Features

Departures

"Departures" Continued...

Issue: "News of the Year," Dec. 29, 2007

Benny Parsons, 65, Jan. 16-speedy Detroit cabbie who became a popular NASCAR champion, winning 21 races.

Luciano Pavarotti, 71, Sept. 6-booming Italian "king of the high Cs" tenor, the most famous opera singer in the world, whose recordings sold more than 100 million albums.

Bobby "Boris" Pickett, 69, April 25-singer of "Monster Mash," long-running one-hit wonder that sold millions and topped the charts between 1963 and 1973.

Tom Poston, 85, April 30-the tall, pasty-faced comic who found fame playing a clueless everyman on such hit TV shows as Newhart and Mork and Mindy.

Charles Nelson Reilly, 76, May 25-film actor and comedian best known as a wacky panelist on TV's Match Game, the top game show during much of the 1970s.

Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, 89, Aug. 14-diminutive Hall of Fame shortstop during the Yankees' dynasty years, and later a sportscaster known for exclaiming "Holy cow!" at good plays and bad.

Eddie Robinson, 88, April 3-Grambling State football coach who in 1995 became the first college coach to win 400 games (408W-165L).

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, April 27-master cellist, conductor, and music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., 1977-1994, who championed artistic freedom and human rights in his Soviet homeland during the last decades of the Cold War.

Walter Schirra, 84, May 3-the only astronaut to fly in all three of NASA's earliest manned space programs.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89, Feb. 28-bow-tied Pulitzer Prize--winning historian and liberal "court philosopher" of the Kennedy administration.

Sidney Sheldon, 89, Jan. 30-author who won awards in three careers (Broadway theater, movies, and TV) before turning to writing best-selling novels.

Joel Siegel, 63, June 29-Emmy Award-winning film critic for WABC-TV and Good Morning America, known for his thick mustache and glasses, sense of humor, movie acumen, and sharp judgment.

Beverly Sills, 78, July 2-one of America's greatest and most loved opera sopranos.

Ian Smith, 88, Nov. 20-Rhodesia's last white prime minister, whose attempts to resist black rule dragged the country now known as Zimbabwe into civil war.

Anna Nicole Smith, 39, Feb. 8-former Playboy centerfold who married an octogenarian billionaire and waged a legal battle for his fortune all the way to the Supreme Court.

Roger B. Smith, 82, Nov. 29-accountant who joined General Motors Corp. in 1949 and rose to chair and CEO of the world's largest automaker in 1981.

Tom Snyder, 71, July 29-TV and radio personality best known for late-night talk shows The Tomorrow Show in the 1970s and 1980s and The Late Late Show in the 1990s.

Brett Somers, 83, Sept. 15-actress and comedienne who amused fans with her quips on TV's Match Game.

Doug Sutphen, 70, May 8-Bible smuggling missionary known as "Brother David," famous for his exploits in trying to get Bibles past communist authorities in China in the early 1980s.

Sean Taylor, 24, Nov. 27-Washington Redskins free safety who helped lead the University of Miami Hurricanes to a national championship in 2001; shot by an intruder in his Miami home.

Hank Thompson, 82, Nov. 6-country singer who produced seven decades of songs fusing jazz, Western swing, and honky-tonk ("Humpty Dumpty Heart," 1948; "Gotta Sell Them Chickens," 1997).

Paul Tibbets, 92, Nov. 1-pilot of the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Ike Turner, 76, Dec. 12-rock pioneer who with his ex-wife Tina Turner had hits with "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Proud Mary," and earlier this year won his first solo Grammy.

Jack Valenti, 85, April 26-aide to President Lyndon Johnson and head of the Motion Picture Association of America (1966-2004) who devised Hollywood's voluntary film-rating system to fend off censorship boards.

Werner von Trapp, 91, Oct. 11-member of the Austrian musical family made famous by the 1965 movie The Sound of Music (he was Kurt).

Kurt Vonnegut, 84, April 11-best-selling satirical novelist and social critic whose works dripped with cynicism and dark humor (Slaughterhouse-Five).

Porter Wagoner, 80, Oct. 28-pompadoured Hall of Fame country music RCA recording artist and Grand Ole Opry performer.

Kurt Waldheim, 88, June 14-UN secretary-general (1972-1981) and president of Austria who left public life under a cloud of suspicion about his German military past during World War II.

Bill Walsh, 75, July 30-Hall of Fame football coach who won three Super Bowls and built the San Francisco 49ers into the most successful team of the '80s.

Robert E. Webber, 73, April 27-firm advocate for the authority of Scripture who for 32 years taught theology at Wheaton College.

Dick Wilson, 91, Nov. 19-actor who played TV's uptight grocer Mr. Whipple in commercials, begging customers, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin."

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