This article is about the year 1989.
Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 19th century – 20th century – 21st century Decades: 1950s 1960s 1970s – 1980s – 1990s 2000s 2010s Years: 1986 1987 1988 – 1989 – 1990 1991 1992 1989 by topic: Subject Archaeology – Architecture – Art – Aviation – Awards – Comics – Film – Home video – Literature (Poetry) – Meteorology – Music (Country, Metal) – Rail transport – Radio – Science – Spaceflight – Sports – Television – Video gaming By country Australia – Canada – People's Republic of China – Ecuador – France – Germany – Greece – India – Ireland – Israel – Italy – Japan – Luxembourg – Malaysia – Mexico – New Zealand – Norway – Pakistan – Philippines – Singapore – South Africa– Soviet Union – UK – USA – Zimbabwe Leaders Sovereign states – State leaders – Religious leaders – Law Birth and death categories Births – Deaths Establishments and disestablishments categories Establishments – Disestablishments Works and introductions categories Works – Introductions 1989 in other calendars Gregorian calendar 1989
Ab urbe condita 2742 Armenian calendar 1438
Assyrian calendar 6739 Bahá'í calendar 145 – 146 Bengali calendar 1396 Berber calendar 2939 British Regnal year 37 Eliz. 2 – 38 Eliz. 2 Buddhist calendar 2533 Burmese calendar 1351 Byzantine calendar 7497 – 7498 Chinese calendar 戊辰年十一月廿四日
(4625/4685-11-24)— to —己巳年十二月初四日
Coptic calendar 1705 – 1706 Ethiopian calendar 1981 – 1982 Hebrew calendar 5749 – 5750 Hindu calendars - Bikram Samwat 2045 – 2046 - Shaka Samvat 1911 – 1912 - Kali Yuga 5090 – 5091 Holocene calendar 11989 Iranian calendar 1367 – 1368 Islamic calendar 1409 – 1410 Japanese calendar Shōwa 64Heisei 1
Korean calendar 4322 Minguo calendar ROC 78
Thai solar calendar 2532 Unix time 599616000 – 631151999
1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday. It was also the 1989th year of Anno Domini/Common Era, the 989th year of the 2nd millennium, the 89th year of the 20th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1980s. It was a historical turning point for the wave of revolutions that swept the Eastern Bloc, starting in Poland. Collectively known as the Revolutions of 1989, they heralded the dissolution of the Soviet Union two years later and the beginning of the post–Cold War period which is characterized by the dominance by the United States in world affairs.
- January 4 – Gulf of Sidra incident (1989): Two Libyan MiG-23 "Floggers" are engaged and shot down by 2 US Navy F-14 Tomcats.
- January 7 – Hirohito (posthumous name: Emperor Shōwa) died.
- January 8 – Kegworth Air Disaster: A British Midland Boeing 737 crashes on approach to East Midlands Airport, leaving 47 dead.
- January 17 – Stockton massacre: Patrick Edward Purdy kills 5 children, wounds 30 and then shoots himself in Stockton, California.
- January 18 – The Polish United Workers Party votes to legalize Solidarity.
- January 20 – George H. W. Bush succeeds Ronald Reagan as the 41st President of the United States of America.
- January 24 – Serial killer Ted Bundy is executed in Florida's electric chair.
- January 29 – Thomas and Friends television show begins in U.S.
- February 1 – Joan Kirner becomes Victoria's first female Deputy Premier, after the resignation of Robert Fordham over the VEDC (Victorian Economic Development Co-operation) Crisis.
- February 2
- Soviet war in Afghanistan: The last Soviet Union armored column leaves Kabul, ending 9 years of military occupation.
- Satellite television service Sky Television plc is launched in Europe.
- February 3
- A military coup overthrows Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954.
- After a stroke, Pieter Willem Botha resigns his party's leadership and the presidency of South Africa.
- February 7 – The Los Angeles, California City Council bans the sale or possession of semiautomatic firearms.
- February 10 – Ron Brown is elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first African American to lead a major United States political party.
- February 11 – Barbara Clementine Harris is consecrated as the first female bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
- February 14
- Union Carbide agrees to pay USD $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal Disaster.
- Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini encourages Muslims to kill The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.
- The first of 24 Global Positioning System satellites is placed into orbit.
- February 15 – Soviet war in Afghanistan: The Soviet Union announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.
- February 16 – Pan Am flight 103: Investigators announce that the cause of the crash was a bomb hidden inside a radio-cassette player.
- February 17 – Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) formed.
- February 23 – After protracted testimony, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee rejects, 11–9, President Bush's nomination of John Tower for Secretary of Defense.
- February 24
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini places a US $3-million bounty on the head of The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.
- After 44 years, Estonian flag is raised to the Pikk Hermann Castle tower.
- February 27 – Venezuela is rocked by the Caracazo, a wave of protests and looting.
- March 1
- The Berne Convention, an international treaty on copyrights, is ratified by the United States.
- A curfew is imposed in Kosovo, where protests continue over the alleged intimidation of the Serb minority.
- Louis Wade Sullivan and James D. Watkins start terms of office as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Secretary of Energy respectively.
- The Politieke Partij Radicalen, Pacifistisch Socialistische Partij, Communistische Partij Nederland and the Evangelical People's Party amalgamate to form Netherlands political party GroenLinks (GL, GreenLeft).
- March 2 – Twelve European Community nations agree to ban the production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century.
- March 3
- Jammu Siltavuori abducts and murders two 8-year-old girls in the Myllypuro suburb of Helsinki, Finland.
- Portugal wins the FIFA U-20 World Cup, defeating Nigeria on the final by 2–0 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- March 4
- Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce plans for a merger, forming Time Warner.
- The Purley Station rail crash in London leaves 5 dead and 94 injured.
- The first ACT (Australian Capital Territory) elections are held.
- March 7 – Iran breaks off diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom over Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses.
- March 9 – A strike forces financially troubled Eastern Air Lines into bankruptcy.
