Lady Bird, Anna Nicole, Ingmar and more

Posted: December 29, 2007

NEW YORK - Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson outlived her husband, Lyndon, by more than 35 years, expanding on her White House efforts to carve her own legacy as an environmentalist.

When she died July 11 at age 94, she left behind countless miles of scenic highways across the United States, dotted not by billboards and junkyards but by wildflowers.

She is one of the political figures, artists, businessmen and heroes to whom we said goodbye in 2007.

Two charismatic but flawed leaders, Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, aimed to bring democracy to their homelands. Wally Schirra reached for the stars as one of the original team of Mercury astronauts.

We lost authors Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut and David Halberstam - three men whose writings were shaped by war and found eager audiences in the Vietnam era.

The music world mourned Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavarotti, who appealed to the masses as well as opera buffs; the great classical cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; drummer Max Roach and pianist Oscar Peterson, hailed as geniuses by fellow jazzmen; and rock 'n' roll pioneer Ike Turner.

Directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni - Europeans who championed the art of cinema rather than Hollywood glitter - died on the same day. We also lost the Senegalese director Sembene Ousmane, a film pioneer in Africa.

In terms of cable news interest, the death of model-reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith overshadowed just about anyone else's. Other colorful newsmakers who died included daredevil Evel Knievel and "queen of mean" Leona Helmsley.

Their styles differed, but the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Tammy Faye Messner both brought their religious faith to bear on the wider world.

The sports world said goodbye to longtime Grambling coach Eddie Robinson, Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack and to NFL players Darrent Williams and Sean Taylor, both shot to death before their 25th birthday.

In business, we lost the founders or co-founders of Nasdaq, the Gallo wine-making empire, Bob Evans restaurants, Motel 6 and the Body Shop, the environmental cosmetics chain. The political world lost former Sens. Thomas Eagleton and George Smathers, as well as Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt. Columnists Art Buchwald and Molly Ivins brightened their writing with humor but never forgot the serious side of life.

Here, a roll call of some of the notables who died in 2007. (Cause of death cited for younger people if available.)

JANUARY

Darrent Williams, 24. Denver Broncos cornerback. Jan. 1. Shooting.

Teddy Kollek, 95. Six-term mayor of Jerusalem; tried to balance needs of Jewish and Arab populations. Jan. 2.

C. William Verity Jr., 89. As secretary of commerce, he pushed to recognize quality. Jan. 3.

Vincent Sardi Jr., 91. Consummate host of Sardi's, famed Broadway watering hole. Jan. 4.

Bobby Hamilton, 49. NASCAR driver who won the 2001 Talladega 500. Jan. 7. Cancer.

Yvonne De Carlo, 84. The vampire mom on The Munsters. Jan. 8.

Carlo Ponti, 94. Italian producer who discovered - and married - Sophia Loren. Jan. 9.

Robert Anton Wilson, 74. Co-author of science fiction cult classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Jan. 11.

Larry Stewart, 58. Anonymous philanthropist known as Secret Santa. Jan. 12. Cancer.

Michael Brecker, 57. Versatile tenor saxophonist; won 11 Grammys. Jan. 13.

Art Buchwald, 81. Pulitzer-winning humorist who skewered Washington's elite. Jan. 17.

Denny Doherty, 66. Member of 1960s folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas ("California Dreamin'.") Jan. 19.

George A. Smathers, 93. Three-term Florida senator, friend to presidents. Jan. 20.

Abbe Pierre, 94. Beloved French priest praised for devotion to the needy. Jan. 22.

E. Howard Hunt, 88. He helped organize the Watergate break-in. Jan. 23.

Charlotte Reid, 93. Four-term Illinois congresswoman, then Federal Communications Commission member. Jan. 24.

Eleanor McGovern, 85. George McGovern's wife; outspoken campaigner in his 1972 presidential run. Jan. 25.

The Rev. Robert Drinan, 86. Priest who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House during the 1970s. Jan. 28.

Gordon S. Macklin, 79. A founder and longtime president of Nasdaq stock market. Jan. 30.

