Has an Artist ever been assasinated?

I reckon we could come up with a few examples of prominent artists, a bit too inflammatory for their times, being imprisoned and executed by their government, but does anyone know of an example of a prominent artist (any medium: writer, painter, musician, etc. etc.) being the target of assasination? Doesn’t seem entirely off-the-wall but I can’t think of any.

Lohn Lennon?

:smack: sorry John

There is also the case of Austrian composer Anton Webern who was shot in 1945 by an American soldier. But the soldier didn’t know who he was and thought he was a smuggler.

John Lennon was more of a musician than he was an artist

Nero! :smiley:

You got a problem with musicians, or is it just failure to grasp elementary concepts of the English language? Musicians are artists. As a musician I take offense at your utterance.

A militant feminist attempted to murder Andy Warhol and almost succeeded.

Selena was “assassinated” by the president of her fan club, as I recall.

Hey, Marshall07 note the OP- any medium: Musicians count.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of Lennon. Although, I was thinking more along the lines of political assasination- not “crazy guy gets a plane ticket and a gun”. Mark Chapman and Valerie Solanas aren’t quite the agents was I was thinking of. I was wondering about artists who may have been assasinated because they were viewed as a threat to certain powers.

Frederico Garcia Lorca was killed by a pro-Franco fascist gang in 1936.

Marxist film director Pier Paulo Pasolini was murdered in 1975; this was blamed on a lone individual but may have had a political component, bearing in mind the political violence then common in Italian society.

The other person I can come up with is Algerian novellist and poet Tahar Djaout (sorry but I can’t find a good online English-language biography). A number of other writers in the Arab world, middle east, and south Asia have been killed for their beliefs, but mostly (like Konca Kuris) they were primarily non-fiction writers.

Nigerian playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose plays were very critical of his government, was apparently assassinated by them. Salman Rushdie lived under threat of assassination for the better part of two decades. And conspiracy theorists haven’t ruled out government’s hand in Marilyn Monroe’s death, but I tend towards a simpler explanation.

Christopher Marlowe was murdered. Certain folks theorise that this was a political assasination, though the more likely explanation is that it was just a bar brawl with daggers.

While it was a crime of passion rather than anything to do with his architecture per se, there’s also the murder of Stanford White.

And in relation to Rushdie, at least one of the novel’s translators was assasinated.

Georgi Markov, target of the famous “ricin capsule in umbrella” assasination, is usually described as a writer. (Though that may be another word for “political activist”.)

Cafe Society might have more answers.

I’ll move it for you.

General Questions Moderator


If by “assassination” you mean someone who was selected in advance to be murdered for a “higher” purpose, I’m not sure if that Algerian musician Lounes Matoub, would count, but he was a big promoter of the indigenous identity of Tamazight/Berber in Algeria, engendering a lot of government animosity, no doubt.

Italian filmmaker Pier Pasolini was found beaten to death in 1975. Although he led a risky lifestyle, it came on the heels of his making critical comments about elements of Italian high society.


The Japanese writer Yukio Mishima assassinated himself in 1970.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was not assassinated but executed by the Nigerian government, after a seriously flawed trial (criticised by the US government and Amnesty International, amongst others). Cites: