Ismail Gulgee (81) world-renowned Pakistani artist whose self-taught artistic career began in the early '50s as a portraitist. Gulgee had painted many notable figures, including the entire Afghan royal family. His works often incorporated gold, lapis lazuli, mirror glass, and other materials. He began making Islamic calligraphic sculptures in bronze, leading to international commissions in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries during the late '60s. Gulgee was found beaten and strangled along with his wife and a maid at their home in Karachi, Pakistan on December 14, 2007.
Laura Archera Huxley (96) lay therapist, author, and widow of British novelist Aldous Huxley (d. 1963), who shared his vision of human potential and devoted the years since his death to preserving his legacy. Laura Huxley married the author of Brave New World in 1956 and over the next seven years was his partner in the explorations of consciousness that helped to spark the psychedelic movement of the '60s. She died of cancer in the Hollywood Hills, California on December 13, 2007.
Robert M. Kulicke (83) painter, goldsmith, teacher, businessman, and designer who changed the look of postwar art by modernizing frame design. Kulicke painted and regularly exhibited small, delicate still lifes of flowers, dollar bills, or a single pear. He helped to revive the ancient cloisonné technique of granulation and established a school for jewelry making. He was the most innovative and influential picture frame designer in the US, producing several streamlined frames both widely used and imitated, especially a welded aluminum frame and a wraparound clear Lucite "plexibox" frame. He also designed low-priced sectional frames to be sold at craft shops and assembled at home. He died of pneumonia in Valley Cottage, New York on December 14, 2007.
Diane Middlebrook (68) leading feminist scholar who wrote acclaimed biographies of poets Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. Middlebrook helped to launch feminist studies at Stanford University, where she taught literature for 35 years. She was best known for her best-seller Anne Sexton: A Biography (1991), a finalist for the National Book Award, and Her Husband: Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath, a Marriage (2003), a best-seller about the tumultuous marriage of the poets. Middlebrook died of cancer in San Francisco, California on December 15, 2007.
Robert Isaiah Russin (93) artist and educator best known in southern California for the Spirit of Life fountain sculpture in front of the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte. Dedicated in 1967, the sculpture shows two adults and a child in a spirited pose. After several years, the hospital changed its logo from a torch to a silhouette of the statue and embraced the work's title. It still gives out Spirit of Life awards to major donors. Russin died of kidney disease and hypertension in Centennial, Wyoming on December 13, 2007.
Tatsuzo Shimaoka (88) potter designated a "living national treasure" in Japan for his mastery of his craft. Shimaoka's pottery, primarily tableware, expressed the philosophy that beauty is found in utility and art in humility. The work is characterized as "mingei," a term created from "minshuteki kogei," or "craft of the people," reflecting an appreciation of Japanese folk traditions. Shimaoka died of a stroke in Mashiko, Japan, where he had maintained a studio since 1953, on December 11, 2007.
C. Allin Cornell (69) pioneer in earthquake research at Stanford University and father of physics Nobel Prize-winner Eric Cornell. The elder Cornell's work focused on seismic hazards—the probability of a certain degree of ground movement at a particular spot—and seismic risk, usually measured in terms of money or lives lost. He advised the US Geological Survey on its seismic hazard maps, guides for prospective home buyers and urban planners, among other groups. He died of cancer in Palo Alto, California on December 14, 2007.
T. Burke Hayes (95) founder of the international engineering firm CH2M Hill, one of the politically connected companies awarded controversial, lucrative, no-bid cleanup contracts after Hurricane Katrina. Founded in 1946 in Corvallis, Oregon but now headquartered in Denver, the company later became a leader in water treatment technology, hazardous waste cleanup, and industrial design. Hayes died in Portland, Oregon on December 14, 2007.
Douglas O. Morgan (75) publisher whose collection of rare 19th-century wood type letterforms helped to start a graphic design revival. Morgan began acquiring antique wood types in the '50s. Woodblock letters and fonts were commonly used in the mid- to late-19th century for advertisements, posters, and handbills. Morgan's collection, now in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, came to be called the Morgan Press Type Collection, after the company he established with his brother in 1958. In the late '50s Morgan Press sold the type to designers, inspiring the rise of an ornately Victorian retro style in the graphic arts. Douglas Morgan died of heart failure in Essex, New York on December 10, 2007.
Hirotaka Ono (52) senior operating officer at the Suzuki Motor Corp., considered a possible successor to his father-in-law, Osamu Suzuki, as chairman. Ono helped to develop the redesigned Swift compact car, which had propelled the company's growth since its introduction in 2004. He died of pancreatic cancer in Tokyo, Japan on December 12, 2007.
Terry L. Yates (57) biologist who discovered the source of the deadly hantavirus in the Southwest US. In the spring of 1993, many people in the Four Corners region—where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona meet—were stricken with a mysterious illness. Yates, whose specialty was rodents and small mammals, was part of a research team that isolated the source of what came to be known as the hantavirus, carried by deer mice. He died of brain cancer in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 11, 2007.
Frank O. Braynard (91) maritime historian and organizer of Operation Sail, the historic July 4, 1976 Bicentennial gathering of tall ships in New York Harbor. One by one, towering ships glided below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, then unfurled their sails. There were nearly 300 large ships from more than 50 countries in the 18-mile-long caravan up the Hudson River, including 16 of the approximately 25 masted "tall ships" remaining in the world at the time. An estimated 5 million people lined the New York and New Jersey shores that day, and millions around the world watched the event all day on TV. Braynard wrote more than 40 books on ships, many illustrated with his own sketches of barks and schooners, ocean liners and tugs. He died of pneumonia in Glen Cove, New York on December 10, 2007.
Elspeth Rostow (90) former dean (1977-83) of the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a former Presidential adviser. Rostow, who taught courses on the American Presidency and US foreign policy at the LBJ school during the current semester, was the widow of Walt Rostow (d. 2003), a White House economist and political theorist in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Elspeth Rostow died of a heart attack in Austin, Texas on December 9, 2007.
Emory Sekaquaptewa (79) university professor, anthropologist, judge, artist, and the "Noah Webster of the Hopi Nation." Sekaquaptewa was a pioneering champion of preserving his native language. He was believed to have been the first Native American to attend West Point. He was the first Hopi tribal member to earn a law degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he became a noted research anthropologist and taught courses including Hopi Language & Culture during a teaching career that spanned nearly 40 years. In 1998 he published the Hopi nation's first written dictionary, with 30,000 entries. He died in Arizona on December 14, 2007.
Henrietta Yurchenco (91) ethnomusicologist whose mission to save folk music from the past took her from the mountains of Guatemala and southern Mexico to a New York radio station to the Jewish community of Morocco, where she recorded ritual songs, peyote chants, and music celebrating everything from love to agriculture. Yurchenco died of lung failure in New York City on December 10, 2007.
John B. Anderson (39) animator who had worked on numerous feature film projects including Surf's Up (2007), Madagascar (2005), Toy Story 2 (1999), A Bug's Life (1998), the Laura Croft Tomb Raider and The Lord of the Rings action movies franchise. Anderson also worked on the remake of House of Wax (2005). He died in Fort Worth, Texas on December 11, 2007.
Larry L. Birkhead (67) retired businessman and father of celebrity photographer Larry E. Birkhead, determined to be the biological father of late Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith's baby daughter, Dannielynn, born in September 2006. The elder Birkhead died just days after undergoing knee surgery, in Louisville, Kentucky on December 10, 2007.
St. Clair Bourne (64) documentary filmmaker who recorded American black culture, produced profiles of eminent blacks like Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, and Gordon Parks, and, in one film, drew a parallel between the civil rights movement and the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. In a 36-year career during which he made more than 40 films, Bourne's works were seen on public TV, on commercial networks, and at film festivals around the country. He died of a pulmonary embolism in New York City on December 15, 2007.
Freddie Fields (84) retired Hollywood agent, producer, and studio executive who helped to make stars of Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, and others. Fields helped to found Creative Management Associates, one of the industry's most influential talent agencies in the '60s and early '70s, and was president of two major film studios, MGM and United Artists. Once married to singer/actress Polly Bergen, Fields died of lung cancer in Beverly Hills, California on December 11, 2007.
Kim Fry-Mosdell (40) one of the army of craft service people working behind the scenes to feed hungry filmmakers. Fry-Mosdell had worked in craft services on such films as Air Bud 2 (1998), Lake Placid (1999), and Psych (2006). She died in Langley, British Columbia, Canada on December 11, 2007.
Douglas E. Kneeland (78) former reporter for the New York Times who covered some of the major stories of the '60s and '70s and later became a high-level editor at the Chicago Tribune. As a reporter, Kneeland covered the trial of Charles Manson, the arrests of the kidnappers of Patricia Hearst, and the killings of four students at Kent State University by members of the National Guard. He helped to cover four Presidential campaigns (1968-80), Vietnam War protests, and the "Saturday Night Massacre," President Richard M. Nixon's firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Kneeland died of lung cancer in Lincoln, Maine, his birthplace, on December 15, 2007.
Marvin ("Sweet Louie") Smith (68) half of the rhythm-and-blues duo, the Checkmates. Smith and his partner, Sonny Charles, friends since childhood, served in the Army together under the late-'50s "buddy system," touring in the entertainment division of the Army's Special Services. They later performed at the Sands and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The Phil Spector-produced "Black Pearl" (1969) was their most successful single, a Top 10 hit. Some of the duo's highlights included performing with Frank Sinatra at the Oakland Coliseum, a concert at Madison Square Garden with Herb Alpert, and singing the National Anthem for the "Thrilla in Manila," the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier heavyweight championship boxing match in the Philippines in 1975. Smith died of a heart attack aboard the Caribbean Princess cruise ship in the Caribbean, where he was scheduled to perform, on December 15, 2007.
Roger Marshutz (78) photographer whose images of a young Elvis Presley reaching out to his fans, Marilyn Monroe at the height of her fame, and other celebrity shots appeared in fan magazines, on posters, and in movie publicity kits during the '50s and '60s. One of Marshutz's best-known images shows Presley at an outdoor concert in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1956, singing to a crowd and reaching for the hands closest to the stage; the photograph first appeared in Photoplay, a fan magazine. Marshutz died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California on December 15, 2007.
Ashleigh Aston Moore (26) Canadian former child actress who had starred in several films and TV shows in the '90s. Moore's most famous role was that of Chrissy Dewitt, the younger version of Rita Wilson's character in the chick flick Now & Then (1995). Moore also made several guest appearances on popular TV shows such as Madison, Northern Exposure, Strange Luck, and Touched by an Angel. She was found dead of an apparently accidental heroin overdose in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada on December 10, 2007.
Frank Morgan (73) jazz saxophonist whose promising career was derailed by drug problems in the '50s but whose triumphant comeback in the '80s led to an unexpected taste of midlife stardom. Morgan had battled health problems in recent years, including a stroke and kidney failure, but died of colon cancer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 14, 2007.
Tibor Paul (81) German-speaking host of a popular weekly radio program that featured European marches, waltzes, and polkas and was a longtime fixture on KPCC-FM (89.3) in southern California. By 2000, when his show left the air as Pasadena-based KPCC became an all-news and talk outlet, Paul's four-hour broadcast was known as the European Sunday Concert and had aired for more than 25 years. He died of pancreatic cancer and diabetes in San Diego, California on December 10, 2007.
(Philadelphia) Jerry Ricks (67) American blues guitarist who adopted and mastered the sound of the '30s Delta Blues. Born in Philadelphia, Ricks learned from and performed with blues greats such as Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Lightnin' Hopkins and was widely revered as a master of acoustic blues. He played throughout Europe in the '70s and '80s, recording albums in Germany, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. He had moved to Croatia earlier in the year after performing in a concert there. He was hospitalized in August after a stroke and diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died in Kastav, Croatia on December 10, 2007.
Ike Turner (76) rock 'n' roll pioneer whose achievements as one of the founding fathers of the music were overshadowed by ex-wife Tina Turner's claims that he was a cocaine addict and regularly beat her for almost 20 years. Ike Turner was portrayed by actor Laurence Fishburne in the movie What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), based on Tina's autobiography. Ike arguably invented rock 'n' roll with his 1951 song "Rocket 88," and he enjoyed huge fame in the '60s and '70s as the mastermind behind Ike & Tina Turner, a rhythm-and-blues revue that dazzled audiences with spirited performances of such songs as "Proud Mary" and "River Deep Mountain High." After the couple's 1975 breakup, Ike's cocaine addiction worsened, and in '89 he began a 17-month prison term. After years of obscurity, he won his first Grammy in 35 years in February 2007 for an acclaimed blues album, Risin' with the Blues. He died of a cocaine overdose in San Marcos, California on December 12, 2007.
Floyd ("Red Crow") Westerman (71) American Indian activist, actor, and folk singer who appeared in the film Dances with Wolves (1990) and performed with Willie Nelson and other musicians. Westerman appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, including in recurring roles as Uncle Ray Firewalker on Walker, Texas Ranger and George Littlefox on Dharma & Greg. He died of leukemia in Los Angeles, California on December 13, 2007.
Issam al-Zaim (67) prominent Syrian economist and former Cabinet minister. Al-Zaim joined Syria's Cabinet in 2000 as a minister of industry before losing his post when the government resigned in '03. He was also minister of state for planning. He died of a heart attack in Damascus, Syria on December 14, 2007.
Allan Bérubé (61) MacArthur Award-winning independent scholar whose history of gay men and lesbians in the military in World War II is widely considered the definitive book on the subject. Coming Out Under Fire (1990) explores the uneasy but benign WWII relationship between the US military and its gay members. Bérubé was also noted for arranging to have the Munson Diner, a derelict New York Hell's Kitchen landmark from the '40s, moved in 2005 to the former Catskill resort of Liberty, New York, where he died of complications from stomach ulcers on December 11, 2007.
Julia Carson (69) US congresswoman (D-Ind., 1996-2007), first black person and first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress. Carson championed children's issues, women's rights, and efforts to reduce homelessness and was a staunch opponent of the Iraq war. She announced in November that she had terminal lung cancer and would not run for a seventh term in 2008. She died in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 15, 2007.
Judith Meuli (69) feminist organizer who helped to found the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and the Feminist Majority Foundation, a women's rights organization that publishes Ms. magazine. As a leader of NOW in LA starting in 1967, Meuli held several executive positions and was coeditor of NOW Times, the group's national newspaper, for eight years starting in '77. She designed several graphic images identified with the feminist movement for T-shirts, posters, and buttons. She died of multiple myeloma in the San Fernando Valley, California on December 14, 2007.
Benjamin Sprague (18) grandson of former South Carolina state Sen. T. Ed Garrison, who served in the SC House (1959-66) and Senate (1967-87). Sprague had recently graduated from Greenville High School, where he played center on the football and soccer teams. He was found dead in his Clemson University fraternity house in Clemson, South Carolina on December 9, 2007.
Yuli Vorontsov (78) veteran diplomat who served the Soviet Union and Russia as ambassador to Afghanistan and the US in a career spanning the Cold War and the Gulf War. Vorontsov played roles in some of the watershed events of the Cold War, from arms talks with Washington to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, where he was ambassador when Soviet troops withdrew in 1988-89. He was appointed Soviet representative to the United Nations in 1990 and became Russia's ambassador after the Soviet Union collapsed a year later, serving at the world body until President Boris Yeltsin named him ambassador to Washington in '94. He died in Moscow, Russia on December 12, 2007.
Lt. Gen. Emmett H. Walker (83) retired military officer, a decorated World War II veteran and former chief (1982-86) of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, DC during the Reagan administration. Walker worked closely with his friend, late Rep. G. V. ("Sonny") Montgomery, in crafting the Montgomery GI Bill, passed by Congress in 1984, which increased educational and other benefits for soldiers and gave a needed recruiting boost to the all-volunteer military. Walker died in Jackson, Mississippi on December 12, 2007.
Curtis Dean Anderson (46) child molester and killer serving a 251-year prison sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Xiana Fairchild, last seen in 1999, whose body was found in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 2001. Anderson was arrested in 2000 for the kidnapping of another girl, then became the prime suspect in the Fairchild case. He finally confessed several times to Fairchild's murder, then recanted before accepting a guilty plea in '05 in an attempt to avoid the death penalty. He died at a hospital in Bakersfield, California on December 11, 2007.
C. C. Bryant Sr. (90) civil rights veteran whose community service in southwest Mississippi extended well beyond the turbulent '60s. Bryant and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee launched a voter registration drive in southwest Mississippi in 1961. In the '60s, Bryant endured jail and threats, including the bombing of his family home and barber shop. He was president of the local NAACP for over 33 years. Later, his work focused on crime, drug abuse, joblessness, poverty, and nutrition. He died in McComb, Mississippi on December 9, 2007.
José Luis Calva (38) Mexican man believed to have strangled and dismembered his girlfriend, Alejandra Galeana (32), after a violent drug-and-alcohol-fueled argument at their apartment on October 8. Police had found cooked and seasoned bits of Galeana's corpse on a fork and plate, but Calva denied he ate her flesh. He was later charged with her murder and abusing a corpse, but was also closely linked to the earlier murders and dismemberment of two other women. He was found dead in his prison cell, an apparent suicide by hanging, in Mexico City, Mexico on December 11, 2007.
Charles Louis Moore (80) former district attorney of Santa Cruz County whose political career was brought to a halt by a bribery scandal. In 1954, 27-year-old Moore became the youngest DA in California when he was elected on a platform of cleaning up gambling and corruption. But even before the end of his term, he was forced to resign after the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian reported his shady dealings with the same gamblers he had vowed to prosecute. Moore became a Catholic priest but later left the priesthood to start his own church, the Gathering of the Way. He died in Monterey, California on December 9, 2007.
Matthew Murray (24) Colorado man believed to have killed four missionary workers at a Denver-area church on December 9. Murray had fled the scene thereafter. Investigators believed he had recently been kicked out of the missionary center where the shooting occurred and had posted an anti-Christian diatribe on a Web site that closely repeated a rant by one of the Columbine killers. Murray died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound (suicide) in Colorado Springs, Colorado on December 11, 2007.
Hryhoriy Nestor (116) Ukrainian man unofficially considered the world's oldest person on his 116th birthday in March. Nestor reportedly attributed his long life to the fact that he had never been married, but Ukrainian authorities had already officially recognized him as a supercentenarian and made several attempts to get him into the international record books. He died in Kiev, Ukraine on December 14, 2007.
Robert Rejda (26) Illinois man awaiting trial for the sexual assault and murder of former model Lauren Kiefer (24) while burglarizing her home on Christmas 2006. Authorities believed Rejda had killed Kiefer with a baseball bat after they both had struggled. DNA evidence gleaned from Kiefer's clothing and from beneath her fingernails helped to link Rejda to her murder, as did telephone records showing he had called her only a few hours before the burglary. Rejda was found dead in his prison cell in Wheaton, Illinois on December 14, 2007.
Julia Tharnish (110) oldest person in Nebraska, whose husband died in 1983, just a week before their 65th wedding anniversary. The couple had 14 children, 12 of whom are still living. Julia Tharnish died in Creighton, Nebraska on December 14, 2007.
Ted Corbitt (88) "father of American distance running" who began running as a child on his father's cotton farm in South Carolina and virtually never stopped, becoming a pioneer of ultramarathon running in the US. By his own count, Corbitt ran 199 marathons and ultramarathons, typically races of 50 or 100 miles or 24 hours. He trained by running as many as 200 miles a week. When he was 55, bronchial asthma ended his elite running career but not his participation in ultramarathons; at 81, he walked 240 miles in a six-day race. In recent years, he was found to have prostate cancer and colon cancer. He died of respiratory complications in Houston, Texas on December 12, 2007.
Brian Sean Griffith (40) former bodyguard of figure skater Tonya Harding who admitted a role in the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 Olympics tryouts. Days after the attack, Griffith confessed, detailing a plan that he and Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had hatched. Formerly known as Shawn Eckardt, Griffith changed his name after serving 14 months in prison. Harding always denied knowledge of the plan but was banned from official skating competition. A burly man who often weighed over 300 pounds, Griffith died in Portland, Oregon on December 12, 2007.
Hank Kaplan (88) Hall of Fame boxing historian. Kaplan's archives, which date back to the 1800s, include books, letters, and newspaper clippings. He wrote books on boxing and was founder and editor of World Wide Boxing Digest magazine, helping to maintain the legacy of once-revered champions. He died of cancer in Miami, Florida on December 14, 2007.
George Morris (76) linebacker during Georgia Tech's perfect season in 1952 and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Morris played on Bobby Dodd-coached teams that went 23-0-1 in 1951 and '52. The Yellow Jackets were 12-0 in 1952, including a 24-7 victory over Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl, and were picked as national champion by several media services. Morris died of an apparent heart attack as he sat in his car outside a restaurant in Highlands, North Carolina on December 10, 2007.