Sidney Sheldon, 89. Stage and screen writer turned best-selling novelist (The Other Side of Midnight.) Jan. 30.

Molly Ivins, 62. Best-selling author, columnist, a sharp-witted liberal who referred to President Bush as "Shrub." Jan. 31.

FEBRUARY

Gian Carlo Menotti, 95. Pulitzer-winning Italian composer (The Consul, Amahl and the Night Visitors); founded Spoleto arts festivals. Feb. 1.

Barbara McNair, 72. Pioneering black singer-actress; had her own TV variety show. Feb. 4.

Lew Burdette, 80. MVP of the 1957 World Series when he pitched for the Milwaukee Braves. Feb. 6.

Frankie Laine, 93. Big-voiced singer; one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950s ("That Lucky Old Sun.") Feb. 6.

Anna Nicole Smith, 39. Model and sometime actress. Feb. 8. Accidental overdose of medication.

Rep. Charles Norwood Jr., 65. Blunt-spoken Georgia Republican congressman. Feb. 13.

Robert Adler, 93. Co-inventor of the TV remote, the 1956 Zenith Space Command. Feb. 15.

Maurice Papon, 96. Former French Cabinet minister convicted of complicity in World War II crimes. Feb. 17.

David Berger, 94. Class-action lawsuit pioneer who won major cases in the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Feb. 22.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89. Pulitzer-winning historian; Kennedy administration "court philosopher." Feb. 28.

MARCH

Marjabelle Young Stewart, 82. Etiquette authority; co-wrote White Gloves and Party Manners. March 3.

Thomas Eagleton, 77. Former senator who resigned as George McGovern's running mate in 1972 after it was revealed that he had been hospitalized for depression. March 4.

Ernest Gallo, 97. With his brother, he built the world's largest winemaking empire. March 6.

Betty Hutton, 86. Singer-actress who brought brassy vitality to Hollywood musicals (Annie Get Your Gun.) March 11.

Bowie Kuhn, 80. Baseball commissioner during development of free agency, multimillion-dollar contracts. March 15.

John Backus, 82. Developer of Fortran programming language that changed how people interacted with computers. March 17.

G.E. Patterson, 67. Presiding bishop of 6 million-member Church of God in Christ. March 20.

Walter Turnbull, 62. Founded acclaimed Boys Choir of Harlem. March 23.

Robert E. Petersen, 80. Publisher whose Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines helped shape car culture. March 23.

Tosiwo Nakayama, 75. First president of Federated States of Micronesia as it emerged from U.S. control. March 29.

APRIL

Herb Carneal, 83. Broadcast Minnesota Twins games for 45 seasons. April 1.

William Becker, 85. Co-founded the Motel 6 chain. April 2.

Eddie Robinson, 88. Longtime Grambling coach; transformed small college into a football power. April 3.

Nina Wang, 69. Hong Kong businesswoman; one of the world's richest women. April 3.

Darryl Stingley, 55. New England Patriots player paralyzed during on-field collision in 1978. April 5. Complications of paralysis.

Johnny Hart, 76. Cartoonist whose "B.C." showed the Stone Age's humorous side. April 7.

Sol LeWitt, 78. Influential abstract painter, sculptor. April 8.

Kurt Vonnegut, 84. Novelist who captured the absurdity of the world in darkly humorous works such as Slaughterhouse-Five. April 11.

Don Ho, 76. Hawaiian crooner ("Tiny Bubbles"); entertained tourists. April 14.

Frank Westheimer, 95. Eminent chemist; former science adviser to President Johnson. April 14.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96. Singer-actress; career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film (A Night at the Opera.) April 17.

Helen Robson Walton, 87. Widow of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton; philanthropist. April 19.

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, 68. Seven-term California congresswoman; advocated electoral reform. April 21.

David Halberstam, 73. Journalist whose books included towering study of Vietnam War, poignant portrait of aging baseball stars. April 23.

Boris Yeltsin, 76. Former Russian president who helped bring demise of Soviet Union.   

Warren Avis, 92. Founded Avis Rent a Car. April 24.