- March 13 – A geomagnetic storm causes the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid. Six million people are left without power for 9 hours. Some areas in the northeastern U.S. and in Sweden also lose power, and aurorae are seen as far as Texas.
- March 14
- Gun control: U.S. President George H. W. Bush bans the importation of certain guns deemed assault weapons into the United States.
- Christian General Michel Aoun declares a 'War of Liberation' to rid Lebanon of Syrian forces and their allies.
- March 17 – The Civic Tower of Pavia, built in the 14th century, crumbles down.
- March 20 – Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke weeps on national television as he admits marital infidelity.
- March 22
- Clint Malarchuk of the NHL Buffalo Sabres suffers an almost fatal injury when another player accidentally slits his throat.
- Asteroid 4581 Asclepius approaches the Earth at a distance of 700,000 kilometers.
- March 23 – Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce that they have achieved cold fusion at the University of Utah.
- March 24 – Exxon Valdez oil spill: In Alaska's Prince William Sound the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (38,000 m3) of oil after running aground.
- March 27 – The first contested elections for the Soviet parliament result in losses for the Communist Party.
- March 29 – The 61st Academy Awards are held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, with Rain Man winning Best Picture.
- April 1 – Margaret Thatcher's new local government tax, the Poll tax, is introduced in Scotland.
- April 4 – In Brussels, Belgium, NATO celebrates its 40th anniversary.
- April 6 – National Safety Council of Australia chief executive John Friedrich is arrested after defrauding investors to the tune of $235 million.
- April 7 – The Soviet submarine K-278 Komsomolets sinks in the Barents Sea, killing 41.
- April 9 – Georgian demonstrators are massacred by Red Army soldiers in Tbilisi's central square during a peaceful rally; 20 citizens are killed, many injured.
- April 14 – The U.S. government seizes the Irvine, CA Lincoln Savings and Loan Association; Charles Keating (for whom the Keating Five were named – John McCain among them) eventually goes to jail, as part of the massive 1980s Savings and Loan Crisis which costs U.S. taxpayers nearly $200 billion in bailouts, and many people their life savings.
- April 15 – The Hillsborough disaster, one of the biggest tragedies in European football, claims the life of 96 Liverpool supporters.
- April 17 – Poland, Solidarity was again legalized and allowed to participate in semi-free elections on June 4.
- April 19
- Trisha Meili is attacked while jogging in New York City's Central Park; as her identity remains secret for years, she becomes known as the "Central Park Jogger."
- A gun turret explodes on the U.S. battleship Iowa, killing 47 crew members.
- April 20 – NATO debates modernising short range missiles; although the U.S. and UK are in favour, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl obtains a concession deferring a decision.
- April 21 – Students from Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, and Nanjing begin protesting in Tiananmen Square.
- April 25
- The term of Baginda Almutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail as the 8th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia ends.
- Motorola introduces the Motorola MicroTAC Personal Cellular Telephone, then the world's smallest mobile phone.
- April 26 – Sultan Azlan Muhibbudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Yusuff Izzudin Shah Ghafarullahu-lahu, Sultan of Perak, becomes the 9th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
- May 1 – Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World opens to the public for the first time.
- May 2 – The first crack in the Iron Curtain: Hungary dismantles 150 miles (240 km) of barbed wire fencing along the border with Austria.
- May 6 – Yugoslavia wins the Eurovision Song Contest in Lausanne with the song Rock me performed by Riva.
- May 9 – Andrew Peacock deposes John Howard as Federal Opposition Leader of Australia.
- May 11 – The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Legislative Assembly meets for the first time.
- May 14 – Mikhail Gorbachev visits China, the first Soviet leader to do so since the 1960s.
- May 15 – Australia's first private tertiary institution, Bond University, opens on the Gold Coast.
- May 19 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: Zhao Ziyang meets the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.
- May 20 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: The Chinese government declares martial law in Beijing.
- May 22 – The Nordland Days in Leningrad region (Leningrad oblast) open.
- May 30
- Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: The 10 m (33 ft) high Goddess of Democracy statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.
- An attempted assassination of Miguel Maza Marquez, director of the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS) in Bogotá, Colombia is committed by members of the Medellín Cartel, who kill 4 and injure 37.
- June 3
- The SkyDome (now known as Rogers Centre) is opened in Toronto.
- The Ayatollah Khomeini dies in Iran.
- June 4
- The Tiananmen Square massacre takes place in Beijing on the army's approach to the square, and the final stand-off in the square is covered live on television.
- Solidarity's victory in Polish elections is the first of many anti-communist revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989.
- Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia kills 645 as 2 trains passing each other throw sparks near a leaky pipeline.
- June 7 – Surinam Airways Flight PY764 crashes, killing 176.
- June 12 – The Corcoran Gallery of Art removes Robert Mapplethorpe's gay photography exhibition.
- June 13 – The wreck of the German battleship Bismarck, which was sunk in 1941, is located 600 miles (970 km) west of Brest, France.
- June 16 – A crowd of 250,000 gathers at Heroes Square in Budapest for the historic reburial of Imre Nagy, the former Hungarian prime minister who had been executed in 1958.
- June 21 – British police arrest 250 people for celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge.
- June 22 – Ireland's first universities established since independence in 1922, Dublin City University and the University of Limerick, open.
- July 2 – Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece resigns; a new government is formed under Tzannis Tzannetakis.
- July 5 – The television show Seinfeld premieres.
- July 9–July 12 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush travels to Poland and Hungary, pushing for U.S. economic aid and investment.
- July 14 – France celebrates the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.
- July 14–July 16 – At the annual G-7 Summit, leaders call for restrictions on gas emissions.
- July 18 – Actress Rebecca Schaeffer is murdered by an obsessed fan, leading to stricter stalking laws in California.
- July 19 – United Airlines Flight 232 (Douglas DC-10) crashes in Sioux City, Iowa, killing 112; 184 on board survive.
- July 20 – Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is placed under house arrest.
- July 26 – A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert Tappan Morris, Jr. for releasing a computer virus, making him the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- July 31 – Nintendo releases the Game Boy portable video game system in North America.
- August 7
- U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX) and 15 others die in a plane crash in Ethiopia.
- Federal Express purchases Flying Tiger Line for approximately 800 million U.S. dollars.
- August 8 – STS-28: Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret 5-day military mission.
- August 9 – The asteroid 4769 Castalia is the first asteroid directly imaged by radar from Arecibo.
- August 13 – A hot air balloon accident near Alice Springs, Australia kills 13.
- August 14 – The Sega Genesis is released in North America.
- August 15 – F. W. de Klerk becomes the seventh and last State President of apartheid South Africa.
- August 16–August 17 – Woodstock '89 festival.
- August 18 – Leading presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galán is assassinated near Bogotá in Colombia.
- August 19
- Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominates Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be Prime Minister, the first non-communist in power in 42 years.
- The Pan-European Picnic, a peace demonstration held on the Austrian-Hungarian border.
- August 20
- In Beverly Hills, California, Lyle and Erik Menendez shoot their wealthy parents to death in the family's den.
- Fifty-one people die when the Marchioness pleasure boat collides with a barge on the River Thames adjacent to Southwark Bridge.
- August 23
- Two million indigenous people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, then still occupied by the Soviet Union, join hands to demand freedom and independence, forming an uninterrupted 600 km human chain called the Baltic Way.
- Hungary removes border restrictions with Austria.
- All of Australia's 1,645 domestic airline pilots resign over an airline's move to sack and sue them over a dispute.
- August 23 – Yusef Hawkins is shot in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York, sparking racial tensions between African Americans and Italian Americans.
- August 24
- Record-setting baseball player Pete Rose agrees to a lifetime ban from the sport following allegations of illegal gambling, thereby preventing his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Indonesia's first privately owned television station, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia, (RCTI) begins broadcasting.
- August 25 – Voyager 2 passes the planet Neptune and its moon Triton.
- September 5 – U.S. President George H. W. Bush holds up a bag of cocaine purchased across the street at Lafayette Park, in his first televised speech to the nation.
- September 6
- South African general election, 1989: the last held under apartheid returns the National Party to power with a much-reduced majority.
- England holds Sweden to a 0–0 draw in Sweden, qualifying for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. The game becomes famous after Terry Butcher sustains a deep cut to his forehead early in the game. He receives stitches but plays on the entire game. By the end of the game, the front of Butcher's white shirt and shorts are almost entirely covered in blood.
- September 10 – The Hungarian government opens the country's western borders to refugees from the German Democratic Republic.
- September 14 – An agreement of cooperation between Leningrad oblast (Russia) and Nordland County (Norway) is signed in Leningrad, by chairmen Lev Kojkolainen and Sigbjørn Eriksen.
- September 20 – F. W. de Klerk is sworn in as the seventh and last State President of apartheid South Africa.
- September 21 – Hurricane Hugo makes landfall in South Carolina, causing $7 billion in damage.
- September 22 – 1989 Deal barracks bombing: An IRA bomb explodes at the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, Kent, United Kingdom, leaving 11 dead and 22 injured.
- October 9
- An official news agency in the Soviet Union reports the landing of a UFO in Voronezh.
- In Leipzig, East Germany, protesters demand the legalization of opposition groups and democratic reforms.
- October 13 – Friday the 13th mini-crash: The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunges 190.58 points, or 6.91 percent, to close at 2,569.26, most likely after the junk bond market collapses.
- October 17 – The Loma Prieta earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, strikes the San Francisco–Oakland region of Northern California, killing 67 people and delaying the 1989 World Series for ten days
- October 18 – The Communist leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, is forced to step down as leader of the country after a series of health problems.
- October 19
- The Guildford Four are freed after 14 years.
- The Wonders of Life pavilion opens at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Florida.
- October 21 – The Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations issue the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment, making environmental sustainability one of the Commonwealth's main priorities.
- October 23
- The Hungarian Republic is officially declared by president Mátyás Szűrös (replacing the Hungarian People's Republic).
- The Phillips Disaster in Pasadena, Texas kills 23 and injures 314 others.
- October 31 – The Grand National Assembly of Turkey elects Prime Minister Turgut Özal as the eighth President of Turkey.
- November 2 – North Dakota and South Dakota celebrate their 100th Birthdays.
- November 4 – Typhoon Gay devastates Thailand's Chumphon Province.
- November 6 – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) founded.
- November 7
- Douglas Wilder wins the Virginia governor's race, becoming the first elected African American governor in the United States.
- David Dinkins becomes the first African American mayor of New York City.
- Cold War: The Communist government of East Germany resigns, although SED leader Egon Krenz remains head of state.
- November 9
- Yıldırım Akbulut, of ANAP forms the new government of Turkey (47th government)
- Cold War: Günter Schabowski accidentally states in live broadcast press conference that new rules for traveling from East Germany to West Germany will be put in effect "immediately". East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel freely to West Germany for the first time in decades (November 17 celebrates Germans began tearing the wall down).
- November 10
- After 45 years of Communist rule in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Communist Party leader Todor Zhivkov is replaced by Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov, who changes the party's name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
- Gaby Kennard becomes the first Australian woman to fly non-stop around the world.
- CKO (a Canadian national all-news radio network) suddenly terminates all broadcasting during the newscast at noon (Eastern time), due to financial losses (the station began broadcasting on July 1, 1977).
- November 11 – Louie Espinoza inaugurated as WBO World Featherweight Champion.
- November 12 – Brazil holds its first free presidential election since 1960. This marks the first time that all Ibero-American nations, excepting Cuba, have elected constitutional governments simultaneously.
- November 16
- Six Jesuit priests—among them Ignacio Ellacuría, Segundo Montes, and Ignacio Martín-Baró—their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter, are murdered by U.S. trained Salvadoran soldiers. For mor information see Murdered scholars of UCA
- South African President F.W. de Klerk announces the scrapping of the Separate Amenities Act.
