By People Staff
December 31, 1999 12:00 PM

carolyn bessette kennedy, 33


“She typified the modem woman. She was extremely stylish but very much her own self, a woman to whom no fashion could be dictated. She projected an image not of the designers she was wearing but her own personality. When I met her, I thought she had a reserve and was absolutely charming.”—designer Oscar de la Renta

mel tormé, 73


“Mel was kind of a lifetime adolescent in a very positive sense, always being enthusiastic and hopeful and excited and willing to try anything. He worked himself too hard, but it wasn’t for the money. It was just because if folks really wanted to spend an evening with Mel, he wasn’t going to deny them.”—actor Harry Anderson

liz tilberis, 51


“Liz and I connected on all aspects of life: being women, mothers, in fashion. She was one of the most positive people I ever knew. She always turned things in a conversation to be about the other person. That white hair and that smile were her spirit and her energy.”—-designer Donna Karan

lauren bessette, 34


“Her laughter could be that embracing undulation that starts and roars on for what would seem an eon.”—Davis Wang, colleague at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

rory calhoun, 76


“I grew up with Rory Calhoun’s films. When you watch his body of work, he moves from being a young man to an old man, but that charisma, that look and those eyes, they always kept you watching.”—Pure Country costar Kyle Chandler

quentin crisp, 90


“He never wavered in his crusade of self-confessed homosexuality. He wasn’t militant, he just wanted to say, ‘This is who I am, and I refuse to be anyone else.’ “—actor John Hurt, who portrayed Crisp in a 1975 British TV film

raisa gorbachev, 67


“She really was the first modern woman coming out of Russia. The wives of Russian leaders usually were out of sight, hidden. She was not only not hidden, she was vocal. It was very refreshing.”—former U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder

ian bannen, 71


“He was one of the most spiritual men I’ve ever met, but a barrel of laughs too. You couldn’t speak to him for 10 minutes without falling around laughing. Bits of him rubbed off on you, and you were all the better for working with him.”—Waking Ned Devine costar David Kelly

señor wences, 103


“On Sunday nights my entire family would go to Sears to watch The Ed Sullivan Show because we didn’t have a TV set. I credit Señor Wences for letting this little Chicano boy dream that if a Latino man could become famous for moving his thumb and index finger, maybe I could move my mouth and make a living.”—comedian Paul Rodriguez

allen funt, 84


“Allen loved to see the humor in things. He taught the audience that we all are foolish and do things we regret. His humor was never a put-down, it was empathetic.”—former Candid Camera cohost Bess Myerson

madeline kahn, 57


“The key to her comedy was her curiosity and her courage for expressing what she got out of life. She wasn’t afraid to go there, so to speak. She had this zest for life.”—The Cosby Show costar Doug E. Doug

peggy cass, 74


“Peggy [left, with host Bud Collyer and Kitty Carlisle Hart] could remember things! Even though impostors on the show were briefed awfully well, if we had somebody from another country on, she would nail them with her knowledge of wherever they came from.”—To Tell the Truth panelist Kitty Carlisle Hart

walter payton, 45


“Walter missed only one game in 13 years. That’s an amazing stat, seeing what he went through week in, week out, taking the hits that he took. He was the strongest human being I ever met, and he loved to play.”—Chicago Bears teammate Jim McMahon

joseph heller, 76


“He was a very amusing fellow. He had a very sharp tongue and a wry view of things. He never took anything all that seriously. Throughout his work, he understood that the establishment was a crazy institution and had to be watched carefully at all times and, where possible, derided and laughed at.”—writer Peter Matthiessen

harry blackmun, 90


“He was the man that gave people the right to choose abortion, [but] he would walk through Harvard Yard and talk to students, and nobody would know him. He was the quietest, most humble man.”—law professor Alan Dershowitz

shirley hemphill, 52


“We worked together on a special in the early 1980s. Shirley was sassy and spontaneous, saying things like ‘You wish you looked as good as me in your leotard!’ She was funny all the time.”—choreographer Debbie Allen

anthony newley, 67


“He wrote feel-good songs that struck a chord with people. And Anthony was a feel-good person. He could lift you right out of a bad mood. His gift was the ability to keep people calm and make them laugh.”—singer Dionne Warwick

deforest kelly, 79


“I saw DeForest a few days before he died. His first words were, ‘Bill, you, Leonard [Nimoy] and me have to do a movie.’ He wanted the three of us to be together again. He was very loyal.”—Star Trek costar William Shatner

wilt chamberlain, 63


“Wilt was great, not just as a player but as a person. He was probably misunderstood by a lot of folks because he lived life on his terms.”—L.A. Lakers teammate Gail Goodrich

syliva sidney, 88


“She was a great friend. One year I complained that Paul [Newman] and I could never remember our anniversary. A few weeks later a beautiful piece of needlework arrived with an inscription, ‘Joanne and Paul, January 29, 1998.’ “—Summar Wishes, Winter Dreams coster Joanne Woodward

victor mature, 86


“Vic was the opposite of people who believe their own publicity. He wanted to make sure everyone knew he didn’t. He always did his best and never did it halfway.”—Janet Leigh, his costar in 1956’s Safari

anthony radziwill, 40


“Anthony will be remembered for many fine qualities, but most

impressive was the courage with which he fought cancer. He never complained or engaged in self-pity.”—former colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News

