Obits: Remembering Those We Lost in 2007

Norman Mailer, 84 Whatever you thought of him, he never dodged a risk—writing novels about Jesus, Hitler and ancient Egypt, getting the killer Jack Henry Abbott out of prison, running for mayor of New York. Or a controversy: over race, war, feminism. His best book? His 1948 debut, "The Naked and the Dead"? One of his Pulitzer Prize winners—"The Armies of the Night" (1968) or "The Executioner's Song" (1979)? Something else? None? We'll never stop arguing about him. He would have loved that.

Yvonne De Carlo, 84 She played Moses' wife in "The Ten Commandments" and debuted Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" on Broadway. But for boomers, her primary address will always be 1313 Mockingbird Lane, c/o "The Munsters."

Kurt Waldheim, 88 A two-term U.N. secretary- general, he ran (successfully) for president of Austria in 1985—and critics found he'd misrepresented his service as a Nazi officer. A committee of historians concluded he'd known about war crimes but didn't participate. In a posthumously disclosed letter, he fessed up to "mistakes"; only Syria and Japan laid wreaths at his funeral.

Leona Helmsley, 87 A staple of New York gossip columns, the real-estate and hotel mogul never lived down her billing as "the Queen of Mean"—or her 1989 conviction for tax evasion, which got her 16 months. In her will she left $12 million to her white Maltese. The dog's name? Trouble.

Marcel Marceau, 84 The greatest of classical mimes. [Chalk-white face, top hat with red flower. Hunts invisible butterflies with invisible net. Struggles against invisible wind. Performs"Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death": folds into embryo, gets up, strides stage, crumples, folds.] The rest really is silence.

Brooke Astor, 105 A sparkling socialite who danced at parties well into her 90s, she dispensed nearly $200 million from a foundation left by her third husband, Vincent Astor, to cultural and social-service organizations. Her last years, spent in seclusion with dementia, were tainted by a scandal targeting her only child, Anthony Marshall, over her care and finances. He's been charged with fraud.

Anna Nicole Smith, 39 For a while there, it was a fabulous life: Playboy model, widow of a billionaire, reality-TV star, mother of two. It all ended in a fog of pills and dueling paternity claims in a Florida hotel. Maybe Vickie Lynn Hogan shouldn't have left Mexia,Texas.

Walter Schirra Jr., 84 Of NASA's original seven astronauts, only Schirra flew in all three of the first programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. On the 1962 Mercury mission he told the world, "I'm having a ball up here drifting." Two decades later he said, "It's mostly lousy out there. It's a hostile environment, and it's trying to kill you."

Ira Levin, 78 Unprolific? Maybe. But his seven novels include "Rosemary's Baby" (1967), "The Stepford Wives" (1972) and "The Boys From Brazil" (1976), all best sellers, all hit films, all tapping into deep personal fears and cultural anxieties. And his 1978 play "Deathtrap" was a Broadway smash.

Henry Hyde, 83 As a six-term congressman and House Judiciary Committee chairman from 1995 to 2001, the Illinois Republican led fights to ban federal funding for abortions. He forced through the vote to impeach Bill Clinton. But he supported Clinton in trying to ban assault weapons; would the base support him today?

Lady Bird Johnson, 94 Calm, soft-spoken—and sharp as a tack—she was the ideal helpmate and good-will ambassador for her rough-hewn husband, Lyndon. Her $67,000 inheritance got him started in both politics and business; early on she ran his legislative office, and kept his anarchic energies (mostly) in line. Compare her highway-beautification project with his war: who was the brains of the family?

Jerry Falwell, 73 Hard to believe, but there was a time when evangelical Christians wouldn't go near politics. Then came Falwell. Angered by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Falwell decided to reach out from his pulpit in Lynchburg, Va., to what he believed was a silent majority of like-minded folks—a "moral majority," he called them. Historians still debate whether Ronald Reagan owed his 1980 victory to the Moral Majority, but there's no question that Falwell's political evangelism changed Washington forever.

Liz Claiborne, 78 She called them "Liz Ladies"—often the first female executives in their companies, with no time to shop. Claiborne was one herself: a mother who toiled in other designers' back rooms until launching her own line in 1976. Within 10 years, she had the first Fortune 500 company founded by a woman.

Merv Griffin, 82 No contestant ever took home as much money from a game show as he did. The ex nightclub crooner, talk-show host and hotelier, Griffin created "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" Congratulations! You've won more than a billion dollars.

Paul Tibbets Jr., 92 After dropping the first atom bomb, on Hiroshima in 1945, he returned a hero. But according to his granddaughter, he chose to be cremated so no one could deface his headstone. "I viewed my mission as one to save lives,'' he said. Many World War II vets agreed.

