish game programmer (d. 2000)
- August 12 – Lawrence, English musician
- August 13 – Mahesh Anand, Indian actor (d. 2019)
- August 14 – Susan Olsen, American actress
- August 16
- August 17 – Uwe Schmitt, German sprinter (d. 1995)
- August 18
- August 20 – Tony Longo, American actor (d. 2015)
- August 21 – Stephen Hillenburg, American marine biologist, cartoonist and animator (d. 2018)
- August 22 – Roland Orzabal, British musician and songwriter
- August 23 – Bhupesh Baghel, Indian politician and current Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh
- August 24 – Jared Harris, English actor
- August 25 – Billy Ray Cyrus, American actor and singer
- August 27 – Tom Ford, American fashion designer and film director
- August 28
- August 30 – Brian Mitchell, South African boxer
- August 31 – Saleem, Malaysian singer (d. 2018)
- September 1
- September 2
- September 3 – Andy Griffiths, Australian author
- September 4 – Felix Wong, Hong Kong actor
- September 5 – Karim Abdul Razak, Ghanaian footballer
- September 6
- September 7 – Kevin Kennedy, British actor
- September 11
- September 12 – Mylène Farmer, Canadian singer and songwriter
- September 13 – Dave Mustaine, American metal singer, guitarist
- September 14 – Martina Gedeck, German actress
- September 15
- September 16 – Jen Tolley, American-Canadian actress, voice actress and singer
- September 18 – James Gandolfini, American actor (d. 2013)
- September 20
- September 22
- September 23 – William C. McCool, U.S. Army Commander and astronaut (d. 2003)
- September 24 – Michael Tavera, American composer
- September 25
- September 26
- September 27 – Andy Lau, Hong Kong actor and singer
- September 28
- September 29 – Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia
- September 30
- October 1
- October 3 – Ludger Stühlmeyer, German cantor, composer and musicologist
- October 4
- October 5 – Matthew Kauffman, American journalist and George Polk Award winner
- October 6 – Mark Shasha, American artist, author, illustrator
- October 10 – Jodi Benson, American actress and singer
- October 11
- October 12 – Diego García, Spanish long-distance athlete (d. 2001)
- October 13
- October 14
- October 15 – Meera Sanyal, Indian banker (d. 2019)
- October 16
- October 18
- October 20
- October 22 – Robert Torti, American actor
- October 24 – Dave Meltzer, American wrestling journalist
- October 25
- October 26 – Dylan McDermott, American actor
- October 29 – Randy Jackson, African-American musician
- October 31
- November 1 – Anne Donovan, American basketball player and coach (d. 2018)
- November 2 – k.d. lang, Canadian singer and songwriter
- November 4
- November 5 – Alan G. Poindexter, American astronaut (d. 2012)
- November 9
- November 12 – Nadia Comăneci, Romanian gymnast
- November 14
- November 16 – Corinne Hermès, French singer, Eurovision Song Contest 1983 winner
- November 18
- November 19 – Meg Ryan, American actress and film director
- November 20 – Dave Watson, English footballer
- November 21 – Maria Kawamura, Japanese voice actress
- November 22
- November 24 – Arundhati Roy, Indian writer and activist
- November 28 – Alfonso Cuarón, Mexican film director, screenwriter and producer
- November 29 – Kim Delaney, American actress
- December 3 – Marcelo Fromer, Brazilian guitarist
- December 4
- December 5 – Laura Flanders, British born American journalist
- December 7 – Dawn Sears, American country singer-songwriter (d. 2014)
- December 8 – Ann Coulter, American author, conservative commentator and attorney
- December 9
- December 10 – Nia Peeples, American actress
- December 12
- December 13
- December 15 – Karin Resetarits, Austrian journalist and politician
- December 16
- December 19
- December 20 – Mohammad Fouad, Arab singer and actor
- December 21 – Francis Ng, Hong Kong actor
- December 22 – Kassim Majaliwa, 10th Prime Minister of Tanzania
- December 23 – Ezzat el Kamhawi, Egyptian novelist
- December 24
- December 25
- December 26 – John Lynch, Northern Irish actor
- December 27 – Guido Westerwelle, German politician (d. 2016)
- December 29 – Jim Reid, Scottish musician
- December 30
- January 3 – Auvergne Doherty, Australian businesswoman (b. 1896)
- January 4 – Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1887)
