(Correction: Because of a reporting error, the name of Ralph Edwards, creator of ''This Is Your Life," was incorrect in a Page One story yesterday recalling people who died in 2005.)
(Correction: Because of a reporting error, the name of conductor Carlo Maria Giulini was misspelled in a Page One story Jan. 1 about significant deaths in 2005.)
''I am simply a human being, more or less," wrote Saul Bellow in his novel ''Herzog." I was an epitaph the Nobel laureate, who died this past year, might have composed for many notables who passed from the scene in 2005.
Pope John Paul II (born Karol Wojtyla) rose from modest origins to lead the Roman Catholic Church in charismatic fashion, championing the poor while defending conservative church positions on social issues and becoming the most widely traveled pontiff in history. Rosa Parks, a seamstress from Montgomery, Ala., sparked the civil rights movement by refusing to take a back seat on a city bus, touching off a revolt that changed American history.
Johnny Carson, the long reigning king of late-night television, had an old-fashioned Midwestern simplicity to him, one that wore comfortably on his TV audience for 30 years. ABC News anchor Peter Jennings was a globe-trotting reporter whose coolness under fire reassured viewers during times of uncertainty and rank partisanship. Millions mourned their passing.
Two of America's greatest contemporary dramatists also bowed out. In ''Death of a Salesman," ''The Crucible," and other works of incandescent power, Arthur Miller explored the dark recesses of the postwar American Dream. August Wilson masterfully portrayed the African-American experience in a 10-play cycle that included the Pulitzer-winning dramas ''Fences" and ''The Piano Lesson."
The global community extolled two extraordinary men who dedicated their lives to peace and justice. Physicist Hans Bethe helped design the first atomic bomb, then became the ''conscience of the scientific community" for his staunch opposition to the arms race. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal was dubbed the ''Holocaust's avenging archangel" for tracking down hundreds of fugitive war criminals and bringing them to trial.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist steered the US Supreme Court in a rightward direction while presiding over some of his era's most contentious legal cases. General William Westmoreland, commander of American forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, left a legacy as mixed as public sentiment once was about the war itself. Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota entered the history books for challenging Lyndon Johnson in the 1968 presidential primaries, eventually deterring Johnson from seeking reelection.
Simple they were not, yet all were American originals: postmodernist architect Philip Johnson, who designed such masterworks as Manhattan's Seagram Building and AT&T headquarters; Richard Pryor, the trailblazing comic who introduced a hilarious street vibe to contemporary comedy; and journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who injected fear, loathing, and a gonzo sensibility into twisted chronicles of political life and pop culture.
Bostonians raised a glass to restaurateur Anthony Athanas, who played host to the city's VIPs and visiting celebrities for more than four decades. To readers who enjoyed their political commentary with a shot of wry, the death of Globe columnist David Nyhan hit especially hard. Finally, no backward glance at 2005 would be complete without remembering the more than 900 US military personnel who sacrificed their lives valorously this year in conflicts overseas.
May their memories shine brightly as 2005 fades from view.
A nation that lost some of its best and brightest last year paid tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and first woman to run for president as a major party candidate, and Constance Baker Motley, a pioneering civil rights attorney and the first black woman to sit on the federal bench. Diplomats George F. Kennan and Sol Linowitz played key roles in shaping US policy abroad. Two US senators from Wisconsin, William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson, were hailed for their contributions: Proxmire as a watchdog over government spending and Nelson as a crusading environmentalist. Massachusetts saluted Republican Representative Hastings Keith for helping create the Cape Cod National Seashore Park.
On Capitol Hill, eulogies were also delivered for Senators Howell Heflin of Alabama and James J. Exon of Nebraska; Representatives J.J. Pickle of Texas, Peter Rodino of New Jersey, Robert Matsui and Edward R. Roybal of California, Tillie Fowler and Richard Kelly of Florida, Tom Bevill of Alabama, Peter Garland of Maine, John Monagan of Connecticut, and William Dorn of South Carolina. Governors Jay Hammond of Alaska, Stan Hathaway of Wyoming, Carroll Campbell of South Carolina, S. Ernest Vandiver of Georgia, and Elbert Carvel of Delaware also died.
