NEW YORK – Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson outlived her husband, Lyndon, by more than 35 years, expanding on her White House efforts to carve her own legacy as an environmentalist.
When she died July 11 at age 94, she left behind countless miles of scenic highways across the United States, dotted not by billboards and junkyards but by wildflowers.
She is one of the political figures, artists, businessmen and heroes to whom we said goodbye in 2007.
Two charismatic but flawed leaders, Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, aimed to bring democracy to their homelands. Wally Schirra reached for the stars as one of the original team of Mercury astronauts.
We lost authors Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut and David Halberstam — three men whose writings were shaped by war and found eager audiences in the Vietnam era.
The music world mourned Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavarotti, who appealed to the masses as well as opera buffs; the great classical cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; drummer Max Roach and pianist Oscar Peterson, hailed as geniuses by fellow jazzmen; and rock 'n' roll pioneer Ike Turner.
Directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni — Europeans who championed the art of cinema rather than Hollywood glitter — died on the same day. We also lost the Senegalese director Sembene Ousmane, a film pioneer in Africa.
In terms of cable news interest, the death of model-reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith overshadowed just about anyone else's. Other colorful newsmakers who died included daredevil Evel Knievel and "queen of mean" Leona Helmsley.
Their styles differed, but the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Tammy Faye Messner both brought their religious faith to bear on the wider world.
The sports world said goodbye to longtime Grambling coach Eddie Robinson, Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack and to NFL players Darrent Williams and Sean Taylor, both shot to death before their 25th birthday.
In business, we lost the founders or co-founders of Nasdaq, the Gallo wine-making empire, Bob Evans restaurants, Motel 6 and the Body Shop, the environmental cosmetics chain. The political world lost former Sens. Thomas Eagleton and George Smathers, as well as Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt. Columnists Art Buchwald and Molly Ivins brightened their writing with humor but never forgot the serious side of life.
Here, a roll call of some of the notables who died in 2007. (Cause of death cited for younger people if available.)
Teddy Kollek, 95. Six-term mayor of Jerusalem; tried to balance needs of Jewish and Arab populations. Jan. 2.
Vincent Sardi Jr., 91. Consummate host of Broadway watering hole Sardi's. Jan. 4.
Yvonne De Carlo, 84. The vampire mom on "The Munsters." Jan. 8.
Carlo Ponti, 94. Italian producer who discovered — and married — Sophia Loren. Jan. 9.
Art Buchwald, 81. Pulitzer-winning humorist who skewered Washington's elite. Jan. 17.
Denny Doherty, 66. Member of 1960s folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas ("California Dreamin'.") Jan. 19.
George A. Smathers, 93. Three-term Florida senator, friend to presidents. Jan. 20.
Abbe Pierre, 94. Beloved French priest praised for devotion to the needy. Jan. 22.
E. Howard Hunt, 88. Helped organize the Watergate break-in. Jan. 23.
The Rev. Robert Drinan, 86. Priest who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House during the 1970s. Jan. 28.
Gordon S. Macklin, 79. A founder and longtime president of Nasdaq stock market. Jan. 30.
Sidney Sheldon, 89. Stage, screen writer turned best-selling novelist ("The Other Side of Midnight.") Jan. 30.
Molly Ivins, 62. Best-selling author, columnist, a sharp-witted liberal who referred to President Bush as "Shrub." Jan. 31.
Gian Carlo Menotti, 95. Pulitzer-winning Italian composer ("The Consul," "Amahl and the Night Visitors"); founded Spoleto arts festivals. Feb. 1.
Frankie Laine, 93. Big-voiced singer; one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950s ("That Lucky Old Sun.") Feb. 6.
Anna Nicole Smith, 39. Model and sometime actress. Feb. 8. Accidental overdose of medication.
Robert Adler, 93. Co-inventor of the TV remote, the 1956 Zenith Space Command. Feb. 15.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89. Pulitzer-winning historian; Kennedy administration "court philosopher." Feb. 28.
Thomas Eagleton, 77. Former senator who resigned as George McGovern's running mate in 1972 after it was revealed he had been hospitalized for depression. March 4.
Ernest Gallo, 97. With his brother, built the world's largest winemaking empire. March 6.
Betty Hutton, 86. Singer-actress who brought brassy vitality to Hollywood musicals ("Annie Get Your Gun.") March 11.
Bowie Kuhn, 80. Baseball commissioner during development of free agency, multimillion-dollar contracts. March 15.
John Backus, 82. Developer of Fortran programming language that changed how people interacted with computers. March 17.
G.E. Patterson, 67. Presiding bishop of million-member Church of God in Christ. March 20.
Robert E. Petersen, 80. Publisher whose Hot Rod, Motor Trend magazines helped shape car culture. March 23.
