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1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (dominical letter B) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1994th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 994th year of the 2nd millennium, the 94th year of the 20th century, and the 5th year of the 1990s decade. The year 1994 was designated as the "International Year of the Family" and the "International Year of Sport and the Olympic Ideal" by the United Nations.
- January 1
- January 6 – In Detroit, Nancy Kerrigan is clubbed on the right leg by an assailant, under orders from figure skating rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband.
- January 8 – Soyuz TM-18: Valeri Polyakov begins his 437.7 day orbit, eventually setting the world record for days spent in orbit.
- January 11
- January 14 – U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign the Kremlin accords, which stop the preprogrammed aiming of nuclear missiles toward each country's targets, and also provide for the dismantling of the nuclear arsenal in Ukraine.
- January 15 – The SS American Star breaks tow in the Atlantic Ocean and is beached at Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands a few days later.
- January 17 – The 6.5–6.7 Mw Northridge earthquake shakes the Greater Los Angeles Area with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), leaving 57 people dead and more than 8,700 injured.
- January 19 – Record cold temperatures hit the eastern United States. The coldest temperature ever measured in Indiana state history, −36 °F (−38 °C), is recorded in New Whiteland, Indiana.
- January 20 – In South Carolina, Shannon Faulkner becomes the first female cadet to attend The Citadel, but soon drops out.
- January 21 – Lorena Bobbitt is found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of mutilating her husband John.
- January 25 – U.S. President Bill Clinton delivers his first State of the Union address, calling for health care reform, a ban on assault weapons, and welfare reform.
- January 26 – A man fires 2 blank shots at Charles, Prince of Wales in Sydney, Australia.
- March - unknown - The People's Republic of China gets its first connection to the Internet.
- March 1
- March 6 – A referendum in Moldova results in the electorate voting against possible reunification with Romania.
- March 7 – Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.
- March 12
- March 14 – Apple Computer, Inc. releases the first Macintosh computers to use the new PowerPC Microprocessors. This is considered to be a major leap in personal computer, as well as Macintosh history.
- March 15 – U.S. troops are withdrawn from Somalia.
- March 16 – In Portland, Oregon, Tonya Harding pleads guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for trying to cover-up an attack on figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. She is fined $100,000 and banned from the sport.
- March 20 – Italian journalist Ilaria Alpi and TV cameraman Miran Hrovatin are assassinated in Somalia.
- March 21 – The 66th Academy Awards, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Steven Spielberg's Holocaust drama, Schindler's List, wins 7 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director (Spielberg).
- March 23 – Green Ramp disaster: Two military aircraft collide over Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina causing 24 fatalities.
- March 27
- March 28 – Shell House massacre: Inkatha Freedom Party and ANC supporters battle in central Johannesburg South Africa.
- March 31 – The journal Nature reports the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull (see Human evolution).
- May 1 – Three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna is killed in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola, Italy.
- May 5 – The Bishkek Protocol between Armenia and Azerbaijan is signed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; effectively freezing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
- May 6 – The Channel Tunnel, which took 15,000 workers over 7 years to complete, opens between England and France, enabling passengers to travel between the 2 countries in 35 minutes.
- May 10
- May 12 – Ice hockey becomes Canada's official winter sport.
- May 17 – Malawi holds its first multiparty elections.
- May 20 – After a funeral in Cluny Parish Church, Edinburgh attended by 900 people and after which 3,000 people lined the streets, John Smith is buried in a private family funeral on the island of Iona, at the sacred burial ground of Reilig Odhráin, which contains the graves of several Scottish kings as well as monarchs of Ireland, Norway and France.
- May 21 – Italian former minister and Christian Democrat leader Giulio Andreotti is accused of Mafia allegiance by the court of Palermo.
- May 22 – Pope John Paul II issues the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis from the Vatican, expounding the Catholic Church's position requiring "the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone".
- June 1 – The Republic of South Africa rejoins the British Commonwealth after the first democratic election. South Africa left the British Commonwealth in 1961.
- June 6–June 8 – Ceasefire negotiations for the Yugoslav War begin in Geneva; they agree to a 1-month cessation of hostilities (which does not last more than a few days).
- June 12 – Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman are murdered outside the Simpson home in Los Angeles. O. J. Simpson is later acquitted of the killings, but is held liable in a civil suit.
