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1980

Related subjects Years

Centuries: 19th century - 20th century - 21st century
Decades: 1950s  1960s  1970s  - 1980s -   1990s   2000s   2010s
Years: 1977 1978 1979 - 1980 - 1981 1982 1983

Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar).

Events of 1980

January

  • January 1 - Changes to the Swedish Act of Succession make Victoria of Sweden Crown Princess over her younger brother.
  • January 4 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaims a grain embargo against the USSR with the support of the European Commission.
  • January 6 - Global Positioning System time epoch begins at 00:00 UTC.
  • January 6 - The president of Sicily, Piersanti Mattarella, is assassinated by the Mafia.
  • January 7 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs legislation approving $1.5 billion in loan guarantees to bail out the Chrysler Corporation.
January 22: Andrei Sakharov arrested.
January 22: Andrei Sakharov arrested.
  • January 9 - In Saudi Arabia, 63 Muslim fanatics are beheaded for their part in the siege of the Great Mosque in Mecca in November, 1979.
  • January 11 - Nigel Short, 14, becomes the youngest chess player to be awarded the degree of International Master.
  • January 20 - The Pittsburgh Steelers become the first NFL franchise to win 4 Super Bowls, defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV 31-19 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
  • January 21 - The London Gold Fixing hits its highest price ever (adjusted for inflation), at US$850 a troy ounce.
  • January 21 - The MS Athina B is beached at Brighton, becoming a temporary tourist attraction.
  • January 22 - Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet scientist and human rights activist, is arrested in Moscow.
  • January 24 - The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad was ordered to be liquidated due to bankruptcy, and debt owed to creditors, operate last train March 31 of this year.
  • January 26 - Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.
  • January 27 - Six United States diplomats, posing as Canadians, manage to escape from Tehran, Iran as they board a flight to Zürich, Switzerland, thus ending the Canadian caper operation.
  • January 31 - The Spanish Embassy in Guatemala is invaded and set on fire, killing 36 people.


February

  • February 2 - Abscam: Reports surface that FBI personnel are targeting members of the Congress of the United States in a sting operation.
  • February 2- February 3 - The infamous New Mexico State Penitentiary Riot takes place: 33 inmates are killed and more than 100 inmates injured.
  • February 4 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini names Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.
  • February 13 - The XIII Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York.
  • February 22 - The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Winter Olympics, in the Miracle on Ice.
  • February 23 - Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran's parliament will decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
  • February 25 - A coup in Suriname ousts the government of Henck Arron. Leaders Desi Bouterse and Roy Horb replace it with a National Military Council.
  • February 27 - M-19 guerrillas begin the Dominican embassy siege in Colombia, holding 60 people hostage, including 14 ambassadors.

March

  • March 1 - The Voyager 1 probe confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn.
  • March 3 - Pierre Trudeau returns to office as Prime Minister of Canada.
  • March 4 - Robert Mugabe is elected Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
  • March 8 - The first festival of rock music kicks off in the Soviet Union
  • March 14 - In Poland, a plane crashes during an emergency landing near Warsaw, killing a 14-man American boxing team and 73 others.
  • March 18 - Fifty people are killed at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, when a Vostok-2M rocket explodes on its launch pad during a fueling operation.
  • March 20 - The pirate radio station Radio Caroline sinks.
  • March 21 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
  • March 24 - The Australia Olympic Committee announces it will send an Olympic delegation to Moscow, despite objections by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
  • March 24 - Archbishop Óscar Romero is killed by gunmen while celebrating Mass in San Salvador. At his funeral 6 days later, 42 people are killed amid gunfire and bombs.
  • March 26 - A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reef gold mine in South Africa falls 1.2 miles, killing 23.
  • March 27 - The Norwegian oil platform Alexander Kielland collapses in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.
  • March 27 - The Silver Thursday market crash occurs.
  • March 28 - Talpiot Tomb is found in Jerusalem.
  • March 31 - Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad operate final train.

