Late Greats

updated 12/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/25/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Emperor Hirohito
During his 62-year reign, Japan rose in arms, then rose from the ashes to economic supremacy.

Salvador Dali
The bug-eyed Spaniard with the coiled mustachio was surrealism's kitschiest exponent.

Irving Berlin
"Come on along," he said, and we did, to White Christmas, Easter Parade and God Bless America.

Lucille Ball
We love her still in reruns, and her ebullient slapstick made her the greatest comedienne of all time.

Diana Vreeland
Hanger-thin, Vogue's editor was fashion's oracle.

A. Bartlett Giamatti
A Renaissance Yalie was baseball's eloquent and honorable Commissioner for all seasons.

Robert Penn Warren
Our first poet laureate's novels also won hearts and hosannas.

Ayatollah Khomeini
He ignited a holy war, then was almost torn apart at his own funeral.

Rebecca Schaeffer
A young actress's flame was snuffed by a crazed fan.

George Adamson
Fighting to save Africa's wildlife, the co-hero of Born Free lost his own to the guns of poachers.

Mary McCarthy
A solitary firebrand, The Group's author ignited intellectual sparks about Vietnam and Watergate.

Amanda Blake
Gunsmoke's kindly saloonkeeper Miss Kitty became Hollywood's first noted actress to die of AIDS.

John Cassavetes
As an actor in The Dirty Dozen or our main cinema verite director, he made grittiness memorable.

"Rip" Sewell
The All-Star pitcher invented the eephus, a cockamamy curve only Ted Williams could clobber.

Gilda Radner
Buoyant to the end, the loopy Saturday Night Live comic bowed to cancer with dignity and courage.

Still first by a long shot, the Triple Crown winner finished as the greatest racehorse of his time.

Kay Kent
Copying Monroe to excess, the British impersonator even duplicated Marilyn's death by pills.

Bette Davis
In Dark Victory, All About Eve and on TV, she was one of our grandest—and often baddest—dames.

Laurence Olivier
In Hamlet, Othello and Henry V, England's greatest actor stole the show, even from Shakespeare.

Vladimir Horowitz
The age's most dazzling pianist performed wizardry on the same keyboard for seven decades.

Guy Williams
He left his main mark as Zorro, TV's swashbuckling champion of the poor and downtrodden.

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