​Passage: Three shining talents

It happened this past week . . . the loss of three Americans who made their marks in very different ways.

Donna Douglas died Thursday in Baton Rouge of pancreatic cancer.

A small-town Louisiana native, Douglas hit the big time in 1962 as Elly May Clampett on the CBS sitcom, "The Beverly Hillbillies."

After the show ended its nine-season run in 1971, she went on to record a number of gospel and country albums.

Donna Douglas was 82.

At just four-foot-11, "Little Jimmy" Dickens was nonetheless one of the Grand Ol' Opry's biggest stars.

He was a singer-songwriter with a comic touch.

He last performed at the Opry three Saturdays ago, and died Friday after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day.

Little Jimmy Dickens was 94.

"There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit in your 'shining city.'"

New York Governor Mario Cuomo electrified the 1984 Democratic convention with his attack on the policies of President Ronald Reagan.

Born to immigrant parents in the New York City borough of Queens, Cuomo grew up to become a lawyer and politician, winning his first term as Governor in 1982.

A liberal without apology, he disappointed his supporters by declining to run for President in both 1988 and 1992.

And though he lost his bid for a fourth term in 1994, the Cuomo era in New York is hardly over. On Thursday -- New Year's Day -- Andrew Cuomo was inaugurated to a second term as Governor, just hours before his father died of heart failure.

Mario Cuomo was 82.