Category Archives: Notable deaths of 2008 – Los Angeles Times

Notable deaths of 2008 – Los Angeles Times

(Click on or hold the mouse still over each person for details.)

Actor Paul Newman died this year. So did Larry Harmon, who was better known as “Bozo the Clown”; W. Mark Felt, who was the mysterious “Deep Throat”; and William Stulla, who as “Engineer Bill” delighted a generation of children with a glass of milk.

William F. Buckley, the father of the modern conservative movement, also left the scene, as did singer and self-proclaimed “sex kitten” Eartha Kitt and the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter.

Millionaire Steve Fossett’s adventurer’s life came to an end after a plane crash on a California hillside. And, after 28 years in a coma, socialite Martha “Sunny” von Bulow died in December.

Here are lists of the major newsmakers in a wide range of categories who died in 2008.

Longtime Venice lifeguard, marine scientist and environmental advocate (Jan. 1)
Psychotherapist and advocate for gay and lesbian rights (Jan. 17)
Johnnie Carr, 97
Civil rights advocate took part in historic Birmingham bus boycott (Feb. 22)
Actress created the character Vampira as hostess of late-night TV horror show (Jan. 10)
A comedian and actor who played Brother Dominic in a Xerox ad during the 1977 Super Bowl (Jan. 10)
Actor who got his break as a child in the film “The Client” but later struggled with drug addiction (Jan. 15)
New Zealand mountaineer was first to climb to the top of Mt. Everest (Jan. 11)
Widely regarded as the first licensed female flight instructor in the United States (Jan. 20)
Renowned test pilot who flew the Northrop P-61 during World War II (Jan. 31)
Cartoonist who created Latino comic strip “Gordo” (Feb. 2)
Illustrator who created the posters for more than 120 movies, including “Blazing Saddles,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “The Lion King” (Feb. 6)
Comic-book writer who created the character of “Howard the Duck” (Feb. 10)
Developed low-budget adobe housing for use as emergency shelter and in areas of high poverty (March 5)
Modernist architect designed the Greenbelt House for the 1940s Case Study House program in Los Angeles and later the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis (March 29)
Prominent Chicago architect designed the Cadet Chapel at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 15)
Curator of European paintings at the National Gallery of Art and previously the L.A. County Museum of Art (Jan. 16)
California artist best known for his watercolor landscapes (Feb. 24)
William Brice, 86
An artist best known for grand-scale abstract paintings that suggest fragments of ancient classical ruins, and an influential art teacher at UCLA for decades (March 3)
Former president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce credited with revitalizing the organization (Jan. 28)
Napa Valley vintner who founded Sterling Vineyards (Feb. 4)
Douglas Fraser, 91
Former United Auto Workers president helped Chrysler get federal bailout (Feb. 23)
Elvis Presley’s costume designer was known as “The Man Who Dressed the King” (Jan. 7)
Pioneering industrial designer and ceramist (Jan. 26)
Tony award-winning Broadway costumer for “On the Town,” “Guys and Dolls” and the “Forbidden Broadway” revues (May 4)
Edward Klosinski, 65
A Polish cinematographer best known for his work with director Andrzej Wajda (Jan. 5)
An underwater cinematographer who documented the 1985 discovery of the Titanic (Feb. 4)
A Japanese director best known for antiwar films and a Tokyo Olympics documentary (Feb. 13)
Federal judge in San Francisco, appointed by President Nixon, who advocated for judges’ interests (Jan. 3)
GOPAssemblyman and controller in California who lost the 1974 governor’s race to Jerry Brown (Jan. 7)
Chancellor of UC Berkeley who was a stabilizing force on campus during the student unrest of the 1960s (Jan. 20)
Hollywood’s honorary mayor and biggest booster was known as host of the Walk of Fame induction ceremonies (Jan. 9)
A former Los Angeles Times photographer best known for his iconic 1960s picture of a Vietnam War protester placing flowers in soldiers’ gun barrels at a march on the Pentagon (Jan. 22)
Life magazine photographer who captured images of Marina Oswald and Marilyn Monroe, among others (Feb. 1)
Disney Imagineer who helped make the original model for “It’s a Small World” (Jan. 2)
The 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)
Gene Evans, 70