- June 14 – Hacker Kevin Poulsen pleads guilty to 7 counts of mail fraud, wire and computer fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.
- June 14 – The New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup, in 7 games over the Vancouver Canucks. It was New York's first Stanley Cup since 1940. Riots erupt in Vancouver in response to the victory causing $1.1 million Canadian dollars in damage.
- June 15 – Israel and the Vatican establish full diplomatic relations.
- June 17
- June 20 – Dean Mellberg, an ex-U.S. Air Force member, enters the hospital at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, shoots and kills 5 people, and wounds 19.
- June 23 – The International Olympic Committee celebrates its first centennial.
- June 24
- June 25 - Cold War: The last Russian troops leave Germany.
- June 26 – Microsoft announces it will no longer sell or support the MS-DOS operating system separately from Microsoft Windows. This had been its mainstay since 1980.
- June 28 – Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult execute the first sarin gas attack at Matsumoto, Japan, killing 8 and injuring 200.
- June 30 – An Airbus A330 crashes during a test flight near Toulouse, France, where Airbus is based, killing the 7-person crew. The test was meant to simulate an engine failure at low speed with maximum angle of climb.
- September 3 – Cold War: Russia and the People's Republic of China agree to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other.
- September 4 – Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan opens. All international services are transferred from Itami to Kansai.
- September 5 – New South Wales State MP for Cabramatta John Newman is shot outside his home, in Australia's first political assassination since 1977.
- September 8 – USAir Flight 427, a Boeing 737 with 132 people on board, crashes on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport; there are no survivors.
- September 10 – Wollemia nobilis (the 'Wollemi Pine'), previously known only from fossils, is discovered living in remote rainforest gorges in the Wollemi National Park of New South Wales by canyoner David Noble, 150 km from Australia's largest city.
- September 13 – President Bill Clinton signs the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which bans the manufacture of new firearms with certain features for a period of 10 years.
- September 16
- September 17 – Heather Whitestone becomes the first hearing impaired contestant to win the Miss America entitlement. Whitestone becomes Miss America 1995.
- September 19 – American troops stage a bloodless invasion of Haiti in order to restore the legitimate elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to power.
- September 28 – The car ferry MS Estonia sinks in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.
- September 28 – José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, Mexican politician, is assassinated on orders of Raúl Salinas de Gortari.
- September–October – Iraq disarmament crisis: Iraq threatens to stop cooperating with UNSCOM inspectors and begins to once again deploy troops near its border with Kuwait. In response, the U.S. begins to deploy troops to Kuwait.
- Adobe Photoshop 3.0 graphics editing software released.
- November 3
- A French magazine publishes photo of President François Mitterrand's secret daughter.
- The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 is enacted in the UK. The whole of Part V, which covers collective trespass and nuisance on land, includes sections against raves, including the "succession of repetitive beats" definition.
- November 4
- San Francisco: The first conference devoted entirely to the subject of the commercial potential of the World Wide Web opens. Featured speakers include Marc Andreessen of Netscape, Mark Graham of Pandora Systems, and Ken McCarthy of E-Media.
- Sydney's third runway opens, ensuring protests about noise levels.
- November 5
- November 6 – A flood in Piedmont, Italy, kills dozens of people.
- November 7 – WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provides the world's first internet radio broadcast.
- November 8 – Georgia Representative Newt Gingrich leads the United States Republican Party in taking control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in midterm congressional elections, the first time in 40 years the Republicans secure control of both houses of Congress. George W. Bush is elected Governor of Texas.
- November 13
- November 16 – A Federal judge issues a temporary restraining order, prohibiting the State of California from implementing Proposition 187, that would have denied most public services to illegal aliens.
- November 19 – Malawi recognizes the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
- November 20 – The Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign the Lusaka Protocol.
- November 28
- November 30 – The National Football League announces that the Jacksonville Jaguars will become the league's 30th franchise.