William Becker, 85. Co-founded the Motel 6 chain. April 2.
Eddie Robinson, 88. Longtime Grambling coach; transformed small college into a football power. April 3.
Johnny Hart, 76. Cartoonist whose "B.C." showed the Stone Age's humorous side. April 7.
Kurt Vonnegut, 84. Novelist who captured the absurdity of the world in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five." April 11.
Don Ho, 76. Hawaiian crooner ("Tiny Bubbles"); entertained tourists. April 14.
Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96. Singer-actress; long career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film ("A Night at the Opera.") April 17.
Helen Robson Walton, 87. Widow of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton; philanthropist. April 19.
David Halberstam, 73. Journalist whose acclaimed books included towering study of Vietnam War, poignant portrait of aging baseball stars. April 23.
Boris Yeltsin, 76. Former Russian president who helped bring demise of Soviet Union. April 23.
Warren Avis, 92. Founded Avis Rent A Car. April 24.
Jack Valenti, 85. Film industry lobbyist; instituted modern movie ratings system. April 26.
Mstislav Rostropovich, 80. The ebullient master cellist who fought for the rights of Soviet-era dissidents. April 27.
Tom Poston, 85. The tall, pasty-faced TV comic whose characters were clueless. ("Newhart.") April 30.
Walter M. Schirra Jr., 84. An original Mercury Seven astronaut, who combined the Right Stuff with a pronounced rebellious streak. May 3.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, 73. Evangelist who used the power of television to transform the religious right into a mighty political force. May 15.
Charles Nelson Reilly, 76. Tony Award winner; became known for his ribald TV game show appearances. May 25.
Barbara Cox Anthony, 84. Heiress to the Cox media fortune; one of the world's richest women. May 28.
Bill France Jr., 74. Transformed NASCAR into a billion-dollar conglomerate. June 4.
Sen. Craig Thomas, 74. Three-term Senate Republican; reliably represented conservative Wyoming. June 4.
Sembene Ousmane, 84. Father of Senegalese cinema; one of the pioneers of the art in Africa. June 9.
Don Herbert, 89. Television's "Mr. Wizard." June 12.
Ruth Graham, 87. Billy Graham's closest confidante, providing a solid foundation for her husband's evangelism career. June 14.
Kurt Waldheim, 88. U.N. secretary-general; Austrian president; was revealed to have been in German army unit that committed atrocities in World War II. June 14.
Gianfranco Ferre, 62. Italian designer known as "architect of fashion." June 17.
Bob Evans, 89. Created namesake restaurant chain. June 21.
Charles W. Lindberg, 86. Helped raise first American flag over Iwo Jima. June 24.
Liz Claiborne, 78. Her fashion designs became a cornerstone of career women's wardrobes. June 26.
Beverly Sills, 78. Opera diva with a dazzling voice, bubbly personality. July 2.
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, 68. Pioneer of modern historical romance novel ("The Flame and the Flower.") July 6.
Doug Marlette, 57. Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist, creator of comic strip "Kudzu." July 10. Car accident.
Lady Bird Johnson, 94. Former first lady who championed conservation and worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, Lyndon B. Johnson. July 11.
Tammy Faye Messner, 65. Helped then-husband Jim Bakker build a TV evangelism empire that collapsed in disgrace. July 20.
Mohammad Zahir Shah, 92. Afghanistan's last king, who oversaw four decades of peace before a 1973 coup. July 23.
Tom Snyder, 71. Late-late night TV talk show host with a robust laugh, trademark cloud of cigarette smoke. July 29.
Bill Walsh, 75. San Francisco 49ers coach, won three Super Bowls. July 30.
Ingmar Bergman, 87. Swedish filmmaker; one of the greatest artists in cinema history ("The Seventh Seal," "Cries and Whispers.") July 30.
Michelangelo Antonioni, 94. Italian filmmaker whose depiction of modern-day malaise made him a symbol of art-house cinema ("Blow-Up," "L'Avventura.") July 30.
Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, 90. A black woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1940s. Aug. 10.
Merv Griffin, 82. Singer turned TV host turned impresario who parlayed game shows into a multimillion-dollar empire. Aug. 12.
Brooke Astor, 105. Philanthropist who gave millions to New York City institutions, large and small. Aug. 13.
Phil Rizzuto, 89. Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop; sportscaster much loved for exclaiming "Holy cow!" Aug. 13.
Max Roach, 83. Jazz drummer whose rhythmic innovations defined bebop. Aug. 16.
Michael K. Deaver, 69. Adviser to Ronald Reagan who directed the president's picturesque public appearances. Aug. 18.
Leona Helmsley, 87. Ran a $5 billion real estate empire with her husband but became known as the "queen of mean" during her 1989 tax evasion trial. Aug. 20.
