Some who left world's stage in 2008
Deaths in 2008 included:
Abu Yasir al-Saudi, leader of al-Qaida who was allegedly responsible for conducting numerous attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces.
Edie Adams, 81, actress, comedienne, and classically trained singer who both personified and satirized the stereotypes of sophisticated chanteuse and sexpot blonde.
Philip Agee, 72, former Central Intelligence Agency operative whose naming of other CIA agents led to a US law against exposing government spies.
Joe Ames, 86, the deep-voiced anchor and eldest member of the 1950s hit singing group the Ames Brothers.
Uranus J. Appel, 91, bacteriologist and entrepreneur who founded the first publicly owned hospital management company.
Anne L. Armstrong, 80, adviser to Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford and the first woman to serve as US ambassador to Britain.
Eddy Arnold, 89, the gentleman crooner who took country music uptown.
Robert M. Ball, 93, former Social Security commissioner considered the father of Medicare.
Gen. Robert H. Barrow, 86, commandant of the US Marine Corps (1979-83), of St. Francisville and a veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. He held the Bronze Star with Combat V, Silver Star, Navy Cross, Army Distinguished Service Cross, Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and three Legions of Merit.
Paul Benedict, 70, actor who played the eccentric English neighbor Harry Bentley on the sitcom “The Jeffersons.”
Mr. (Richard) Blackwell, 86, Hollywood designer- turned-fashion critic whose annual worst-dressed list skewered the fashion disasters of celebrities from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Britney Spears.
Evelyn Pinckert “Pinky” Brier, 98, first licensed female flight instructor in the United States.
Henry B. R. Brown, 82, struggling financial consultant in 1969 when he and a partner, Bruce R. Bent, came up with an idea—the money-market mutual fund—that spawned a $3.5-trillion industry.
William F. Buckley, Jr., 82, columnist, novelist, talk show host and tireless intellectual who founded the modern conservative movement and was its articulate voice for nearly six decades.
Earl L. Butz, 98, outspoken former US agriculture secretary.
George Carlin, 71, comic whose infamous seven words led to a Supreme Court decision on broadcasting offensive language.
Cyd Charisse, 86, who starred in MGM musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.
Edison Chouest, 91, commercial shrimp fisherman who turned one steel-hulled 65-foot utility vessel into North American Shipbuilding in Larose.
Obie Clark, 75, former Mississippi chapter president of the NAACP who helped to protect black churches in the ‘60s and later sought to get the Confederate battle emblem removed from the state flag.
Arthur C. Clarke, 90, a visionary science fiction writer.
Boyd Coddington, 63, car-building legend whose cable TV reality show American Hot Rod introduced the nation to the West Coast hot-rod guru.
Al Copeland, 64, founder of the Popeye’s Chicken fast-food chain and Copeland’s Restaurants.
Michael Crichton, 66, million-selling US author who wrote such technological thrillers as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park and created the popular TV drama ER.
Michael J. Daly, 83, retired US Army captain awarded the Medal of Honor as a 20-year-old lieutenant in World War II. He entered the war as an 18-year-old private after leaving West Point and was awarded three Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, and a Bronze Star with “V” for acts of bravery.
Margaret Truman Daniel, 83, only child of former President Harry S. Truman and a concert singer, actress, radio and TV personality and writer.
Richard Darman, 64, who guided policy and deal-making as budget director in four Republican administrations.
Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, 99, cardiovascular surgeon who pioneered such now-common procedures as bypass surgery and invented devices to help heart patients.
Charles deGravelles, 95, founder of modern Republican Party in Louisiana.
Bo Diddley, 79, belatedly acknowledged as one of the most widely-copied pioneers of rock’n’roll music, whose hits included Memphis, Tenn.
Giuseppe di Stefano, 86, one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century.
Ivan Dixon, 76, best known for his role as Staff Sgt. James Kinchloe on the TV series Hogan’s Heroes.