Jack Valenti, 85. Film industry lobbyist; instituted modern movie ratings system. April 26.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80. Ebullient master cellist who fought for the rights of Soviet-era dissidents. April 27.

Tom Poston, 85. The tall, pasty-faced TV comic whose characters were clueless. (Newhart.) April 30.

MAY

Walter M. Schirra Jr., 84. An original Mercury Seven astronaut, who combined the Right Stuff with a pronounced rebellious streak. May 3.

Yahweh Ben Yahweh, 71. Former cult leader in Miami linked to nearly two dozen gruesome killings in the 1980s. May 7.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, 73. Evangelist who used the power of television to transform the religious right into a mighty political force. May 15.

Yolanda King, 51. Actress and activist; daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King. May 15.

Fannie Lee Chaney, 84. Mother of one of three civil-rights workers killed in 1964 "Mississippi Burning" case. May 22. (Carolyn Goodman, one of the two other mothers, died Aug. 17 at 91.)

Charles Nelson Reilly, 76. Tony Award winner; known for ribald TV game show appearances. May 25.

Homer J. Stewart, 91. Rocket pioneer; helped develop first successful U.S. satellite, Explorer I. May 26.

Paul Yost, 87. Pioneer of hot-air ballooning. May 27.

Barbara Cox Anthony, 84. Heiress to Cox media fortune; one of the world's richest women. May 28.

Preston Martin, 83. Top Federal Reserve official; helped create Freddie Mac. May 30.

JUNE

Charles William Maynes, 68. Longtime editor of Foreign Policy magazine. June 2.

Wiley Mayne, 90. Four-term Iowa congressman; one of 10 Republicans who voted not to impeach President Nixon. June 3.

Bill France Jr., 74. Transformed NASCAR from a small Southern sport into a billion-dollar conglomerate. June 4.

Sen. Craig Thomas, 74. Three-term Senate Republican; reliably represented conservative Wyoming. June 4.

Edwin Traisman, 91. Food scientist; helped develop Cheez Whiz. June 5.

Sembene Ousmane, 84. Father of Senegalese cinema; one of the pioneers of the art in Africa. June 9.

Ray Mears, 80. Winningest men's coach in Tennessee basketball history. June 11.

Don Herbert, 89. Television's "Mr. Wizard." June 12.

Donald Clancy, 85. Eight-term Ohio congressman; Cincinnati mayor. June 12.

Baron Guy de Rothschild, 98. Managed his family's French banking empire. June 12.

Ruth Graham, 87. Rev. Billy Graham's closest confidante, providing a solid foundation for her husband's evangelism career. June 14.

Kurt Waldheim, 88. U.N. secretary-general; Austrian president; was revealed to have been in German army unit that committed atrocities in World War II. June 14.

Gianfranco Ferre, 62. Italian designer known as "architect of fashion." June 17.

Bob Evans, 89. Created namesake restaurant chain. June 21.

Guy Vander Jagt, 75. 13-term Michigan congressman; led House GOP election strategy. June 22.

Charles W. Lindberg, 86. Helped raise first American flag over Iwo Jima. June 24.

Chris Benoit, 40. World Wrestling Entertainment star. Found June 25; apparent suicide after killing wife, 7-year-old son.

Liz Claiborne, 78. Her fashion designs became a cornerstone of career women's wardrobes. June 26.

Joel Siegel, 63. Good Morning America movie critic. June 29.

JULY

Beverly Sills, 78. Opera diva with a dazzling voice, bubbly personality. July 2.

Boots Randolph, 80. His spirited saxophone made "Yakety Sax" a hit. July 3.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, 68. Pioneer of the modern historical romance novel (The Flame and the Flower.) July 6.

Doug Marlette, 57. Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist, creator of comic strip "Kudzu." July 10. Car accident.

Lady Bird Johnson, 94. Former first lady who championed conservation, worked tenaciously for the political career of her husband, Lyndon B. Johnson. July 11.

Kai Siegbahn, 89. Shared 1981 Nobel Prize in physics. July 20.