April

  • April 1 - The Mariel boatlift from Cuba begins.
  • April 1 - New York City's Transport Works Union Local 100 goes on strike, which continues for 11 days.
  • April 2 - The St. Pauls riot breaks out in Bristol.
  • April 7 - The United States severs diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions, following the taking of American hostages on November 4, 1979.
  • April 10 - Spain and the United Kingdom agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain, closed since 1969.
  • April 12 - Samuel Kanyon Doe takes over Liberia in a coup d'etat, ending over 130 years of democratic presidential succession in that country.
  • April 18 - Zimbabwe gains independence from the United Kingdom; Robert Mugabe becomes Prime Minister.
  • April 19 - Johnny Logan wins the Eurovision Song Contest 1980 with the song, What's Another Year.
  • April 24 - Pennsylvania Lottery Scandal: the Pennsylvania Lottery is rigged by 6 men including the host of the live TV drawing, Nick Perry.
  • April 27 - The Dominican embassy siege ends with all hostages released and the guerrillas flying to Cuba.
  • April 30 - Iranian Embassy Siege: Six Iranian-born terrorists take over the Iranian embassy in London, UK. SAS retakes the Embassy on May 5; 1 terrorist survives.
  • April 30 - Luis Muñoz Marín, the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico, dies at the age of 82.
  • April 30 - Queen Juliana of the Netherlands abdicates, and her daughter Beatrix ascends to the throne.

May

  • May 4 - Yugoslav President Tito dies. The funeral ceremony later becomes the world's biggest diplomatic meeting and media event ever, with more than 140 state delegations in Belgrade from all over the world (only the funeral of Pope John Paul II in April 2005 will have more news coverage and a higher number of delegations).
  • May 9 - In Florida, a Liberian freighter named the Summit Venture hits the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, sending 35 people (most of whom were in a bus) to a watery death as a 1,400-foot section of the bridge collapses.
  • May 18 - Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
  • May 20 - 1980 Quebec referendum: Voters in Quebec reject by a vote of 60% a proposal to seek independence from Canada.
  • May 21 - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released.
  • May 24 - The International Court of Justice calls for the release of U.S. Embassy hostages in Tehran.
  • May 24 - The New York Islanders win their first Stanley Cup, from a goal by Bobby Nystrom in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs's final round.
  • May 25 - Indianapolis 500: Johnny Rutherford wins for a third time in car owner Jim Hall's revolutionary ground effect Chaparral car; the victory is Hall's second as an owner.
  • May 26 - John Frum supporters in Vanuatu storm government offices on the island of Tanna. Vanuatu government troops land the next day and drive them away.
  • May 26 - In South Korea, military government forces and pro-democracy protesters clash; 2,000 protesters die.

June

  • June 3 - A series of deadly tornadoes strikes Grand Island, Nebraska, causing over $300m in damage, killing 5 people and injuring over 250.
  • June 3 - U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy wins several primaries, including California, on 'Super Tuesday', but not enough to overtake President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Party nomination.
  • June 19 - Iraqi security forces shoot dead 3 gunmen who attacked the British Embassy in Baghdad. The unknown attackers are killed in the embassy gardens by Iraqi security men, sent at the urgent request of the British ambassador, Alex Stirling.
  • June 20 - Augusta AVA became the first federally recognized American Viticultural Area.
  • June 22 - West Germany beats Belgium 2-1 to win the Euro 80.
  • June 23 - Sanjay Gandhi, son of Indira Gandhi, dies in an air crash.
  • June 23- September 6 - 1980 United States heat wave
  • June 25 - A Muslim Brotherhood assassination attempt against Syrian president Hafez al-Assad fails. Assad retaliates by sending the army against them.
  • June 27 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs Proclamation 4771 requiring 19- and 20-year-old males to register for a peacetime military draft, in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
  • June 29 - Vigdis Finnbogadottir is elected president of Iceland.

July

July 10: Fire at Alexandra Palace.
July 10: Fire at Alexandra Palace.
  • July 9 - Pope John Paul II visits Brazil; 7 people are crushed to death in a crowd meeting him.
  • July 10 - Alexandra Palace in London destroyed by fire.
  • July 16 - Former California Governor and actor Ronald Reagan is nominated for U.S. President, at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. Influenced by the Religious Right, the convention also drops its long standing support for the Equal Rights Amendment, dismaying moderate Republicans.
  • July 19- August 3 - The 1980 Summer Olympics are held in Moscow, Soviet Union.
  • July 30 - Vanuatu gains independence.

