A Beginning and An End: 12 Celebrities Who Died on Their Birthday

RealClear Staff


Country music legend Merle Haggard just became the rare person to die on his or her birthday. There haven't been many, but there have been a few celebrities over the years who have "achieved" this odd statistical feat.

Many claim playwright William Shakespeare and inventor George Washington Carver also died on their birthdays, but there is just not enough evidence of their correct birth dates to include them here. But the dozen we came up with actually make for a very interesting and varied list. 

1. Ingrid Bergman

The actress who starred in Casablanca was born on August 29, 1915, and died on August 29, 1982 (age 67).

2. Machine Gun Kelly

The convicted kidnapper, bootlegger and armed robber was born George Francis Barnes Jr. on July 18, 1895, and died in prison at age 59 on July 18, 1954.

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.

You've heard of JFK Jr. Well, FDR Jr. was just as dashing in his day. While his father was president during World War II, helping craft the plan to defeat Hitler, FDR Jr. served in the Navy -- and not in a rank of privilege. He put his life at risk, earning a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals as well as 12 battle stars for service in both the European and Pacific theaters. He later served in Congress. He was born on August 17, 1914 and died on August 17, 1988 at age 74.

4. Raphael

The Renaissance painter and architect, one of the greatest artists of all time, was born on April 6, 1483 and died April 6, 1520. One of the most productive artists of that period, he left a large body of work despite just turning 37 at his death.

5. Allen Drury

One of the most famous writers of his time, his 1959 Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Advise and Consent" detailed the battle behind a Senate confirmation hearing and is timely again with the current grappling to replace Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. He was born on September 2, 1918 and died September 2, 1998 at age 80.

6. Maury Chaykin

The character actor who was in many films such as "WarGames" and "Dances With Wolves" was best known as the star of "Nero Wolfe," A&E's TV series about Rex Stout's famous detective. He was born on July 27, 1949 and died July 27, 2010 at 61.

7. Joe Tinker

The Baseball Hall of Famer, part of the legendary "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" double play combination for the Chicago Cubs, was born on July 27, 1880 and died on July 27, 1948 at 68.

8. Mike Douglas

The entertainer who began as a big band leader and later had a popular long-running talk show that famously had a 3-year-old Tiger Woods as a guest (look it up on YouTube!), was born Michael Delaney Dowd, Jr. on August 11, 1925 and died August 11, 2006 at age 81.

9. Corrie ten Boom

You probably don't know the name, but you should. The Dutch woman and her family were estimated to have saved the lives of some 800 Jews by hiding them from the Nazis in their Amsterdam house. Her memoir "The Hiding Place" was turned into a movie. Corrie ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892 and died at the ripe old age of 91 on April 15, 1983. 

10. Kamehameha V

The ruler of Hawaii from 1863-1872 was born on December 11, 1830 and died December 11, 1872 at age 42. His reign was short but influential.

11. Levi P. Morton

No U.S. presidents ever died on their birthday (yet), but one vice president did. Levi P. Morton was a wealthy banker, a governor of New York (he drove the first rivet into the Statue of Liberty) and served under President Benjamin Harrison from 1889-1893. He was born on May 16, 1824 and died May 16, 1920 at age 96.

12. Merle Haggard

The country music legend was born April 6, 1937, and died April 6 2016 (age 79). In declining health and suffering from pneumonia, Haggard actually predicted to his family that he would die on his birthday the week before. It seemed to be a goal.



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