• What I loved most about Elizabeth was her bawdy humor. She was down to earth. And her capacity for friendship was extraordinary. It was a comfort that I could call her to talk about whatever. And I could always go over and get a hell of a meal. Oh, to watch her eat! This woman loved soul food. And she’d top off any meal with a sundae. She’d pile stuff on a sundae that I didn’t even know existed!
-Shirley MacLaine, longtime friend
• She was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable…. [She had] a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman.
-Russell Brand, excerpted from a tribute he posted to his blog
First Lady, 93
While most mothers are special to their kids, not many are special to people around the world whom they haven’t even met. I was fortunate to share my mom with our nation, but I particularly treasure the moments and memories that are only mine. What I miss most is the advice she was always willing to share in a non-judgmental and quite often pretty humorous way. She might think, “I told you so,” but she said, “Honey, what can I do to help?”
-Susan Ford Bales, her daughter
Chelsea Clinton Remembers Her Grandmother
• My grandmother’s story was a quintessentially American one, largely because she wrote it herself. Born to teenage parents, on her own by age 14-there were countless reasons for Dorothy Howell to have been bitter and defeated. She was the furthest from that. Married in 1942 to Naval petty officer Hugh Rodham, my grandmother created the home she had always dreamed of: one full of love and laughter, curiosity and exploration. After her children went to college, my grandmother also did. She read incessantly-we shared a love of artists’ biographies and Maisie Dobbs novels. She loved the Chicago Bears and bemoaned their bye week-it was one of the last conversations we had. She knew what she stood for, what she liked and whom she loved. Thankfully, she approved of Marc from the beginning. She helped plan our wedding and, surreptitiously with Marc, our honeymoon. Marc and I spent our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple with her in the hospital, and we wouldn’t have been anywhere else. I will think of my grandmother every Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas-particularly when Marc and I are lucky enough to have children, and when I wonder whom she would root for on Dancing with the Stars. I will think of her, as I always have, as my comfort in my darkest moments, my companion in my illuminated ones and my eternal inspiration. I hope every day to make her proud.
Jeff was like a brother to me. He was like this big puppy dog, who didn’t have a nasty bone in his body. There was something really genuine about him. Whenever he said goodbye to you, he’d say, “God bless.” He was just sweet.
-Marilu Henner, his Taxi costar
CEO of Apple, 56
Steve was the most important friend in my life. He had an incredible mind that couldn’t be measured by normal methods. You had to know him and experience his thinking to know why it was way ahead of normal people. The future was the important thing to Steve. Only in very recent years did he speak fondly of the old days. We wonder if our future is now shortchanged: Will the forward progress slow down without Steve? But Steve will be a historic figure and will inspire other young people. His inspiration is the road to a great future.
-Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple
• Jane Russell went to my parents’ church when I was growing up. She was a beautiful woman as well as a very spiritual woman. I feel like some of my looks in the past have paid homage to her-everything’s done with a wink and a kiss. She meant a lot to me and to my family.
Fitness Guru, 96
As the godfather of the modern fitness movement, he motivated, instructed and entertained generations of us. All he wanted was for people to realize their potential, exercise their right to exercise and make each day count. What more could any of us ask?
-Richard Simmons, fitness expert and LaLanne’s friend
He was a writer who had a terrific eye for detail. And he wasn’t worried about being honest, even if that wasn’t popular.
-Morley Safer, his 60 Minutes colleague
Poet & Musician, 62
NFL Player & Actor, 66
Race Car Driver, 33
Former Congresswoman, 75
Breast Cancer Activist, 75
Eleanor Mondale Poling
Radio Show Host, 51
Rapper & Actor, 44
Movie Director, Producer & Screenwriter, 86
He was very into his appearance. I remember one day he was putting cologne on his ankles, and I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “You never know if someone is going to bow before you.” He was also always in search of improving himself. And his music, his songs-they have an impact that will go way beyond him or me. It’s a beautiful thing to think these songs will be sung for a lifetime.
-Valerie Simpson, Ashford’s wife and singing partner
Andy Whitfield Actor, 39
• He left an indelible mark on all of us in the Spartacus family. He was a gentle man who never said a bad word about anyone, a gifted photographer, engineer (no, really!) and a brilliant actor. Andy’s incandescent film presence made men want to be him and women want to marry him.
-Lucy Lawless, his Spartacus costar
The former heavyweight champion who came to be known as Smokin’ Joe Frazier and who had a fierce career-long rivalry with Muhammad Ali “was truly one of the greatest warriors the sport has ever known. No matter how much punishment he might take, he kept coming forward.”
-Michael Arkush, author of The Fight of the Century: Ali vs. Frazier, March 8, 1971
• My father’s socks never matched. His sense of humor was beautiful, and the best thing about him is that he loved to laugh at himself, whether it was his driving or his personal hygiene. [Columbo] was the essence of who he was: that person you saw on TV was really how he was as a father.
-Catherine Falk, his daughter