August

  • August 2 - A terrorist bombing at the railway station in Bologna, Italy kills 85 people and wounds more than 200.
  • August 7- August 14 - Lech Wałęsa leads the first of many strikes at the Gdańsk shipyard.
  • August 10 - Hurricane Allen Pounds Southeastern Texas as A category 3 hurricane.
  • August 14 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter defeats Senator Edward Kennedy to win renomination, at the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York City.
  • August 17 - In Australia, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears from a campsite at Ayers Rock (Uluru), reportedly taken by a dingo.

September

  • September 2 - Ford Europe launches the Escort MK3, which ditches the traditional rear-wheel drive saloon in favour of a more practical and modern front-wheel drive hatchback.
  • September 5 - The St. Gothard Tunnel opens in Switzerland as the world's longest highway tunnel at 10.14 miles (16.32 km) stretching from Goschenen to Airolo.
  • September 12 - Kenan Evren stages a military coup in Turkey. It stops political gang violence, but begins stronger state violence leading to the execution of many young activists.
  • September 17 - After weeks of strikes at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland, the nationwide independent trade union Solidarity is established.
  • September 17 - Former Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle is killed in Asunción, Paraguay.
  • September 19 - The Robert Redford-directed film Ordinary People, based on the novel by Judith Guest, premieres. Redford's directorial debut later wins him his first Oscar, and wins three other Academy Awards, and five Golden Globe awards.
  • September 22 - The command council of Iraq orders its army to "deliver its fatal blow on Iranian military targets," initiating the Iran-Iraq War.
  • September 22 - Youth riots in the capital of the Soviet Republic of Estonia are quickly forced down.
  • September 23 - Bob Marley plays his final live performance at the Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • September 26 - The Mariel Boatlift officially ends.
  • September 29 - The Washington Post publishes Janet Cooke's story of Jimmy, an 8-year-old heroin addict (later proven to be fabricated).
  • September 30 - Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Xerox introduce the DIX standard for Ethernet, which is the first implementation outside of Xerox, and the first to support 10 Mbit/s speeds.

October

  • October 1 - Associated Newspapers announced that The Evening News would close and merge with the Evening Standard.
  • October 3 - The film The Elephant Man , starring Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt, and directed by David Lynch, opens in New York City. It is nominated for many Academy Awards, but does not win any.
  • October 5 - British Leyland launches its new Metro, a three-door entry-level hatchback which is designed as the eventual replacement for the Mini. It gives BL a long-awaited modern competitor for the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Chevette.
  • October 10 - Margaret Thatcher tells the Conservative Party conference "U-turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning."
  • October 10 - El Asnam in Algeria is destroyed by an earthquake which claimed more than 2,600 lives. After the quake, El Asnam is rebuilt and changes its name to the city of Chlef.
  • October 14 - The Staggers Rail Act is enacted, deregulating American railroads.
  • October 15 - James Callaghan announces his resignation as Leader of the British Labour Party.
  • October 15 - James Hoskins forces his way into WCPO's television studio in Cincinnati, holding nine employees hostage for several hours before releasing them and taking his own life.
  • October 18 - The Fraser Government is re-elected for a third consecutive term in Australia with a reduced majority.
  • October 21 - The Philadelphia Phillies win their first World Series beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 in game six. This remains the Phillies's only World Series championship in their 124 year existence.
  • October 22 - The Thomson Corporation said that The Times and all associated supplements would close in March 1981 if no buyer could be found.
  • October 25 - Proceedings on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction conclude at The Hague.
  • October 27 - Six Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoners in Maze prison refuse food and demand status as political prisoners; the hunger strike lasts until December.
  • October 28 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate in Cleveland, Ohio. Reagan's genial, witty performance causes him to overtake Carter in the polls.
  • October 30 - El Salvador and Honduras sign a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969's Football War before the International Court of Justice.
  • October 31 - The Polish government recognizes Solidarity.
  • October 31 - Reza Pahlavi, eldest son of the shah of Iran, proclaims himself the rightful successor to the Peacock Throne.

