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Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century

Updated November 5, 2019 1.6m views55 items

There were some strange deaths that have occurred during the 20th century and these are the most bizarre ways that people passed in the 1900s. The following list includes some the most unusual ways of passing imaginable. There are plenty of strange ways to perish, but these might be the strangest of all — unique and extremely rare circumstances that you can think of.

What are the most bizarre ways famous people have died in the last century? Do you know someone who swallowed a toothpick at a party and then perished because of peritonitis? Did you know about an actress who passed when she fell down a chimney, thinking it was a balcony? If not, read this list of all the unusual deaths of 20th century people who died in strange ways.

  • Alexander Bogdanov is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    A Russian physician, passed following one of his experiments, in which the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis was given to him in a transfusion. He thought he was immune to tuberculosis, but his passing came soon after the transfusion. 

    • Age: Dec. at 55 (1873-1928)
    • Birthplace: Sokółka, Poland
    • Profession: Physician, Economist, Philosopher
    • Cause Of Death: Anaphylaxis, Acute hemolytic transfusion reaction, Blood-borne disease
  • Boris Sagal is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century
    Photo: flickr / CC0

    A film director passed while shooting the TV miniseries "World War III." Not paying attention, Sagal walked into the rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.


    • Age: Dec. at 58 (1923-1981)
    • Birthplace: Dnipro, Ukraine
    • Profession: Television director, Television producer, Screenwriter, Film Director
    • Cause Of Death: Accident
  • Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century
    Photo: George Rinhart / Getty Images

    The martial artist and actor passed because of a severe allergic reaction to a pain medicine, Equagesic. His autopsy was written as "[perishing] by misadventure."

    • Age: Dec. at 33 (1940-1973)
    • Birthplace: USA, California, Chinatown, San Francisco
    • Profession: Martial Arts Instructor, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Martial artist
    • Major/Field Of Study: Drama
    • Cause Of Death: Cerebral edema

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  • R. Budd Dwyer is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century
    Photo: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, took his own life during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.

    • Age: Dec. at 48 (1939-1987)
    • Birthplace: Saint Charles, Missouri, United States of America
    • Profession: Politician, Teacher
    • Cause Of Death: Took own life
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