Hundreds of well-known people pass away each year, giving us time to lend tribute to those we cherished the most. This is a subjective point of view by yours truly, listing ten significant leaders, heros and celebrities who passed away in 2013. One sentence describing each. (Ten honorable mentions added)
1. Margaret Thatcher
British Prime Minister from 1979-1990, perhaps the greatest female leader of a country ever, with possible exception of Golda Meir.
2. Nelson Mandela
While controversial in his background, genuinely beloved by millions of his countrymen as a uniting force among all people of South Africa.
3. Van Cliburn
Perhaps the greatest American classical pianist of all time, achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 when he won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War.
4. Stan Musial
Humble gentleman, one of the greatest St. Louis Cardinal hitters of all time with a lifetime batting average of .333.
5. Jonathan Winters
A laugh-making machine, one of the great American comics of radio, television and movies.
6. Maria Tallchief
Half Native-American, arguably the greatest American ballerina of all time
7. Tom Clancy
One of the more gifted novelist in American history, known for his technical acuity in writing military intrigue.
8. James Gandolfini
Bigger than life star of The Soprano’s, and many other films, passing at only 51 years of age.
9. Deanna Durbin
Once the highest paid actress in movies, this highly talented star of the 1930’s and 40’s could sing popular or opera, loved by all, but pulled a “Garbo” in 1949 and dropped out of public life.
10. Jean Stapleton
No one could ever have played the loveable “Dingbat” better on “All in the Family,” though she was an outstanding serious actress in many other roles.
* Rise Stevens
* Earl Weaver
* Ed Koch
* Patti Page
* Esther Williams
* Eydie Gorme
* George Jones
* Roger Ebert
* Ken Norton
* Dr. Joyce Brothers
(Omitted from recognition: Hugo Chavez and Helen Thomas – Jew-haters both.)