Grace Paley, 84. Acclaimed poet and short story writer. Aug. 22.
Hilly Kristal, 75. His Manhattan club CBGB served as birthplace of punk rock. Aug. 28.
Miyoshi Umeki, 78. Oscar-winning actress ("Sayonara.") Aug. 28.
Richard Jewell, 44. Former security guard wrongly linked to 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta. Aug. 29. Heart disease.
The Rev. D. James Kennedy, 76. Megachurch pastor; one of the nation's most prominent Christian broadcasters. Sept. 5.
Luciano Pavarotti, 71. Opera superstar hailed as "king of the high C's." Sept. 6.
Madeleine L'Engle, 88. Author who captivated children with "A Wrinkle in Time." Sept. 6.
Jane Wyman, 90. Won Oscar as deaf rape victim in "Johnny Belinda"; later in TV's "Falcon Crest." Ronald Reagan's ex-wife. Sept. 10.
Anita Roddick, 64. Founded eco-friendly beauty retailer The Body Shop. Sept. 10.
The Rev. Rex Humbard, 88. His televangelism ministry once spanned the globe. Sept. 21.
Marcel Marceau, 84. French master of pantomime who transformed silence into poetry. Sept. 22.
Harry Dent, 77. Top adviser to President Nixon; helped him win the South. Sept. 28.
James W. Michaels, 86. Transformed business journalism as Forbes magazine editor. Oct. 2.
Deborah Kerr, 86. Actress who kissed Burt Lancaster on a beach in "From Here to Eternity" and danced with Yul Brynner in "The King and I." Oct. 16.
Barbara West Dainton, 96. Englishwoman believed to be one of the last two survivors from the Titanic. Oct. 16.
Joey Bishop, 89. Stone-faced TV and nightclub comedian; last of the Rat Pack. Oct. 17.
Catherine Roraback, 87. Attorney who won 1965 Supreme Court that established the right to contraceptives and privacy. Oct. 17.
Dr. Arthur Kornberg, 89. His test-tube synthesis of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1959. Oct. 26.
Porter Wagoner, 80. Grand Ole Opry star who helped launch the career of Dolly Parton. Oct. 28.
Robert Goulet, 73. Baritone made Broadway debut in "Camelot;" won Tony in 1968 for "The Happy Time." Oct. 30.
Paul Tibbets, 92. Piloted the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Nov. 1.
Norman Mailer, 84. The pugnacious prince of American letters. Nov. 10.
The Rev. John H. Cross Jr., 82. Pastor of church in Birmingham, Ala., where four girls died in a 1963 racist bombing. Nov. 15.
Dick Wilson, 91. Played the fussy, mustachioed grocer who begged customers "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin." Nov. 19.
Ian Smith, 88. Rhodesia's last white prime minister; his attempts to resist black rule brought isolation and civil war. Nov. 20.
Herbert Saffir, 90. Engineer; created the five-category system to describe hurricane strength. Nov. 21.
Dr. J. Robert Cade, 80. Inventor of Gatorade. Nov. 27.
Bill Hartack, 74. Hall of Fame jockey; one of only two to win five Kentucky Derbys. Nov. 26.
Henry Hyde, 83. Illinois congressman who steered impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. Nov. 29.
Roger B. Smith, 82. Led General Motors Corp.; was subject of Michael Moore's documentary "Roger & Me." Nov. 29.
Evel Knievel, 69. Motorcycle daredevil known for spectacular jumps and bone-crushing crashes. Nov. 30.
Karlheinz Stockhausen, 79. Avant-garde German composer; pioneer of electronic music. Dec. 5.
Roger M. King, 63. CBS and King World Productions executive; helped bring such stars as Oprah Winfrey to television. Dec. 8.
Ike Turner, 76. Rock innovator who teamed with wife Tina Turner (and denied abusing her). Dec. 12.
Dan Fogelberg, 56. His gentle, poignant hits ("Longer," "Leader of the Band") helped define soft-rock. Dec. 16. Cancer.
J. Russell Coffey, 109. Oldest known surviving U.S. veteran of World War I. Dec. 20.
Ken Hendricks, 66. His ABC Supply Co., a roofing and siding supply company, made him a billionaire. Dec. 21.
Michael Kidd, 92. Choreographer whose athletic dances ("Seven Brides for Seven Brothers") won him five Tonys and a special Oscar. Dec. 23.
Oscar Peterson, 82. Jazz pianist whose hard-driving swing and melodic improvisations were hugely influential. Dec. 23.
Benazir Bhutto, 54. Former Pakistan prime minister who returned from exile to challenge the current leader, Pervez Musharraf. Dec. 27. Assassinated.