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Introduction
2006
From golf's Lord Byron to the man behind "Melrose Place." From the matriarch of the civil rights movement to the "Butcher of the Balkans." The year 2006 witnessed the deaths of world figures, Hollywood favorites and a former U.S. president. Use the links below or to the right to look back at some of the key passages from the past 12 months.

Shelley Winters
January 14
A two-time Oscar winner, actress Shelley Winters appeared in more than 120 films. She won the best supporting actress award twice, first for 1959's "The Diary of Anne Frank" and then the 1965 film "A Patch of Blue." Her final Oscar nomination was for her role in 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure." She also wrote two memoirs in which she detailed her romantic encounters with a number of Hollywood leading men, including Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando. She died on January 14 after suffering a heart attack in October 2005. She was 85.

• Gallery: Shelly Winters, a life in pictures
Wilson Pickett
January 19
Wilson Pickett was a pioneering soul musician from Alabama whose soulful voice infused a series of classic rhythm and blues hits from the 1960s. He began singing gospel as a young man but found success when he switched to soul, producing hits like "In The Midnight Hour," "Mustang Sally" and "Land of 1,000 Dances." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. He was 64 when he died on January 19 in Virginia. Singer Lou Rawls also hailed from the gospel and soul tradition, but he also recorded pop standards and won three Grammys. He died at age 72 on January 6.

• Lou Rawls dead at 72
Coretta Scott King
January 30
The matriarch of the civil rights movement, Coretta Scott King lost her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1968 but nurtured his legacy. She founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and oversaw the push for the federal holiday honoring her husband. Four presidents attended her funeral, and more than 115,000 people filed past King's open coffin during a public viewing at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her husband and his father had preached. She was 78 when she died on January 30.

• Coretta Scott King dies | Gallery
Body of Coretta Scott King laid to rest | Gallery | Tributes | Reflections
Betty Friedan
February 4
She published "The Feminine Mystique" in 1963, and the book detailed the frustration of women who were expected to rely on their husbands and children for their happiness. In doing so, Betty Friedan jump-started what became the modern feminist movement. Three years later, she and 27 others founded the National Organization of Women, the largest feminist organization in the country. She died on February 4, her 85th birthday.

Don Knotts
February 24
In his five seasons on the popular 1960s sitcom "The Andy Griffith Show," Don Knotts won five Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the bungling deputy sheriff Barney Fife. He was the show's comic foil, frequently getting into trouble of his own making. After leaving the show, Knotts made a series of films but returned to TV in 1979 on another popular sitcom, "Three's Company." He starred again with Andy Griffith on "Matlock" in a recurring role as a pesky neighbor. He was 81 when he died on February 24 of complications from lung cancer. Another TV star died the same day in Colorado. Dennis Weaver starred in "Gunsmoke" and "McCloud." He was 81.

Slobodan Milosevic
March 11
He died of a heart attack while on trial for war crimes, and former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, 64, was unrepentant to the end. After Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence, troops under Milosevic carried out "ethnic cleansing," which he was accused of continuing in Kosovo. Other leaders who died include Ibrahim Rugova, a moderate ethnic Albanian who led Kosovo (January 21, age 61); P.W. Botha, former South African leader who declined to hand over power to the black majority (October 21, age 90); Bulent Ecevit, former prime minister of Turkey (November 5, age 81); and former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (December 10, age 91).

Special Report: The death of Milosevic | Gallery
Kosovo President Rugova dies at 61 | Turkish sorrow at Ecevit death
Oleg Cassini
March 17
The grandson of a Russian diplomat, Oleg Cassini was an American clothing designer who had worked as a costume designer in Hollywood. Then Jacqueline Kennedy asked him to design the clothes she wore as first lady, and they created an American style as sophisticated as anything coming out of Paris at that time. He was 92 when he died on March 17. A few days later, Bernard Lacoste, head of the Lacoste clothing empire, died on March 21 at age 74.

Buck Owens
March 25
Buck Owens had 20 No. 1 country singles and was the architect of the "Bakersfield Sound," a hard-edged version of honky-tonk that stood out from the pop-influenced country hits of the 1960s. But more recognition probably came from his tenure as co-host of the TV show, "Hee Haw." A savvy businessman, he owned several publications and radio stations in Bakersfield, California. He regularly performed at his Bakersfield nightclub, The Crystal Palace, including a show the night before he died. He was 76.

Caspar Weinberger
March 28
Caspar Weinberger was defense secretary for nearly the entire Reagan administration and oversaw the huge defense buildup during that time. He also was a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. He died on March 28 at age 88. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, another key Reagan administration figure, was the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and was a forceful advocate of U.S. support for anti-communist governments during the Cold War. She was 80 when she died on December 7.

