January 5 – Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot has its first public stage première in French as En attendant Godot at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris.
January 6 – The Asian Socialist Conference opens in Rangoon, Burma.
January 7 – United States President Harry S. Truman announces the United States has developed a hydrogen bomb.
January 12 – Estonian émigrés found a government-in-exile in Oslo.
January 13 – "Doctors' plot": The state newspaper Pravda publishes an article alleging that many of the most prestigious physicians in the Soviet Union, mostly Jews, are part of a major plot to poison the country's senior political and military leaders.
Marshal Josip Broz Tito is chosen President of Yugoslavia.
The CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel first meets to discuss the UFO phenomenon.
January 15 – Georg Dertinger, foreign minister of East Germany, is arrested for spying.
January 19 – 71.1% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth to Little Ricky, which is more people than those who tuned into Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration the next day. This record has yet to be broken.
January 20 – Dwight D. Eisenhower is sworn in as President of the United States.
January 22 – The Crucible, a drama by Arthur Miller, opens on Broadway.
Mau Mau Uprising: Rebels in Kenya kill the Ruck family (father, mother, and six-year-old son).
Walter Ulbricht announces that agriculture will be collectivized in East Germany.
January 28 – Derek Bentley is executed for murder at Wandsworth Prison in London.
January 31–February 1 – The North Sea flood of 1953 kills 1,836 people in the southwestern Netherlands (especially Zeeland), 307 in the United Kingdom and several hundred at sea, including 133 on the ferry MV Princess Victoria in the Irish Sea.
February 1 – The surge of the North Sea flood continues from the previous day.
February 3 – Batepá massacre: Hundreds of native creoles known as forros are massacred in São Tomé by the colonial administration and Portuguese landowners.
February 5 – Walt Disney's feature film Peter Pan premieres.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower refuses a clemency appeal for Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
The Soviet Union breaks diplomatic relations with Israel after a bomb explosion at the Soviet embassy in reaction to the 'Doctors' plot'.
February 12 – The Nordic Council is inaugurated.
February 13 – Transsexual Christine Jorgensen returns to New York after successful sex reassignment surgery in Denmark.
February 16 – The Pakistan Academy of Sciences is established in Pakistan.
February 19 – Georgia approves the first literature censorship board in the United States.
February 21 – Nitroform Products Company plant in Newark, New Jersey, is destroyed by an explosion.
February 25 – Release, in France, of Jacques Tati's film Les Vacances de M. Hulot, introducing the gauche character of Monsieur Hulot.
James Watson and Francis Crick of the University of Cambridge announce their discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule.
Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia sign the Balkan Pact.
Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke after an all-night dinner with Soviet Union interior minister Lavrentiy Beria and future premiers Georgi Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin, and Nikita Khrushchev. The stroke paralyzes the right side of his body and renders him unconscious until his death on March 5.
Bernard Freyberg, 1st Baron Freyberg is made deputy constable and lieutenant governor of Windsor Castle.
March 6 – Georgy Maksimilianovich Malenkov succeeds Joseph Stalin as Premier and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
March 8 – The Thieves World, which had been transformed into the Russian mafia, are freed from prisons by the Malenkov regime which ends the Bitch Wars.
March 13 – The United Nations Security Council nominates Dag Hammarskjöld from Sweden as United Nations Secretary General.
March 14 – Nikita Khrushchev is selected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.
March 17 – The first nuclear test of Operation Upshot–Knothole is conducted in Nevada, with 1,620 spectators at 3.4 km (2.1 mi).
March 18 – An earthquake hits western Turkey, killing 250.
March 19 – The 25th Academy Awards ceremony is held (the first one broadcast on television).
March 25–26 – Lari Massacre in Kenya: Mau Mau rebels kill up to 150 Kikuyu natives.
March 26 – Jonas Salk announces his polio vaccine.
March 29 – A fire at the Littlefield Nursing Home in Largo, Florida, kills 33 persons, including singer-songwriter Arthur Fields.
April 7 – Dag Hammarskjöld is elected United Nations Secretary-General.
April 8 – Jomo Kenyatta is sentenced to seven years in prison for the alleged organization of the Mau Mau Uprising.
April 10 – The Melbourne Knights is founded as Croatia SC in Melbourne.
Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, in the United Kingdom.
The German football team SG Dynamo Dresden is founded.
President Eisenhower delivers his "Chance for Peace" speech to the National Association of Newspaper Editors.
A four-story building in Chicago belonging to the Habar Corporation catches fire, killing 35 employees.
April 17 – Mickey Mantle hits a 565-foot (172 m) home run at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Mantle's home run is believed to be the longest home run in baseball history by many historians.
April 20 – Frank Sinatra and the arranger Nelson Riddle began their first recording sessions together at Capitol Records, which would result in some of the defining recordings of Sinatra's career.
April 25 – Francis Crick and James Watson publish "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid", their description of the double helix structure of DNA.
May 2 – Hussein is crowned King of Jordan.