Tammy Faye Messner, 65. Helped then-husband Jim Bakker build a TV evangelism empire that later collapsed in disgrace. July 20.

Laszlo Kovacs, 74. Influential cinematographer (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces.) July 22.

Norma Gabler, 84. Influential Texas crusader against what she saw as anti-American errors in textbooks. July 22.

Mohammad Zahir Shah, 92. Afghanistan's last king, who oversaw four decades of peace before a 1973 coup. July 23.

Albert Ellis, 93. Influential psychologist, founded a renowned therapy institute. July 24.

Alan Pottasch, 79. PepsiCo. exec whose '60s ads dubbed baby boomers "the Pepsi Generation." July 27.

Tom Snyder, 71. Late-late night TV talk show host with a robust laugh, trademark cloud of cigarette smoke. July 29.

Bill Walsh, 75. San Francisco 49ers coach; won three Super Bowls. July 30.

Ingmar Bergman, 87. Swedish filmmaker; one of the greatest in cinema history (The Seventh Seal, Cries and Whispers.) July 30.

Michelangelo Antonioni, 94. Italian filmmaker whose depiction of modern-day malaise made him a symbol of art-house cinema (Blow-Up, L'Avventura.) July 30.

AUGUST

Atle Selberg, 90. Renowned mathematician; worked on the properties of prime numbers. Aug. 6.

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, 90. A black woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1940s. Aug. 10.

Merv Griffin, 82. Singer turned TV host turned impresario who parlayed game shows into a multimillion-dollar empire. Aug. 12.

Ralph Alpher, 86. Physicist; did key work on underpinnings of the "Big Bang" theory. Aug. 12.

Brooke Astor, 105. Philanthropist who gave millions to New York City institutions, large and small. Aug. 13.

Phil Rizzuto, 89. Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop; sportscaster much loved for exclaiming "Holy cow!" Aug. 13.

Max Roach, 83. Jazz drummer whose rhythmic innovations defined bebop. Aug. 16.

Dr. Leslie Lukash, 86. Medical examiner who helped identify the remains of Nazi Josef Mengele. Aug. 16.

Michael K. Deaver, 69. Adviser to Ronald Reagan who directed the president's picturesque public appearances. Aug. 18.

Leona Helmsley, 87. Ran a $5 billion real estate empire with her husband but became known as the "queen of mean" during her 1989 tax evasion trial. Aug. 20.

Grace Paley, 84. Acclaimed poet and short-story writer. Aug. 22.

Butch van Breda Kolff, 84. Led the Los Angeles Lakers to two NBA finals appearances, won 482 games as a college coach. Aug. 22.

Rabbi Judah Nadich, 95. Military chaplain who advised Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower after the discovery of Nazi concentration camps. Aug. 26.

Hilly Kristal, 75. His Manhattan club CBGB served as birthplace of punk rock. Aug. 28.

Paul MacCready, 81. Designed the Gossamer Condor flying machine, which in 1977 made the first sustained, controlled flight powered solely by human muscle. Aug. 28.

Miyoshi Umeki, 78. Oscar-winning actress (Sayonara.) Aug. 28.

Richard Jewell, 44. Former security guard wrongly linked to 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta. Aug. 29. Heart disease.

Charles Vanik, 94. Ohio congressman who co-sponsored law to get Soviet Union to allow more Jews to emigrate. Aug. 29.

SEPTEMBER

Rep. Paul Gillmor, 68. 10-term Ohio congressman; strong proponent of the military. Sept. 5.

Jennifer Dunn, 66. six-term Washington state congresswoman. Sept. 5.

The Rev. D. James Kennedy, 76. Megachurch pastor; prominent Christian broadcaster. Sept. 5.

Luciano Pavarotti, 71. Opera superstar hailed as "king of the high C's." Sept. 6.

Madeleine L'Engle, 88. Author who captivated children with A Wrinkle in Time. Sept. 6.

Jane Wyman, 90. Won Oscar as deaf rape victim in Johnny Belinda; later in TV's Falcon Crest. Ronald Reagan's ex-wife. Sept. 10.