Watergate featured prominently in obituaries of Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods and acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray. Mourned inside and outside the Beltway, too, were Lloyd Cutler, Andrew J. Goodpaster, Frederick Dutton, and Arthur Fletcher, the father of affirmative action; civil rights figures James Forman, K. Patrick Okura, Fred Korematsu, and C. DeLores Tucker; feminist leader Molly Yard; labor leader Sandra Feldman; surgeon general Paul Ehrlich; postmaster general Robert Tisch; Vice Admiral James Stockdale, who ran with Ross Perot in 1992; military critic David Hackworth; Dallas police officer Nick McDonald, who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald; Rosemary Kennedy, sister of John F.; war heroes Stephen Gregg, Jose Lopez, Robert Bush, and George O'Brien Jr.; Terri Schiavo, focus of a landmark right-to-die case; and Johnnie Cochran, who led O.J. Simpson's legal Dream Team.
Around the globe, memorials were held for pro-Western monarch King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and British prime minister Edward Heath, who ushered his country into the European Economic Community. Israelis buried president Ezer Weizman, who helped negotiate the historic 1979 peace agreement with Egypt. Prince Rainier of Monaco was Europe's longest reigning monarch. Peter Benenson founded Amnesty International, defender of human rights around the world.
Other leading figures who died last year included prime ministers Milton Obote of Uganda, David Lange of New Zealand, Eugenia Charles of Dominica, Lord James Callaghan of Great Britain, and Zhao Ziyang of China; former presidents K.R. Narayanan of India and Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo; premiers Rafik Hariri of Lebanon and Vasco Goncalves of Portugal; Chilean opposition leader Gladys del Carmen Marín Millie; Cardinal Jaime L. Sin of the Philippines; and Archbishop Iakovos, Greek Orthodox Church leader in North and South America.
Also, Polish patriot Jan Nowak-Jezioranski; Lebanese lawmaker Gebran Tueni; Rwanda-based diplomat Peter F. Whaley; Chinese dissident Liu Binyan; Zhang Chunqiao, a member of China's infamous Gang of Four; Soviet strategist Alexander Yakovlev; South African tribal rain queen Makobo Modjadji; Israeli intelligence agent Peter Zvi Malkin; British foreign secretary Robin Cook; human rights activist Margaret Popkin; and Bob Hunter, the Canadian journalist who cofounded Greenpeace.
Versatility was the hallmark of author-scholars Roger Shattuck and Benjamin DeMott, memoirist and teacher Frank Conroy, essayists Guy Davenport and Harold Cruse, poet Stanley Burnshaw; and writer Lucien Carr. Other tributes were penned for novelists Judith Rossner, Claude Simon, William Murray, Ba Jin, Rodney Whitaker, Rona Jaffe, Marjorie Kellogg, Robert Sheckley, Andre Norton, Charlotte MacLeod, Mary Lee Settle, and Tristan Egolf; children's author Catherine Woolley; poets Philip Lamantia and Richard Eberhart; writers Larry Collins, Elizabeth Janeway, James A. Houston, and Vine Deloria Jr.; author-economist Robert Heilbrone; critics Wayne Booth and James Randall; and feminist icon Andrea Dworkin.
Tinseltown also paid last respects to producers Sid Luft, Otto Plaschkes, and Debra Hill; actresses Ruth Warrick, Virginia Mayo, Simone Simon, June Haver, Wendie Jo Sperber, Maria Schell, Ruth C. Hussey, Lorna Thayer, Thelma White, Sheree North, Constance Cummings, Frances Langford, and Dorris Bowdon; actors Daniel O'Herlihy, John Vernon, Brock Peters, Vincent Schiavelli; directors John Marshall, George Cosmatos, and Yoshitaro Nomura; choreographer Guy Green; makeup artist Bob Schiffer; screenwriters Ernest Lehman and Gavin Lambert; songwriter Joel Hirschhorn; art director Alexander Glotzen; stuntman Edward Smith; and Disney artist-writer Joe Grant.
Many greats from the music world have fallen. Cabaret performers Hildegarde, whose career spanned seven decades, and Bobby Short, who entertained at the Carlyle Hotel for 40 years, were laid to rest. So were jazz legends Jimmy Smith and Shirley Horn, along with bluegrass pioneer Jimmy Martin and fiddler extraordinaire Vassar Clements. R&B singer Luther Vandross, singer-guitarist Clarence ''Gatemouth" Brown, rock pianist Johnnie Johnson, and Tejano singer Laura Canales blazed their own musical trails that shall long live on.
