hourglass.jpgSome people view obituaries as morbid stories, but in truth only one line of an obit deals with death. The rest of the story focuses on the amazing lives people lead. In 2009, these 20 obituaries were the stories that most resonated with me:
* Bea Arthur, a veteran actress and comedian who starred in the TV shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls”
* Norman Borlaug, an agronomist who won the Nobel Peace Prize for making advances in plant breeding that helped feed millions of people in Latin America and Asia
* Walter Cronkite, a veteran journalist and former CBS anchor who covered such historic events as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the assassination of JFK and the first man on the moon
* Dom Deluise, an actor, comedian and cookbook author who co-starred in the films “Blazing Saddles” and “Cannonball Run”
* Dominick Dunne, a bestselling author and special correspondent for Vanity Fair who covered the trials of O. J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers, Michael Skakel, William Kennedy Smith and Phil Spector
* Farrah Fawcett, an award-winning actress and pinup beauty who starred in the TV show “Charlie’s Angels”
* Don Hewitt, a veteran journalist and producer who created the “60 Minutes” news program
* John Hughes, a producer, writer and director whose 1980s films (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink”) defined a generation
* Michael Jackson, a singer and dancer — known as the ‘King of Pop’ — who sold more than half a billion albums
* Edward M. Kennedy, a liberal Democrat who served as senator of Massachusetts for 46 years
* Billy Mays, a late-night TV pitchman who promoted Orange Glo and OxiClean and starred in his own reality TV show
* Ed McMahon, a legendary TV personality best known for his work on the “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” and “Star Search”
* Ricardo Montalban, a Mexican-born actor who starred in the TV show “Fantasy Island” and in the film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”
* Les Paul, a musician and songwriter who pioneered the development of the solid-body electric guitar
* Natasha Richardson, a Tony Award-winning actress and wife to actor Liam Neeson
* Soupy Sales, a veteran comedian who perfected the pie-throwing routine
* Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics and sister of President John F. Kennedy and Sens. Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy
* Patrick Swayze, an actor and classically trained dancer who was best known for his work in the films “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost”
* George Tiller, one of only a few doctors in America who performed late-term abortions
* Andrew Wyeth, an artist whose paintings provided some of the most popular images of 20th century America
I also lost two unique people this year: my grandmother Terri Carlton and my high school sweetheart Chris Pine. May they rest in peace.