- January 11 – Mathieu Marquet, Mauritian swimmer
- January 13 – Yuma Nakayama, Japanese actor and singer
- January 14 – Kai, South Korean singer
- January 18 – Gong Minji, South Korean idol singer, rapper and dancer
- January 23 – Kwak Min-jeong, South Korean figure skater
- January 29 – Ayane Sakura, Japanese voice actress
- February 1 – Harry Styles, English singer and member of One Direction
- February 5 – Saki Nakajima, Japanese singer
- February 8 – Nikki Yanofsky, Canadian singer
- February 14
- February 23 – Dakota Fanning, American actress
- February 25 – Eugenie Bouchard, Canadian tennis player
- February 27 – Hou Yifan, Chinese chess player
- March 1 – Justin Bieber, Canadian pop/R&B singer
- March 5 – Aislinn Paul, Canadian actress
- March 8 – Dylan Tombides, Australian footballer (d. 2014)
- March 7 – Christina Gao, American figure skater
- March 12 – Christina Grimmie, American singer
- March 13 – Gerard Deulofeu, Spanish footballer
- March 26 – Mayu Watanabe, Japanese singer
- March 29 – Sulli, South Korean singer
- March 30 – Haruka Shimazaki, Japanese singer
- October 9 – Jodelle Ferland, Canadian actress
- October 10 – Bae Suzy, South Korean singer and actress
- October 24 – Krystal Jung, South Korean singer
- October 30 – Miyū Tsuzurahara, Japanese voice actress and child actress
- November 7 – Haruna Iikubo, Japanese singer
- November 8 – Lauren Alaina, American singer
- November 17 – Raquel Castro, American actress and singer
- November 30 – Nyjah Huston, American skateboarder
- December 3 – Jake T. Austin, American actor
- December 5 – Frida Aasen, Norwegian model
- December 7 – Yuzuru Hanyu, Japanese figure skater
- December 8 – Raheem Sterling, Jamaican-born English football player
- December 10 – Matti Klinga, Finnish football player
- December 13 – Leo Ieiri, Japanese singer
- December 16 – Stephen Sutton, English blogger and charity activist (d. 2014)
- December 29 – Princess Kako of Akishino, Japanese Princess and daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Akishino
- January 1
- January 2 – Pierre-Paul Schweitzer, French lawyer, former Managing Director of the IMF (b. 1912)
- January 3 – Frank Belknap Long, American writer (b. 1901)
- January 5
- Tip O'Neill, American Democrat politician, former speaker of the House of Representatives (b. 1912)
- Elmar Lipping, Estonian statesman and soldier (b. 1906)
- Brian Johnston, British cricket commentator (b. 1912)
- January 7 – Phoumi Vongvichit, Laotian politician, former president of the Republic (b. 1909)
- January 8 – Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, 68th Jagadguru in the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam(b.1894)
- January 9
- January 11 – John Bradley, U.S. Navy flag raiser on Iwo Jima (b. 1923)
- January 12 – Samuel Bronston, American film producer and director (b. 1908)
- January 13 – Johan Jørgen Holst, Norwegian politician and diplomat (b. 1937)
- January 14
- January 15 – Harry Nilsson, American musician (b. 1941)
- January 16 – Frances Gifford, American actress (b. 1920)
- January 17
- January 20
- January 22
- January 23
- January 25 – Stephen Cole Kleene, American mathematician (b. 1909)
- January 27 – Claude Akins, American actor (b. 1914)
- January 28 – Hal Smith, American character actor and voice-over artist (b. 1916)
- January 29
- January 30
- February 1 – Olan Soule, American character actor (b. 1909)
- February 2 – Marija Gimbutas, Lithuanian-American archeologist (b. 1921)
- February 3 – Walter Havighurst, American critic, novelist, literary and social historian (b. 1901)
- February 4 – Jane Arbor, British writer (b. 1903)
- February 6
- February 7
- February 9 – Howard Martin Temin, American geneticist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1934)
- February 11
- February 12 – Donald Judd, American artist (b. 1928)
- February 14
- February 15 – the Maunula mummy, a Finnish man who lay dead in his apartment for six years until discovered
- February 17 – Randy Shilts, American author and activist (b. 1951)
- February 19 – Derek Jarman, English film director (b. 1942)
- February 22 – Papa John Creech, American fiddler (b. 1917)
- February 24
- February 25
- February 26 – Bill Hicks, American comedian (b. 1961)
