1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (dominical letter DC) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1948th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 948th year of the 2nd millennium, the 48th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1940s decade.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) inaugurated.
Railways of Britain are nationalized to form British Railways.
The Constitution of the Italian Republic goes into effect.
The latest Constitution of New Jersey goes into effect.
January 4 – Burma gains its independence from the United Kingdom, becoming an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu its first Prime Minister.
January 5 – Warner Brothers shows the first color newsreel (Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl).
January 7 – Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Thomas Mantell crashes while in pursuit of a supposed UFO.
January 12 – Mahatma Gandhi begins his fast-unto-death in Delhi to stop communal violence during the Partition of India.
January 17 – A truce is declared between nationalist Indonesian and Dutch troops in Java.
January 22 – British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin proposes the formation of a Western Union between Britain, France, and the Benelux countries to stand up against the Soviet Union. The Treaty of Brussels is signed March 17 as a consequence, a predecessor to NATO.
January 26 – Teigin poison case: a man masquerading as a doctor poisons 12 of 16 bank employees of the Tokyo branch of Imperial Bank and takes the money; artist Sadamichi Hirasawa is later sentenced to death for the crime, but is never executed.
The Pakistan Socialist Party is founded in Karachi.
DC-3 aircraft crash at Los Gatos Creek, near Coalinga, California, kills four US citizens and 28 deportees, commemorated in a protest song ("Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)") by Woody Guthrie.
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: Indian pacifist and leader Mahatma Gandhi is shot by Nathuram Godse in New Delhi. Also on this day Orville Wright of the pioneering aviators the Wright Brothers dies in Dayton, Ohio.
1948 Winter Olympics open in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
January 31 – The British crown colony of the Malayan Union, Penang and Malacca form the Federation of Malaya.
The Soviet Union begins to jam Voice of America broadcasts.
The proclamation of Federation of Malaya
February 4 – Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) becomes an independent kingdom within the British Commonwealth.
February 16 – Miranda, the innermost moon of Uranus, is discovered by Gerard Kuiper.
February 18 – Éamon de Valera, Irish head of government since 1932, loses power to an opposition coalition. John A. Costello is appointed Taoiseach by President Seán O'Kelly.
February 19 – The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convenes in Calcutta.
February 21 – The stock car racing organization NASCAR is founded by Bill France, Sr.
February 22 – The first Ben Yehuda Street bombing kills between 49 and 58 civilians and injures between 140 and 200.
February 25 – The Communist Party seizes control of Czechoslovakia, a day celebrated by that regime as "Victorious February" (Czech: Vítězný únor; Slovak: Víťazný Február) until November 1989.
Riots take place in Accra, capital of the British colony of Gold Coast, when a peaceful protest march by ex-servicemen was broken up by police, leaving several members of the group dead, among them Sergeant Adjetey, one of the leaders.
The 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of India convenes in Calcutta.
March 8 – McCollum v. Board of Education: The United States Supreme Court rules that religious instruction in public schools violates the U.S. Constitution.
March 12 – The Costa Rican Civil War begins.
March 16 – The largest flood in the history of Brampton, Ontario, occurs.
Treaty of Brussels signed by Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, providing for economic, social and cultural collaboration and collective self-defence.
The Hells Angels motorcycle gang is founded in California.
March 18 – The Round Table Conference in The Hague, Netherlands for the preparation of the decolonization process for Aruba and the other Dutch Colonies. Aruba presents the mandate of the Aruban People for Aruba to become an Independent Country, under the souvereignty of the House of Orange, based on Aruba's first state constitution presented officially since August 1947, and a (4th) Member State of the future Dutch Commonwealth.
Singapore holds its first elections.
Renowned Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini makes his television debut, conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in an all-Wagner program in the United States.
The 20th Academy Awards ceremony is held in Los Angeles. Gentleman's Agreement wins the Academy Award for Best Picture.
April 1 – Physicists Ralph Asher Alpher and George Gamow publish the Alpher–Bethe–Gamow paper about the Big Bang.
United States President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, which authorizes $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.
Jeju Uprising – residents revolt on Jeju island, South Korea, eventually leading to the deaths of between 14,000 and 30,000.
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 is played on television in its entirety for the first time in a series of concerts featuring Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in the United States. The chorus is conducted by Robert Shaw.
April 5 – 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine: Haganah launches Operation Nachshon; beginning of the 1948 Palestinian exodus.
The World Health Organization is established by the United Nations.
A fire in a Buddhist monastery in Shanghai kills 20 monks.
Jorge Eliécer Gaitán's assassination provokes a violent riot in Bogotá (the Bogotazo), and a further 10 years of violence (La Violencia) across Colombia.
The Deir Yassin massacre takes place in British Mandatory Palestine.
April 13 – The Hadassah medical convoy massacre takes place in British Mandatory Palestine.
April 16 – The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is founded as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC).
April 18 – Italian general election, 1948:: The first democratic general election with universal suffrage is held in Italy. The Christian Democracy party achieves a majority over the Popular Democratic Front Communist-Socialist coalition.
– Burma joins the United Nations.
The American Broadcasting Company (otherwise known as ABC) begins television services, on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia (now WPVI-TV).
April 22 – Civil War in Mandatory Palestine: Battle of Haifa – The Jewish paramilitary group Haganah captures Haifa from the Arab Liberation Army.
April 24 – The Costa Rican Civil War ends.
April 30 – Organization of American States (OAS) founded.
April 30 – The English-built Land Rover is unveiled at the Amsterdam Motor Show.
May – The RAND Corporation is established as an independent nonprofit policy research and analysis institution.