Lt. Col. Charles Dryden, 87, one of the first of the pioneering black World War II pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
Cardinal Avery Dulles, 90, convert to Roman Catholicism who was the first American Jesuit and the first US theologian outside a diocese to be named a cardinal.
Dr. Mary Engle, 86, pediatric cardiologist who took part in the first “blue baby” operation in 1944.
Mel Ferrer, 90, star of such classic films as “Lili,” “War and Peace” and “The Sun Also Rises,” as well as producer and director of movies starring his then-wife, Audrey Hepburn.
Bobby Fischer, 64, the most powerful American chess player in history.
Mark Felt, 95, former FBI executive and source Deep Throat who pushed Washington Post reporters in their Watergate coverage.
Eugene Freedman, 82, creator of Precious Moments figurines.
Edward Freeman, 80, US Army helicopter pilot awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroics during the Vietnam War and portrayed by actor Mark McCracken in the Mel Gibson movie We Were Soldiers.
Estelle Getty, 84, Emmy-winning actress best known as a wise-cracking octogenarian on the popular ‘80s-’90s sitcom The Golden Girls.
Dody Goodman, 93, daffy comedienne known for her TV appearances on Jack Paar’s late-night talk show in the late ‘50s and as the mother on the soap-opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
Nathan Gordon, 92, Navy pilot awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing 15 downed airmen under enemy fire in the Pacific during World War II, and who later became lieutenant governor of Arkansas.
Claude “Grits” Gresham, 85, Louisiana outdoor writer and television personality.
Francis Grevemberg, 94, former State Police superintendent who led a sledgehammer-swinging crackdown against illegal gambling in Louisiana in the 1950s.
Gary Gygax, 69, co-creator in 1974 of the game Dungeons & Dragons.
George Habash, 82, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Gen. Robert Haldane, 83, officer who led the battalion that discovered the infamous Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam War.
Buddy Harman, 79, drummer whose beat can be heard on thousands of recordings by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Roger Miller and Simon & Garfunkel, among others. Harman played on an estimated 18,000 recordings.
Connie Haines, 87, petite, big-voiced singer with a rhythmic style who most famously teamed up with Frank Sinatra as lead vocalists with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Isaac Hayes, 65, whose theme song for the 1971 movie “Shaft” became one of pop music’s most notable songs, and who helped usher in the era of disco.
Jesse Helms, 86, former US senator (R-NC, 1973-2002), uncompromising champion of the conservative movement who spent 30 turbulent years in Congress.
Eileen Herlie, 90, Scottish-born stage and TV actress who appeared on the ABC-TV soap opera All My Children for more than 30 years as former carny turned boutique owner Myrtle Fargate.
Charlton Heston, 84, won the 1959 best-actor Oscar as chariot-racing Ben-Hur and portrayed Moses, Michelangelo, El Cid, and other heroic figures in movie epics of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Sir Edmund Hillary, 88, beekeeper who conquered Mount Everest in 1953 and was renowned as one of the 20th century’s greatest adventurers.
Tony Hillerman, 83, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels.
Gordon B. Hinckley, 97, 15th and longest-serving president of the Mormon church.
Hamilton Jordan, 63, political strategist who helped to propel Jimmy Carter to the White House and was his chief of staff
Van Johnson, 92, actor whose boy-next-door wholesomeness made him a popular Hollywood star in the ‘40s and ‘50s with such films as 30 Seconds over Tokyo, A Guy Named Joe, and The Caine Mutiny.
Eartha Kitt, 81, singer and dancer.
Harvey Korman, 81, comic actor who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny antics in 10 years of skits on The Carol Burnett Show and played a conniving politician in Mel Brooks’ satirical western, Blazing Saddles.
Ralph M. Kovel, 88, pioneer of price guides for antiques and collectibles who helped create the modern mania for family heirlooms and flea-market finds on “Antiques Roadshow” and EBay.
Harry Landis, 108, one of only two known surviving US veterans of World War I, one of 4.7 million men and women who served during the Great War.
Rep. Tom Lantos, 80, who as a teenager twice escaped from a Nazi-run forced labor camp in Hungary and became the only Holocaust survivor to win a seat in Congress.