Anita Roddick, 64. Founded eco-friendly beauty retailer the Body Shop. Sept. 10.

Joe Zawinul, 75. Jazz keyboardist; one of the creators of jazz-rock fusion with Weather Report ("Birdland.") Sept. 11.

Gene Savoy, 80. Explorer who discovered lost Inca and pre-Inca cities in Peru. Sept. 11.

Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, late 30s. Iraq sheik who helped American strategy of enlisting aid of Sunni tribes. Sept. 13. Bomb.

John E. Swearingen, 89. Executive who led Standard Oil Co. of Indiana. Sept. 14.

Colin McRae, 39. Britain's best-known rally driver, former World Rally champion. Sept. 15. Helicopter crash.

Robert Jordan, 58. Author of Wheel of Time fantasy novels. Sept. 16. Blood disease.

The Rev. Rex Humbard, 88. His televangelism ministry once spanned the globe. Sept. 21.

Marcel Marceau, 84. French master of pantomime who transformed silence into poetry. Sept. 22.

William Wirtz, 77. Longtime Chicago Blackhawks owner. Sept. 26.

Harry Dent, 77. Former top adviser to President Nixon; helped him win the South. Sept. 28.

Wally Parks, 94. Founded National Hot Rod Association, helping turn drag racing into legitimate sport. Sept. 28.

Ralph Sturges, 88. As Mohegan chief, helped develop tribe's hugely successful Mohegan Sun casino. Sept. 30.

OCTOBER

Al Oerter, 71. Discus great who won gold medals in four Olympics. Oct. 1.

James W. Michaels, 86. Transformed business journalism as Forbes magazine editor. Oct. 2.

Rep. Jo Ann Davis, 57. Virginia congresswoman; made servicemen's needs a key issue. Oct. 6. Breast cancer.

Sri Chinmoy, 76. Indian-born spiritual leader; inspired followers to perform athletic feats. Oct. 11.

Vernon Bellecourt, 75. Fought use of Indian nicknames for teams as a leader of the American Indian Movement. Oct. 13.

Deborah Kerr, 86. Actress who kissed Burt Lancaster on a beach in From Here to Eternity and danced with Yul Brynner in The King and I. Oct. 16.

Barbara West Dainton, 96. Englishwoman believed to be one of the last two survivors from the Titanic. Oct. 16.

Joey Bishop, 89. Stone-faced TV and nightclub comedian; last of the Rat Pack. Oct. 17.

Catherine Roraback, 87. Attorney who won 1965 Supreme Court that established the right to contraceptives and privacy. Oct. 17.

Teresa Brewer, 76. She topped the charts in the 1950s ("Till I Waltz Again With You.") Oct. 17.

William Crowe, 82. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ambassador to Britain. Oct. 18.

Max McGee, 75. Hero of first Super Bowl in 1967, helping Green Bay beat Kansas City, 35-10. Oct. 20.

R.B. Kitaj, 74. A key figure in the British Pop Art movement. Oct. 21.

Hans Stern, 85. Founded H. Stern jewelry empire. Oct. 26.

Dr. Arthur Kornberg, 89. His test-tube synthesis of DNA earned a 1959 Nobel Prize. Oct. 26.

Porter Wagoner, 80. Grand Ole Opry star; helped launch the career of Dolly Parton. Oct. 28.

Thomas J. Meskill, 79. Connecticut congressman and governor; later a federal judge. Oct. 29.

Robert Goulet, 73. Baritone made Broadway debut in Camelot; won Tony in 1968 for The Happy Time. Oct. 30.

NOVEMBER

Paul Tibbets, 92. Piloted the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Nov. 1.

Igor Moiseyev, 101. Choreographer who transformed folk dance into a legitimate art, showcasing Russian culture. Nov. 2.

Luis Herrera Campins, 82. Former Venezuelan president; part of a generation of leaders who helped usher in democracy in the 1950s. Nov. 9.

Norman Mailer, 84. The pugnacious prince of American letters. Nov. 10.

Augustus Hawkins, 100. California's first black congressman, elected in 1962. Nov. 10.