May 4 – Laurence Olivier's film version of Hamlet makes its world premiere in London.
May 11 – Luigi Einaudi becomes President of the Italian Republic.
May 14 – The Israeli Declaration of Independence is made.
1948 Arab–Israeli War: The British Mandate of Palestine is officially terminated; expeditionary forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq invade Israel and clash with Israeli forces.
The murder of a 3-year-old girl in Blackburn, England leads to the fingerprinting of more than 40,000 men in the city in an attempt to find the murderer.
May 16 – Chaim Weizmann is elected as the first President of Israel.
May 18 – The first Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China officially convenes in Nanking.
May 22 – The Soviets launched the largest Lithuanian deportation to Siberia.
May 25 – The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was founded on this date at Ellinwood Malate Church in Manila, Philippines.
May 26 – The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 557, which permanently establishes the Civil Air Patrol as the auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
May 28 – Daniel François Malan defeats Jan Smuts and becomes Prime Minister of South Africa, ushering in the era of apartheid, which is finally dismantled by F. W. de Klerk in 1994.
May 30 – A dike along the Columbia River breaks, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes; 15 people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.
June 3 – The Palomar Observatory telescope is finished in California.
June 10 – Hasan Saka forms the new government of Turkey. (17th government; Hasan Saka had served twice as a prime minister)
June 11 – The first monkey astronaut, Albert I, is launched into space from White Sands, New Mexico.
June 15 – Chinese newspaper, Renmin Ribao (People's Daily), a first issue of published in Pingshan, Hebei Province, China.
Communist guerrillas kill 3 rubber planters in Malaya.
Three armed men hijack the Cathay Pacific passenger plane Miss Macao and shoot the pilot; the plane crashes, killing 26 of 27 people on board.
June 17 – A Douglas DC-6 carrying United Airlines Flight 624 crashes near Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, killing all 43 people on board.
Malayan Emergency: A state of emergency is declared in the Malayan Union due to a communist insurgency.
LP record – Columbia Records introduced its long playing 33 1/3 rpm phonograph format.
June 20 – The U.S. Congress recesses for the remainder of 1948, after an overtime session closes at 7:00 a.m. D.C. time (to be shortly interrupted by Truman's recall from Congressional recess for July 20, 1948).
June 21 – The Deutsche Mark becomes official currency of the future Federal Republic of Germany.
June 22 – The ship MV Empire Windrush brings a large group of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to Tilbury near London, the start of a large wave of immigration to Britain.
Cold War: The Berlin Blockade begins.
The first World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization is held in Geneva.
June 26 – William Shockley files the original patent for the grown-junction transistor, the first bipolar junction transistor.
The Cominform Resolution marks the beginning of the Informbiro period in Yugoslavia and the Soviet/Yugoslav split.
David Lean's Oliver Twist, based on Charles Dickens's famous novel, premieres in the UK. It is banned for 3 years in the U.S. because of alleged antisemitism in depicting master criminal Fagin, played by Alec Guinness.
1948 Fukui earthquake strikes Fukui, Japan. 3,769 dead, 22,203 injured.
July 5 – The National Health Service Acts are enacted in United Kingdom.
July 6 – The world's first Air Car-ferry service is flown by a Bristol Freighter of Silver City Airways from Lympne to Le Touquet.
July 13 – The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches reach an agreement leading to the promotion of the Ethiopian church to the rank of an autocephalous Patriarchate. Five bishops are immediately consecrated by the Patriarch of Alexandria, and the successor to Abuna Qerellos IV is granted the power to consecrate new bishops, who are empowered to elect a new Patriarch for their church.
Attempted assassination of Palmiro Togliatti, general secretary of the Italian Communist Party results in numerous strikes all over the country.
First London chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous is founded.
July 20 – Cold War:
President Harry S. Truman issues the second peacetime military draft in the United States, amid increasing tensions with the Soviet Union (the first peacetime draft occurred in 1940 under President Roosevelt)
Eugene Dennis, William Z. Foster, and ten other CPUSA leaders are arrested and charged under the Alien Registration Act
July 22 – The Dominion of Newfoundland votes to join Canada after a referendum.
July 26 – U.S. President Truman signs Executive Order 9981, ending racial segregation in the United States Armed Forces.
July 28 – Around 200 die in explosion at a chemical plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
July 29 – The 1948 Summer Olympics begin in London, the first since the 1936 Summer Olympics
July 31 –
At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated
Elizabeth Bentley appears under subpoena before HUAC regarding Communist espionage; implicates Whittaker Chambers
August 1 – The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations is founded.
August 3 – Whittaker Chambers appears under subpoena before HUAC and alleges that several former U.S. Federal official were communists, including Harry Dexter White and Alger Hiss
August 5 – Alger Hiss appears before HUAC to deny the allegations of Whittaker Chambers
August 10 – August 23 – The Herrenchiemsee Convent prepares the draft for the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany
August 13 – Harry Dexter White and Donald Hiss refute allegations of Communism by Whittaker Chambers before HUAC
August 14 – 1948 Ashes series: The Australian batsman Don Bradman, playing his last Test cricket match, against England at The Oval, is bowled by Eric Hollies for a duck; however, "The Invincibles" win the match by an innings and 149 runs, and The Ashes 4-0.
August 15 – The southern half of Korea is established as South Korea.
August 16 – Babe Ruth dies in his sleep at the age of 53.
August 17 – HUAC holds a private session between Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers
August 18 – Danube Commission created by Belgrade Convention (enters into force 11 May 1949).
August 20 – Lee Pressman, Nathan Witt, and John Abt, represented by Harold I. Cammer, plead the Fifth Amendment in response to allegations of Communism by Whittaker Chambers before HUAC
August 23 – The World Council of Churches is established.
August 24 – The first meeting of the charter members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) is held.
August 25 – HUAC holds its first-ever televised congressional hearing, featuring "Confrontation Day" between Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss
August 27 – Whittaker Chambers states that Alger Hiss was a communist on Meet the Press radio
September 4 – Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands abdicates for health reasons.
September 5 – Robert Schuman becomes Prime Minister of France.
September 6 – Juliana is formally inaugurated as Queen of the Netherlands.
September 9 – The northern half of Korea is formally declared North Korea, with Kim Il-sung as prime minister.
September 11 – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder and first Governor-General of Pakistan, dies. Pakistan is in a state of shock as it mourns the departure of the father of the nation. The day is a public holiday nationwide.
September 12 – The State of Hyderabad is invaded by the Indian Army on the day after Pakistani leader Jinnah's death, to assist damage control. Operation Polo leads to the independence of Hyderabad state and its amalgamation into the Indian union.
September 17 – Lehi members, also known as the Stern Gang, assassinate Swedish count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Mediator in Palestine, in Jerusalem.
September 20 – Establishment of the city Rabwah, Pakistan
September 27 – Alger Hiss files a slander suit against Whittaker Chambers for his August 27 radio statement
September 29 – Laurence Olivier's Hamlet opens in the United States.
October 6 – The 1948 Ashgabat earthquake kills 110,000.
October 10 – R-1 missile on test becomes the first Soviet launch to enter space.
October 16 – The 57th Street Art Fair, the oldest juried art fair in the American Midwest, is founded.
October 26 – Killer smog settles into Donora, Pennsylvania.
October 28 – The Al-Dawayima massacre begins.
Foley Square trial of Eugene Dennis and ten other CPUSA leaders begins in New York City.
Athenagoras I is elected 268th Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
November 2 – United States presidential election, 1948: Democratic incumbent Harry S. Truman defeats Republican Thomas E. Dewey and "Dixiecrat" Strom Thurmond.
November 12 – In Tokyo, an international war crimes tribunal sentences seven Japanese military and government officials to death, including General Hideki Tojo, for their roles in World War II.
November 15 – Louis Stephen St. Laurent becomes Canada's 12th prime minister.
Operation Magic Carpet to transport Jews from Yemen to Israel begins.
The University of the Andes (Universidad de los Andes) is founded in Bogotá, Colombia.
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi divorces his second wife, the former Princess Fawzia of Egypt.
Whittaker Chambers produces secret government papers handwritten and typewritten by Alger Hiss during pretrial examination.
November 20 – Geoffrey B. Orbell rediscovers the Takahē, last seen 50 years previously, near Lake Te Anau, New Zealand.
November 24 – In Venezuela, president Rómulo Gallegos is ousted by a military junta.
November 27 – The Calgary Stampeders defeat the Ottawa Rough Riders 12–7 before 20,013 fans at Toronto's Varsity Stadium to capture their first Grey Cup and complete the only perfect season to date in Canadian Football.
December 1 – José Figueres Ferrer abolishes the army in Costa Rica, making it the first country in history to do so
December 2 – HUAC subpoenas and retrieves the "Pumpkin Papers" from the farm of Whittaker Chambers
December 6 – Richard Nixon parades microfilm from the "Pumpkin Papers" to the press
December 9 – The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Genocide Convention
December 10 – The United Nations General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 11–12 – Malayan Emergency: Batang Kali massacre: Scots Guards shoot 24 Chinese villagers in Malaya
December 15 – The United States Department of Justice indicts Alger Hiss on two counts of perjury
December 19 – In the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Chicago Cardinals 7-0 to win the championship.
December 20 – Laurence Duggan falls to his death from the 16th storey window of his Manhattan office
December 26 – The last Soviet troops withdraw from North Korea
December 28 – A Muslim Brotherhood member assassinates Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi
December 30 – The musical Kiss Me, Kate opens for the first of 1,077 performances in New York City
December 31 – 1948 Arab–Israeli War: Israeli troops drive the Egyptians from Negev
Brandeis University is founded in Massachusetts, USA.
Casimir effect discovered by Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir.
The Fresh Kills Landfill, the world's largest, opens on Staten Island, New York.
The Oakridge Transit Centre opens in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Slovak city Gúta is renamed Kolárovo.
The Tunnel of Vielha is opened in the Aran Valley, Spanish Pyrenees.
Last recorded sighting of the Caspian tiger in Kazakhstan.
A pack of wolves kills about 40 children in Darovskoy District, in Russia.
Charles Warrell creates the first I-Spy books.
Rev. W. Awdry's third book, James the Red Engine, is published.
Last edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum is published in the Vatican.
The first Kinsey Report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, is published.
Inspired by World War II fighter planes, Cadillac introduces the first automobile to sport tailfins.
The inaugural Six Hours of Watkins Glen endurance race is held.