The pyrotechnic artist whose fireworks displays lit up the night sky at the Hollywood Bowl for 39 summers (July 8)
Indian physician developed an affordable prosthetic leg (Jan. 6)
Orange County entrepreneur who created the Carl’s Jr. hamburger empire (Jan. 11)
Co-founder of toy company Wham-O Inc., maker of the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee (Jan. 14)
Soldier believed to have been Germany’s last veteran of World War I (Jan. 1)
The last commander of American volunteers who fought with anti-Fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War (Jan. 14)
Last full-blooded Eyak and fluent speaker of her native Alaskan language (Jan. 21)
Oldest son of the late New York crime boss Joe Bonanno and author of a book about growing up in a Mafia family (Jan. 1)
Son of acting legend Marlon Brando who was found guilty of killing his half-sister’s lover (Jan. 26)
One of the last defendants in the infamous “Sleepy Lagoon” trial of the 1940s (Feb. 5)
Army Lt. Gen. Robert Haldane, 83
Led battalion that found the infamous Cu Chi tunnels during the Vietnam War (March 5)
Dick Rossi, 92
Flying Tiger pilot downed six Japanese planes during World War II (April 17)
Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, 90
Thought to be last survivor of key plotters who planned to kill Hitler (May 1)
Painter, teacher and dancer who co-founded the Aman Folk Ensemble (Feb. 7)
Soviet-era prima ballerina who danced with the Bolshoi Ballet for decades (Feb. 19)
Dorothy Stone, 49
Award-winning composer and virtuoso flutist who in 1981 co-founded the new-music ensemble the California EAR Unit (March 7)
At 7 feet, 7 1/4 inches tall, she was recognized as the tallest woman in the world (Aug. 13)
Huntington Hartford II, 97
Heir to A&P fortune lost much of his wealth to failed art endeavors (May 19)
Philanthropist and leader in the arts community in Los Angeles and later in Sonoma County, where she and her husband, Harry, were founders of the Alexander Valley Vineyard (May 22)
A General Motors heir and self-described “avant-garde philanthropist” who used his family’s fortune to underwrite progressive social causes and liberal political campaigns (June 12)
Co-owner of Catalina Bar & Grill, turned the Los Angeles club into one of the top jazz venues in the country (Jan. 5)
Longtime Capitol Records talent scout had an ear for country music (Jan. 6)
Composed “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” the Grammy-nominated Frank Sinatra song (Jan. 9)
Leading announcer on CBS radio and television (Jan. 6)
Television director and producer who won 18 Emmy Awards for his musical variety specials (Jan. 28)
Longtime anchorman and reporter on KFWB (Feb. 2)
15th president of the Mormon church, led its greatest expansion (Jan. 27)
Credited with revitalizing Greece’s Orthodox Church (Jan. 28)
Mexican priest founded the Legion of Christ religious order and was disciplined by Pope Benedict XVI after sex abuse allegations (Jan. 30)
Mexican writer who promoted Zapotec culture (Jan. 10)
USC professor was urban planning expert (Feb. 11)
J. Kent Clark, 90
Longtime Caltech English literature professor, biographer and novelist (March 6)
Groundbreaking cancer researcher (Jan. 14)
TRW engineer helped design the engine that landed astronauts on the moon
Succeeded George Halas as coach of the Chicago Bears (Jan. 8)
Two-time U.S. figure skating champion (Jan. 10)
Left-hander pitched Dodgers to first World Series title in Brooklyn (Jan. 13)
Best known for writing the hit Broadway play “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” and for adapting the farce into the 1963 movie (May 18)
Paul Sills, 80
Legendary improvisational director and teacher co-founded the Compass Players in Chicago and was founding director of Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy cabaret (June 2)
Gene Persson, 74
Producer staged “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and LeRoi Jones’ controversial play “Dutchman” (June 6)
Founder of Arab nationalism and architect of infamous airline hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s (Jan. 26)
Former dictator of Indonesia who ruled ruthlessly for 32 years (Jan. 27)
Dan Shamron, 70
Former Israeli military chief who commanded the famed 1976 hostage rescue at Entebbe airport in Uganda (Feb. 26)
Author of the “Flashman” series of historical adventure novels (Jan. 2)
Editor of the New Republic, helped launch new talent (Jan. 3)
Former CIA official wrote book divulging agency secrets (Jan. 7)