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Notable Deaths of 2008

Dorothy Sarnoff in 1976. She focused on her clients’ “vibes.”
Jack Mitchell

Dorothy Sarnoff in 1976. She focused on her clients’ “vibes.”

Ms. Sarnoff was an opera singer and Broadway star, and one of the first, and most influential, image consultants.

Alvah H. Chapman Jr., Civic-Minded Leader of Knight Ridder, Dies at 87

Mr. Chapman was the former publisher of The Miami Herald and chairman of the Knight Ridder newspapers and one of South Florida’s most influential philanthropic and civic leaders.

Samuel Huntington, Political Scientist, Dies at 81

Mr. Huntington was a political scientist best known for his views on the clash of civilizations.

Dale Wasserman, Playwright, Dies at 94

Mr. Wasserman was an autodidact who became the playwright responsible for two Broadway hits of the 1960s, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Hillary Waugh, Prolific Mystery Author, Dies at 88

Mr. Waugh helped pioneer the police procedural novel in dozens of mysteries, notably “Last Seen Wearing” (1952).

Eartha Kitt, a Seducer of Audiences, Dies at 81

Ms. Kitt purred and pounced her way through a career in show business that lasted more than six decades.

Harold Pinter, Playwright of the Pause, Dies at 78

Mr. Pinter’s gift for finding the noise within silence made him the most influential dramatist of his generation.

Al Meyerhoff, Legal Voice for the Poor, Dies at 61

Mr. Meyerhoff was a leading labor, environmental and civil rights lawyer who brought a landmark case to stop sweatshop conditions for 30,000 workers on the Pacific island of Saipan.

Thomas B. Congdon, Editor of Best Sellers Like ‘Jaws,’ Dies at 77

Mr. Congdon shepherded into print Russell Baker’s memoir and David Halberstam’s mammoth tome about the auto industry, eventually founding his own publishing house.

Valentin Berlinsky, Mainstay Cellist of the Borodin Quartet, Dies at 83

Mr. Berlinsky was the longest-serving member of the group, one of the most renowned string quartets in the world and by all accounts the longest continuously playing one.

Richard Van Allan, Opera Bass-Baritone, Dies at 73

Mr. Van Allan was a commanding presence on the world’s opera stages and directed the National Opera Studio in London from 1986 to 2001.

Page Cavanaugh, Leader of Jazz Trio, Dies at 86

Mr. Cavanaugh was a jazz pianist and singer whose popular trio in the 1940s and 1950s played in motion pictures and on Frank Sinatra’s radio show.

David Rampe, Veteran Times Editor, Dies at 60

Mr. Rampe helped shape the newspaper’s coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Robert Marshall, Church Leader, 90, Dies

Dr. Marshall was an ecumenist who in the 1970s led the Lutheran Church in America, then the nation’s largest Lutheran church, and helped pave the way for its merger with two other denominations.

Coy Bacon, 66, Defensive Lineman in the N.F.L., Is Dead

Bacon was a defensive lineman and fierce pass rusher who went to the Pro Bowl three times in his 14-year N.F.L. career.

Robert Mulligan, Director, Is Dead at 83

Mr. Mulligan, best known for directing the 1962 classic film “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was often commended for his keen attention to the inner lives of young people.

James L. Bevel, 72, an Adviser to Dr. King, Is Dead

Mr. Bevel’s influence spurred the “children’s crusade” in Birmingham, Ala., a pivotal event of the civil rights movement, but his reputation was later marred by a conviction on incest charges.

A. Carl Kotchian, Lockheed Executive, Dies at 94

The former president of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation was a central figure in a bribery scandal that rocked Japan and the Netherlands during the 1970s.

Adrian Mitchell, British Poetry’s Voice of the Left, Dies at 76

Mr. Mitchell’s impassioned verse against social injustice, racism and violence was often declaimed at antiwar rallies and political demonstrations.

William Kaufmann, Nuclear Strategist Who Helped Reshape Policy, Dies at 90

Mr. Kaufmann was a close adviser to seven defense secretaries and a major proponent of a shift away from the early cold war strategy of mass nuclear retaliation.

The Magazine

The Lives They Lived

The year 2007 brought the deaths of many giants of politics and culture, but here we present some of the lesser-known lives.

Multimedia

Slide Show: Notable Deaths of 2007

Remembering those who passed from the scene, including, clockwise from top left: Anna Nicole Smith, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Lady Bird Johnson and Beverly Sills.

Notable Deaths of 2008

Those who passed from the scene this year included the folk singer Odetta, the actors Heath Ledger and Charlton Heston, and the writers David Foster Wallace and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Last Word: Odetta

Odetta became a force of the folk music revival in the 1950s. In the 1960s her renditions of spirituals and blues became part of the soundtrack of the civil rights movement.

Talk to the Newsroom

Obituary Writer

Bruce Weber answered questions about the pleasures and difficulties of covering death.

Multimedia

Audio Slide Show: A Late, Great Movie Star

Manohla Dargis narrates a look back at the long and varied career of Paul Newman.

Video Feature: The Last Word: Stewart R. Mott

The philanthropist and heir to the General Motors fortune dedicated his life and money to progressive causes.

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Posted by on December 28, 2008 in Notable Deaths of 2008, The New York Times