In classical music, Carlo Maria Giuliani ranked among the 20th century's foremost conductors. Fellow conductors Sixten Ehrling, Marcello Viotti, Sergiu Comissiona, and Kenneth Schermerhorn died, as did pianists Gyorgy Sandor, Grant Johannesen, Moura Lympany, and Lazar Berman; opera stars Ara Berberian, Helen Phillips, and James King; singer Victoria de los Angeles; composers Donald Martino, George Rochberg, Gardner Read, and David Diamond; violinists Isidore Cohen, Robert Koff, and Norbert Brainin; cellists Elsa Ezerman and Robert Ripley; and flutist William Grass.
Rock and pop fans cued up tributes to bluesmen R.L. Burnside, Long John Baldry, and Little Milton; drummers Jim Capaldi, Spencer Dryden, and Keith Knudsen; guitarists Link Wray and Rod Price; singers Ibrahim Ferrer, Edward Patten, Tyrone Davis, Eugene Record, and Obie Benson; polka maestro Verne Meisner; songwriters Jimmy Griffin, Chris Whitley, and Paul Pena; folkies Fritz Richmond and John Herald; promoters Harold Leventhal and Chet Helms; and Lalo Guerrero, the father of Chicano music. Jazzmen Percy Heath, Stan Levey, Lucky Thompson, Arnie Lawrence, Bill Potts, and Blue Barron played their final notes in 2005, too.
Television and radio personalities become familiar presences in fans' lives, so their passing is especially poignant. Actor Bob Denver played the goofily lovable Gilligan on ''Gilligan's Island" and beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on the sitcom ''The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis." Comedian Don Adams gained fame as the suave but bumbling spy Maxwell Smart on ''Get Smart." TV and radio pioneer Ralph Edwards created such memorable shows as ''This Is Your Life" and ''Truth or Consequences." Sports broadcaster Chris Schenkel was the smooth-voiced big-game announcer for CBS and ABC for years.
Also applauded were actress Barbara Bel Geddes; actors Eddie Albert, James Doohan, John Spencer, Frank Gorshin, Barney Martin, Don Durant, Mason Adams, and Michael Vale; comedians Louis Nye, Nipsey Russell, Phil Ford, and Gene Baylos; producers Joanne Brough and Richard Lewine; directors Greg Garrison and John Patterson; writers Pat McCormick, Herb Sargent, Jerry Juhl, William Bell, Paul Henning, Danny Simon, and Gary Belkin; bandleaders Jose Melis and Skitch Henderson; composer Rich Rhodes; radio host Karl Haas; and three unforgettable voices, actor John Fiedler (Piglet), ventriloquist Paul Winchell (Tigger), and Thurl Ravenscroft, the g-g-great voice behind Tony the Tiger.
Obits were also published for journalist-essayist Marjorie Williams and TV critic Kay Gardella; sportswriter Pat Putnam; critic and cultural reporter Mel Gussow and ABC News anchor Bill Shadel; photographers Hy Peskin, Loomis Dean, Michael Evans, and John Bryson; editors Dennis Flanagan, Peter Bramley, Susan Gordon Lydon, Ted Giddings, Joseph Thorndike, Charles Hauser, and Robert Luce; poetry editor Elizabeth McFarland Hoffman; journalists Paul Duke, John Lawrence, Jack White, William Eaton, Paul Good, David Richardson, Al Aronowitz, Faith McNulty, and Fakher Haider; aerospace reporter Howard Benedict; publishers Robert Morrisey and Stephen Hamblett; magazine editor and UFO debunker Philip Klass; Vineyard Gazette columnist Della Hardman; and two New Yorker legends, grammarian Eleanor Gould Packard and golf writer Herbert Warren Wind.
Painters Al Held, John Hultberg, Ernest Crichlow, Al Loving, Neil Welliver, Gayleen Aiken, Robert Slutzky, and Fritz Scholder died last year, as did sculptors Eduardo Paolozzi, Constantine Seferlis, Philip Pavia, and Clement Meadmore; architects E. Stewart Williams, Kenzo Tange, and James Freed; muralist Sante Graziani; cartoonists Lou Meyers, Julian Blake, and Rowland Wilson; fashion designer Achille Maramotti; industrial designer John Ebstein; photographer Horst Tappe; illustrators Sydney Leff and Barbara Knutson; and vaunted art director and magazine designer Henry Wolf.