May 5 – Aldous Huxley first tries the psychedelic hallucinogen, mescaline, inspiring his book The Doors of Perception.
May 9 – France agrees to the provisional independence of Cambodia with King Norodom Sihanouk.
May 10 – The town of Chemnitz in East Germany becomes Karl Marx Stadt.
May 11 – The Waco tornado outbreak: A F5 tornado hits in the downtown section of Waco, Texas, killing 114.
May 15 – The Standards And Recommended Practices (SARPS) for Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) were adopted by the ICAO Council. These SARPS are in Annex 15 to the Chicago Convention and 15 May is celebrated by the AIS community as “World AIS Day”.
May 18 – At Rogers Dry Lake, Californian Jackie Cochran becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier (in a F-86 Sabrejet at an average speed of 652.337 miles-per-hour).
May 25 – Nuclear testing: At the Nevada Test Site, the United States conducts its only nuclear artillery test: Upshot-Knothole Grable.
May 29 – Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay from Nepal become the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
June 1 – Uprising in Plzeň: Currency reform causes riots in Czechoslovakia.
June 2 – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey.
June 7 – Italian general election: the Christian Democracy party wins a plurality in both legislative houses.
June 7-9 – Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak sequence: A single storm-system spawns 46 tornadoes of various sizes, in ten states from Colorado to Massachusetts, over three days, killing 246.
On second day of Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak sequence, a tornado kills 115 in Flint, Michigan; it will be the last to claim more than 100 lives until the 2011 Joplin tornado.
Austria and the Soviet Union open diplomatic relations.
Ivo Sanader, the "Čaća", was born.
On third day of Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak sequence, a tornado spawned from the same storm system as the Flint tornado the day before hits in Worcester, Massachusetts, killing 94.
CIA Technical Services Staff head Sidney Gottlieb approves of the use of LSD in a MKUltra subproject.
June 13 – Hungarian Prime Minister Mátyás Rákosi is replaced by Imre Nagy.
June 16 – The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia open diplomatic relations.
June 17 – Workers Uprising in East Germany: The Soviet Union orders a division of troops into East Berlin to quell a rebellion.
Egypt declares itself a republic.
Tachikawa air disaster: A United States Air Force Douglas C-124 Globemaster II crashes just after takeoff from Tachikawa Airfield near Tokyo, Japan, killing all 129 people on board in the worst air crash in history up to this time, and the first with a confirmed death toll exceeding 100.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York, for conspiracy to commit espionage.
Baton Rouge bus boycott begins.
The first Chevrolet Corvette is built at Flint, Michigan.
First roll-on/roll-off ferry crossing of the English Channel, Dover–Boulogne.
July 3 – First ascent of Nanga Parbat in the Pakistan Himalayas, the world's ninth highest mountain, is made by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl alone.
July 4 – Strikes and riots hit coal mining regions in Poland.
July 5 – The European Economic Community (EEC) holds its first assembly in Strasbourg, France.
July 9 – The US Treasury formally renames the Bureau of Internal Revenue; the new name (which had previously been used informally) is the Internal Revenue Service.
July 10 – The Soviet official newspaper Pravda announces that Lavrentiy Beria has been deposed as head of the NKVD.
July 17 – The greatest recorded loss of United States midshipmen in a single event results from an aircraft crash near NAS Whiting Field.
July 23 – Howard Hawks's musical film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, is released by 20th Century Fox.
Fidel Castro and his brother lead a disastrous assault on the Moncada Barracks, preliminary to the Cuban Revolution.
The Short Creek raid is carried out on a polygynous Mormon sect in Arizona.
July 27 – The Korean War ends with the Korean Armistice Agreement: United Nations Command (Korea) (United States), People's Republic of China, North Korea sign an armistice agreement at Panmunjom and the north remains communist while the south remains capitalist.
August 5 – Operation Big Switch: Prisoners of war are repatriated after the Korean War.
Soviet prime minister Georgi Malenkov announces that the Soviet Union has a hydrogen bomb.
London Agreement on German External Debts concluded, cancelling 50% of repayable war debt by the Federal Republic of Germany to its creditors.
The 1953 Ionian earthquake of magnitude 7.2 totally devastates Cephalonia and most of the other Ionian Islands in Greece's worst natural disaster in centuries.
Soviet atomic bomb project: "Joe 4" – The first Soviet thermonuclear weapon is detonated at Semipalatinsk Test Site, Kazakh SSR.
August 13 – Four million workers go on strike in France to protest against austerity measures.
August 17 – The first planning session of Narcotics Anonymous is held in Southern California (see October 5).
August 18 – The second of the Kinsey Reports, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, is published in the United States.
August 19 – Cold War: The CIA helps to overthrow the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran, and retain Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the throne (see Operation Ajax).
The French government ousts King Mohammed V of Morocco and exiles him to Corsica.
The United States returns to West Germany 382 ships it had captured during World War II.
August 25 – The general strike ends in France.
September 4 – The discovery of REM sleep is first published by researchers Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman.
