News of the Year | Notable deaths of 2008

Issue: "News of the Year," Dec. 27, 2008

Edie Adams, 81, Oct. 15-blonde beauty who won a Tony Award for bringing Daisy Mae to life on Broadway.

Philip Agee, 72, Jan. 7-unprosecuted former CIA officer who turned against the intelligence agency and exposed many undercover agents overseas, prompting Congress in 1982 to pass a law against exposing covert U.S. operatives.

Alexy II, 79, Dec. 2-Patriarch (head archbishop) since 1990 of the Russian Orthodox Church, which claims more than 100 million adherents as the world's largest Orthodox body.

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Sandy Allen, 53, Aug. 13-Guinness-recognized world's tallest female (from Indiana) at 7 feet, 7 inches.

Eddy Arnold, 89, May 8-country singer who recorded 100 albums, sold more than 85 million recordings, and had more Top 10 hits (92-including the No. 1 "Make the World Go Away") and consecutive Top 10 hits (67) than anyone in country music history.

"Steady Eddie" Brinkman, 66, Sept. 30-record-setting Gold Glove-winning shortstop and an American League All-Star with a 15-year career in the majors.

William F. Buckley Jr., 82, Feb. 27-
prolific author, founder of National Review magazine in 1955, host of the political affairs show Firing Line 1966-1999, syndicated newspaper columnist, and witty, sharp-tongued commentator and lecturer who made conservatism intellectually respectable.

George Carlin, 71, June 22-foul-mouthed and prolific comedian whose "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine led to a landmark Supreme Court indecency ruling in 1978 that upheld the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.

Cyd Charisse, 86, June 17-graceful dancer and actress who starred in MGM musicals of the 1950s, notably with Fred Astaire (Silk Stockings) and Gene Kelly (Brigadoon).

Arthur C. Clarke, 90, March 19-
British science fiction writer and futurist best known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Al Copeland, 64, March 23-founder of the Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken chain, beginning with a single struggling shop in 1971.

Michael Crichton, 66, Nov. 4-mega-selling author who made scientific research terrifying and irresistible in such thrillers as Jurassic Park, Timeline, and The Andromeda Strain, many of them made into major Hollywood movies.

Margaret Truman Daniel, 83, 
Jan. 29-singer, novelist, and only child of President Harry S. Truman.

Michael E. DeBakey, 99, July 11-world-famous cardiovascular surgeon (60,000 heart operations) from Baylor who pioneered such now-common procedures as bypass surgery and invented many devices to help heart patients.

Jacob Daniel "Jake" DeShazer, 95, March 22-bombardier on the historic one-way B-25 Doolittle Raid on Japan during World War II who became a Christian in a Japanese POW camp by reading a Bible lent to him by a guard, and after the war returned to Japan in 1948 as a missionary and helped to establish 23 churches.

Bo Diddley, 79, June 2-pioneer rock 'n' roll guitarist and songwriter ("Shave and a Haircut," "Who Do You Love?").

George Docherty, 97, Nov. 27-
Presbyterian pastor whose sermon at New York Avenue Presbyter-ian Church in Washington in 1954, with President Dwight Eisenhower sitting in the pew, spurred the administration and Congress to insert "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Avery Dulles, 90, Dec. 12-conservative Catholic theologian from Fordham and the first U.S. Jesuit to be named a cardinal in 2001.

Sister Emmanuelle, 99, Oct. 20-Belgium-born Catholic nun who spent years among scavengers in Cairo's slums, helping to create a network of clinics, schools, and gardens.

Louis H. Evans Jr., 82, Oct. 29-influential evangelical pastor of National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., 1973-1991, who counted President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan among his congregants.

Mel Ferrer, 90, June 2-actor, director, and producer who starred as a crippled puppeteer in Lili (1952) and lead man in War and Peace and The Sun Also Rises, and appeared on TV's Falcon Crest 1981-84.

Bobby Fischer, 64, Jan. 17-one of the world's greatest chess players and the only American ever to win the official World Chess Championship (1972).

Moses Judah Folkman, 74, Jan. 14-pioneer medical researcher in Boston whose work to cut off cancer from its blood supply cured the disease in mice, gave humans hope for a cure, and has led to many new cancer drugs.

Steve Fossett, 63, legally declared dead Feb. 15-millionaire adventurer who set many air, sea, and land records, including the first solo circumnavigation of the world in a hot-air balloon (2002) and first solo flight around the world without stopping to refuel (2005); he apparently perished following a long-unfound private plane crash Sept. 3, 2007.

Eugene Freedman, 82, Feb. 19-merchant of gifts and collectibles who created the Precious Moments figurines.

William Gibson, 94, Nov. 16-playwright whose The Miracle Worker has thrilled audiences for nearly a half--century with the true story of Helen Keller.


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