Mary Archer, born Mary Weeden, English scientist
Judith Miller, American journalist
Joyce Wadler, American writer and memoirist
Deborah Watling, English actress
Wally Foreman, Australian media icon (d. 2006)
Ted Lange, American actor and director
Kenny Loggins, American rock singer
Ichirou Mizuki, Japanese voice actor
Donald Fagen, American rock keyboardist
Teresa Graves, American actress and comedian (d. 2002)
Mischa Maisky, Latvian cellist
William Sanderson, American actor and comedian
Kenny Allen, English footballer
Anthony Andrews, English actor
T Bone Burnett, American record producer and musician
Carl Weathers, American actor and football player
January 15 – Ronnie Van Zant, American rock musician (d. 1977)
John Carpenter, American film director, producer, screenwriter and composer
Gregor Gysi, German politician
Cliff Thorburn, Canadian snooker player
Tsuneo Horiuchi, Japanese baseball pitcher and mamager
January 17 – Davíð Oddsson, Prime Minister of Iceland
Frank McKenna, Premier of New Brunswick and Canadian Ambassador
Michael J. Jackson, English actor
Katharine Holabird, American writer
Mitoji Yabunaka, Japanese politician
January 27 – Mikhail Baryshnikov, Russian-born dancer
January 28 – Charles Taylor, Liberian president
January 29 – Marc Singer, Canadian actor
January 30 – Paul Magee, Provisional Irish Republican Army member
Paul Jabara, American actor, singer and songwriter (d. 1992)
Muneo Suzuki, Japanese politician
February 1 – Rick James, Motown performer (d. 2004)
February 2 – Ina Garten, American cooking author
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, East Timorean Catholic bishop, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
Henning Mankell, Swedish crime novelist (d. 2015)
Alice Cooper, American hard rock singer and musician
Ram Baran Yadav, President of Nepal
Sven-Göran Eriksson, Swedish football manager
Christopher Guest, American actor, screenwriter, director and composer
Barbara Hershey, American actress
Tom Wilkinson, English actor
February 10 – John Magnier, Irish businessman and thoroughbred racehorse breeder
February 11 – Chris Rush, American stand-up comedian
February 12 – Raymond Kurzweil, American inventor and author
February 13 – Kitten Natividad, Mexican-American film actress
Jackie Martling, American comedian and radio personality
Wally Tax, Dutch musician (d. 2005)
Raymond Teller, American illusionist and magician, one half of the duo Penn & Teller
György Cserhalmi, Hungarian actor
José José, Mexican singer and actor
February 18 – Sinéad Cusack, Irish actress
Pim Fortuyn, Dutch politician and author (d. 2002)
Tony Iommi, English heavy metal guitarist
February 20 – Jennifer O'Neill, American model and actress
John Ashton, American actor
Leslie H. Sabo, Jr., American Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1970)
Jayalalithaa, Indian politician and film actress (d. 2016)
Walter Smith, Scottish football manager
February 25 – Danny Denzongpa, Indian actor
Steven Chu, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
Mike Figgis, American director, screenwriter and composer
Kjell Isaksson, Swedish pole vaulter
Bernadette Peters, American actress and singer
Mercedes Ruehl, American actress
Alfred Sant, Leader of Malta Labour Party (1992–) and Prime Minister of Malta (1996–1998)
February 29 – Henry Small, American-born Canadian singer
R. T. Crowley, American pioneer of electronic commerce
Rory Gallagher, Irish musician (d. 1995)
Jeff Kennett, Australian politician
Lindy Chamberlain, Australian author
James Ellroy, American writer
Tom Grieve, American baseball player
Leron Lee, American baseball player
Chris Squire, English bassist (Yes) (d. 2015)
Shakin' Stevens, Welsh singer
Brian Cummings, American male voice actors
Eddy Grant, Guyanese British singer and musician
Elaine Paige, English singer and actress
March 6 – Anna Maria Horsford, American actress
László Lovász, Hungarian mathematician
Jeffrey Osborne, American singer
March 11 – Dominique Sanda, French actress
March 12 – James Taylor, American singer-songwriter
March 14 – Billy Crystal, American actor and comedian
March 15 – Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Brazilian diplomat (d. 2003)
March 17 – William Gibson, American/Canadian writer
John de Lancie, American actor
Bobby Orr, Canadian hockey player
Helene Vannari, Estonian actress
Wolf Blitzer, American television journalist
Andrew Lloyd Webber, English composer
March 25 – Bonnie Bedelia, American actress
March 26 – Steven Tyler, American singer-songwriter (Aerosmith)
Jayne Ann Krentz, American novelist
Dennis Unkovic, American author
Dianne Wiest, American actress
March 29 – Bud Cort, American actor
March 30 – Eddie Jordan, Irish founder of Jordan Grand Prix
Al Gore, American environmentalist and politician, 45th Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton, and 2000 Democratic nominee for president
Rhea Perlman, American actress
April 1 – Jimmy Cliff, Jamaican singer and actor
April 2 – Roald Als, Danish cartoonist
April 3 – Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Mexican economist and politician and 53rd President of Mexico
Squire Parsons, American gospel singer/songwriter
Dan Simmons, American fantasy and science fiction author
April 7 – John Oates, American rock singer and guitarist (Hall & Oates)
Jeremy Beadle, English TV presenter (d. 2008)
Don Fernando, director and actor of pornographic films