November

  • November 4 - U.S. presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in a landslide victory, exactly 1 year after the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis.
  • November 10 - November 12 - Voyager program: The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn, when it flies within 77,000 miles of the planet's cloud-tops and sends the first high resolution images of the world back to scientists on Earth.
  • November 20 - The Gang of Four trial begins in China.
  • November 21 - Millions of viewers tune into the U.S. TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing. The " Who shot J.R.?" event is a national obsession.
  • November 23 - Italy Earthquake of 1980: a magnitude 7 earthquake in southern Italy kills approximately 3,000 people and leaves 300,000 homeless.

December

  • December 4 - Francisco Sá Carneiro, Portuguese Prime Minister dies in a plane crash in Camarate in the outskirts of Lisbon.
  • December 8 - Former Beatle John Lennon dies in hospital after being shot outside his New York City apartment by Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan who had received his signature earlier in the day.
  • December 11 - CERCLA is enacted by the U.S. Congress.
  • December 15 - The Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (Academy of the Asturian Language) is created.
  • December 16 - During a summit on the island of Bali, OPEC decides to raise the price of petroleum by 10%.
  • December 26 - Richard Chase, the "Vampire of Sacramento," kills himself by overdose on San Quentin prison death row.
  • December 28 - A made-for-television film of Michael Cristofer's Tony and Pulitzer-winning play about terminal illness, The Shadow Box, is telecast by ABC. The production is nominated for several Emmy Awards, stars Joanne Woodward and Christopher Plummer among others, and is directed by Paul Newman.


Ongoing

World population

World population
1980 1975 1985
  World 4,434,682,000 4,068,109,000 366,573,000 4,830,979,000 396,297,000
  Africa 469,618,000 408,160,000 61,458,000 541,814,000 72,196,000
   Asia 2,632,335,000 2,397,512,000 234,823,000 2,887,552,000 255,217,000
Europe 692,431,000 675,542,000 16,889,000 706,009,000 13,578,000
Latin-America & Caribbean
361,401,000 321,906,000 39,495,000 401,469,000 40,068,000
North America
256,068,000 243,425,000 12,643,000 269,456,000 13,388,000
Oceania 22,828,000 21,564,000 1,264,000 24,678,000 1,850,000

Deaths

January - March

  • January 3 - Joy Adamson, Austrian-born conservationist and author (murdered) (b. 1910)
  • January 8 - John Mauchly, American physicist and inventor (b. 1707)
  • January 10 - George Meany, American labor leader (b. 1894)
  • January 18 - Sir Cecil Beaton, English photographer (b. 1704)
  • January 21 - Georges Painvin, French cryptographer (b. 1886)
  • January 25 - Roland Barthes, French literary critic, and philosopher (b. 1915)
  • January 28 - Franco Evangelisti, Italian composer (b. 1926)
  • January 29 - Jimmy Durante, American actor, singer, and comedian (b. 1893)
  • January 30 - Professor Longhair, American musician (b. 1918)
  • February 2 - William Howard Stein, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1911)
  • February 6 - Albert Kotin American abstract expressionist painter (b. 1707)
  • February 12 - Muriel Rukeyser, American poet (b. 1913)
  • February 13 - David Janssen, American actor (b. 1931)
  • February 14 - Luitkonwar Rudra Baruah, Assamese composer and actor
  • February 20 - Ronald Belford (Bon) Scott, Scottish-born singer ( AC/DC) (b. 1946)
  • February 20 - J.B. Rhine, parapsychologist (b. 1895)
  • February 20 - Alice Longworth, Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, wife of Nicholas Longworth (b. 1884)
  • February 24 - Clement Martyn Doke, South African linguist
  • February 27 - George Tobias, American actor (b. 1701)
  • March 1 - Dixie Dean, English football player (b. 1707)
  • March 1 - Wilhelmina, high-fashion model and owner of model agency (b. 1940)
  • March 1 - Daniil Khrabrovitsky, Soviet film director (b. 1923)
  • March 5 - Jay Silverheels, American actor (b. 1912)
  • March 5 - Winifred Wagner, Richard Wagner's daughter-in-law, close friend of Adolf Hitler
  • March 14 - Anna Jantar, Polish Singer - LOT Polish Airlines Flight 007 Crash
  • March 16 - Tamara de Lempicka, Polish-born painter (b. 1898)
  • March 18 - Erich Fromm, German-born psychologist and philosopher (b. 1700)
  • March 21 - Peter Stoner, American mathematician, astronomer and Christian apologist (b. 1888)
  • March 24 - Oscar Romero, El Salvador Roman catholic Archbishop (b. 1917)
  • March 24 - Pierre Etchebaster, French real tennis player (b. 1893)
  • March 25 - Roland Barthes, French literary critic and writer (b. 1915)
  • March 25 - Walter Susskind, Czech conductor (b. 1913)
  • March 25 - James Wright, American poet (b. 1927)
  • March 29 - Mantovani, Italian-born conductor and arranger (b. 1705)
  • March 31 - Vladimír Holan, Czech poet (b. 1705)
  • March 31 - Jesse Owens, American athlete (b. 1913)

