12/25/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST
12/25/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST
STEVE IRWIN, 44
"He was half showman, half conservationist. His passion was his occupation, and it totally enveloped him"
—Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin
DANA REEVE, 44
"She was the epitome of love and kindness, and worked so hard during Chris's long illness to give their son Will as normal a life as possible"
—Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
ROBERT ALTMAN, 81
"Despite his cynicism and rough exterior, it wasn't possible for someone to make the movies he made without having a love for people and all of our failings and weaknesses. That's what he captured in ways that no other director ever had"
—actor Keith Carradine
CORETTA SCOTT KING, 78
CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST
"She walked five miles to school, being passed by buses carrying white children. It made her strong"
—civil rights activist Andrew Young
MAUREEN STAPLETON, 80
"She never tired of work. She won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony. I don't know where she kept them all."
—actor Eli Wallach
DENNIS WEAVER, 81
"He loved creating those great characters. He had a quirkiness that made him so endearing. You could relate to him"
—actress Linda Gray
JUNE ALLYSON, 88
"She was a talented kid. She could sing, dance, the whole lot. Sweet, charming—she was something."
—actor Peter Graves
GLENN FORD, 90
"Acting was a release for him. It was his way of getting rid of anger or any pent-up feelings. He was actually rather laid-back offscreen."
—actress Shirley Jones
JACK PALANCE, 87
"Despite his onscreen persona, Jack had a great sense of humor. His one-arm push-ups are an all-time Oscars highlight"
—actor Edward James Olmos
CHRIS PENN, 40
"He had an innocence, a vulnerability, that audiences connected with."
—actor Charlie Sheen
BRUNO KIRBY, 57
"He came to the set to act on the other end of a phone call I was filming, which a lot of actors won't do. Just a total mensch."
—actor Jeremy Piven
AL LEWIS, 82
"He would take time to play ball or throw a Frisbee with me. He was a good TV grandpa but he was also a good friend"
—The Munsters' Butch Patrick
OLEG CASSINI, 92
"He had the ability to span generations and could design for any type of woman. He loved the female form and was able to capture that passion in a pattern"
—model Carol Alt
SHELLEY WINTERS, 85
"She said you could not be a great actor unless you read the newspaper every day."
—actress Sally Kirkland
JANE WYATT, 96
"She always had a very proper 'tea-at-4' manner about her that really wasn't part of her role on the show"
—Father Knows Best costar Billy Gray
ED BRADLEY, 65
60 MINUTES ANCHOR
"He was always a straight shooter. The same guy you saw on television"
—60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl
GORDON PARKS, 93
"The quintessential Renaissance man. He was creativity personified."
—singer Lenny Kravitz
MIKE DOUGLAS, 81
TALK SHOW HOST
"Mike's talent was being himself—a friendly guy you welcomed into your living room."
—comic Prof. Irwin Corey
RED BUTTONS, 87
"He was adorable but tough. That cuteness belied a scrappy, well-trained professional."
—writer Larry Gelbart
JUNE POINTER, 52
"She had a terrific sound. A real musicality. It energized people."
—songwriter Carole Bayer Sager
FREDDY FENDER, 69
"Nobody sounded like Freddy. His voice was one of a kind, but some people called him the Mexican Elvis."
—musician Augie Meyers
BUCK OWENS, 76
"He was so much more than Hee Haw. The Beatles covered Buck's music, and they didn't cover many people."
—singer Brad Paisley
AARON SPELLING, 83
"He was incredibly imaginative. No show was alike. He just kept turning them out"
—Dynasty's Linda Evans
WENDY WASSERSTEIN, 55
"She was very much down-to-earth. She would tell funny stories about getting the Pulitzer."
—actress Swoosie Kurtz
WILSON PICKETT, 64
"When he sang, he made you want to dance. You could tell he was having a good time. And when he screamed, it was dead on-pitch."
—guitarist Steve Cropper
PATSY RAMSEY, 49
MOTHER OF JONBENET
"Her hope was to have JonBenét's murder solved for her husband, John, and her son Burke's sake."
—friend Suzanne Goebel
BETTY FRIEDAN, 85
"Modern women owe her a debt. She started a movement that changed our roles in the world."
—Ms. publisher Eleanor Smeal
LOU RAWLS, 72
"Lou was a stylist, in a category all by himself. His gospel background had a big influence"
—singer Aretha Franklin
MICKEY HARGITAY, 80
"My dad is the reason I am where I am today. He will forever be my hero and my inspiration"
—actress Mariska Hargitay
JACK WILD, 53
"He had a mischievous face, but he was a polite kid; never cheeky or rude."
—Oliver!'s Ron Moody
DON KNOTTS, 81
"He was incredibly important to The Andy Griffith Show. All the affection you would feel for Barney, you would feel for Don if you met him"
—costar Ron Howard
BILLY PRESTON, 59
"He was capable of doing things on the piano or organ that others couldn't do but wished they could."
—singer Sam Moore
DARREN McGAVIN, 83
"He'd had a long career including vaudeville, so you could count on him to make a scene work. You knew it wouldn't go wrong."
—actress Melinda Dillon
JACK WARDEN, 85
"It was not possible to work with him without learning something about the craft of acting."
—actor Sidney Poitier