- UNESCO adopts the Seville Statement on Violence at the 25th session of its General Conference.
- November 17 – Cold War – Velvet Revolution: A peaceful student demonstration in Prague, Czechoslovakia is severely beaten back by riot police. This sparks a revolution aimed at overthrowing the Communist government (it succeeds on December 29).
- November 20 – Cold War – Velvet Revolution: The number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.
- November 22 – In West Beirut, a bomb explodes near the motorcade of Lebanese President Rene Moawad and kills him.
- November 28 – Cold War – Velvet Revolution: The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announces they will give up their monopoly on political power (elections held in December bring the first non-communist government to Czechoslovakia in more than 40 years).
- November 30 – Deutsche Bank board member Alfred Herrhausen is killed by a bomb (the Red Army Faction claims responsibility for the murder).
- December 1
- Cold War: East Germany's parliament abolishes the constitutional provision granting the Communist-dominated SED its monopoly on power. Egon Krenz, the Politburo and the Central Committee resign 2 days later.
- A military coup attempt begins in the Philippines against the government of Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino, ending by December 9.
- December 3 – Cold War: In a meeting off the coast of Malta, U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev release statements indicating that the Cold War between their nations may be coming to an end.
- December 6 – École Polytechnique Massacre (or Montreal Massacre): Marc Lépine, an anti-feminist gunman, murders 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.
- December 10 – Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj announces the establishment of Mongolia's democratic movement, that peacefully changes the second oldest communist country into a democratic society.
- December 14 – Chile holds its first free election in 16 years.
- December 15 – Drug baron José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha is killed by Colombian police.
- December 17
- The Romanian Revolution begins in Timişoara when rioters break into the Committee Building and cause extensive vandalism. Their attempts to set the buildings on fire are foiled by military units.
- Brazil holds the second round of its first free election in 29 years; Fernando Collor de Mello wins.
- The first full-length episode of The Simpsons, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", is shown on Fox.
- December 19 – Workers in Romanian cities go on strike in protest against the communist regime.
- December 20 – Operation Just Cause is launched in an attempt to overthrow Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
- December 21 – Nicolae Ceausescu addresses an assembly of some 110,000 people outside the Romanian Communist Party HQ in Bucharest. The crowd begin to protest against Ceausescu and he orders in the army to attack the protesters.
- December 22
- After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu takes over as president of Romania, ending the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu, who flees his palace in a helicopter to escape inevitable execution after the palace was invaded by rioters. The Romanian troops, who the day before had followed Ceausescu's orders to attack the demonstrators, change sides and join the uprising.
- Two tourist coaches collide on the Pacific highway north of Kempsey, Australia, killing 35.
- December 23 – Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are captured in Târgoviște.
- December 25
- Romanian leader Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife Elena are executed by military troops after being found guilty of crimes against humanity.
- Bank of Japan governors announce a major interest rate hike, eventually leading to the peak and fall of the bubble economy.
- December 28 – A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hits Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, killing 13 people.
- December 29
- Václav Havel is elected president of Czechoslovakia.
- Riots break out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees.
- Nikkei 225 for Tokyo Stock Exchange hits its all-time intra-day high of 38,957.44 and closing high at 38,915.87.
- Alan Bond's Bond Corporation goes into receivership with the largest debt in Australian history.
- Homosexual acts between consenting adults are decriminalized in Western Australia.
- Kamchatka opens to Russian civilian visitors.
- The Alize propeller-driven anti-submarine planes are retired from active carrier service in the French Navy.
- The first national park in the Netherlands is established in Schiermonnikoog.
- Ebenezer Floppen Slopper's Wonderful Water slides in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois closes down after an incident on one of the slides.
- Soviet submarine K-173 (Chelyabinsk) is commissioned.
- The wreck of the Lady Elgin is discovered off Highland Park, Illinois by Harry Zych.
- Richard C. Duncan introduces the Olduvai theory, about the collapse of the Industrial Civilization.
- The NIOS board is established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India.
- The Museum of Jurassic Technology is founded in Culver City, California by David and Diana Wilson.
- The last Golden Toad is seen, the species is now classified extinct.
- The Japan Fantasy Novel Award is established.
- The global concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere reaches 350 ppm (parts per million) by volume.
- January 2 – Kaitlin Howell, Canadian actress
- January 3
- Alex D. Linz, American actor
- Anya Kop, American fashion model
- Kōhei Uchimura, Japanese gymnast
- January 6 – James Durbin (singer), American Idol contestant
- January 7 – Emiliano Insúa, Argentine footballer
- January 9