September 5 – The United Nations rejects the Soviet Union's suggestion to accept China as a member.
September 7 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes head of the Soviet Central Committee.
September 12 – U.S. Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
September 25 – The first German prisoners of war return from the Soviet Union to West Germany.
September 26 – Rationing of cane sugar ends in the UK.
October – The UNIVAC 1103 is the first commercial computer to use random-access memory.
Earl Warren is appointed Chief Justice of the United States by U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous is held (the first planning session was held August 17).
October 6 – UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, is made a permanent specialized agency of the United Nations.
West German federal election, 1953: Konrad Adenauer is re-elected as German chancellor.
The British Guiana constitution is suspended.
Roland (Monty) Burton wins the 1953 London to Christchurch air race in under 23 hours flying time.
The Mutual Defense Treaty Between the United States and the Republic of Korea is concluded in Washington, D.C.
October 12 – The play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial opens at Plymouth Theatre, New York.
October 22 – Laos becomes independent from France.
October 23 – Alto Broadcasting System in the Philippines makes the first television broadcast in southeast Asia through DZAQ-TV. Alto Broadcasting System is the predecessor of what will later become ABS-CBN Corporation.
October 30 – Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves the top secret document of the United States National Security Council NSC 162/2, which states that the United States' arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.
November 5 – David Ben-Gurion resigns as prime minister of Israel.
November 9 – Cambodia becomes independent from France.
The Laotian Civil War begins between the Kingdom of Laos and the Pathet Lao, all the while resuming the First Indochina War against the French Army in a Two-front war.
Saudi King Abdul Aziz al-Saud died.
The Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, piloted by Scott Crossfield, becomes the first manned aircraft to reach Mach 2.
Authorities at the Natural History Museum, London announce that the skull of Piltdown Man (allegedly an early human discovered in 1912) is a hoax.
Puerto Williams is founded in Chile as the southernmost settlement of the world.
November 25 – England loses 6–3 to Hungary at Wembley Stadium, their first ever loss to a continental team at home.
November 29 – French paratroopers take Điện Biên Phủ.
November 30 – Edward Mutesa II, the kabaka (king) of Buganda, is deposed and exiled to London by Sir Andrew Benjamin Cohen, Governor of Uganda.
December – Hugh Hefner publishes the first issue of Playboy magazine in the United States, featuring a centerfold nude photograph of Marilyn Monroe; it sells 54,175 copies at $.50 each.
December 2 – The United Kingdom and Iran reform diplomatic relations.
December 6 – With the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conductor Arturo Toscanini performs what he claims is his favorite Beethoven symphony, Eroica, for the last time. The live performance is broadcast nationwide on radio, and later released on records and CD.
December 7 – A visit to Iran by American Vice President Richard Nixon sparks several days of riots, as an reaction to the August 19 overthrow of the government of Mohammed Mossadegh by the US-backed Shah. Three students are shot dead by police in Tehran. This event becomes an annual commemoration.
December 8 – U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his Atoms for Peace address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
December 10 – Albert Schweitzer is given the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize.
December 17 – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves color television (using the NTSC standard).
December 23 – The Soviet Union announces officially that Lavrentiy Beria has been executed.
December 24 – Tangiwai disaster: A railway bridge collapses at Tangiwai, New Zealand, sending a fully loaded passenger train into the Whangaehu River; 151 are killed.
December 25 – The Amami Islands are returned to Japan after 8 years of United States military occupation.
The first color television sets go on sale for about US$1,175.
Ramon Magsaysay is the 7th President of the Philippines.
The Japanese 10 yen coin is issued with serrated edges for a 5-year period, beginning in 1953. All 10 yen coins since have had smooth edges.
Heavy massive rain, landslides, and flooding in western and southwestern Japan kill an estimated 2,566, and injure 9,433, mainly at Kizugawa, Wakayama, Kumamoto, and Kitakyushu (June–August).