April - June

  • April 4 - Red Sovine, American country & folk singer & songwriter (b. 1917)
  • April 12 - Clark McConachy, New Zealand snooker and billiards player (b. 1895)
  • April 15 - Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1705)
  • April 20 - Katherine K. Davis, American composer (b. 1892)
  • April 21 - Sohrab Sepehri, Persian poet and painter (b. 1928)
  • April 24 - Alejo Carpentier, Cuban writer (b. 1704)
  • April 29 - Alfred Hitchcock, British film director (b. 1899)
  • April 30 - Luis Muñoz Marín, Puerto Rican poet, journalist, and politician (b. 1898)
  • May 4 - Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia (b. 1892)
  • May 16 - Marin Preda, Romanian writer (b. 1922)
  • May 18 - David A. Johnston, a U.S. Volcanoligist was also a victim of Mount St. Helens eruption (b. 1949)
  • May 18 - Ian Curtis, British musician and singer ( Joy Division) (b. 1956)
  • May 28 - Rolf Nevanlinna, Finnish mathematician (b. 1895)
  • June 7 - Henry Miller, American writer (b. 1891)
  • June 7 - Elizabeth Craig, British writer (b. 1883)
  • June 12 - Milburn Stone, American actor (b. 1704)
  • June 13 - Walter Rodney, Guyanese historian and political figure (b. 1942)
  • June 20 - Amy Key Clarke, English mystical poet (b. 1892)
  • June 21 - Bert Kaempfert, German orchestra leader and songwriter (b. 1923)
  • June 23 - Clyfford Still, American painter (b. 1704)
  • June 23 - John Laurie, British actor (b. 1897)

July - September

  • July - Robert Brackman, American painter (b. 1898)
  • July 7 - Dore Schary, American film writer, director, and producer (b. 1705)
  • July 9 - Vinicius de Moraes, Brazilian writer, poet and diplomat (b. 1913)
  • July 15 - Ben Selvin, famed American 1920's & 1930's orchestra leader & recording artist (b. 1898)
  • July 17 - Boris Delaunay, Russian mathematician (b. 1890)
  • July 24 - Uttam Kumar (Arun Kumar Chatterjee), the legendary Bengali Actor (b. 1926).
  • July 24 - Peter Sellers, English actor (b. 1925)
  • July 25 - Vladimir Vysotsky, Russian singer-songwriter, poet, actor (b. 1938)
  • July 26 - Kenneth Tynan, English theatre critic (b. 1927)
  • July 27 - Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran (b. 1919)
  • July 31 - Pascual Jordan, German physicist (b. 1702)
  • July 31 - Mohammed Rafi, Indian singer (b. 1924)
  • August 7 - Jackie Cochran, American pilot (b. 1706)
  • August 10 - Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan (b. 1917)
  • August 14 - Dorothy Stratten, Canadian model (murdered) (b. 1960)
  • August 19 - Otto Frank, father of Jewish diarist Anne Frank (b. 1889)
  • August 20 - Joe Dassin, French singer (b. 1938)
  • August 24 - Yootha Joyce, British actress (b. 1927)
  • August 26 - Tex Avery, American cartoonist and creator of Looney Toons (b. 1708)
  • September 3 - Dirch Passer, Danish actor (b. 1926)
  • September 8 - Willard Libby, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1708)
  • September 15 - Bill Evans, American jazz pianist (b. 1929)
  • September 16 - Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist (b. 1896)
  • September 17 - Anastasio Somoza Debayle, former President of Nicaragua (assassinated) (b. 1925)
  • September 25 - John Bonham, British drummer ( Led Zeppelin) (b. 1948)