Delbert Mann, 87. Directed Marty, classic lonely-guy teleplay that became Oscar-winning film. Nov. 11.

Charlie Brady "C.B." Hauser, 90. College professor who took a stand against segregation in 1947 by refusing to give up a bus seat to a white. Nov. 11.

Ira Levin, 78. Best-selling novelist (Rosemary's Baby, The Boys From Brazil.) Nov. 12.

The Rev. John H. Cross Jr., 82. Pastor of church in Birmingham, Ala., where four girls died in a 1963 racist bombing. Nov. 15.

Joe Nuxhall, 79. Youngest major leaguer ever at age 15; later a Cincinnati sportscaster. Nov. 15.

Hy Lit, 73. One of Philadelphia's hottest DJs during heyday of rock 'n' roll. Nov. 17.

 Dick Wilson, 91. Played the fussy, mustachioed grocer who begged customers: "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin." Nov. 19.

Milo Radulovich, 81. Serviceman championed by Edward R. Murrow when the military threatened to decommission him during the anti-communist crackdown of the 1950s. Nov. 19.

Ian Smith, 88. Rhodesia's last white prime minister; his attempts to resist black rule brought isolation and civil war. Nov. 20.

Herbert Saffir, 90. Engineer; created the five-category system to describe hurricane strength. Nov. 21.

Maurice Bejart, 80. Avant-garde French choreographer. Nov. 22.

Silvestre Herrera, 90. Awarded Medal of Honor for a one-man assault on an enemy position during World War II. Nov. 26.

Dr. J. Robert Cade, 80. Inventor of Gatorade. Nov. 27.

Bill Hartack, 74. Hall of Fame jockey; one of only two to win five Kentucky Derbys. Nov. 26.

Bill Willis, 86. Hall of Fame guard with the Cleveland Browns; Ohio State's first black football all-American. Nov. 27.

Sean Taylor, 24. Washington Redskins' star safety; known as one of the hardest hitters in the NFL. Nov. 27. Shot at his home.

Henry Hyde, 83. Illinois congressman steered impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. Nov. 29.

Roger B. Smith, 82. Led General Motors Corp.; was subject of Michael Moore's documentary Roger & Me. Nov. 29.

Evel Knievel, 69. Motorcycle daredevil known for spectacular jumps and bone-crushing crashes. Nov. 30.

DECEMBER

Robert O. Anderson, 90. CEO of Atlantic Richfield Co. when it announced the discovery of North America's largest oil field. Dec. 1.

Elizabeth Hardwick, 91. Leading intellectual author (Sleepless Nights) and critic. Dec. 2.

Karlheinz Stockhausen, 79. Avant-garde German composer; pioneer of electronic music. Dec. 5.

Roger M. King, 63. CBS and King World Productions executive; helped bring such stars as Oprah Winfrey to television. Dec. 8.

Rene J. Cappon, 83. Longtime Associated Press editor; the word master behind some of its best writers. Dec. 9.

Freddie Fields, 84. Colorful Hollywood agent, producer (Glory), studio executive. Dec. 11.

Ike Turner, 76. Rock innovator who teamed with wife Tina Turner (and denied abusing her). Dec. 12.

Rep. Julia Carson, 69. First black and first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress. Dec. 15.

Dan Fogelberg, 56. His gentle, poignant hits ("Longer," "Leader of the Band") helped define soft-rock. Dec. 16. Cancer.

J. Russell Coffey, 109. Oldest known surviving U.S. veteran of World War I. Dec. 20.

Ken Hendricks, 66. His ABC Supply Co., a roofing and siding supply company, made him a billionaire. Dec. 21.

Michael Kidd, 92. Choreographer whose athletic dances (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) won him five Tonys and a special Oscar. Dec. 23.

Oscar Peterson, 82. Jazz pianist whose hard-driving swing and melodic improvisations were hugely influential. Dec. 23.

Benazir Bhutto, 54. Former Pakistan prime minister who returned from exile to challenge the current leader, Pervez Musharraf. Dec. 27. Assassinated.

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