Joshua Lederberg, 82, one of the 20th century’s leading scientists, who won a Noble Prize in 1958.
Heath Ledger, 28, Australian-born actor nominated for an Oscar for his performance as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.
Lt. Col. Donald S. Lopez, 84, World War II fighter ace who became a test pilot and spacecraft engineer and had a significant role in planning the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Israel (“Cachao”) Lopez, 89, Grammy-winning Cuban bassist and composer credited with pioneering the mambo style of music
Jack Lucas, 80, youngest US Marine to receive the Medal of Honor (Iwo Jima) who at age 14 lied his way into military service during World War II.
Bernie Mac, 50, comedian and actor who starred in one of US TV’s few black sitcoms.
Bobby Mallon, 89, former child actor who was one of the very last Our Gang comedy actors playing Bobby in 13 of the early silent shorts from 1926 to 1932.
Dick Martin, 86, half of the comedy team whose Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In took TV by storm in the late ‘60s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as “Sock it to me!”
Gregory Mcdonald, 71, author whose best-selling “Fletch” mystery books also were made into films
Beverlee McKinsey, 67, stage and TV actress best known for her recurring role as Alexandra Spaulding on the CBS daytime soap opera Guiding Light (1984-92).
Dr. Victor A. McKusick, 86, key architect of the Human Genome Project and winner of the National Medal of Science, his work explored the links between genetics and disease
Allan Melvin, 85, ubiquitous character actor who played Cpl. Henshaw on the classic ‘50s sitcom The Phil Silvers Show.
Warren McDaniels, 63, first black fire chief of New Orleans.
Jim McKay, 86, veteran sportscaster thrust into the role of newscaster as he told Americans about the tragedy at the 1972 Munich Olympics. McKay was host of ABC’s Wide World of Sports for decades.
Mitch Mitchell, 61, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the ‘60s and the group’s last surviving member (guitarist Hendrix died in 1970, bassist Noel Redding in 2003).
Robin Moore, 82, nonfiction author best known for “The French Connection” and “The Green Berets.”
Barry Morse, 89, best known for portraying Lieutenant Philip Gerard, who relentlessly pursued Dr. Richard Kimble on the hit 1960s television series “The Fugitive”.
Ruthie the Duck Girl, 74, real name Ruth Moulon, a holdover from a time when colorful characters were as much a part of everyday life in New Orleans’ French Quarter as beignets and cafe au lait, she zoomed from bar to bar on roller skates, often wearing a ratty fur coat or wedding gown and trailed by a string of her beloved ducks.
Jack Narz, 85, host of Dotto when it became one of the first TV programs ensnared in the quiz-show scandals of the ‘50s. He later emceed Concentration and other game shows.
Ken Nelson, 96, Capitol Records talent scout, producer of 100 No. 1 country hits, co-founder of Country Music Association.
Col. Robert B. Nett, 86, winner of the Medal of Honor for heroism in combat in the Philippines during World War II who later also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars
Paul Newman, 83, one of the last of the great 20th-Century movie stars, an Oscar-winning superstar who personified cool as an activist, race car driver, popcorn impresario, and the antihero of such films as Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and The Color of Money.
John W. Nichols, 93, cofounder in 1971 and chairman emeritus of Devon Energy Corp., the nation’s largest independent oil and natural as producer.
Larry Norman, 60, pioneer of Christian rock whose first solo record - the 1969 release “Upon This Rock” - is considered the first Christian rock album.
The Rev. James Orange, 65, whose 1965 jailing set in motion events that ultimately led to the bloody Selma-to-Montgomery march in Alabama.
Revius Ortique, Jr., 84, former civil rights attorney who became the first black justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Suzanne Pleshette, 70, husky-voiced star of films and Broadway plays who found her greatest fame portraying Bob Newhart’s sardonic wife on television’s long-running “The Bob Newhart Show.”