- Michael Beasley, American basketball player
- Nina Dobrev, Bulgarian-Canadian actress
- January 10 – Emily Meade, film and television actress
- January 11 – Chris Perry-Metcalf, British actor
- January 12 – Arci Muñoz, Filipina actress & model
- January 14 – Frankie Sandford, British singer
- January 19 – Yani Tseng, Taiwanese golfer
- January 20 – Nadia Di Cello, Argentine actress
- January 21
- Katie Griffiths, English actress
- Dogus Balbay, American Basketball player
- Sergey Fesikov, Russian swimmer
- January 22 – Jared Smith, American singer
- January 24 – Calvin Goldspink, British actor
- January 25
- Mikako Tabe, Japanese stage and film actress
- Yasmien Kurdi, Filipino actress and singer
- January 26 – Emily Hughes, American figure skater
- January 27 – Daisy Lowe, British model
- January 30 – Khleo Thomas, American actor and rapper
- February 3 – Ryne Sanborn, American actor
- February 4 – Larissa Ramos, Brazilian Miss Earth 2009 winner
- February 5
- Jeremy Sumpter, American actor
- Cristine Reyes, Filipina actress
- February 7 – Louisa Lytton, English actress
- February 8 – Danielle Harmer, English actress
- February 9 – Wu Chia-ching, Taiwanese pool player
- February 11 – Elisa Izquierdo, American murder victim (d. 1995)
- February 13
- Rodrigo Possebon, Brazilian footballer
- Carly McKillip, Canadian actress
- February 16 – Zivanna Letisha Siregar, Indonesian model
- February 17 – Rebecca Adlington, British swimmer
- February 21
- Corbin Bleu, American actor and singer
- Kristin Herrera, American actress
- Scout Taylor-Compton, American actress
- February 24
- Kosta Koufos, Greek-American basketball player
- Trace Cyrus, American musician
- February 25 – Lee Sang-Hwa, South Korean speed skater
- February 27
- Kelly Breeding, American singer
- Stefano Langone, American singer
- March 1
- Daniella Monet, American actress
- Carlos Vela, Mexican footballer
- March 5
- Sterling Knight, American actor
- Jake Lloyd, American actor
- March 6 – Agnieszka Radwańska, Polish tennis player
- March 7 – Gerald Anderson, Filipino-American actor
- March 9
- Christina Broccolini, Canadian TV presenter
- Kim Tae-yeon, Korean singer SNSD
- March 11 – Anton Yelchin, Russian actor
- March 14 – Colby O'Donis, American singer
- March 15 – Caitlin Wachs, American actress
- March 16
- Peaches Geldof, British performer
- Blake Griffin, American basketball player
- Theo Walcott, English footballer
- March 21
- Rochelle Wiseman, British singer (S Club Juniors & The Saturdays)
- Labrinth, is an English singer-songwriter and record producer
- March 22 – Karen Rodriguez, American singer
- March 25
- Scott Sinclair, English footballer
- Alyson Michalka, American actress and singer
- March 31 – Liu Zige, Chinese swimmer
- April 2 – Danita Paner, Filipina actress
- April 4 – Chris Herd, Australian footballer who currently plays for Premier League team Aston Villa
- April 8
- Nicholas Megalis, American singer-songwriter
- Hitomi Takahashi, Japanese singer
- April 18
- Alia Shawkat, American actress
- Jung Su-yeon, Singer from Korean group SNSD
- April 22 – Thomas James Longley, British actor
- April 23
- Anastasia Baranova, Russian-born actress
- Nicole Vaidišová, Czech tennis player
- April 25
- Michael van Gerwen, Dutch darts player
- Raquel Donatelli, American reality television star
- May 4
- Dániel Gyurta, Hungarian swimmer
- James van Riemsdyk, American ice hockey player
- Rory McIlroy, Irish golfer
- May 5 – Chris Brown, American singer and actor
- May 10 – Lindsey Shaw, American actress
- May 11 – Giovani dos Santos, Mexican footballer
- May 12 – Imogen Poots, English actress
- May 15 – Lee Soon-Kyu, Singer from Korean group SNSD
- May 17 – Tessa Virtue, Canadian Ice Dancer
- May 29
- Brandon Mychal Smith, American Actor
- Riley Keough, American model
- June 2 – Freddy Adu, American soccer player
- June 7 – Shelley Buckner, American actress
- June 8 – Richard Fleeshman, English actor
- June 9 – Chloe Agnew, Irish singer
- June 10 – Alexandra Stan, Romanian singer
- June 13
- Tommy Searle, British Motocross Racer
- Lisa Tucker, American singer, musical theater and television actress
- June 14
- Svetlana Raznatovic, Serbian singer
- Lucy Hale, American actress and singer
- Madison Ivy, German-born American pornographic actress
- June 18 – Renee Olstead, American actress and singer
- June 20 – Christopher Mintz-Plasse, American actor
- June 22 – Jeffrey Earnhardt, American race car driver
- June 27
- Matthew Lewis, British actor
- Bruna Tenório, Brazilian supermodel
- July 1 – Mitch Hewer, British actor
- July 8 – Dmitry Abakumov, Russian football player
- July 11
- David Henrie, American actor
- Shareeka Epps, American actress
- July 12 – Phoebe Tonkin, Australian actress
- July 13 – Sayumi Michishige, Japanese singer
- July 14
- Cyril Rioli, Australian rules footballer
- Sean Flynn-Amir, American actor
- July 15 – Tristan Wilds, American actor
- July 16 – Gareth Bale, Welsh footballer
- July 18
- Yohan Mollo, French Footballer
- Jamie Benn, Canadian ice hockey player
- July 21
- Rory Culkin, American actor
- Jamie Waylett, British actor
- Juno Temple, British actress
- July 22 – Keegan Allen, American actor
- July 23
- Daniel Radcliffe, British actor
- Zhong An Qi, Taiwanese singer
- July 25 – Noel Callahan, Canadian actor
- July 27 – Charlotte Arnold, Canadian actress
- August 1 – Stephanie Hwang, Singer from Korean group SNSD
- August 8 – Sesil Karatantcheva, Bulgarian tennis player
- August 9 – Stefano Okaka, Italian footballer
- August 10 – Sam Gagner, Canadian ice hockey player
- August 14 – Kyle Turris, Canadian ice hockey player
- August 15
- Carlos Pena, Jr., American actor, dancer and singer
- Belinda, Mexican singer and actress
- Joe Jonas, American musician actor and singer
- August 19 – Romeo, American rapper and actor
- August 21 – Hayden Panettiere, American actress and singer
- August 23 – Breanna Conrad, American reality television star
- September 1 – Bill Kaulitz, German voice actor, model, lead singer for Tokio Hotel
- September 2 – Alexandre Pato, Brazilian footballer
- September 7 – Hugh Mitchell, British actor
- September 9 – Sean Malto, American Professional Skateboarder
- September 12 – Freddie Freeman, American baseball player
- September 13 – Thomas Müller, German football player
- September 14 – Logan Henderson, Lebanese American actor, dancer, and singer
- September 15 – Steliana Nistor, Romanian gymnast and Olympic medalist
- September 19 – Tyreke Evans, American basketball player, 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year
- September 21 – Jason Derulo, American singer-songwriter. actor
- September 22
- Hyoyeon, South Korean singer, Girls Generation
- Sabine Lisicki, German tennis player
- September 23 – Brandon Jennings, American basketball player
- September 26 – Emma Rigby, British actress
- September 27 – Park Tae-Hwan, South Korean swimmer
- September 29 – Theo Adams, British performance artist
- October 1 – Brie Larson, American actress
- October 4
- Lil Mama, American rapper
- Kimmie Meissner, American figure skater
- Viktoria Rebensburg, German alpine skier
- October 10 – Aimee Teegarden, American actress
- October 11 – Michelle Wie, American golf player
- October 14 – Mia Wasikowska, Australian actress
- October 24 – Shenae Grimes, Canadian actress
- October 30 – Nastia Liukin, American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist
- November 2 – Katelyn Tarver, American singer, songwriter, actress
- November 3 – Paula DeAnda, Mexican-American singer
- November 6 – Jozy Altidore, American soccer player
- November 11 – Reina Tanaka, Japanese singer
- November 14 – Jake Livermore, English footballer
- November 15 – Tim Corcoran, American acrobat
- November 20 – Cody Linley, American actor
- November 27 – Freddie Sears, English footballer
- December 2 – Cassie Steele, Canadian actress and singer
- December 4– Garron DuPree, American musician
- December 5
- Kwon Yu-ri, Korean singer SNSD
- Gregory Tyree Boyce, American actor
- December 7 – Nicholas Hoult, British actor
- December 12 – Helen Flanagan, English actress
- December 13 – Taylor Swift, American singer
- December 18 – Ashley Benson, American actress
- December 19 – Valdimar Bergstað, Icelandic Horse rider
- December 22 – Jordin Sparks, American singer
- December 26 – Yohan Blake, Jamaican athlete
- December 27 – Kateryna Lahno, Ukrainian chess player
- December 28
- Mackenzie Rosman, American actress
- Jessie Buckley, Irish actress and singer
- December 30 – Ryan Sheckler, American skateboarder
- January 3 – Robert Banks, American chemist (b. 1921)
- January 4 – Dvora Netzer, Israeli politician (b. 1897)
- January 7
- Frank Adams, British mathematician (b. 1930)
- Hirohito, Emperor of Japan (b. 1901)
- January 8 – Kenneth McMillan, American actor (b. 1932)
- January 10
- Hai Teng, abbott of Shaolin Temple (b. 1902?)
- Herbert Morrison, American radio reporter (b. 1905)
- Donald Voorhees, American composer and musician (b. 1903)
- January 11
- August Koern, Estonian statesman and diplomat (b. 1900)
- José Luis Bustamante y Rivero, Peruvian politician, diplomat and jurist, former President (b. 1894)
- January 13 – Joe Spinell, American actor (b. 1936)
- January 14 – Robert B. Anderson, American administrator and businessman (b. 1910)
- January 16 – Trey Wilson, American actor (b. 1948)
- January 19 – Norma Varden, English actress (b. 1898)
- January 20 – Beatrice Lillie, Canadian actress (b. 1894)
- January 21
- Carl Furillo, American baseball player (b. 1922)
- Billy Tipton, American musician (b. 1914)
- January 23 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish artist (b. 1904)
- January 24 – Ted Bundy, American serial killer (executed) (b. 1946)
- January 27 – Bayani Casimiro, Filipino dancer and actor (b. 1918)
- February 1 – Elaine de Kooning, American artist (b. 1919)
- February 2 – Ondrej Nepela, Slovakian figure skater (b. 1951)
- February 3
- John Cassavetes, American actor and author (b. 1929)
- Glenna Collett-Vare, American golfer (b. 1903)
- February 5 – Joe Morrison, University of South Carolina Head Football Coach ( b. 1937)
- February 6
- Ron Field, American choreographer (b. 1934)
- Barbara Tuchman, American historian (b. 1912)
- February 9 – Osamu Tezuka, Japanese Manga artist, e.g. Astroboy (b. 1928)
- February 11
- Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Sheikh, former ruler of Abu Dhabi (b. 1905)
- T.E.B. Clarke, English screenwriter (b. 1907)
- George O'Hanlon, American actor and director (b. 1912)
- February 14 – Vincent Crane, British musician (Atomic Rooster) (b. 1943)
- February 17
- Lefty Gomez, Mexican-American baseball player (b. 1908)
- Joe Raposo, musician, composer for Sesame Street and The Electric Company (b. 1937)
- February 20 – Robert Dorning, English actor (b. 1913)
- February 21 – Moshe Unna, Israeli politician (b. 1902)
- February 24 – Sparky Adams, American baseball player (b. 1894)
- February 26 – Roy Eldridge, American musician (b. 1911)
- February 27
- Paul Oswald Ahnert, German astronomer (b. 1897)
- Konrad Lorenz, Austrian zoologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1903)
- March 6 – Harry Andrews, British actor (b. 1911)
- March 8
- Robert Lacoste, French politician (b. 1898)
- Carl Stuart Hamblen, American musician (b. 1908)
- March 9 – Robert Mapplethorpe, American photographer (b. 1946)
- March 11 – James Kee, American politician (b. 1917)
- March 12 – Maurice Evans, English actor (b. 1901)
- March 14
- Edward Abbey, American author and environmentalist (b. 1927)
- Stephen D. Bechtel, Sr., American businessman (b. 1900)
- Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Wife of Emperor Charles I, last Empress of Austria (b. 1892)
- May 15 – Johnny Green, American songwriter (b. 1908)
- March 16 – Jesús María de Leizaola, Basque Spanish politician (b. 1896)
- March 17 – Merritt Butrick, American actor (b. 1959)
- March 19 – Alan Civil, English French horn player (b. 1929)
- March 21 – Milton Frome, American actor (b. 1909)
- March 27
- May Allison, American actress (b. 1890)
- Malcolm Cowley, American author (b. 1898)
- Jack Starrett, American actor and director (b. 1936)
- Scott Safran, Arcade game world record holder (b. 1967
- March 29 – Bernard Blier, French actor (b. 1916)
- April 1 – George Robledo, Chilean soccer player (b. 1926)
- April 9 – Moshe Ziffer, Israeli sculptor (b. 1902)
- April 12
- Gerald Flood, British actor (b. 1927)
- Abbie Hoffman, American political activist (b. 1936)
- Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer (b. 1921)
- April 15
- Hu Yaobang, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (b. 1915)
- Charles Vanel, French actor (b. 1892)
- April 16 – Jocko Conlan, baseball player and umpire (b. 1899)
- April 19 – Daphne du Maurier, English writer (b. 1907)
- April 21
- Princess Deokhye, Princess of Korea (b. 1912)
- James Kirkwood, Jr., American playwright (b. 1924)
- April 22 – Emilio G. Segrè, Italian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
- April 23 – Hamani Diori, Nigerien politician, former President (b. 1916)
- April 24 – Edgar Sanabria, Venezuelan lawyer, diplomat, and politician, former President (b. 1911)
- April 25 – George Coulouris, English actor (b. 1903)
- April 26 – Lucille Ball, American entertainer (b. 1911)
- April 27 – Konosuke Matsushita, Japanese industrialist (b. 1894)
- April 30
- Sergio Leone, Italian film director (b. 1929)
- Bangja, Crown Princess Euimin of Korea, (b. 1901)
- May 1 – Sally Kirkland, fashion editor at LIFE (b. 1912)
- May 3 – Christine Jorgensen, transgendered actress, singer, and writer (b. 1926)
- May 7 – Guy Williams, American actor (b. 1924)
- May 9 – Keith Whitley, American singer (b. 1955)
- May 19
- C. L. R. James, Trinidadian writer and journalist (b. 1901)
- Robert Webber, American actor (b. 1924)
- May 20
- Anton Diffring, German actor (b. 1918)
- John Hicks, English economist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1904)
- Gilda Radner, American comedian and actress (b. 1946)
- May 26 – Don Revie, English Footballer & Manager (b. 1927)
- May 29 – John Cipollina, American musician (Quicksilver Messenger Service) (b. 1943)
- May 30 – James Harry Lacey, British World War II RAF Fighter pilot (b. 1917)
- June 3
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran (b. 1902)
- John McCauley, NHL official
- June 4 – Dik Browne, American cartoonist (b. 1917)
- June 7 – Don the Beachcomber, American restaurateur (b. 1907)
- June 9
- George Wells Beadle, American geneticist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1903)
- Karl Skytte, Danish politician (b. 1908)
- José López Rega, Argentine Peronist politician (b. 1916)
- June 10 – Richard Quine, American actor (b. 1920)
- June 13 – Fran Allison, actress (b. 1907)
- June 15
- Ray McAnally, Irish actor (b. 1926)
- Victor French, American actor and director (b. 1934)
- June 17 – John Matuszak, American football player and actor (b. 1950)
- June 22
- Lee Calhoun, American Olympic athlete (b. 1933)
- Menahem Stern, Israeli historian (b. 1925)
- June 23 – Werner Best, German Nazi official (b. 1903)
- June 24 – Hibari Misora, Japanese singer (b. 1937)
- June 26 – Howard Charles Green, Canadian politician, former Foreign secretary (b. 1895)
- June 27
- Alfred Ayer, British philosopher (b. 1910)
- Jack Buetel, American actor (b. 1915)
- Michele Lupo, Italian film director (b. 1932)
- June 28 – Joris Ivens, Dutch filmmaker (b. 1898)
- July 2
- Andrei Gromyko, Soviet politician and diplomat, former Foreign Minister (b. 1909)
- Hilmar Baunsgaard, Danish politician, former Prime Minister (b. 1920)
- Ben Wright, English Actor in radio, film and television(b. 1915)
- Franklin Schaffner, American film director (b. 1920)
- July 3 – Jim Backus, American actor (b. 1913)
- July 4
- Jack Haig, English actor (b. 1913)
- Vic Perrin, American voice actor (b. 1916)
- July 6 – János Kádár, Hungarian politician & communist leader (b. 1912)
- July 10 – Mel Blanc, American voice actor best known for voicing Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. (b. 1908)
- July 11 – Laurence Olivier, prolific English stage and screen actor and director (b. 1907)
- July 15 – Laurie Cunningham, English footballer (b. 1956)
- July 16 – Herbert von Karajan, Austrian conductor (b. 1908)
- July 17 – Itubwa Amram, Nauruan pastor and politician (b. 1922)
- July 18
- Donnie Moore, baseball player (suicide) (b. 1954)
- Rebecca Schaeffer, American actress (b. 1967)
- July 19 – Kazimierz Sabbat, Polish president (b. 1913)
- July 20 – Forrest H. Anderson, American politician (b. 1913)
- July 22 – Martti Talvela, Finnish bass (b. 1935)
- July 23
- Donald Barthelme, American writer (b. 1931)
- Michael Sundin, English television presenter (b. 1961)
- July 24 – Ernie Morrison, American actor (b. 1912)
- July 30 – Lane Frost, American bull rider (b. 1963)
- August 1 – John Ogdon, English pianist (b. 1937)
- August 4
- Maurice Colbourne, British actor (b. 1939)
- Franziska Liebing, Swedish actress (b. 1901)
- August 7 – Mickey Leland, American congressman (b. 1944)
- August 12 – William Shockley, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
- August 13
- Hugo del Carril, Argentine film actor, film director and tango singer (b. 1912)
- Tim Richmond, American race car driver (b. 1955)
- August 14 – Robert Bernard Anderson, American political figure (b. 1910)
- August 16
- Jean-Hilaire Aubame, French-Gabonese politician (b. 1912)
- Amanda Blake, American actress (b. 1929)
- August 20
- George Adamson, Indian-born conservationist (assassinated) (b. 1906)
- Joseph LaShelle, American cinematographer (b. 1900)
- August 21 – Raul Seixas, Brazilian singer (b. 1945)
- August 22
- John Clyne, Canadian jurist (b. 1902)
- Diana Vreeland, American fashion editor (b. 1929)
- Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party (murdered) (b. 1942)
- August 23 – Ronald David Laing, Scottish psychiatrist (b. 1927)
- August 26 – Irving Stone, American writer (b. 1903)
- August 29 – Peter Scott, English naturalist, artist, and explorer (b. 1909)
- August 30 – Joe Collins, baseball player (b. 1922)
- September 1 – A. Bartlett Giamatti, American President of Yale University and MLB Commissioner (b. 1938)
- September 4
- Georges Simenon, Belgian writer (b. 1903)
- Ronald Syme, New Zealand-born classicist and historian (b. 1903)
- September 8
- Ann George, English actress (b. 1903)
- Barry Sadler, American author and musician (b. 1940)
- September 14 – Dámaso Pérez Prado, Cuban musician (b. 1916)
- September 15 – Robert Penn Warren, American writer (b. 1905)
- September 17 – Hugh Quincy Alexander, American politician (b. 1911)
- September 22 – Irving Berlin, American composer (b. 1888)
- September 28 – Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines (b. 1917)
- September 30
- Horace Alexander, English writer, pacifist, and ornithologist (b. 1889)
- Virgil Thomson, American composer (b. 1896)
- Huỳnh Tấn Phát, Vietnamese politician (b. 1913)
- October 4 – Graham Chapman, English comedian (Monty Python) (b. 1941)
- October 6 – Bette Davis, American actress (b. 1908)
- October 9 – Penny Lernoux, American journalist and author (b. 1940)
- October 11 – M. King Hubbert, American geophysicist (b. 1903)
- October 16
- Scott O'Dell, children's writer and winner of 5 Newbery Awards (b. 1898)
- Cornel Wilde, American actor (b. 1915)
- October 20
- Dahn Ben-Amotz, Israeli joyrnalist and author (b. 1924)
- Anthony Quayle, English actor (b. 1913)
- October 22 – Roland Winters, American actor (b. 1904)
- October 25 – Mary McCarthy, American writer (b. 1912)
- October 26 – Charles J. Pedersen, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1904)
- October 30 – Pedro Vargas, Mexican singer and actor (b. 1904)
- November 1 – Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, American civil rights activist (b. 1898)
- November 3 – Timoci Bavadra, Fiji physician and politician (b. 1934)
- November 5 – Vladimir Horowitz, Russian pianist (b. 1903)
- November 11 – Kenneth MacLean Glazier, Sr., Canadian minister and librarian (b. 1912)
- November 13
- Victor Davis, Canadian Olympic swimmer (b. 1964)
- Franz Joseph II, 14th Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein (b. 1906)
- November 20 – Lynn Bari, American actress (b. 1913)
- November 22
- C. C. Beck, American cartoonist (b. 1910)
- René Moawad, President of Lebanon (assassinated) (b. 1925)
- November 25 – George Cakobau, Fiji Governor General (b. 1912)
- November 26 – Ahmed Abdallah, Comorian politician, President of the Republic (assassinated) (b. 1919)
- November 27 – Carlos Arias Navarro, Spanish politician, former President of the Government (b. 1908)
- November 29 – Gubby Allen, English cricketer (b. 1902)
- November 30 – Ahmadou Ahidjo, Cameroonian politician, former President (b. 1924)
- December 1 – Alvin Ailey, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1931)
- December 2 – Ray Morehart, American baseball player (b. 1899)
- December 3 – Sourou Migan Apithy, Beninese political figure, former president of Dahomey (b. 1913)
- December 4 – Frederick Elwyn Jones, British barrister and Labour politician. (b. 1909)
- December 5 – John Pritchard, English conductor (b. 1921)
- December 6
- Frances Bavier, American actress (b. 1902)
- Sammy Fain, American composer (b. 1902)
- Marc Lépine, Canadian mass murderer (b. 1964)
- John Payne, American actor (b. 1912)
- December 7 – Haystacks Calhoun, American professional wrestler (b. 1934)
- December 8
- Hans Hartung, German-French painter (b. 1904)
- Mikhail Katukov, Russian war hero (b. 1900)
- December 11 – Lindsay Crosby, American singer and actor (b. 1938)
- December 14
- Jock Mahoney, American actor (b. 1919)
- Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist and activist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (declined) (b. 1921)
- December 15 – Edward Underdown, stage and film veteran (b. 1908)
- December 16
- Silvana Mangano, Italian actress (b. 1930)
- Aileen Pringle, American actress (b. 1895)
- December 16 – Lee Van Cleef, American actor (b. 1925)
- December 19 – Kirill Mazurov, Belarusian Soviet politician. (b. 1914)
- December 20 – Kurt Böhme, German bass (b. 1908)
- December 21
- Ján Cikker, Slovak composer (b. 1911)
- Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Nigerian/British Photographer, co-founder AUTOGRAPH-ABP (b. 1955)
- December 22
- Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1906)
- Vasile Milea, Romanian military officer and politician, minister of Defense (suicide) (b. 1927)
- December 25
- Nicolae Ceauşescu, Romanian dictator, Communist Party head and President of the Republic (executed) (b. 1918)
- Billy Martin, American baseball player and manager (b. 1928)
- December 26 – Lennox Berkeley, English composer (b. 1903)
- December 30
- Yasuji Miyazaki, Japanese Olympic swimmer (b. 1916)
- Madoline Thomas, Welsh actress (b. 1890)
- Physics – Norman F. Ramsey, Hans G. Dehmelt, Wolfgang Paul
- Chemistry – Sidney Altman, Thomas R. Cech
- Medicine – J. Michael Bishop, Harold E. Varmus
- Literature – Camilo José Cela
- Peace – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
- Cage of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – Trygve Haavelmo
- The Very Reverend Lord MacLeod (Joint Award)
- Professor Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (Joint Award)
In fictionMain article: Works of fiction set in 1989
- After the fall – Europe after 1989
- Mikhail Gorbachev on 1989 - 2009 interview by The Nation
- Freedom Without Walls: German Missions in the United States Looking Back at the Fall of the Berlin Wall – official homepage in English
- Father of Lions.org
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