- January 8 – František Flos, Czech novelist (b. 1864)
- January 9 – Emily Greene Balch, American writer and pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1867)
- January 10 – Dashiell Hammett, American writer (b. 1894)
- January 13
- January 14 – Barry Fitzgerald, Irish actor (b. 1888)
- January 17 – Patrice Lumumba, 1st Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (b. 1925)
- January 18 – Thomas Anthony Dooley III, physician (b. 1927)
- January 21
- January 24 – Alfred Carlton Gilbert, American swimmer and inventor (b. 1884)
- January 26 – Stan Nichols, English cricketer (b. 1900)
- January 29 – Jesse Wallace, American naval officer, 29th Governor of American Samoa (b. 1899)
- January 30 – Dorothy Thompson, American journalist (b. 1893)
- February 2 – Anna May Wong, Chinese-American actress (b. 1905)
- February 3 – Viscount Dunrossil, Australian Governor-General (b. 1893)
- February 4 – Sir Philip Game, British army officer, colonial governor and police officer (b. 1876)
- February 6 – Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland, British politician (b. 1876)
- February 7 – William Duncan, American actor (b. 1879)
- February 9 – Carlos Luz, Brazilian politician, 19th President of Brazil (b. 1894)
- February 12 – Richmond K. Turner, American admiral (b. 1885)
- February 13 – Arthur Ripley, American film director (b. 1897)
- February 15 – Laurence Owen, American figure skater (b. 1944)
- February 16 – Dazzy Vance, American baseball player (Brooklyn Dodgers) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1891)
- February 17
- February 20 – Percy Grainger, Australian composer (b. 1882)
- February 22
- February 26
- February 28 – Aaron S. "Tip" Merrill, American admiral (b. 1890)
- March 3 – Paul Wittgenstein, Austrian-born pianist (b. 1887)
- March 6 – George Formby, British singer, comedian & actor (b. 1904)
- March 8
- March 12
- March 17 – Susanna M. Salter, first woman mayor in the United States (b. 1860)
- March 22 – Nikolai Massalitinov, Soviet-born Bulgarian actor (b. 1880)
- March 23 – Valentin Bondarenko, Russian cosmonaut (b. 1937)
- March 25 – Arthur Drewry, English administrator, 5th President of FIFA (b. 1891)
- March 26 – Carlos Duarte Costa, Brazilian Roman Catholic archbishop and saint, founder of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (b. 1888)
- April 2 – Wallingford Riegger, American music composer (b. 1885)
- April 6 – Jules Bordet, Belgian immunologist and microbiologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1870)
- April 7
- April 9 – Ahmet Zog/Zog I, Skanderberg III, Albanian political leader, 11th Prime Minister of Albania, 7th President of Albania and King of Albania (b. 1895)
- April 10 – Sir John Hope Simpson, British politician (b. 1868)
- April 11 – Padma Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana, 16th Prime Minister of Nepal (b. 1882)
- April 12
- April 21 – James Melton, American tenor (b. 1904)
- April 24 – Lee Moran, American actor (b. 1888)
- April 25
- April 27
- April 30
- May 3
- May 6 – Lucian Blaga, Romanian poet and philosopher (b. 1895)
- May 13 – Gary Cooper, American actor, better known for his role in High Noon (b. 1901)
- May 14 – Albert Sévigny, Canadian politician (b. 1881)
- May 16 – George A. Malcolm, American jurist & educator (b. 1881)
- May 22 – Joan Davis, American actress (b. 1912)
- May 30 – Rafael Trujillo, Dominican politician and soldier, 2-time President of the Dominican Republic (b. 1891)
- May 31 – Walter Little, Canadian politician (b. 1877)
- June 2 – George S. Kaufman, American playwright (b. 1889)
- June 6 – Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist (b. 1875)
- June 9 – Camille Guérin, French bacteriologist and immunologist (b. 1872)
- June 14 – Eddie Polo, Austrian-American actor (b. 1875)
- June 15 – Peyami Safa, Turkish journalist and writer (b. 1899)
- June 16 – Marcel Junod, Swiss physician (b. 1904)
- June 17
- June 18 – Eddie Gaedel, American with dwarfism (b. 1925)
- June 23 – Nikolai Malko, Soviet conductor (b. 1883)
- June 24
- June 25 – John A D McCurdy, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia & pilot (b. 1886)
- June 27 – Paul Guilfoyle, American actor (b. 1902)