richard kiley, 76


“I remember my family playing the Man of La Mancha tape on car trips and singing at the top of our lungs. When I met him, I loved his sense of spunk and focus. He was always in great spirits.”—Sharon Lawrence, his costar in the 1999 TV movie Blue Moon

payne stewart, 42


“Payne was a tremendous competitor as well as a great person. I enjoyed his competitive spirit and friendship over the years.”—-golfer Greg Norman

hoyt axton, 61


“His lyrics were full of picture words. ‘Never Been to Spain’ was autobiographical but also truthful. It touched you.”—Three Dog Night singer Danny Hutton

susan strasberg, 60


“Susan had an irreverent sense of humor. She could cut to the heart of things, and she had a fast, fast, mercurial mind. She had seen it all, and she was very wise.”—actress Diane Ladd

jim ‘catfish’ hunter, 53


“There were no airs about him. He got along with just about every cross section in the clubhouse, and if he had anything to say, he’d let you know. It was his laid-back way.”—former Yankee teammate Lou Piniella

dusty springfield, 59


“She was a perfectionist. Her singing was fabulous, but she wouldn’t even be in the same room to listen to it. She went to another room and listened all by herself. I’d say, ‘Great vocal, Dusty!’ But she’d want to do it again, do it better.”—composer Burt Bacharach

sadie delany, 109


(left, with Bessie): “She had a thirst for education, a southern gentility and a belief in uplifting our race. She was always pushing and struggling and overcoming.”—actress Ruby Dee

norton, 16


“He was born a cat but died a gentleman. His manners were perfect, and he was a very good traveling companion.”—feline mystery writer Rita Mae Brown

allan carr, 62


“What I remember most was his high energy. When we were making Grease, he would give us great pep talks. He really kept us motivated because he wanted that energy in the film.”—singer-actress Olivia Newton-John

george c. scott, 71


“He had an intensity that was amazing. When we filmed Patton, he missed a call once, and the assistant directors found George C. Scott, in full-dress battle fatigues, playing Ping-Pong with one of the stuntmen, who was a champion player. He kept losing, and he was determined to stay there playing until midnight if he had to, to win!—actor Karl Malden

sandra gould, 72


“She told a story about how she once saw two men taking televisions out of a neighbor’s house. When she confronted them, one said, ‘Oh, God! It’s Mrs. Kravitz!’ and they dropped everything and ran. So Mrs. Kravitz thwarted a burglary.”—Bewitched costar Kasey Rogers

mario puzo, 78


“He was this warm, funny, lovable, brilliant-in-as-few-words-as-possible character. He was usually very relaxed, with great stories and wisdom pouring out of him. It was fun just to be in his presence.”—Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola

ellen corby, 87


“Ellen didn’t take guff from anyone. You always knew where you stood with her. Her feisty personality was similar to her character’s. That’s what people loved about Grandma Walton—she added spice to all the sugar.”—The Waltons costar Michael Learned

dana plato, 34


“She was always very jovial and extremely nice. I remember her bringing her baby to the set, and every moment I recall she was happy and smiling and funny and playful.”—Diff’rent Strokes costar Danny Cooksey

stanley kubrik, 70


“Stanley had a way of exciting your enthusiasm. It was stimulating to talk to him. He was insatiably curious. That’s the way he directed, and he was like that about life.”—director Sydney Pollack

gene siskel, 53


“Gene was a very well-informed person. It was almost impossible to tell him anything he didn’t know. If I heard a piece of gossip or news and I wanted to surprise him with it…I was always just a little bit too late.”—critic Roger Ebert

al hirt, 76


“Al is what I would call a natural trumpet player. When I say ‘natural,’ I mean somebody who puts in the kind of work it takes to be great, but for whom it doesn’t seem to take a lot of effort.”—former bandmate Ellis Marsalis

king hussein, 63


“At the Wye River Conference in 1998 it was clear he was fighting a harsh and aggressive disease, but he urged Israeli and PLO leaders to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure a peaceful future for the children of the Middle East. Although his body may have been weak, his spirit inspired all of us.”—Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

oseola mccarty, 91


“This frail laundress who never finished grade school gave more than half her life savings to the University of Southern Mississippi to establish a scholarship fund for African-American students. Oseola McCarty showed how much good any of us can do in this world if we only try.”—-former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell

david strickland, 29


“David was probably the funniest guy I ever met. He was an incredible talent and so generous. It wasn’t, ‘Oh, let me shine here.’ He was all about making the work better. Everyone adored him.”—Suddenly Susan costar Nestor Carbonell

john ehrlichman, 73


“He was a good man. He was portrayed in the press as being very aloof, very arrogant, but I never thought of him that way. And I never saw any bitterness in later years for what had happened to him.”—radio host and former Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy

anita carter, 66


“She had the most angelic voice. She would open her mouth, and it seemed to be effortless. She could captivate you, just sitting around with a guitar or onstage with a full orchestra; either way it was just her voice.”—singer Waylon Jennings

oliver reed, 61


“He was this huge bruiser of a guy, but he had this wonderful quiet delivery, this soft whisper. The contrast was so dazzling that you listened to every word. He compelled attention.”—The Three Musketeers costar Michael York

joe dimaggio, 84


“Joe was very inspirational to all of us, not by what he said, but just by how he’d carry himself. He’d always run out to the outfield, and he always ran back. He never came to the ballpark without a shirt and a tie and a dark blue suit. He was always well-dressed. Everything he did, he did it right.”—former Yankee teammate Yogi Berra