A.M. Rosenthal
May 10
A.M. Rosenthal was the managing and executive editor of The New York Times and played a key role in publishing the Pentagon Papers. He died on May 10 at age 84. He was one of several well-known figures in the world of newspaper journalism who died in 2006. R.W. "Johnny" Apple, a Times correspondent who covered politics, war and his passion, food and drink, for more than 40 years, died October 4 at 71. Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, who brought the paper into the top ranks of U.S. newspapers, died on February 27 at age 78. Finally, Joe Rosenthal, the Associated Press photographer who took the famous flag-raising photo on Iwo Jima in 1945, died on August 20, 2006 at the age of 94.

Billy Preston
June 6
Billy Preston was a organist who accompanied such rock luminaries as the Rolling Stones and Ray Charles, and he was the only musician to ever play on a Beatles album and be credited (he is the organist on "Get Back"). He learned how to play the organ in church in Los Angeles, had hits of his own in the 1970s and co-wrote the 1974 hit, "You Are So Beautiful," with Joe Cocker. He died on June 6 of a kidney-related illness. He was 59.

Aaron Spelling
June 26
TV producer Aaron Spelling dominated the small screen for 40 years, creating a long list of hits, including "Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Melrose Place," "Charlie's Angels," "Dynasty" and "Beverly Hills 90210." He also produced a number of TV movies, including "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" featuring a young John Travolta. In all, he produced more than 3,000 hours of TV shows. He was 83 when he died on June 23 after suffering a stroke.

Syd Barrett
July 7
Syd Barrett was an original member of Pink Floyd but never experienced the band's tremendous success. He founded the band with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright in 1965 and wrote some of the band's early hits. But erratic behavior, driven by mental problems and heavy drug use, led him to the leave the band in 1968. He put out two solo albums in 1970 but never seriously recorded again. He died at age 60 on July 7.

Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett dies
Red Buttons
July 13
Red Buttons was a nationally known comedian and actor who won an Oscar not for his humor but for a dramatic role. His portrayal of a U.S. airman in the 1957 film "Sayonara" won him the Academy Award as best supporting actor. Born Aaron Chwatt in 1919, he regularly appeared in various television programs and was rated one of America's Top 100 comedians by Comedy Central in 2004. He died in Los Angeles on July 13 at age 87.

Mickey Spillane
July 16
The author of hard-boiled mystery fiction, Mickey Spillane's main character was the archetype tough-guy private eye, Mike Hammer. Spillane wrote a total of 13 Mike Hammer novels and a dozen other books, including some for younger readers. He was 88 when he died on July 17. Other literary figures who passed away in 2006 include Peter Benchley, author of "Jaws" and other thrillers, who died February 11 at 65; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who died January 30 at 55; novelist Bill Diehl, author of "Primal Fear" and other books, who died November 24 at 81; and Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in literature, who died August 30 at 94.

Mike Douglas
August 11
He was the affable host of one of the first daytime talk shows. From Richard Nixon to the Rolling Stones to a very young Tiger Woods, a variety of actors, politicians, artists, writers and performers appeared on "The Mike Douglas Show." It was the first syndicated show to win an Emmy. One memorable moment was in 1972, when John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-hosted the broadcast for an entire week. The show ran from 1961 to 1982. Douglas died August 11 on his 81st birthday.

Ann Richards
September 13
She was a brassy, tough-talking Texas politician who rose to the Lone Star State's highest office. But former Texas Gov. Ann Richards' most memorable moment in politics was her address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. She lambasted the GOP nominee, the wealthy and syntax-challenged George H.W. Bush, by saying "Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." But Bush won that year, and his son and the future president, George W. Bush, defeated Richards for governor in 1994. Richards died of cancer on September 13. She was 73.

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, 73, dies
Molly Ivins: Remembering Ann Richards
Byron Nelson
September 26
In 1945, Byron Nelson set two of golf's most enduring records: 11 straight PGA Tour wins and a total 18 wins. That same remarkable season, he played 19 straight rounds under 70 and had a stroke average of 68.33 -- a record that stood for 55 years until Tiger Woods broke it in 2000. Nelson retired to his Texas ranch in 1946 but remained involved in golf through the PGA tournament named after him, which has raised millions for charity. He died at his ranch on September 26 at age 94.

SI.com: Nelson will be known as 'legend who'll never fade'
SI.com: SI commemorates Lord Byron's 11 straight wins
SI.com: True measure of Nelson was his amazing generosity
Iva Toguri ('Tokyo Rose')
September 26
She was convicted of treason for being the notorious World War II propagandist that U.S. servicemen nicknamed "Tokyo Rose." But Iva Toguri D'Aquino, a U.S. citizen, was pardoned by President Gerald Ford and her citizenship restored after doubts surfaced about her prosecution. A Chicago Tribune reporter located her accusers, who admitted they were pressured to lie. In January, the World War II Veterans Committee gave her its annual citizenship award, citing her "indomitable spirit" and love of country. She was 90 when she died of natural causes on September 26.

Red Auerbach
October 28
Red Auerbach took the Boston Celtics to NBA glory, first as coach and then as general manager, creating a dynasty that will be hard to top. He coached the Celtics to nine NBA titles, including eight in a row from 1959 to 1966. The team won seven more titles during his tenure as general manager. The NBA's award for coach of the year bears his name. He died of a heart attack on October 28 at age 89.

SI.com: Auerbach was one of a kind and earned respect of all
SI.com: Former players mourn loss of Celtics' 'godfather'
William Styron
November 1
Critics ranked him with the giants of American literature, and novelist William Styron earned the honors that put him there. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for "The Confessions of Nat Turner," a fictional account of a slave rebellion, and the 1980 American Book Award for "Sophie's Choice." He also won acclaim for his memoir of his struggle with depression, "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness." He was 81 when he died on November 1.

Ed Bradley
November 9
Ed Bradley was a correspondent for CBS's "60 Minutes," and his probing questions combined with a deceptively relaxed interviewing style graced some of the show's most notable reports. He joined "60 Minutes" during the 1981-82 season after two years as White House correspondent for CBS News and three years at "CBS Reports." His work over the years won him a Peabody Award, 19 Emmys and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, among many others. He died of leukemia on November 9. He was 65.

Ed Bradley of '60 Minutes' dies of leukemia | Gallery | Audio slide show
Jack Palance
November 10
His standard role was that of the bad guy, but actor Jack Palance won the Academy Award for poking fun at his typecasting. Palance won the best supporting actor Oscar for his 1991 role as a mean cowboy in the comedy "City Slickers," and his unique acceptance became part of Oscar history. After his speech, Palance, then 72, dropped to the floor and did one-handed push-ups to show he was still as tough as ever. Oscar host and "City Slickers" co-star Billy Crystal used Palance's display of manhood as a running gag throughout the show. Palance died November 10 of natural causes. He was 87.

Milton Friedman
November 16
A Nobel Prize-winning economist, Milton Friedman believed in free markets with little government intervention. His writings heavily influenced conservative Republicans, and his theories about taxes helped shape the tax cuts pushed by the Reagan administration. He was 94 when he died on November 16. His intellectual opposite, John Kenneth Galbraith, believed government had a role in the economy. A Harvard professor, Galbraith advised Democratic presidents and served as ambassador to India in the early 1960s. He died of natural causes on April 29 at age 97. Finally, Louis Rukeyser, who demystified the world of finance for 30 years on PBS's "Wall $treet Week," died May 2. He was 73.

CNNMoney: Nobel economist Milton Friedman dead at 94
Fortune: The people's economist
Robert Altman
November 20
A Hollywood iconoclast, director Robert Altman bucked the studios and found his own way to make films that featured ensemble casts and his signature long tracking shots. A five-time Academy Award nominee, he never won, despite having directed such films as "M*A*S*H," "Nashville" and "Gosford Park." He did receive an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2006. He died of complications from cancer on November 20. He was 81.

James Brown
December 25
James Brown is known as “The Godfather of Soul” but his influence is much broader and deeper. Brown’s performances were sweaty and raw but his rhythms were complex. He established his groove with early hits “Please, Please, Please” and “Think,” and essentially created funk in the mid-‘60s with songs like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Cold Sweat.” The beat of the 1970 instrumental “Funky Drummer” might be the most widely sampled rhythm in hip-hop, Jon Pareles wrote in the New York Times. Brown died on Christmas Day of heart failure at age 73.

Gerald Ford
December 26
Gerald Ford and the presidency intersected at a tumultuous time and "For a nation that needed healing and for an office that needed a calm and steady hand, Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most," President Bush said. With Washington mired in the Watergate scandal, then-House minority leader Ford agreed to serve as Richard Nixon’s vice president in 1973 after Spiro Agnew resigned over tax evasion charges. He became the 38th president the following year when Nixon resigned. Ford inherited a recession, an energy crisis, high unemployment and a country still divided by the Vietnam War. His pardon of Nixon created a bitter backlash that is widely seen as costing him the 1976 election.

Special Report: Gerald Ford: 1913-2006
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