- June 30 – Lee de Forest, American inventor (b. 1873)
- July 1
- July 2 – Ernest Hemingway, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (suicide) (b. 1899)
- July 4 – Franklyn Farnum, American actor (b. 1878)
- July 6
- July 9 – Whittaker Chambers, American spy and witness in Hiss case (b. 1901)
- July 17 – Ty Cobb, American baseball player (Detroit Tigers) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1886)
- July 23
- July 28 – Harry Gribbon, American actor of silent films (b. 1885)
- August 1 – Domingo Pérez Cáceres, Spanish Roman Catholic priest and saint (b. 1892)
- August 4
- August 5 – Sidney Holland, New Zealand politician, 25th Prime Minister of New Zealand (b. 1893)
- August 8 – Mei Lanfang, Beijing opera star (b. 1894)
- August 9 – Walter Bedell Smith, American general and diplomat (b. 1895)
- August 11 – William Jackson, American gangster (b. 1920)
- August 14
- August 20 – Percy Williams Bridgman, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1882)
- August 23
- August 26
- August 30 – Charles Coburn, American actor (b. 1877)
- September 1 – Eero Saarinen, Finnish architect (b. 1910)
- September 3
- September 4 – Isidore Fattal, Syrian Orthodox bishop (b. 1886)
- September 10 – Leo Carrillo, American actor (b. 1880)
- September 11 – George Irving, American actor (b. 1874)
- September 16 – Hasan Fehmi, Turkish politician (b. 1879)
- September 17
- September 18 – Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish diplomat, politician and author, 2nd Secretary General of the United Nations, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1905)
- September 21 – Georgia Ann Robinson, community worker and first African American woman to be appointed a Los Angeles police officer (b. 1879)
- September 22 – Marion Davies, American actress (b. 1897)
- September 23
- September 24 – Sumner Welles, American diplomat (b. 1892)
- September 25 – Frank Fay, American actor (b. 1897)
- September 26
- October 1 – Donald Cook, American actor (b. 1901)
- October 2 – Essington Lewis, Australian industrialist (b. 1881)
- October 4
- October 11
- October 13
- October 14
- October 19
- October 21 – Karl Korsch, German Marxist theoretician (b. 1886)
- October 22
- October 26 – Milan Stojadinović, 12th Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (b. 1888)
- October 30 – Luigi Einaudi, Italian economist and politician, 2nd President of Italy (b. 1874)
- November 1 – Mordecai Ham, American evangelist (b. 1877)
- November 2
- November 3 – Thomas Flynn, British Roman Catholic prelate and reverend (b. 1880)
- November 9 – Ferdinand Bie, Norwegian Olympic athlete (b. 1888)
- November 15
- November 16 – Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (b. 1882)
- November 22 – Anselmo Alliegro y Milá, Cuban politician, 3rd Prime Minister of Cuba, leader of World War II (b. 1899)
- November 24 – Ruth Chatterton, American actress, novelist, and aviator (b. 1892)
- November 25 – Adelina de Lara, British composer (b. 1872)
- November 30
- December 2 – Herbert Pitman, British sailor, third officer of the RMS Titanic (b. 1877)
- December 6 – Frantz Fanon, Caribbean philosopher (b. 1925)
- December 13 – Anna Mary Robertson Moses aka Grandma Moses, American naïve painter (b. 1860)
- December 15 – Gioacchino Failla, Italian-born American physicist (b. 1891)
- December 20
- December 23 – Kurt "Panzermeyer" Meyer, German Generalmajor der Waffen-SS and war criminal (b. 1910)
- December 25 – Otto Loewi, German-born pharmacologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1873)
- December 28 – Edith Wilson, First Lady of the United States from 1915-1921 (b. 1872)
- December 29
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- JFK Library.org Archived May 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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- John F. Kennedy (April 27, 1961). "The President and the Press. Before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, New York City". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
- Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, "Experimentalsysteme – Eine Geschichte der Proteinsynthese im Reagenzglas" Wallstein; ISBN 3-89244-454-4
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