Joschka Fischer German politician
Marcello Lippi, Italian football player and manager
Nam Hae-il, 25th Chief of Naval Operations of the Republic of Korea Navy
Mikhail Shufutinsky, Soviet and Russian singer, actor, TV presenter
April 15 – Michael Kamen, American composer (d. 2003)
Ammar El Sherei, Egyptian music icon and celebrity (d. 2012)
Kazuyuki Sogabe, Japanese voice actor (d. 2006)
April 17 – Jan Hammer, Czechoslovakian composer, pianist and keyboardist
April 21 – Josef Flammer, Swiss ophthalmologist (after whom Flammer syndrome is named)
Amrit Kumar Bohara, Nepalese politician
Si Robertson, American reality star
Terry Pratchett, English comic fantasy and science fiction author (d. 2015)
Marcia Strassman, American actress and singer (d. 2014)
April 29 – Michael Karoli, German musician (d. 2001)
Vladimir Matorin, Russian opera singer
Larry Gatlin, American singer/songwriter
William H. Miller, historian
Chris Mulkey, American actor
Tanya Falan, American singer
King George Tupou V of Tongo (d. 2012)
Joe Esposito, American singer-songwriter
Richard Pacheco, American pornographic actor
Bill Ward, English rock drummer
Dame Felicity Lott, English soprano
Stephen Stohn, Canadian television producer
Steven W. Mosher, American social scientist and author
Calvin Murphy, American basketball player and analyst
May 11 – Shigeru Izumiya, Japanese musician
Steve Winwood, English rock singer
Lindsay Crouse, American actress
May 14 – Bob Woolmer, Indian-born English cricket coach (d. 2007)
Yutaka Enatsu, Japanese professional baseball pitcher
Brian Eno, English musician and record producer
May 16 – Jesper Christensen, Danish actor
May 18 – Mikko Heiniö, Finnish composer
May 19 – Grace Jones, Jamaican singer and actress
May 20 – Tesshō Genda, Japanese voice actor
D'Jamin Bartlett, American musical theatre actress
Elizabeth Buchan, English writer
Jonathan Hyde, Australian-born English actor
Leo Sayer, English rock musician
May 25 – Klaus Meine, German singer (Scorpions)
Dayle Haddon, Canadian model and actress
Stevie Nicks, American rock singer and songwriter
May 27 – Wubbo de Boer, Dutch civil servant
May 29 – Michael Berkeley, English composer
Svetlana Alexievich, Belarusian writer of literary reportage, Nobel Prize laureate
John Bonham, English rock drummer of Led Zeppelin (d. 1980)
Powers Boothe, American actor
Tom Sneva, American race car driver and Indianapolis 500 winner
June 2 – Jerry Mathers, American actor
Bob Champion, English jump jockey
David Haskell, American actor (d. 2000)
June 6 – Richard Sinclair, English musician (Caravan)
June 8 – Jürgen von der Lippe, German television presenter, actor and comedian
Gudrun Schyman, Swedish politician
Gary Thorne, American play-by-play announcer
June 11 – Dave Cash, American baseball player
June 13 – Garnet Bailey, Canadian hockey player and scout (d. 2001)
June 14 – Laurence Yep, American author
June 15 – Paul Michiels, Belgian singer-songwriter
June 17 – Dave Concepción, Venezuelan baseball player
Nick Drake, English musician (d. 1974)
Lea Laven, Finnish singer
Phylicia Rashad, American actress
June 20 – Ludwig Scotty, President of Nauru
Lionel Rose, Australian boxer
Andrzej Sapkowski, Polish writer
June 22 – Todd Rundgren, American rock singer and record producer
Luther Kent, American blues singer
Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
June 24 – Patrick Moraz, Swiss keyboard player
June 27 – Camile Baudoin, American rock guitarist
June 28 – Kathy Bates, American actress
June 29 – Fred Grandy, American actor and politician
Isabelita dos Patins, Argentine-Brazilian drag queen.
Vladimir Yakunin, Russian official, head of state-run Russian Railways company
July 1 – John Ford, Best known for penning Part of the Union whilst in Strawbs
July 3 – Tarmo Koivisto, Finnish comics artist
July 8 – Raffi, Egyptian-born children's entertainer
July 12 – Richard Simmons, American television personality and fitness expert
July 15 – Richard Franklin, Australian film director (d. 2007)
July 16 – Pinchas Zukerman, Israeli violinist
July 18 – Hartmut Michel, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
July 20 – Muse Watson, American actor
Beppe Grillo, Italian activist, blogger, comedian and actor
Ed Hinton, American sportswriter
Cat Stevens, born Steven Georgiou, later known as Yusuf Islam, British singer, musician
Garry Trudeau, American cartoonist
Mikhail Zadornov, Russian stand-up comedian and writer
Susan Eloise Hinton, American author
Otto Waalkes, German comedian and actor
July 23 – John Cushnahan, Northern Irish politician
July 25 – Steve Goodman, Grammy Award-winning folk music singer and songwriter (d. 1984)
July 27 – Peggy Fleming, American figure skater
Gerald Casale, American director and singer (Devo)
Sally Struthers, American actress and spokeswoman
Jean Reno, French actor
Julia Tsenova, Bulgarian composer and musician (d. 2010)
July 31 – Jonathan Dollimore, English academic sociologist and cultural theorist
August 1 – Jim Carroll, American author, poet and musician (d. 2009)
Dennis Prager, American radio talk show host and author
Bob Rae, Canadian politician
August 3 – Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Prime Minister of France
August 13 – Kathleen Battle, American soprano
August 15 – George Ryton, Singapore-born English Formula One engineer
August 18 – Joseph Marcell, English actor
Robert Hughes, Australian actor