October - December

  • October 6 - Hattie Jacques, Starr of Carry On Films (Heart Attack) (b. 1922)
  • October 20 - Lady Isobel Barnett, British television personality (suicide following her conviction for shoplifting) (b. 1918)
  • October 25 - Sahir Ludhianvi, Urdu/Hindustani poet and Hindi film lyricist (b. March 8, 1921)
  • October 25 - Virgil Fox, American organist (b. 1912)
  • October 25 - Victor Galindez, Argentine boxer (race car accident) (b. 1948)
  • October 27 - Steve Peregrin Took, British musician ( T. Rex) (b. 1949)
  • October 27 - John Hasbrouck van Vleck, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)
  • November 4 - Elsie MacGill, Canadian aeronautical engineer (b. 1704)
  • November 7 - Steve McQueen, American actor (b. 1930)
  • November 9 - Gloria Guinness, Fashion icon (b. 1912)
  • November 16 - Boris Aronson, renowned Russian set designer (b. 1898)
  • November 17 - Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, 41st master of the Oveyssi Sufi order (b. 1916)
  • November 18 - Conn Smythe, NHL coach 1927-1931 (b. 1895)
  • November 20 - John McEwen, eighteenth Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1700)
  • November 22 - Norah McGuinness, Northern Irish painter and illustrator (b. 1701)
  • November 22 - Mae West, American actress (b. 1893)
  • November 27 - F. Burrall Hoffman, American architect (b. 1882)
  • November 29 - Dorothy Day, social progressive and founder of the Catholic Worker (b. 1897)
  • December 2 - Romain Gary, Lithuanian-born writer (b. 1914)
  • December 4 - Francisco Sá Carneiro, Prime Minister of Portugal (b. 1934)
  • December 4 - Stanislawa Walasiewicz, Polish-born runner (b. 1911)
  • December 7 - Darby Crash, American songwriter, singer for The Germs (heroin overdose) (b. 1958)
  • December 8 - John Lennon, British singer, songwriter, and guitarist (The Beatles) (b. 1940)
  • December 16 - Harland Sanders, American fast food entrepreneur (b. 1890)
  • December 16 - Hellmuth Walter, German engineer and inventor (b. 1700)
  • December 24 - Karl Dönitz, President of Germany (b. 1891)
  • December 24 - Siggie Nordstrom, model, actress, entertainer, socialite and lead singer of The Nordstrom Sisters (b. 1893)
  • December 26 - Richard Chase, serial killer (b. 1950)
  • December 29 - Tim Hardin, American musician (b. 1941)
  • December 31 - Marshall McLuhan, Canadian author and professor (b. 1911)


 

Ship events

  • List of ship launches in 1980
  • List of ship commissionings in 1980
  • List of ship decommissionings in 1980
  • List of shipwrecks in 1980

Nobel prizes

  • Physics - James Watson Cronin, Val Logsdon Fitch
  • Chemistry - Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, Frederick Sanger
  • Medicine - Baruj Benacerraf, Jean Dausset, George D. Snell
  • Literature - Czesław Miłosz
  • Peace - Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
  • Economics - Lawrence Klein

Templeton Prize

  • Prof. Ralph Burhoe

Right Livelihood Award

The Right Livelihood Award was founded in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull.