“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” Computer scientist Randy Pausch faced terminal cancer when he spoke these words in a “Last Lecture” that inspired millions of Internet downloads and a best-selling book. In reflecting upon his own life, Pausch, who died in July, might have been paying tribute to other luminaries who passed from the scene in 2008, consummate hand players all.
Paul Newman, the epitome of onscreen cool, was eulogized as a humble man of many talents: actor, director, social activist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, race-car enthusiast. Charlton Heston, a Hollywood contemporary of Newman’s, starred in “Ben Hur” and other epics before recasting himself as a fierce advocate for the right to bear arms. British actor Paul Scofield was truly a man for all theatrical seasons, lighting up the stage and screen in dozens of memorable roles. Sydney Pollack moved effortlessly from directing Oscar-winning films (“Out of Africa,” “Tootsie”) to acting and producing roles that delighted moviegoers everywhere.
…American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer was recalled as a brilliant but eccentric competitor, winner of the 1972 world championship before abandoning his homeland and becoming a virtual recluse.
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