Tipper Gore, Second Lady of the United States
John Noble, Australian actor
Robert Plant, English singer (Led Zeppelin)
Barbara Allen Rainey (born Barbara Ann Allen), American aviator, first female pilot in the U.S. armed forces (d. 1982)
August 23 – Lev Zeleny, Soviet and Russian physicist
Jean Michel Jarre, French electronic musician
Sauli Niinisto, Finnish politician, 12th President of Finland
Kim Sung-il, Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Air Force
Vicente Sotto III, Filipino actor, host and politician
August 27 – Sgt. Slaughter, American professional wrestler
Lewis Black, American comedian
Fred Hampton, American activist (d. 1969)
Victor Skumin, Russian scientist, Professor
Cyril Jordan, American musician
Holger Osieck, German football manager
September 1 – James Rebhorn, American actor
Nate Archibald, American basketball player
Terry Bradshaw, American football player and sportscaster
Don Brewer, American drummer (Grand Funk Railroad)
Levy Mwanawasa, Zambian president (d. 2008)
September 4 – Samuel Hui, Hong Kong singer
September 5 – Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Austrian diplomat and politician
September 7 – Susan Blakely, American actress
September 8 – Great Kabuki, Japanese professional wrestler
Judy Geeson, English actress
Bob Lanier, American basketball player
Margaret Trudeau, born Margaret Sinclair, wife and mother of Prime Ministers of Canada
Charlie Waters, American football player
September 11 – John Martyn, born Iain McGeachy, British folk-rock guitarist (d. 2009)
Nell Carter, American singer and actress (d. 2003)
Sitiveni Rabuka, 3rd Prime Minister of Fiji
September 16 – Ron Blair, American bassist (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
September 17 – John Ritter, American actor (d. 2003)
Jeremy Irons, English actor
Nadezhda Tkachenko, Soviet pentathlete
Rey Langit, Filipino journalist and radio host
George R. R. Martin, American speculative fiction author
Denis Burke, Australian politician
Mark Phillips, army captain and equestrian, first husband of Anne, Princess Royal
Jim Byrnes, American voice actor, blues musician and actor
September 24 – Phil Hartman, Canadian actor and comedian (d. 1998)
Cäcilia Rentmeister, German art historian and gender researcher
Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Russian oligarch
Maurizio Gucci, Italian businessman and murder victim (k. 1995)
Olivia Newton-John, English-born Australian singer and actress
September 27 – Michele Dotrice, English actress
Mark Farner, American rock guitarist and singer (Grand Funk Railroad)
Bryant Gumbel, African-American television broadcaster
Theo Jörgensmann, German jazz clarinetist
Burton Richardson, American game show announcer
October 1 – Sir Peter Blake, New Zealand yachtsman (d. 2001)
Avery Brooks, American actor and musician
Persis Khambatta, Indian actress and model (d. 1998)
Chris LeDoux, American singer and rodeo star (d. 2005)
October 4 – Meg Bennett, American soap opera writer
October 6 – Gerry Adams, Northern Irish politician
October 7 – Diane Ackerman, American poet and essayist
Johnny Ramone, American guitarist (Ramones) (d. 2004)
Baldwin Spencer, 3rd Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Jackson Browne, American rock musician
Ciarán Carson, Northern Irish poet and novelist
Oliver Hart, English-born economist, Nobel Prize laureate
October 11 – Cynthia Clawson, American gospel singer
John Ford Coley, American rock musician
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani musician (d. 1997)
Ted Poe, American politician
Engin Arık, Turkish nuclear physicist (d. 2007)
David Ruprecht, American actor and writer (Supermarket Sweep)
Renato Corona, Filipino jurist and lawyer (d. 2016)
Chris de Burgh, born Christopher Davison, Argentine-born Anglo-Irish singer-songwriter
October 16 – Leo Mazzone, American baseball coach
Robert Jordan, American novelist (d. 2007)
Margot Kidder, Canadian actress
Akira Kushida, Japanese singer
George Wendt, American actor
October 18 – Hans Köchler, Austrian philosopher
October 19 – Patrick Simmons, American musician (The Doobie Brothers)
Tom Everett, American actor
Allen Vigneron, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Detroit
October 22 – Lynette Fromme, American attempted assassin of Gerald Ford
October 23 – Sir Gerry Robinson, Irish-born British businessman
Dave Cowens, American basketball player and coach
Dan Gable, American wrestler and coach
October 26 – Toby Harrah, American baseball player
October 28 – Telma Hopkins, American actress and singer
October 29 – Kate Jackson, American actress
November 1 – Anna Stuart, American actress
November 3 – Lulu, born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, Scottish singer and actress
November 4 – Amadou Toumani Touré, President of Mali
Bob Barr, American politician
Dallas Holm, American Christian musician
William Daniel Phillips, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
November 6 – Glenn Frey, American guitarist and singer (The Eagles) (d. 2016)
November 7 – Jim Houghton, American actor and director
November 9 – Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazilian football player and manager
November 10 – Vincent Schiavelli, American actor (d. 2005)
Hassan Rouhani, 7th President of Iran
Richard Roberts, American evangelist and son of Oral Roberts
Humayun Ahmed, Bengali-language writer.