- February 28 – Josephat Karanja, Kenyan politician, former Vice President (b. 1931)
- April 1
- April 2 – Betty Furness, American actress, author, and consumer advocate (b. 1916)
- April 3 – Jérôme Lejeune, French pediatrician and geneticist (b. 1926)
- April 5 – Kurt Cobain, American singer and songwriter (b. 1967)
- April 6
- April 7
- April 10
- April 11 – Hal Lawrence, Canadian naval officer (b. 1920)
- April 14
- April 15 – John Curry, British figure skater (b. 1949)
- April 16 – Ralph Ellison, American writer (b. 1914)
- April 17 – Roger Wolcott Sperry, American neurobiologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1913)
- April 22 – Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States (b. 1913)
- April 24 – Masutatsu Ōyama, Korean-Japanese Karate master (b. 1923)
- April 27 – Lynne Frederick, English actress (b. 1954)
- April 28 – Berton Roueché, American writer (b. 1910)
- April 29
- April 30
- May 1 – Ayrton Senna, Brazilian Formula One driver (b. 1960)
- May 2
- May 5 – Joe Layton, American director and choreographer (b. 1931)
- May 7 – Clement Greenberg, American art critic (b. 1909)
- May 8 – George Peppard, American actor (b. 1928)
- May 10 – John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (b. 1942)
- May 12
- Erik Erikson, Danish-American developmental psychologist (b. 1902)
- John Smith, Scottish politician, leader of the British Labour Party (b. 1938)
- Roy J. Plunkett, American chemist (b. 1910)
- May 14 – W. Graham Claytor, Jr., American railroad executive and 15th United States Secretary of the Navy (b. 1914)
- May 15
- May 16 – Alain Cuny, French actor (b. 1908)
- May 17 – Étienne Hirsch, French engineer and administrator, former chairman of EURATOM (b. 1901)
- May 19
- May 21
- May 26 – Sonny Sharrock, American jazz musician (b. 1940)
- May 27 – Red Rodney, American trumpeter (b. 1927)
- May 29 – Erich Honecker, former Communist leader of the East Germany (b. 1912)
- May 30
- Juan Carlos Onetti, Uruguayan novelist (b. 1909)
- Marcel Bich, French manufacturer and co-founder of Bic (b. 1914)
- Ezra Taft Benson, American religious leader, thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) (b. 1899)
- June 2 – David Stove, Australian philosopher (suicide) (b. 1927)
- June 3 – Jack Cowie, New Zealand cricketer (b. 1912)
- June 4
- June 6 – Barry Sullivan, American actor (b. 1912)
- June 7 – Dennis Potter, English dramatist (b. 1935)
- June 9 – Jan Tinbergen, Dutch economist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1903)
- June 10 – Edward Kienholz, American installation artist and sculptor (b. 1927)
- June 12
- June 13 – K. T. Stevens, American actress (b. 1919)
- June 14 – Henry Mancini, American composer and arranger (b. 1924)
- June 15
- June 20 – Jay Miner, American computer pioneer (b. 1932)
- June 21 – William Wilson Morgan, American astronomer and astrophysicist (b. 1906)
- June 29 – Kurt Eichhorn, German conductor (b. 1908)
- July 2
- July 3 – Lew Hoad, Australian tennis champion (b. 1934)
- July 6 – Ahmet Haxhiu, Albanian political activist (b. 1932)
- July 7
- July 8
- July 11 – Gary Kildall, American computer inventor (b. 1942)
- July 14 – César Tovar, Venezuelan baseball player (Minnesota Twins) (b. 1940)
- July 16
- July 17 – Jean Borotra, French tennis champion (b. 1898)
- July 19 – Ray Flaherty, American football coach (Washington Redskins) and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (b. 1903)
- July 20 – Paul Delvaux, Belgian painter (b. 1897)
- July 21
- July 22 – Alexandre Hogue, American painter (b. 1898)
- July 23 – Lennox Sebe, President of Ciskei bantustan (b. 1926)
- July 29 – Dorothy Hodgkin, British chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
- August 4 – Giovanni Spadolini, Italian politician, former Prime Minister (b. 1925)
- August 6 – Domenico Modugno, Italian singer, songwriter, actor and politician (b. 1928)
- August 7
- August 11 – Peter Cushing, English actor (b. 1913)
- August 13 – Manfred Wörner, German politician and diplomat, General Secretary of NATO (b. 1934)
- August 14 – Elias Canetti, Bulgarian-born writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
- August 17 – Jack Sharkey, American boxer (b. 1902)
- August 18 – Richard Laurence Millington Synge, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