January 1 – Gary Johnson, American businessman and politician, 29th Governor of New Mexico
January 2 – Vincent Racaniello, American virologist
January 4 – George Tenet, former American Central Intelligence Agency director
Pamela Sue Martin, American actress
Mike Rann, Australian politician
January 6 – Malcolm Young, Australian musician
January 8 – Bruce Sutter, America baseball player
Pat Benatar, American rock singer
Bobby Rahal, American race car driver
January 13 – John Wake, English cricketer
Kent Hovind, American creation science evangelist
Randy White, American football player
January 16 – Robert Jay Mathews, American neo-Nazi and founder of the terrorist group The Order (d. 1984)
Desi Arnaz Jr., American actor, musician
Richard Legendre, Canadian tennis player and politician
Paul Allen, American entrepreneur and co-founder of Microsoft
Glenn Kaiser, Blues-rock, Heavy metal, Rock, R&B (Early Days)
Myung-whun Chung, South Korean conductor and pianist
Jim Jarmusch, American director
Robin Zander, American singer and guitarist (Cheap Trick)
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and Secretary General of NATO
Lucinda Williams, American singer-songwriter
January 28 – Colin Campbell, Canadian ice hockey player and executive
Nate Barnett, American basketball player
Peter Baumann, German keyboard player and songwriter (Tangerine Dream)
Paulin Bordeleau, Canadian ice hockey player
Caesar Cervin, American soccer player
Dennis Delaney, American actor and playwright
Paul Fusco, American puppeteer and voice actor
Steve March-Tormé, American singer-songwriter
Kalevi Marjamaa, Finnish boxer
Lynne McGranger, Australian actress
Ronnie Moore, English footballer and manager
Juan Paredes, Mexican boxer
Louie Pérez, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
Fred Riebeling, Australian politician
Grażyna Szmacińska, Polish chess player
Dwight Takamine, American politician
Teresa Teng, Taiwanese singer (d. 1995)
Yorie Terauchi, Japanese actress
Charlie Wilson, American singer-songwriter; producer (The Gap Band)
Hwang Woo-suk, South Korean veterinarian and academic
Richard Younger-Ross, English politician
January 31 – Sergei Ivanov, first deputy prime minister of Russia and former minister of defense of Russia
February 2 – Duane Chapman, American bounty hunter
February 4 – Kitarō, Japanese New Age musician
February 7 – Dan Quisenberry, American baseball player (d. 1998)
February 8 – Mary Steenburgen, American actress
Ciarán Hinds, Irish actor
Rick Wagoner, American automotive executive
February 10 – June Jones, American quarterback and current NCAA Football head coach at Southern Methodist University
February 11 – Jeb Bush, American politician
February 12 – Nabil Shaban, British disabled actor
February 14 – Sergey Mironov, Russian statesman and Speaker of the Federation Council
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, 50th President of Argentina
Massimo Troisi, Italian actor and film director (d. 1994)
February 20 – Riccardo Chailly, Italian orchestral conductor
February 21 – William Petersen, American actor
February 22 – Geoffrey Perkins, British comedy producer, writer, actor (d. 2008)
José María Aznar, Prime Minister of Spain
Martin Kippenberger, German artist
February 26 – Michael Bolton, American pop singer
Ian Khama, 4th President of Botswana
Yolande Moreau, Belgian actress/writer/director
Paul Krugman, American economist
Ricky Steamboat, American professional wrestler
Osmo Vänskä, Finnish orchestral conductor
March 1 – Richard Bruton, Irish politician and economist
March 2 – Russell Feingold, U. S. Senator
Arthur Antunes Coimbra, Brazilian footballer and manager
Robyn Hitchcock, British singer-songwriter
Agustí Villaronga, Spanish filmmaker
Emilio Estefan, Cuban percussionist
Rose Laurens, French singer-songwriter
Kay Lenz, American actress
Tokyo Sexwale, South African businessman, politician, anti-apartheid activist, and former political prisoner
Jan Kjærstad, Norwegian author
Jacklyn Zeman, American actress
March 10 – Debbie Brill, Canadian high jumper
László Bölöni, Romanian footballer
Bernie LaBarge, Canadian guitarist/vocalist
Carl Hiaasen, American author
Ron Jeremy, American pornographic actor
Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepalese politician
March 14 – Johan Ullman, Swedish medical doctor, physicist and inventor
Bryan Duncan, American Christian musician
Isabelle Huppert, French actress
Richard Stallman, American free software proponent
March 17 – Filemon Lagman, Filipino revolutionary (d. 2001)
March 18 – Takashi Yoshimatsu, Japanese composer
March 20 – Sándor Csányi, Hungarian business executive and banker
March 23 – Chaka Khan, American soul singer
Louie Anderson, American comedian
Mathias Richling, German comedian
Lincoln Chafee, American politician
Elaine Chao, American politician; wife of Senator Mitch McConnell
April 2 – Jim Allister, Irish politician
Sandra Boynton, American author, songwriter, and illustrator
Russ Francis, American Football player
April 4 – Robert Bertrand, Canadian politician
April 6 – Andy Hertzfeld, American computer programmer
April 9 – John Howard, English singer-songwriter
April 10 – Heiner Lauterbach, German actor
Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium
Andrew Wiles, British-born mathematician
April 14 – Eric Tsang, Hong Kong actor
Peter Garrett, Australian musician and politician
J. Neil Schulman, American writer and activist
April 17 – Linda Martin, Irish singer and television presenter, Eurovision Song Contest 1992 winner
April 18 – Rick Moranis, Canadian actor
April 19 – Ruby Wax, American-born British-based performer
April 20 – Sebastian Faulks, English novelist
April 22 – Juhani Komulainen, Finnish composer
April 24 – Eric Bogosian, American actor, playwright, monologist, and novelist
April 25 – Ron Clements, American animation director and producer
Roberto Bolaño, Chilean author (d. 2003)
Kim Gordon, American rock musician
Nikolai Budarin, Russian cosmonaut
Bill Drummond, South African-born Scottish musician (The KLF, The Timelords)
April 30 – Merrill Osmond, American pop singer
May 2 – Valery Gergiev, Russian/Ossetian conductor
May 4 – Salman Hashimikov, Soviet heavyweight wrestler
May 5 – Dieter Zetsche, German auto executive
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Graeme Souness, Scottish footballer and manager
Lynn Whitfield, American actress
May 7 – Ian McKay, British soldier, (VC recipient) (d. 1982)
May 8 – Alex Van Halen, Dutch-born American rock musician
May 11 – David Gest, American entertainer, producer and television personality (d. 2016)
Michael Hebranko, American exemplar of morbid/mortal obesity (d. 2013)
Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia
George Brett, American Major League Baseball player
Mike Oldfield, English composer
May 16 – Pierce Brosnan, Irish actor
May 19 – Victoria Wood, English comic performer (d. 2016)
May 20 – Robert Doyle, Australian politician
May 24 – Alfred Molina, English actor
May 26 – Michael Portillo, English politician
Aleksandr Abdulov, Russian actor (d. 2008)
Danny Elfman, American composer
May 30 – Colm Meaney, Irish actor
May 31 – Kathie Sullivan, American singer
David Berkowitz, American serial killer
Diana Canova, American actress and adjunct professor
June 2 – Keith Allen, British actor
June 3 – Erland Van Lidth De Jeude, Dutch-born wrestler, opera singer and actor (d. 1987)
June 4 – Susumu Ojima, Japanese entrepreneur
June 5 – Kathleen Kennedy, American film producer
Johnny Clegg, South African Zulu musician
Dougie Donnelly, Scottish television broadcaster
June 8 – Ivo Sanader, 8th Prime Minister of Croatia
June 10 – John Edwards, American politician
June 11 - Peter Bergman, American actor
June 12 – Michael Donovan, Canadian voice actor
Tim Allen, American actor and comedian
Atso Almila, Finnish conductor and composer
Antonia Rados, Austrian television journalist
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and President of the People's Republic of China
June 19 – Lesley Nicol, English actress
June 20 – Ulrich Mühe, German actor (d. 2007)
June 21 – Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan (d. 2007)
Wim Eijk, Dutch archbishop
Cyndi Lauper, American singer
Vanessa Campbell, American actor and singer
Ivo Lill, Estonian artist
Don Dokken, American rock singer and musician
Colin Hay, Scottish-born Australian singer/songwriter
Lawrence Gonzi, 11th Prime Minister of Malta
Jadranka Kosor, Croatian politician
July 6 – Nanci Griffith, American folk singer-songwriter
July 9 – François Diederich, Luxembourgish chemist
July 10 – Rik Emmett, singersongwriter and lead guitarist of the Canadian rock band Triumph
July 11 – Mindy Sterling, American actress
July 13 – Gil Birmingham, Native American actor
July 14 – Bebe Buell, American model and singer
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of Haiti
Mila Pivnicki, wife of Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney
July 19 – Shōichi Nakagawa, Japanese politician (d. 2009)
July 21 – Jeff Fatt, purple Wiggle from 1991-2012
July 22 – Sylvia Chang, Taiwanese actress
July 23 – Najib Abdul Razak, current Prime Minister of Malaysia
July 24 – Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator
July 25 – Tim Gunn, American fashion expert
July 27 – Yahoo Serious, Australian filmmaker
Ken Burns, American documentary filmmaker
Geddy Lee, Canadian rock musician (Rush)
Tōru Furuya, Japanese voice actor
James Read, American actor
Robert Cray, American musician
Steven Krasner, American sportswriter
August 2 – Butch Patrick, American child actor and musician
August 4 – Antonio Tajani, Italian politician, President of the European Parliament
August 5 – Rick Mahler, American baseball player (d. 2005)
August 8 – Nigel Mansell, English Formula One driver
August 9 – Jean Tirole, French Nobel Prize-winning economist
August 11 – Hulk Hogan, American professional wrestler
August 12 – Carlos Mesa, President of Bolivia
Cliff Johnson, American game designer
James Horner, American film composer (d. 2015)
Wolfgang Hohlbein, German writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction
Martin Manley, American sports writer and statistician (d. 2013)
Carol Thatcher, English television personality
Sir Mark Thatcher, English businessman
August 16 – Kathie Lee Gifford, American singer and actress
August 17 – Herta Müller, German Nobel Prize-winning writer
August 18 – Louie Gohmert, American politician
August 19 – Benoît Régent, French actor (d. 1994)
August 20 – Mike Jackson, former member of the Texas Senate
