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Archive

Late Greats

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Greta Garbo, 84.

“Without a doubt she was the quintessential star, the most unique actress ever to be on the screen. She defines photogenic; the beauty, the passion still communicate.”—Friend and playwright Jack Larson

Bob Cummings, 82.

“He was generous, bright, gifted and quick, one of the best situation comedians.”—The Bob Cummings Show co-star Dwayne Hickman

Terry-Thomas, 78, actor.

“For years in English films, if you wanted a Terry-Thomas—type comedian, you were lucky if you got Terry-Thomas.”—Director Michael Winner

Rabbit Angstrom, John Updike hero.

“Hell be remembered as an American Odysseus, sailing between condo and shopping mall.”—Novelist Jay McInerney

Patrick Kelly, 40, fashion designer.

“He was a handsome man. Uncoordinated, gleeful and generous. He did fashion the way other people cook a late-night supper for a few close friends-with love, sensitivity and tenderness. He adored buttons and played with them like a chess player-with panache.”—Designer Sonia Rykiel

Aaron Copland, 90.

“He was the most loved American composer. He had a personal, nostalgic style and an ability to communicate a great deal with just a few notes. The world weighs less now that he is gone.”—Composer Ned Rorem

Paulette Goddard, 78, actress.

“I asked her what she wanted in life. Besides the diamonds, she wanted a great role in a film. She got the diamonds and a few great roles. That’s all anyone can ask, I guess.”—Ex-husband Burgess Meredith

Leonard Bernstein, 72, musician.

“He was basically the American Mozart. He had so many facets, whether it was musical comedy or classical composition or whether he played the piano or conducted. He carried them all to Himalayan heights. He left such a tremendous legacy behind, it is something for all younger generations to emulate.”—Conductor Zubin Mehta

Barbara Stanwyck, 82.

She was the most disciplined of actresses, and there was a sexual electricity about her.”—Director Billy Wilder

William S. Paley, 89.

“He was to broadcasting what Carnegie was to steel and Ford to cars. He pioneered it. He defined it.”—Dan Rather

Jim Henson, 53.

“He was a consummate puppeteer. He put his hands in these pieces of material, and they literally came alive on the screen. So much of him came through, I wish I had known him better. I think we all could have grown better.”—Fred (Mister) Rogers

Joan Bennett, 80, actress.

She was an angel—great fun, and she will be missed by everyone. She was a joy, which is a rare quality.”—Katharine Hepburn

Northern Dancer, 29.

“He was incredible, and he sired more stakes winners than any horse in racing history.”—Jockey Bill Shoemaker

Halston, 57.

“He was the greatest American designer. He understood elegance and simplicity. He worked hard and played hard.”—Calvin Klein

B. Kliban, 55, cartoonist.

“My favorite is of the cat singing, love to eat them mousies,’ and playing the guitar. I look at that drawing and laugh and laugh.”—Peanuts creator Charles Schulz

Stevie Ray Vaughan, 35, bluesman.

“He had a skeleton key and opened doors that had been closed on us. He said, let’s show ’em how blues are s’posed to be played.’ “—Guitarist Buddy Guy

Malcolm Forbes, 70, publisher.

“He was a grown-up who knew how to enjoy his toys, his money, his life. He wanted everybody to run through it with him in bare feet.”—Helen Gurley Brown

Ava Gardner, 67, actress.

“Her performances will long be remembered from Show Boat, The Barefoot Contessa and the pictures she did with Clark Gable [Mogambo, Lone Star]. We lost one of the most beautiful, attractive and talented leading women. I am just sorry that she never found the happiness of which she was so deserving and which seemed so elusive to her.”—First husband Mickey Rooney

Jill Ireland, 54, actress.

“She gave a wonderful gift to women who battle breast cancer. She let us see that life still contains great joy; that we must demand the most from each moment we are given.”—Betty Ford

Eve Arden, 83, actress.

“Whatever the ‘other woman’ is, she was. She had an air of sophistication, class and wit. She was ladylike even doing a pratfall.”—Pal Kaye Ballard

Sammy Davis Jr., 64, entertainer.

“He was a flamboyant, proud, fearless man. It’s a shame that a lot of young black entertainers don’t truly appreciate what he did for them. There’s a lot of blood on their road to success, and a lot of it is Sammy’s.”—Composer Quincy Jones

Irene Dunne, 91, actress.

“At all times she was a lady, a sophisticated homebody with a great sense of humor and fun.”—Co-star Fred MacMurray

Rex Harrison, 82, actor.

“He always threw the ball perfectly…all I had to do was have the good sense to catch it.”—Audrey Hepburn

Pearl Bailey, 72, entertainer.

“She knew how to sell a song. Even in the early days, she had that aura around her. We did Hello, Dolly! for five years. She had a little arrogant attitude about her, but if you knew her, that would go away. Pearl had a love in her heart that went to the people. Very easy to see from the audience. They felt it every time she performed.”—Cab Calloway

Mitch Snyder, 46, homeless advocate.

“He said to us all, ‘Be a human being, for God’s sake.’ “—Valerie Harper

Keith Haring, 31, artist.

“His work is about love, lust, religion, happiness, pain…everything.”—Actress Ann Magnuson

Sarah Vaughan, 66, singer.

“She was the best popular singer in the business. God must have needed a lead singer in his choir, so he got Sass.”—Billy Eckstine

Alan Hale Jr., 71, actor.

“He was a big, lovable man who made everybody feel good. He had a good time with his life.”—Gilligan’s Island co-star Bob Denver

Dexter Gordon, 67, musician.

“He was a natural, a musical internationalist. He put a lot of living in that small life span of his.”—Dizzy Gillespie

Mary Martin, 76, actress.

“She had a star’s energy. She could project the most delicate feelings to the last row of the balcony. It was the tremendous energy she focused on the character of Peter Pan. She would swing out over the audience and fly. Other people after her flew, but she was a larger-watt bulb. Whatever she did had more volts to it.”—Carol Charming