Articles: Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2008
   
 



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In 2008 we said "good-bye" to many of our favorite celebrities. Their life affirming talents made us laugh, cry, dance and, at times, even evaluate our lives.

These people, with their singular gifts and contributions to the human experience, will never pass this way again.

George Carlin (1937-2008), Jun. 22
Carlin, the first-ever host of "Saturday Night Live," went on to become famous for his "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television."

Cyd Charisse (1922-2008), Jun. 17
Actress and dancer Cyd Charisse is best known for her on-camera pairings with Fred Astaire.

Michael Crichton (1942-2008), Nov. 4
Author and screenwriter Michael Crichton made a huge impact with his novel, "Jurassic Park," which went on to become a blockbuster movie. He also created the TV show "ER."

Bo Diddley (1928-2008), Jun. 2
Known as "The Originator" for his transition from blues to rock, Diddley inspired a generation or more of guitarists, from Buddy Holly to Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

Mel Ferrer (1917-2008), Jun. 3
Producer, director and actor Mell Ferrer made a name for himself in films such as "War and Peace," but later starred in TV's "Falcon Crest," opposite Jane Wyman. He was married to Audrey Hepburn from 1954 to 1968.

Estelle Getty (1923-2008), Jul. 22
Best known for her as Sophia on "The Golden Girls," Estelle Getty was nominated for an Emmy seven times, winning once.

Isaac Hayes (1942-2008), Aug. 10
Soul singer Isaac Hayes had a career resurgence in the past decade, lending his voice to the character of Chef on "South Park." He and the show's creators had a falling out after an episode that criticized Scientology.

Jeff Healey (1966-2008), Mar. 2
Blind Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey was best known for his 1988 hit single "Angel Eyes," and his appearance in the film “Road House” with Patrick Swayze and Sam Elliott. He died after a long struggle with lung cancer.

Charlton Heston (1923-2008), Apr. 5
Before he became president of the NRA, Heston was the star of several blockbuster films, including "The Ten Commandments," "Planet of the Apes" and "Ben-Hur."

Eartha Kitt (1927-2008), Dec. 25
Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award winning singer, dancer and actress, Eartha Kitt described herself as a “sex kitten” and was one of the first African-American sex symbols. She was blackballed in America for speaking out against the Vietnam War in the 1060’s. She lost her long battle with colon cancer.

Don LaFontaine (1940-2008), Sep. 1
"The movie voice guy" Don LaFontaine finally emerged from behind the microphone in recent years, mostly on some commercials for Geico auto insurance. He's best known as the movie trailer voice who starts his dialogue with, "In a world where..."

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008), Jun. 1
French fashion designer Yves St. Laurent, originally Henri Donat Mathieu, created fashions worn and loved by the Hollywood and entertainment elite.

Heath Ledger (1979-2008), Jan. 22
Hollywood was shocked with the news that Heath Ledger, at the peak of his short career, was found dead of an apparently accidental overdose of prescription pills. Ledger's final film performance as The Joker in "The Dark Knight" earned rave reviews, drawing numerous award nominations.

Bernie Mac (1957-2008), Aug. 9
Funnyman Bernie Mac lost a back-and-forth battle with pneumonia at just 50 years old. More than 7,000 people attended his funeral.

Paul Newman (1925-2008), Sep. 26
Actor, director, car-racing enthusiast and humanitarian Paul Newman lost a long, private battle with lung cancer in September.

Odetta (1930-2008), Dec. 2
Often called "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement," Odetta's music marked the struggle of the 1950s and '60s.

Anita Page (1910-2008), Sep. 6
Generally thought of as the last remaining non-child actress of the silent film era, Anita Page played the leading lady to such stars as Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton and Clark Gable.

Bettie Page (1923-2008), Dec. 11
Iconic American model and pin-up girl Bettie Page, shown circa 1955.

Harold Pinter (1930-2008), Dec.24
Harold Pinter, who wrote 32 stage plays, 22 screenplays, numerous TV plays and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, died after an eight-year battle with cancer His screenplays included "The Quiller Memorandum" (1965), "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1981), and "Sleuth" (2007).

Suzanne Pleshette (1937-2008), Jan. 19
Pleshette made her mark in some early Alfred Hitchcock films before solidifying her place in TV history on "The Bob Newhart Show."

Sydney Pollack (1934-2008), May 26
A director, producer and actor, Pollack's stamp is on dozens of Hollywood classics, including "The Way We Were" and "Tootsie."

Brad Renfro (1982-2008), Jan. 15
Child star Brad Renfro battled substance abuse issues throughout his short lifetime. He died of a heroin overdose in his Los Angeles apartment.

Tim Russert (1950-2008), Jun. 13
In the midst of a heated Presidential election, the nation lost one of its most cherished and impartial television and print political interviews in Tim Russert. One of his last interviews was with President-elect Barack Obama.

Ann Savage (1921-2008), Dec. 25
Ann Savage, who earned a cult following as a femme fatale in such 1940s pulp-fiction movies as "Detour," died in her sleep at a nursing home on Christmas Day from complications following a series of strokes.

Roy Scheider (1932-2008), Feb. 10
Actor Roy Scheider was best known for his role as police chief Martin Brody in "Jaws."

Tony Snow (1955-2008), Jul. 12
Snow was a FoxNews commentator before taking the job as White House Spokesman in May 2006. He lost his battle with cancer on July 12.

Studs Terkel (1912-2008), Oct. 31
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oral historian Studs Terkel was best known for keeping the stories of World War II and the Great Depression alive.

Dale Wasserman (1914-2008) Dec. 21
Author of the book for the Tony-winning musical "Man of La Mancha," and the stage adaptation for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Wasserman died of cogestive heart failure. Author of more than 75 scripts, Wasserman wrote both television dramas and film screenplays, including 1958's "The Vikings" starring Douglas and Tony Curtis.

Richard Widmark (1914-2008), Mar. 24
After an Oscar nomination for his role in the 1947 film, "Kiss of Death," Widmark went on to star in several films in the '50s and '60s such as "How The West Was Won," directed by John Ford, and “The Alamo” directed by and costarring John Wayne.

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