August 21 – Géza Szőcs, Hungarian poet and politician
August 24 – Ron Holloway, American tenor saxophonist
August 26 – Pat Sharkey, Irish footballer
August 27 – Alex Lifeson, Canadian rock musician (Rush)
August 29 – James Quesada, Nicaraguan-born anthropologist
August 30 – Robert Parish, American basketball player
August 31 – György Károly, Hungarian author
September 2 – John Zorn, American musician
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, American actor
Fatih Terim, Turkish footballer and manager
September 6 – Anne Lockhart, American actress
September 7 – Mammootty, Indian actor
September 8 – Stu Ungar, American poker player (d. 1998)
September 10 – Amy Irving, American actress
September 11 – Lesley Visser, American sportscaster and journalist
Nan Goldin, American photographer
Stephen Sprouse, American fashion designer, artist, and photographer (d. 2004)
September 13 – Ann Dusenberry, American film actress
September 18 – Betsy Boze, American dean and CEO, Kent State University at Stark
September 19 – Probal Dasgupta, Indian linguist and Esperantist
September 21 – Andrew Heermans, American musician, recording engineer, music producer
September 22 – Ségolène Royal, French politician
September 23 – Alexey Maslov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Ground Forces
September 27 – Greg Ham, Australian rock musician (Men at Work)
September 28 – Jim Diamond, Scottish singer-songwriter (PhD) (d. 2015)
Denis Potvin, Canadian Hall of Fame hockey player
Randy West, American radio personality and game show announcer
September 30 – Deborah Allen, American singer
Grete Waitz, Norwegian athlete (d. 2011)
Klaus Wowereit, German politician
October 2 – Brandon Wilson, American author and explorer
October 4 – Kerry Sherman, American actress
October 7 – Tico Torres, American Drummer (Bon Jovi)
October 9 – Tony Shalhoub, American actor
Les Dennis, British comedian and television presenter
Serge Lepeltier, French politician
October 14 – Shelley Ackerman, American astrologer, actress, writer
Tito Jackson, African-American singer and guitarist (The Jackson 5)
Larry Miller, American actor and comedian
October 16 – Martha Smith, American model and actress
Keith Green, American-born Christian piano player (d. 1982)
Peter Mandelson, British politician and member of the Labour Party
Hugh Wolff, American orchestral conductor
October 22 – Loyiso Nongxa, South African mathematician
Christoph Daum, German football manager and former footballer
Steven Hatfill, American physician, virologist and bio-weapons expert
David Wright, British composer and producer, co-founder of AD Music
October 26 – Keith Strickland, American musician (The B-52's)
Peter Firth, British actor
Robert Picardo, American actor
October 29 – Lorelei King, American Actress a.k.a. Tabs Wildcat
October 31 – Michael J. Anderson, American actor
November 1 – Susan Tse, Hong Kong actress and opera singer
November 3 – Dennis Miller, American comedian and radio host
Carlos Gutierrez, American politician
Van Stephenson, American singer-songwriter (d. 2001)
November 5 – Florentino V. Floro, Filipino dwarf judge
November 7 – Ottfried Fischer, German actor and Kabarett artist
November 8 – John Musker, American animation director
Andy Partridge, British musician and frontman of the band XTC
Harley Venton, American actor
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexican politician
Waswo X. Waswo, American photographer
Diana Weston, English actress
Mokhtar Dahari, Malaysian footballer (d. 1991)
November 14 – Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister of France
November 15 – Alexander O'Neal, American singer
Alan Moore, English writer and magician
Kevin Nealon, American actor and comedian
Kath Soucie, American actress and most active in voice overs
Robert Beltran, American actor
Tom Villard, American actor (d. 1994)
November 23 – Francis Cabrel, French singer
November 24 – Tod Machover, American composer
November 25 – Graham Eadie, Australian rugby player
November 27 – Boris Grebenshchikov, Russian rock musician
Alex Grey, American artist
Vlado Kreslin, Slovenian singer
Christine Pascal, French actress, director and screenwriter (d. 1996)
December 2 – Joel Fuhrman, American certified family physician
Tom Hulce, American actor and theater producer
Gary Ward, American baseball player
Kim Basinger, American actress and fashion model
Norman G. Finkelstein, American political scientist
Sam Kinison, American comedian (d. 1992)
December 9 – John Malkovich, American actor and film director
Ben Bernanke, American economist and former Federal Reserve System chairman
Bob Gainey, Canadian hockey player
December 14 – Vangelis Meimarakis, Greek lawyer and politician, 4th Greek Minister for National Defence
Ikue Mori, Japanese drummer, composer, and graphic designer
Bill Pullman, American actor
December 18 – Khas-Magomed Hadjimuradov, Chechen bard
December 21 – András Schiff, Hungarian concert pianist and conductor
David Leisner, American guitarist and composer
BernNadette Stanis, American actress
Leonel Fernández, President of the Dominican Republic
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia
December 28 – Tatsumi Fujinami, Japanese professional wrestler