- August 19 – Linus Pauling, American chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Peace (b. 1901)
- August 21
- August 23 – Zoltán Fábri, Hungarian film director (b. 1917)
- August 28 – David Wright, South African poet (b. 1920)
- August 30 – Lindsay Anderson, British film director (b. 1923)
- September 2 – Roy Castle, British entertainer (b. 1932)
- September 5 – Shimshon Amitsur, Israeli mathematician and Israel Prize recipient (b. 1921)
- September 6
- September 7
- September 8 – János Szentágothai, Hungarian anatomist (b. 1912)
- September 9 – Patrick O'Neal, American actor (b. 1927)
- September 11 – Jessica Tandy, English actress (b. 1909)
- September 12
- September 15
- September 16 – Jack Dodson, American actor (b. 1931)
- September 17
- September 18 – Franco Moschino, Italian fashion designer (b. 1950)
- September 19
- Alberto Closas, Spanish actor (b. 1921)
- Joseph Iléo, Congolese politician, former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (b. 1921)
- September 20
- September 22 – Bud Sagendorf, American cartoonist (b. 1915)
- September 23 – Robert Bloch, American writer (b. 1917)
- September 24 – Sir David Napley, British solicitor (b. 1915)
- September 26 – Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia (b. 1907)
- September 27 – Carlos Lleras Restrepo, former president of Colombia (b. 1908)
- September 28 – José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, Mexican politician, general secretary of the PRI party (assassinated) (b. 1946)
- September 30
- October 2 – Harriet Nelson, American actress (b. 1909)
- October 3
- Tim Asch, Anthropologist, photographer and ethnographic filmmaker (b. 1932)
- Dub Taylor, American actor (b. 1907)
- October 4 – Danny Gatton, American guitarist (b. 1945)
- October 7
- October 15 – Sarah Kofman, French philosopher (b. 1934)
- October 19 – Martha Raye, American actress (b. 1916)
- October 18 – Conchita Montes, Spanish actress (b. 1914)
- October 19 – Oldřich Černík, former Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia (b. 1921)
- October 20
- October 21 – Benoît Régent, French actor (b. 1953)
- October 22 – Fabio Grobart, Cuban Communist politician (b. 1905)
- October 23 – Robert Lansing, American actor (b. 1928)
- October 24
- Raúl Juliá, Puerto Rican actor (b. 1940)
- Gamini Dissanayake, Sri Lankan opposition leader and presidential candidate (assassinated) (b. 1942)
- October 25 – Mildred Natwick, American actress (b. 1905)
- October 28 – Calvin S. Fuller, American physical chemist (b. 1902)
- October 29 – Shlomo Goren, Israeli Chief Rabbi (b. 1918)
- November 1 – Noah Beery, Jr., American actor (b. 1913)
- November 4 – Fred "Sonic" Smith, American guitarist (b. 1949)
- November 5 – Johan Heyns, Afrikaner theologian and critic of Apartheid (b. 1928)
- November 9 – Priscilla Morrill, American actress (b. 1927)
- November 10 – Carmen McRae, American jazz singer (b. 1920)
- November 11 – Pedro Zamora, Cuban-born AIDS activist (b. 1972)
- November 12 – Wilma Rudolph, American athlete (b. 1940)
- November 12 – J. I. M. Stewart, Scottish novelist (b. 1906)
- November 13 – Motoo Kimura, Japanese geneticist (b. 1924)
- November 14 – Tom Villard, American actor (b. 1953)
- November 16
- November 18
- November 20 – John Lucarotti, British-born television writer (b. 1926)
- November 22 – Charles Upham, New Zealand soldier, double Victoria Cross winner (b. 1908)
- November 23 – Art Barr, American professional wrestler (b. 1966)
- November 28
- November 30
- December 6 – Gian Maria Volontè, Italian actor (b. 1933)
- December 8 – Antônio Carlos Jobim, Brazilian composer (b. 1927)
- December 10 – Alex Wilson, Canadian and Notre Dame athlete (b. 1905)
- December 11
- Philip Phillips, American archaeologist (b. 1900)
- Carl Marzani, American political documentary filmmaker, author, editor and publisher (b. 1912)
- December 12
- December 13 – Hu Lanqi, Chinese woman revolutionary, general, and writer (b. 1901)
- December 18 – Lilia Skala, Austrian-born actress (b. 1896)
- December 20
- December 23 – Sebastian Shaw, English actor (b. 1905)
- December 24
- December 25 – Zail Singh, Indian politician and 7th President of India (b. 1916)
- December 27
Right Livelihood Award