Beverly Sills, 78 The Brooklyn-born coloratura soprano could have been, you know, a diva. But her warmth, humor and acting ability made her a star that a wide public could embrace—in part, through her ebullient TV appearances with Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett and the Muppets. Long a fixture at the New York City Opera, she finally made her Met debut in 1975. After retiring, she became a powerful arts administrator, fund-raiser and cultural ambassador.

Evel Knievel, 69 The no-wires Peter Pan made his first motorcycle jump over rattlesnakes and a mountain lion; then came rows of buses, the fountains at Caesars Palace and Idaho's Snake River Canyon. (Lucky he had a parachute.) The self-styled "last gladiator in the new Rome" retired in 1980, still denied permission for the Grand Canyon.

Ike Turner, 76 What's love got to do with it? Not much, when most people think about Tina's ex. But Ike was a world-class musician: instrumentalist, bandleader, promoter, songwriter, talent scout and blues-rock innovator who paved the way for Elvis and Chuck Berry, to name a few. And yes: he was a world-class jerk, too.

Madeleine L'Engle, 88 She was in her 40s when her 1963 children's sci-fi novel, "A Wrinkle in Time," enabled her to quit running her general store in Connecticut. Rejected by 26 publishers, it won the Newbery Medal and hasn't stopped selling since. Nor have fundamentalists stopped protesting its Jungian-Einsteinian Christianity and its tendency to involve young readers in fantasy—for her, the job description.

Michael Deaver, 69 If Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator, Deaver was the Great Lighting Director. As presidential adviser, he masterminded those stunning photo ops: remember Reagan standing on a cliff overlooking the English Channel during the 40th anniversary of D-Day? Deaver even orchestrated Reagan's funeral, with the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean just as the ceremony ended.

Luciano Pavarotti, 71 The Italian tenor lived large in every sense, and his showmanship matched the rare beauty of his voice. Though it was said he couldn't read music, he stormed the opera stage, then barreled far beyond it. The King of the High Cs became a pop star with his Three Tenors gig; he sang with Bono, Sting and even the Spice Girls for charity. No one did more to popularize opera—while selling 50 million of his own albums worldwide.

Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, 65 Those eyelashes were her trademark when she and televangelist husband Jim Bakker hosted the "PTL Club" in the '70s and '80s. They shed mascara when the Bakkers tearfully revealed he'd had sex with a young (perhaps unwilling) church secretary. And she wore them still, on "Larry King Live," the day before she died of cancer.

Jane Wyman, 90 Wyman made 86 films and 350 television shows in her long career, and won a 1948 Oscar for playing the deaf girl who's raped in "Johnny Belinda." The movie that made her the toast of Hollywood came out the same year she split from her husband, an actor named Ronald Reagan. Coincidence?

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89 The first president that Schlesinger wrote a book about was Andrew Jackson; the last was George W. Bush. The bow-tied historian didn't get to every heavyweight of the intervening 175 years, but almost: Kennedy (John, for whom he was an aide, and Robert), FDR (three volumes)—20 books in all, with a 1in-10 Pulitzer Prize percentage. His 1973 book on Nixon, "The Imperial Presidency," gave us an enduring term— and an enduring case of the willies.

Art Buchwald, 81 His Pulitzer Prizewinning columns found humor in odd places: East Germany, foster care and, of course, American politics. But he saved his most surprising laugh lines for last: writing about his own death—or, rather, about how he hadn't died, despite his doctors' predictions. "Instead of going upstairs," he wrote after walking out of his hospice, "I am going to Martha's Vineyard."

Deborah Kerr, 86 She waltzed with Yul Brynner ("The King and I"), donned a nun's habit ("Black Narcissus") and stood up Cary Grant ("An Affair to Remember"). The ladylike Kerr eroticized her image in "From Here to Eternity," tangling in the waves with Burt Lancaster. She got six Oscar nominations; she never won, but she had great taste in costars.

Kurt Vonnegut, 84 Call his novels satire, sci-fi or fantasy—generations of hip young readers ate them up. As a POW of the Nazis, he witnessed the American firebombing of Dresden; two decades later, it inspired "Slaughterhouse-Five." He tried metafiction ("This is a very bad book you're writing," he wrote in "Breakfast of Champions"), graphic art and political polemics—all with notable success.

E. Howard Hunt Jr., 88 CIA agent, spy novelist, Watergate felon, Zelig of the dark side—Hunt wore more hats than just his snappy fedora. He helped plan the 1954 coup in Guatemala and the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion as well as the 1972 break-in at the DNC headquarters. On tape in 2007, he dished deathbed dirt about JFK's assassination: you don't want to know.

Porter Wagoner, 80 Yes, he made Dolly a star. But the pompadoured, Nudie-suited singer had a warm, down-home delivery and a string of hits: "A Satisfied Mind" (1955) and "The Green, Green Grass of Home" (1965). On recent CDs, his voice sounds timeworn—and enriched.

Joey Bishop, 89 Bishop didn't drink or raise hell much, and he was often overshadowed by the wilder members of the Rat Pack: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter Lawford. But he wrote most of the lines they spoke for their legendary "Summit Meeting" shows at the Sands in Las Vegas, though he liked to ad-lib his own stuff. "Marilyn," he once called out when Monroe, in white ermine, arrived in the middle of his comedy act, "I told you to wait in the truck."

Ruth Bell Graham, 87 She was the quintessential preacher's wife—to the quintessential preacher, Billy Graham—but she wasn't demure. His most outspoken adviser, she told him not to run for president or pursue a TV career. The sign above her bedroom door read: NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I'VE BEEN.

Sol LeWitt, 78 LeWitt's modular cube sculptures helped launch Minimalism, and his lucid writing revealed a ready wit. One piece began: "The editor … is in favor of avoiding the 'notion that the artist is a kind of ape that has to be explained by the civilized critic.' This should be good news to both artists and apes."

Max Roach, 83 A pair of bad breaks gave the 17-year-old Roach his: World War II took drummers off the scene, and Duke Ellington's regular timekeeper fell ill. Roach was soon an indispensable part of the bebop revolution, along with Parker, Gillespie, Bud Powell, Monk and the young Miles Davis. And he kept experimenting: with waltz time, all-percussion ensembles—and all-Roach solo performances.

David Halberstam, 73 The Pulitzer Prize journalist covered Vietnam—JFK tried to get The New York Times to pull him out—and wrote 20 books: on the auto industry, baseball, firefighters and, in "The Powers That Be" (1979), the media itself. "The Best and the Brightest" (1972), on Vietnam-era decision-making, still gives a chill; his final book, on the Korean War, came a few months after his death.

Jack Valenti, 85 LBJ's devoted aide remained a booster even in his posthumous memoir. His second career was president of the Motion Picture Association of America. The bawdy Johnson might have been proud that his guy created the rating system that ends with X.

Molly Ivins, 62 Like her friend and camping partner Texas governor Ann Richards, Ivins was born with a silver knife for a mouth. A muckraking journalist of decidedly liberal persuasion, the sharp-witted Ivins spent four decades eviscerating politicians in her home state and beyond. Especially a fellow she'd known since high school, whom she called "Shrub."

Michelangelo Antonioni, 94 Even in the '60s, his enigmatic films caused controversy. "L'Avventura"—a slow-paced study in alienation—was booed at Cannes, then embraced by critics. In his first English film, "Blowup" (1966), a London photographer believes a picture he shot contains the clue to a murder. But it's the final tennis scene that will blow your mind.

Ingmar Bergman, 89 With Federico Fellini, he was the 1950s' great pioneer of European art film. The Italian was a freewheeling romantic; the Swede showed his stark elegance in such films as "The Seventh Seal" (1957), with its chess match for mortal stakes. Such later films as "Cries and Whispers" (1972) seem nearly unendurable in their pain and intensity. Yet his adaptation of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" (1975) is a sunny artifice Fellini himself might have loved.

Bowie Kuhn, 80 During his 15 years as commissioner of baseball, Kuhn tussled, for one reason or another, with Mantle, Mays and Aaron—he even suspended George Steinbrenner. Yet he presided over a great period of growth in the sport, ushering in divisional playoffs, night games in the World Series and free-agency. Lots of home runs, and nary a steroid in sight.

Don Ho, 76 Ho wrote lush, lulling pop songs that became as much a symbol for Hawaiian indulgence as roast suckling pig. Best-known was his 1966 hit "Tiny Bubbles": he often opened and closed shows with it, as if to say aloha: hello and goodbye.

Boris Yeltsin, 76 The beefy, sybaritic Siberian left a mixed legacy—the communist boss who finally smashed the Party, yet left an unstable Russia, prey for oligarchs, quagmired in Chechnya. But he allowed the press and business to operate freely, and in 1991, he climbed on top of a tank to stare down communists threatening a coup of President Mikhail Gorbachev—perhaps single-handedly saving the country's fledgling reformation. In 1999, he became the first Russian to relinquish power voluntarily. Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's hard-line, hand-picked successor, says he'll do the same. We'll see.