Thomas Bach, 9th President of the International Olympic Committee
Stanley Williams, American gang member (d. 2005)
Dana Key, American Christian musician, guitarist and preacher (DeGarmo and Key) (d. 2010)
Meredith Vieira, American journalist and game show host
December 31 – James Remar, American actor
Sheila Andrews, American surburbian musician (d. 1984)
Jacques Gounon, French CEO, the Chairman of Eurotunnel
Peter Lord, British film producer and director
Jing Jing Luo, Chinese composer
Phil Ortiz, American animator
Maksim Purkayev, Soviet general (b. 1894)
Hank Williams, American musician (b. 1923)
Arthur Hoyt, American actor (b. 1874)
Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu, Japanese prince (b. 1902)
January 7 – Osa Johnson, American adventurer and documentary filmmaker (b. 1894)
January 8 – Charles Edward Merriam, American political scientist (b. 1874)
January 9 – Marguerite Pitre (aka Madame le Corbeau), Canadian murderer (b. 1909)
January 13 – Edward Marsh, English polymath and civil servant (b. 1872)
January 21 – Mary Mannering, early 20th century English stage actress (b. 1876)
January 28 – James Scullin, 9th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1876)
January 30 – Lionel Belmore, English actor (b. 1867)
February 1 – William Sydney Marchant, British colonial official (b. 1894)
February 2 – Alan Curtis, American actor (b. 1909)
February 5 – Iuliu Maniu, 32nd Prime Minister of Romania (b. 1873)
February 9 – Cecil Hepworth, English director (b. 1874)
February 12 – Hal Colebatch, Australian politician (b. 1872)
Nobutake Kondō, Japanese admiral (b. 1886)
Richard Rushall, British businessman (b. 1864)
February 21 – Konrad Krafft von Dellmensingen, Bavarian general (b. 1862)
February 23 – Sir Cecil Hunter-Rodwell, British colonial administrator (b. 1874)
February 24 – Gerd von Rundstedt, German field marshal (b. 1875)
February 25 – Sergei Winogradsky, Russian scientist (b. 1856)
February 27 – Paul Hurst, American actor (b. 1888)
March 2 – James Lightbody, American middle distance runner (b. 1882)
March 3 – James J. Jeffries, American boxing champion (b. 1875)
Herman J. Mankiewicz, American writer and producer (b. 1897)
Sergei Prokofiev, Russian composer (b. 1891)
Joseph Stalin, Soviet leader (b. 1878)
March 7 – Edward Sedgwick, American director (b. 1892)
March 13 – Johan Laidoner, Commander-in-chief of the Estonian Army (b. 1884)
March 14 – Klement Gottwald, 5th President of Czechoslovakia (b. 1896)
March 20 – Graciliano Ramos, Brazilian writer (b. 1892)
Raoul Dufy, French painter (b. 1875)
Oskar Luts, Estonian writer and playwright (b. 1887)
Queen Mary, consort of George V of the United Kingdom (b. 1867)
Paul Couturier, French priest (b. 1881)
March 28 – Jim Thorpe, Native-American athlete and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (b. 1887)
March 31 – Ivan Lebedeff, Russian actor (b. 1895)
Jean Epstein, French film director (b. 1897)
Hugo Sperrle, German field marshal (b. 1885)
April 4 – King Carol II of Romania (b. 1893)
Eddie Cochems, American father of the forward pass in football (b. 1877)
Hans Reichenbach, German philosopher (b. 1891)
April 11 – Kid Nichols, American baseball player (Boston Braves) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1869)
April 20 – Erich Weinert, German writer, Communist, and member of the KPD (b. 1890)
April 27 – Maud Gonne, English-born Irish republican revolutionary, memoirist; former wife of John MacBride (b. 1866)
April 29 – Kiki de Montparnasse, French artists' model (b. 1901)
May 1 – Everett Shinn, American painter (b. 1876)
May 8 – Anna Rüling, German journalist, "the first known lesbian activist" (b. 1880)
Nicolae Rădescu, Romanian military officer and statesman, former Prime Minister of Romania (b. 1874)
Django Reinhardt, Belgian musician (b. 1910)
May 19 – Dámaso Berenguer, Spanish soldier and politician, former Prime Minister (b. 1873)
May 21 – Ernst Zermelo, German logician and mathematician (b. 1871)
May 27 – Jesse Burkett, American baseball player (Cleveland Spiders) and a member of the MLB Hall of Fame (b. 1868)
May 29 – Man Mountain Dean, American professional wrestler (b. 1891)
May 30 – Dooley Wilson, American actor (b. 1886)
May 31 – Vladimir Tatlin, Soviet painter and architect (b. 1885)
June 1 – Alex James, Scottish football (soccer) player (b. 1901)
William Farnum, American actor (b. 1876)
Bill Tilden, American tennis champion (b. 1893)
Roland Young, English actor (b. 1887)
June 9 – Godfrey Tearle, American actor (b. 1884)
June 15 – Henry Scattergood, American cricketer (b. 1877)
June 18 – René Fonck, French aviator, top Allied World War I Flying Ace (b. 1894)
Harold Cazneaux, Australian photographer (b. 1878)
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, American communist spies (b. 1918 and 1915, respectively) (executed on same day)
Norman Ross, American Olympic swimmer (b. 1896)
June 23 – Albert Gleizes, French artist and theoretician (b. 1881)
June 30 – Elsa Beskow, Swedish author and illustrator of children's books (b. 1874)
July 9 – Annie Kenney, British working-class suffragette (b. 1879)
July 11 – Oliver Campbell, American tennis player (b. 1871)
July 12 – Herbert Rawlinson, English actor (b. 1885)
July 16 – Hilaire Belloc, French-born British writer and historian (b. 1870)
July 17 – Maude Adams, American actress (b. 1872)
July 20 – Dumarsais Estimé, 30th President of Haiti (b. 1900)
July 26 – Nikolaos Plastiras, Greek general and politician, former Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1883)
July 29 – Richard William Pearse, New Zealand airplane pioneer (b. 1877)
July 31 – Robert A. Taft, American politician, United States Senate Majority Leader (b. 1889)
August 7 – Abner Powell, Major League Baseball player (b. 1860)
August 11 – Tazio Nuvolari, Italian racing driver (b. 1892)
August 15 – Ludwig Prandtl, German physicist (b. 1875)
August 22 – Jim Tabor, American baseball player (b. 1916)
August 25 – Jessie Aspinall, Australian doctor, first female junior medical resident at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (b. 1880)
Gaetano Merola, Italian conductor (b. 1881)
Maurice Nicoll, British psychiatrist (b. 1884)
September 2 – General Jonathan Wainwright, American Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1883)
September 5 – Francis Ford, American actor and director (b. 1881)
September 7 – Nobuyuki Abe, Japanese politician and military leader, former Prime Minister (b. 1875)
September 8 – Fred M. Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1890)
Hugo Schmeisser, German weapons designer (b. 1884)
Lewis Stone, American actor (b. 1879)
September 13 – Mary Brewster Hazelton, American painter (b. 1868)
September 15 – Erich Mendelsohn, German architect (b. 1887)
September 17 – Wenxiu, consort of China's last emperor Puyi (b. 1909)
September 24 – Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart, 17th Duke of Alba, Spanish aristocrat (born 1878)
September 26 – Xu Beihong, Chinese painter (b. 1895)
September 27 – Hans Fritzsche, senior Nazi official, one of only three acquitted at the Nuremberg trials (b. 1900)
September 28 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer (b. 1889)
Robert Mawdesley, British actor (b. 1900)
Lewis Fry Richardson, English mathematician, physicist, meteorologist, psychologist and pacifist (b. 1881)
October 3 – Arnold Bax, English composer (b. 1887)
October 6 – Porter Hall, American actor (b. 1888)
Nigel Bruce, British character actor (b. 1895)
Kathleen Ferrier, British contralto (b. 1912)
October 11 – Robin Bush, younger sister of President George Walker Bush (b. 1949)
October 12 – Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, Swedish politician, 13th Prime Minister of Sweden, leaders of World War I (b. 1862)
October 13 – Millard Mitchell, American actor (b. 1903)
October 14 – Arthur Wimperis, English illustrator and playwright (b. 1874)
October 25 – Holger Pedersen, Dutch linguist (b. 1867)
October 27 – Thomas Wass, English cricketer (b. 1873)
November 5 – Harry A. Marmer, Ukrainian-born American mathematician and oceanographer (b. 1885)
Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin, Russian writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1870)
John van Melle, Dutch-born author (b. 1883)
Louise DeKoven Bowen, American philanthropist and activist (b. 1859)
King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia (b. 1876)
Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet and author (b. 1914)
November 18 – Ruth Crawford Seeger, American composer (b. 1901)
November 21 – Larry Shields, American musician (b. 1893)
November 22 – Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, Indian/Pakistani historian, biographer, littérateur and scholar of Islam (b. 1884)
November 27 – Eugene O'Neill, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
November 28 – Rudolf Bauer, German-born painter (b. 1889)
Ernest Barnes, English mathematician, scientist and theologist (b. 1874)
Sam De Grasse, Canadian actor (b. 1875)
Milt Gross, American comic book illustrator and animator (b. 1895)
November 30 – Francis Picabia, French painter and poet (b. 1879)
December 5 – Jorge Negrete, Mexican singer and actor (b. 1911)
December 10 – Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Indian-born Islamic scholar and translator (b. 1872)
December 14 – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, American writer (b. 1896)
December 19 – Robert Andrews Millikan, American physicist Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1868)
December 21 – Nicholas H. Heck, American geophysicist, oceanographer, and surveyor (b. 1882)
December 23 – Lavrentiy Beria, Minister of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union (executed) (b. 1899)
William Haselden, English cartoonist (b. 1872)
Lee Shubert, Polish-born theater owner and operator (b. 1871)
Şükrü Saracoğlu, 9th Prime Minister of Turkey (b. 1887)
Julian Tuwim, Polish poet (b. 1894)
December 31 – Albert Plesman, Dutch aviation pioneer (b. 1889)
Physics – Frits (Frederik) Zernike
Chemistry – Hermann Staudinger
Medicine – Hans Adolf Krebs, Fritz Albert Lipmann
Literature – Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
Peace – George Catlett Marshall
1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (dominical letter D) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1953rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 953rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 53rd year of the 20th century, and the 4th year of the 1950s decade.