Remembering those who died in 1990
Eve Arden (b. 1907)
With sarcasm, smarts and inimitable comic style, the lean and languid Stage Door star endeared herself to a generation in Hollywood’s golden era and won over its TV-tuned children as Our Miss Brooks.
Pearl Bailey (b. 1918)
Aside from her tour of duty as America’s unofficial ”ambassador of love,” she infused her many records concerts, and Broadway roles with a sly and unerringly shrew sense of showmanship.
Leonard Bernstein (b. 1918)
The musical lion and manic maestro, best known as the composer of West Side Story and as one of the New York Philharmonic’s greatest conductors, retired his baton to a final ovation just six days before his death.
Art Blake (b. 1919)
Thelonious Monk’s favorite drummer was a self-taught jazz giant — nicknamed ”Thunder” by Dizzy Gillespie — who led his Jazz Messengers to make music that was a working definition of cool.
Aaron Copland (b. 1900)
Americans best-known classical composer was the author of ”Fanfare for the Common Man,” ”Appalachian Spring,” and ”Billy the Kid” — impassioned and uncompromising works that inspired a nation.
Sammy Davis Jr. (b. 1925)
His life was spent onstage and his hard work helped make future black superstars like Michael Jackson possible. Hollywood thanked him in a February TV tribute, and, one last time, Davis danced with joy.
Irene Dunne (b. 1898)
One of old Hollywood’s classiest stars won repute as a versatile leading lady, adept at soap opera (Magnificent Obsession) and screwball comedy (The Awful Truth) alike.
Greta Garbo (b. 1905)
Alone at last, the famously reclusive star of such film classics as Ninotchka, Camille, Anna Karenina, and Grand Hotel left us, as always, wanting more than she was willing to give.
Ava Gardner (b. 1922)
The lusty screen siren and pinup goddess mesmerized moviegoers in The Night of the Iguana and Mogambo, and her sultry beauty captured admirers from Mickey Rooney to Frank Sinatra.
Paulette Goddard (b. 1905)
Under the direction of her then husband, Charlie Chaplin, she displayed a quirky talent to match her luminous beauty in his comedies Modern Times (1936) and The Great Dictator (1940).
Dexter Gordon (b. 1923)
One of the great jazz tenor saxophonists — and one of the first to play be-bop — was also an actor who brought a smoky voice and a lifetime of experience to his 1986 Oscar-nominated performance in ‘Round Midnight.
Jim Henson (b. 1936)
He brought a thousand Muppets to life, redefining his craft with a mind as imaginative as his multimillion-dollar empire was vast and a style as down-to-earth as his beloved Kermit the Frog.
Jill Ireland (b. 1936)
Charles Bronson’s wife of 21 years costarred in a number of his movies, but her greatest legacy may be her memoirs Life Wish and Life Lines, which unsparingly chronicled her six-year battle with cancer.
Mary Martin (b. 1914)
A hundred and one pounds of fun, she was the ”cockeyed optimist” in South Pacific; later, as Broadway’s and TV’s first Peter Pan, she sparkled, sang, and soared above the crowd.
Walker Percy (b. 1916)
The Alabama-born med student-turned-novelist received the National Book Award in 1961 for The Moviegoer; five equally philosophical and entertaining fictions followed.
Del Shannon (b. 1939)
Michigan-born Charles Westover changed his name and gained fame as both a pop star and a golden-eared songwriter in the ’60s with ”Runaway,” ”Hats Off To Larry” and ”I Go to Pieces.”
Barbara Stanwick (b. 1907)
She was sexy in romances and clever in comedies, but nothing became the versatile Brooklyn-born actress like melodrama — from the timeless ’30s tear-jerker Stella Dallas to TV’s The Thorn Birds.
Sarah Vaughan (b. 1924)
Her mellow way with a lyric and unmatched phrasing won her plaudits as the Divine One, and praise from reigning jazz diva Ella Fitzgerald as ”the greatest singing talent in the world.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan (b. 1954)
The soulful musician was a blues-guitar hero known for white-hot performances; l990’s Family Style, his only record with brother Jimmie serves as a memorial.
Irving Wallace (b. 1916)
From The Chapman Report (1960) and The Prize (1962) to The Fan Club (1974), he was a no-frills fiction factory who wrote by the yard and sold by the ton; over 120 million copies of his books are in print.