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Notable people who died in 2008

December 28, 2008

Agents of change

Dith Pran, 65; survivor of Cambodia's "killing fields" became the public face of the genocide (March 30)

Del Martin, 87; longtime leader of the lesbian rights movement who, with her partner Phyllis Lyon, became the first same-sex couple to marry in San Francisco in June (Aug. 27)

Dorothy Green, 79; founder of Heal the Bay and a giant of the California environmental movement (Oct. 13)

Bettie Page, 85; the brunet pinup queen whose saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s (Dec. 11)


Actors, actresses and entertainers

Suzanne Pleshette, 70; comedic actress best known for her role as Emily Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show" (Jan. 19)

Heath Ledger, 28; Australian-born actor nominated for an Oscar for his role as a gay cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain" was found dead of a prescription drug overdose (Jan. 22)

Roy Scheider, 75; actor starred in "Jaws" and "All That Jazz" (Feb. 10)

Paul Scofield, 86; acclaimed British actor won an Academy Award for "A Man for All Seasons" (March 19)

Richard Widmark, 93; Hollywood leading man made a sensational film debut as the giggling killer in "Kiss of Death" (March 24)

Charlton Heston, 84; Oscar-winning actor achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures, including Moses, and was a darling of the conservative movement (April 5)

Harvey Korman, 81; the tall, versatile comedian won four Emmys for his contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" (May 29)

Cyd Charisse, 86; brought sizzle and sophistication to dance in such classic movie musicals as "Singin' in the Rain" and "Silk Stockings" (June 17)

George Carlin, 71; comedian and social critic tested limits of speech and society (June 22)

Estelle Getty, 84; played Sophia Petrillo, the wisecracking mother of Bea Arthur on the popular NBC sitcom "The Golden Girls" (July 22)

Bernie Mac, 50; comedian starred in a Fox sitcom and the "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy (Aug. 9)

Paul Newman, 83; movie star and irreverent cultural icon created a model philanthropy fueled by profits from a salad dressing (Sept. 26)



Sir Edmund Hillary, 88; New Zealand mountaineer was first to climb to the top of Mt. Everest (Jan. 11)

Steve Fossett, millionaire adventurer missing since September 2007, ruled legally dead (Feb. 15) by an Illinois court. Wreckage of his plane and his remains found near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., in October


Artists and architects

Robert Rauschenberg, 82; artist changed the course of American and European art with his hybrid forms of painting and sculpture (May 12)

Joern Utzon, 90; Danish architect designed the iconic Sydney Opera House (Nov. 29)


Business and labor leaders

Douglas Fraser, 91; former United Auto Workers president helped Chrysler get federal bailout (Feb. 23)

George M. Keller, 84; former chairman of Standard Oil oversaw the formation of Chevron Corp. (Oct. 17)

Ron Carey, 72; former president of the Teamsters union who was elected as a reformer but was later forced from leadership in a financial scandal (Dec. 11)


Fashion figures

Bill Belew, 76; Elvis Presley's costume designer was known as "The Man Who Dressed the King" (Jan. 7)

Yves Saint Laurent, 71; French fashion designer created a new dress code for women during the feminist revolution of the 1970s (June 1)

Mr. Blackwell (Richard Sylvan Selzer), 86; acerbic fashion critic offered annual appraisal of "worst dressed" celebrities (Oct. 19)



David Watkin, 82; British cinematographer who won an Academy Award for "Out of Africa" (Feb. 19)

Anthony Minghella, 54; director of "The English Patient," "Cold Mountain" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (March 18)

Abby Mann, 80; Oscar-winning screenwriter of 1961's "Judgment at Nuremberg" (March 25)

Jules Dassin, 96; blacklisted filmmaker considered a master of film noir (March 31)

Ollie Johnston Jr., 95; noted Disney animator and last surviving member of the legendary "Nine Old Men" who created many of the studio's signature films (April 14)

Sydney Pollack, 73; Academy Award-winning director of "Out of Africa" and other mainstream movies, including "The Way We Were" and "Tootsie" (May 26)

Stan Winston, 62; te renowned makeup, creature and visual effects wizard whose memorable work on "Aliens," "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "Jurassic Park" earned him four Academy Awards (June 15)

Bill Melendez, 91; animation pioneer best known for bringing "Peanuts" characters to life (Sept. 2)


Government officials and politicians

Tom Lantos, 80; California Democrat was the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in Congress (Feb. 11)

William F. Buckley Jr. 82; author and conservative commentator founded the National Review (Feb. 27)

Howard W. Metzenbaum, 90; former Ohio senator fought big business in Washington, D.C. (March 12)

Hamilton Jordan, 63; political aide to President Carter and the youngest White House chief of staff (May 20)

Jesse Helms, 86; former North Carolina senator who for half a century infuriated liberals with his campaign tactics and maddened presidents of both parties with his use of senatorial privilege (July 4)

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