Also taking their final bows were playwrights Christopher Fry and Ed Kelleher, producer Benjamin Mordecai, dancer Dorothy Raphaelson, lyricist Robin Wright, director Gene Frankel, technical-effects wizard Peter Foy, singer- director Geraldine Fitzgerald, costume designer Donald Brooks, artistic adviser Charles France, and ballet stars Nathalie Krassovska, Ross Stretton, and Alfredo Corvino.
Celtics fans fondly recalled players Bob Brannum and Sonny Hertzberg, while Bruins fans saluted a favorite, Leo Labine. The Patriots lost Walter Cudzik and Steve Belichick, Coach Bill's dad. Golfers George Archer and Charles Yates died, too, as did rodeo star Chris LeDoux, hockey's Dutch Hiller, surfing icon Dale Velzy, basketball coach Big House Gaines, and announcer Chuck Thompson.
Into their own field of dreams go baseball's Mickey Owen, Vic Power, Chico Carrasquel, Donn Clendenon, Don Blasingame, Danny Gardella, Dick Dietz, Rick Mahler, Nelson Briles, Elrod Hendricks, Rod Kanehl, umpire Ken Burkhart, owner John McMullen, executive Harry Dalton, and Negro Leagues star Ted Radcliffe. From the NFL's ranks go Jim Parker, Reggie Roby, Ray Oldham, Johnny Sample, Sam Mills, Steve Courson, Darrell Russell, Toni Fritsch, Malcolm Kutner, Davis Little, Todd Bell, Frank Gatski, Dorchester's Jack Concannon, and coach Bud Carson.
Among other industry notables who died last year were banker Walter Wriston, beer mogul Edward Bronfman, restaurateur Arnold Morton, organic-foods guru Paul Keene,
Epidemiologist Richard Doll linked smoking to lung cancer, and endocrinologist Georgeanna Jones helped create the first test-tube baby. Charles Keeling paved the way for charting global warming, while microbiologist Maurice Hilleman made huge strides in vaccine development. Thomas Dawber led the groundbreaking Framingham Heart Study; Maclyn McCarty probed the new frontier of DNA research.
Nobel recipients who died in 2005 included Jack Kilby (physics), Richard Smalley and Henry Taube (chemistry), and Gerard Debreu (economics). Also, nuclear medicine giants Hal Anger and Katherine Lathrop; trailblazing surgeons Wilfred Bigelow, Michael Ward, Bradford Cannon, and Hamilton Naki; paleontologist John Ostrom; seismologist Keiiti Aki; mathematician George Dantzig; psychiatrist Brandt Steele; chemist Jacob Marinsky; technology gurus John Diebold and Richard Grimsdale; Salem native and South Pole explorer Norman Vaughan; and two renowned bug specialists, Maynard Ramsay (beetles) and Miriam Rothschild (fleas).
Psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner cofounded the Head Start program. He died this year, as did author-educator James Haskins, Harvard anthropologist William Howells, UMass president Robert Wood, and Boston University dean George Makechnie.
Also, Victor Wouk (hybrid car), Gordon Gould (laser), Ruth Siems (Stove Top stuffing mix), David Dalquist (Bundt pan), George Atkinson (video rentals), Leslie Smith (Matchbox toy cars), Joseph Owades (light beer), and Leo Sternbach (Valium).
Without community leaders such as housing specialist Frank Morris Jr., educator Neil Sullivan, elderly affairs advocate Elsie Frank, Bank of Boston leader William Brown, and Irene Morrill, who championed Charles River, this city would be a poorer place. The same may be said for community activists Lilla Frederick, Sara Wallace, Mary SooHoo, and John Beresford, developers Edwin Sidman and Franklin King Jr., disc jockey Norm Prescott, Channel 7 cameraman Therman Toon, and maverick state senator Charles Shannon Jr.
As a new year dawns, may all rest in peace for the ages.
Joseph P. Kahn can be reached by email at email@example.com.