Sydney Pollack, 73, Oscar-winning director and producer, who achieved commercial success and critical acclaim with the gender-bending comedy Tootsie and the period drama Out of Africa.
Dith Pran, 65, Cambodian-born photojournalist for The New York Times whose fight to survive the murderous Khmer Rouge Communist regime of his native country was recreated in the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields (1984).
Joyce “Dottie” Rambo, 74, an influential gospel singer and songwriter. Her 2,500 published songs included the gospel classic “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need” and the 1982 Gospel Music Association Song of the Year, “We Shall Behold Him.”
Robert Rauschenberg, 82, pop artist whose use of odd and everyday materials won him regard as a pioneer in pop art.
Jerry Reed, 71, country singer and guitarist who became a “good ol’ boy” actor in car-chase movies like Smokey & the Bandit (1977).
Nick Reynolds, 75, founding member of the Kingston Trio.
Rupert F. Richardson, 78, civil rights leader and a former national president of the NAACP (1992-95).
Col. John Ripley, 69, retired Marine officer credited with stopping a column of North Vietnamese tanks by blowing up a pair of bridges during the 1972 Easter Offensive of the Vietnam War.
Irvine Robbins, 90, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins ice cream.
Tim Russert, 58, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Yves Saint Laurent, 71, French designer who rewrote the rules of fashion by putting women into elegant pantsuits that defined how modern women dressed.
Roy Scheider, 75, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for his roles as a small-town police chief in “Jaws” and his portrait of famed choreographer Bob Fosse in “All That Jazz.”
Paul Scofield, 86, British actor famed for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Sir Thomas More in “A Man for All Seasons.”
Irena Sendler, 98, credited with saving 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazi Holocaust by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, some of them in baskets.
Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron, 70, former chief of Israel’s general staff and the paratroop commander who planned and led the storied 1976 raid in which Israeli troops freed 103 hijacked hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
J.R. Simplot, 99, billionaire who pioneered the first commercial frozen French fry in the late 1940s and eventually became a major supplier of Idaho potatoes to McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s.
Joe D. Smith, Jr., 85, former Alexandria newspaper publisher, member of the board of The Associated Press, president of American Newspaper Publishers Assn. and Southern Newspaper Publishers Assn., member of Louisiana Board of Regents.
Mike Smith, 64, lead singer of the ‘60s British band the Dave Clark Five.
Norman A. Smith, 85, lead recording engineer for every Beatles song through 1965 who discovered the band Pink Floyd.
Tony Snow, 53, former White House press secretary and conservative pundit on FOX News.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 89, the Russian novelist whose unyielding opposition to Soviet dictatorship made him one of the heroic figures of the 20th century.
Jo Stafford, 90, a member of Tommy Dorsey’s Pied Pipers quartet in the late ‘30s and a favorite of GIs during World War II, Stafford’s solo recordings made the pop music charts dozens of times in the ‘50s
Dorothy Sterling, 95, author whose more than 35 books for children and adults included some of the first nonfiction works about black history for young readers, notably Freedom Train, about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Levi Stubbs, 72, Four Tops frontman whose voice drove such Motown classics as “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” and “Baby I Need Your Loving.”
Suharto of Indonesia, 86, former Indonesian president, the US Cold War ally who led one of the 20th century’s most brutal and corrupt dictatorships.
Louis (“Studs”) Terkel, 96, master of listening and speaking, a broadcaster, activist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose interviews with ordinary Americans helped to establish oral history as a serious genre.
Ira B. Tucker Sr., 83, one of gospel’s most celebrated voices and lead singer of the venerable Dixie Hummingbirds.
Robert Vesco, 71, fugitive accused of looting millions from Swiss mutual fund.
Jerry Wallace, 79, country singer who shot to fame in the late ‘50s with “Primrose Lane” and “How the Time Flies.”
Jerry Wexler, 91, legendary record producer who helped shape R&B music.
Richard Widmark, 93, actor who was leading man in 42 other films.
Ralph Young, 90, half of the Sandler and Young singing duo and a legend of the Big Band era.