Lockwood Smith, New Zealand politician
Charles, Prince of Wales, born Prince Charles of Edinburgh, heir apparent to the British throne and son of Elizabeth II (at this time Duchess of Edinburgh) and The Duke of Edinburgh
Robert Ginty, American actor and director (d. 2009)
Dee Wallace, American actress
November 15 – James Kemsley, Australian cartoonist and actor (d. 2007)
Chi Coltrane, American musician
Ken James, Australian actor
Mutt Lange, Rhodesian-born record producer
Mate Parlov, Yugoslav Olympic boxer (d. 2008)
November 17 – Howard Dean, American politician
November 19 – Rance Allen, American gospel singer and preacher
John R. Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
Barbara Hendricks, American singer
Richard Masur, American actor, director; president of Screen Actors Guild
November 21 – Michel Suleiman, President of Lebanon
Dominique-France Picard, also known as Princess Fadila of Egypt, wife of King Fuad II of Egypt and the Sudan
Ron Bouchard, American NASCAR driver (d. 2015)
Gabriele Seyfert, East German figure skater
November 24 – Joe Howard, American actor
November 26 – Elizabeth Blackburn, Australian-American biologist and winner of Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
November 27 – James Avery, American actor (d. 2013)
November 28 – Agnieszka Holland, Polish director and screenwriter
T. Coraghessan Boyle, American writer
Toninho Horta, Brazilian singer and musician
Christine Westermann, German television and radio host, journalist and author
Rick Cua, American singer and evangelist
Ozzy Osbourne, English singer (Black Sabbath)
Keke Rosberg, Finnish Formula One champion
Marius Müller-Westernhagen, German actor and musician
JoBeth Williams, American actress and director
Gary Morris, American country singer and actor
Tony Thomas, American television producer
Mads Vinding, Danish bassist
December 10 – Abu Abbas, founder of the Palestine Liberation Front (d. 2004)
December 11 – Chester Thompson, American rock drummer
Lillian Board, South African-born English Olympic athlete (d. 1970)
Ted Nugent, American rock guitarist and singer
David O'List, English rock guitarist
Lester Bangs, American music journalist (d. 1982)
Kim Beazley, Australian politician
December 19 – Ken Brown, Canadian ice hockey player
December 20 – Alan Parsons, English songwriter, musician and record producer
Samuel L. Jackson, African-American actor and film producer
Willi Resetarits, Austrian musician and cabaret artist
Noel Edmonds, English TV presenter and DJ
Flip Mark, American child actor
Lynne Thigpen, American actress (d. 2003)
December 23 – Jim Ferguson, American guitarist, composer, educator, author and music journalist
December 25 – Barbara Mandrell, American country singer
Ronnie Caldwell, American soul music and rhythm and blues musician (d. 1967)
Gérard Depardieu, French actor
Dick Siegel, American songwriter
Mary Weiss, American singer (The Shangri-Las)
December 29 – Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland First Minister
Joe Dallesandro, American model and actor
Sandy Jardine, Scottish professional footballer playing for Rangers and Hearts and representing Scotland (d. 2014)
Donna Summer, African-American singer and actress (d. 2012)
Archana Bhattacharyya, Indian physicist
Miguel Cabrera Cabrera, Spanish architect and politician
Vicatan, born Vicente Doria Catan Jr., Filipino comic book artist (d. 2004)
Gudo Hoegel, German actor and voice actor
Phalon Jones, American soul music and rhythm and blues musician (d. 1967)
John Blair Moore, American comic book artist
Johnny Nicholas, American blues musician
Judy Nylon, American artist and musician
Edward Rutherfurd, born Francis Edward Wintle, English novelist
January 1 – Edna May, American actress (b. 1878)
January 2 – Vicente Huidobro, Chilean poet (b. 1893)
January 5 – Mary Dimmick Harrison, wife of President Benjamin Harrison (b. 1858)
Kurt Schwitters, German artist (b. 1887)
Edward Stanley Kellogg, 16th Governor of American Samoa (b. 1870)
January 21 – Eliza Moore last person born into slavery in the United States (b. 1843)
January 21 – Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Italian composer (b. 1876)
January 24 – Bill Cody, American actor (b. 1891)
January 26 – Georg Bruchmüller, influential German artillery officer (b. 1863)
January 29 – King Tomislav II of Croatia (b. 1900)
Nigel De Brulier, English actor (b. 1877)
Arthur Coningham, British air force air marshal (disappeared) (b. 1895)
Mahatma Gandhi, Leader of Indian independence movement, (assassinated) (b. 1869)
Herb Pennock, American baseball player (New York Yankees) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1894)
Orville Wright, American co-inventor of the airplane (b. 1871)
January 31 – John T. Daniels, American Coast Guardsman, took the Wright brothers first flight photograph (b. 1873)
February 1 – Jatindramohan Bagchi, Indian (Bengali) poet (b. 1878)
February 2 – Bevil Rudd, South African athlete (b. 1894)
Burns Mantle, American theatre critic (b. 1873)
Karl Valentin, German actor (b. 1882)
Sergei Eisenstein, Soviet film director (b. 1898)
Isaac Isaacs, 9th Governor-General of Australia (b. 1855)
February 14 – Mordecai Brown, American baseball player (Chicago Cubs) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1876)
February 23 – John Robert Gregg, Irish-born inventor of shorthand (b. 1866)
Alexander du Toit, South African geologist (b. 1878)
Felix Krueger, German psychologist (b. 1874)
March 4 – Antonin Artaud, French playwright, actor and director (b. 1896)
March 6 – Ross Lockridge, Jr., American novelist (suicide) (b. 1914)
Zelda Fitzgerald, American wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald (b. 1900)
Jan Masaryk, Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia (b. 1886)
March 23 – Kōzō Satō, Japanese admiral (b. 1871)
Nikolai Berdyaev, Russian religious and political philosopher (b. 1874)
Paolo Thaon di Revel, former admiral of the Royal Italian Navy (b. 1859)
March 31 – Egon Erwin Kisch, Austrian journalist and author (b. 1885)
George Carpenter, 5th General of The Salvation Army (b. 1872)
Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Colombian politician (assassinated) (b. 1903)
April 15 – Manuel Roxas, 5th President of the Philippines (b. 1892)
April 17 – Kantarō Suzuki, 42nd Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1868)
April 20 – Mitsumasa Yonai, 37th Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1880)
April 24 – Manuel Ponce, Mexican composer (b. 1882)
May 3 – Ernst Tandefelt, Finnish nobleman, assassin of Minister Ritavuori (b. 1876)
May 9 – Viola Allen, American actress (b. 1867)
May 13 – Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington (b. 1920)
May 15 – Father Edward J. Flanagan, Irish-born priest and founder of Boys Town (b. 1886)
May 21 – Jacques Feyder, French filmmaker (b. 1885)
May 22 – Claude McKay, Jamaican-American writer and poet (b. 1889)
May 28 – Unity Mitford, British socialite; friend of Adolf Hitler (b. 1914)
May 29 – Dame May Whitty, British actress (b. 1865)
May 30 – József Klekl, Slovene politician in Hungary (b. 1874)
June 2 – Viktor Brack, German doctor (b. 1904), executed by hanging for warcrimes
Karl Brandt, German S.S. officer (b. 1904)
Rudolf Brandt, German S.S. officer (b. 1909)
Karl Gebhardt, German S.S. officer (b. 1897)
Waldemar Hoven, German S.S. officer (b. 1903)
Joachim Mrugowsky, German S.S. officer (b. 1905)
Wolfram Sievers, German S.S. officer (b. 1905)
June 6 – Louis Lumière, French film pioneer (b. 1864)
June 13 – Osamu Dazai, Japanese writer (b. 1909)
June 25 – William C. Lee, American general (b. 1895)
June 26 – Lilian Velez, Filipino actress (murder) (b. 1924)
July 2 – Baba Sawan Singh, Indian saint known as "The Great Master" (b. 1858)
Georges Bernanos, French writer (b. 1888)
Carole Landis, American actress player (b. 1919)
July 9 – James Baskett, American actor (Uncle Remus in Disney's Song of the South) (b. 1904)
King Baggot, American actor (b. 1879)
Franz Weidenreich, German anatomist and physical anthropologist (b. 1873)
July 14 – Harry Brearley, English inventor of stainless steel (b. 1871)
July 15 – John J. Pershing, American general (b. 1860)
July 18 – May Moss, Australian women's rights activist (b. 1869)
July 21 – Arshile Gorky, Armenian-born painter (b. 1904)
July 23 – D. W. Griffith, American film director (The Birth Of A Nation) (b. 1875)
Susan Glaspell, American playwright (b. 1882)
Joe Tinker, American baseball player (Chicago Cubs) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1880)
July 31 – Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, mistress of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (b. 1891)
August 3 – Tommy Ryan, American boxing champion (b. 1870)
Kan'ichi Asakawa, Japanese historian (b. 1873)
Andrew Brown, Scottish soccer coach (b. 1870)
August 16 – Babe Ruth, American baseball player (New York Yankees) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1895)
August 17 – Mariette Rheiner Garner, Second Lady of the United States (b. 1869)
August 27 – Charles Evans Hughes, Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1862)
September 1 – Muhammad VII al-Munsif, ruler of Tunisia 1942–43 (b. 1881)
September 2 – Sylvanus G. Morley, American scholar and World War I spy (b. 1883)
September 3 – Edvard Beneš, President of Czechoslovakia (b. 1884)
September 5 – Richard C. Tolman, American mathematical physicist (b. 1881)
September 10 – Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, Tsar of Bulgaria (b. 1861)
September 11 – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder and first Governor General of Pakistan (b. 1876)
September 12 – Rupert D'Oyly Carte, English hotelier, theatre owner and impresario (b. 1876)
September 13 – Paul Wegener, German actor and film director (b. 1874)
Folke Bernadotte, Swedish diplomat (assassinated) (b. 1895)
Ruth Benedict, American anthropologist and folklorist (b. 1887)
Emil Ludwig, German-Swiss historian and biographer (b. 1881)
September 20 – Husain Salaahuddin, Famous Mahl writer (b. 1881)
September 24 – Warren William, American actor (b. 1894)
September 26 – Gregg Toland, American cinematographer (b. 1904)
September 30 – Edith Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (b. 1861)
October 1 – Phraya Manopakorn Nititada, 1st Prime Minister of Siam (b. 1884)
October 12 – Susan Sutherland Isaacs, British educational psychologist and psychoanalyst (b. 1885)
October 13 – Samuel S. Hinds, American actor (b. 1875)
October 15 – Edythe Chapman, American actress (b. 1863)
October 18 – Walther von Brauchitsch, German field marshal (b. 1881)
October 21 – Elissa Landi, Italian actress (b. 1904)
October 22 – William Royland, British baronet
October 24 – Franz Lehár, Hungarian composer (b. 1870)
October 31 – Mary Nolan, American actress (b. 1905)
November 4 – Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield, British-American businessman (b. 1874)
November 9 – Edgar Kennedy, American actor (b. 1890)
November 10 – Julius Curtius, German politician and diplomat (b. 1877)
November 11 – Fred Niblo, American film director (b. 1874)
November 21 – Béla Miklós, Hungarian military officer and politician, 38th Prime Minister of Hungary (b. 1890)
November 23 – Hack Wilson, American baseball player (Chicago Cubs) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1900)
November 28 – D. D. Sheehan, Irish politician (b. 1873)
December 2 – Chano Pozo, Cuban percussionist (b. 1915)
December 20 – C. Aubrey Smith, British actor (b. 1863)
December 23 – Japanese war leaders (hanged):
Kenji Doihara, spy (b. 1883)
Kōki Hirota, 32nd Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1878)
Seishirō Itagaki, military officer (b. 1885)
Heitarō Kimura, general (b. 1888)
Iwane Matsui, general (b. 1878)
Akira Mutō, general (b. 1892)
Hideki Tojo, general, 40th Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1884)
December 28 – Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha, Prime Minister of Egypt (assassinated) (b. 1888)
December 31 – Sir Malcolm Campbell, English land and water racer (b. 1885)
Physics – Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett
Chemistry – Arne Tiselius
Medicine – Paul Hermann Müller
Literature – T. S. Eliot
Peace – not awarded