​Hail and farewell to those we lost in 2014


Just a few of the noted personalities we lost in 2014 (clockwise from upper left): Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Maya Angelou, Shirley Temple, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Pete Seeger.

CBS News

Charles Osgood brings a smile to your face, and maybe a tear to your eye, as we mark the passing this year of so many talented people who helped define our times:

Robin Williams touched down, as if from a distant galaxy, speaking a language ("Nanu nanu!") we had never heard before, but which we instantly understood.

He held up his own funhouse mirror to the rest of us, exploring not only comic possibilities, but deeper truths.

"You don't know about real loss. Because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself," he said in the 1997 film, "Good Will Hunting."

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plumbed the tangled, mysterious depths of the human soul . . . in performances so perfectly nuanced, that they seemed not performances at all, but visitations . . . and broke our hearts this year when his own fragile soul gave way.

Mike Nichols
won every entertainment award there is -- and one, in 1959, that doesn't exist, for Total Mediocrity, presented by his comic partner, Elaine May.

Goodbye to Geoffrey Holder, the elegant pitchman for 7-UP. He was also singer, dancer, actor, painter, choreographer, director, and costume designer. He gave us Broadway's "The Wiz."

Farewell to Ruth Robinson Duccini, the last of the female Munchkins, who started Dorothy down that yellow brick road in 1939.

And to Richard Kiel, whose enormous size usually got him cast as the bad guy (Jaws from the James Bond series), or an alien, monster, or the Soviet spy prowling on "Gilligan's Island."

And farewell to Russell Johnson -- he played the brainy Professor on that crazy island of castaways:

Ginger: "You can hold me a little closer, I won't break."
Professor: "Well, I don't want to crush your dress."
Ginger: "Try."

A round of snaps for Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley on "The Addams Family."

And to Ann B. Davis, Alice on "The Brady Bunch."

And to Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., who always got his man.