8 Amazing Women We Said Goodbye to in 2012 (PHOTOS)

Jennifer Lawinski | Dec 18, 2012 Breaking

Whitney HoustonIt's always sad to look back and see who we've lost every year. And this year, some amazing women who I'd always admired and thought were strong, empowering role models for women passed away. They lifted us up with their work, their films, their comedy, their music, and their spirit.

From the tragic death of singer Whitney Houston, whose Greatest Love of All album was one of the first I ever owned and whose voice has brought both joy and comfort over the years (and inspired some dancing), to Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, here we pay tribute to the amazing women who are no longer with us.

  • Whitney Houston

    1

    Singer Whitney Houston's death at age 48 was a sad reminder that with great celebrity often comes great tragedy. Houston was found dead in a hotel bathtub after years of drug abuse. But the image of her I'll always have in my mind is one from the video for "I Will Always Love You," where she looks up and belts out the chorus surrounded by snow ... We'll always love you, Whitney.

  • Nora Ephron

    2

    Who didn't love When Harry Met Sally with all of their heart and soul? Nobody I know. (Or at least everyone lies to me about it ...) Director and writer Nora Ephron's work made us laugh, made us cry, and made us fall in love with her a little bit every time.

  • Adrienne Rich

    3

    Poet, feminist, and activist Adrienne Rich left behind glorious writing, but more importantly, she was dedicated to fighting for women's rights and gay rights. "The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet," she wrote. Amen, sister.

  • Phyllis Diller

    4

    The first time I ever heard the name Phyllis Diller, she was making a cameo on Scooby Doo. You know you've made it in America if you're on Scooby Doo, right? Ha. But seriously, Diller was a ground-breaking comedian who blazed the trail for other women who wanted to make us laugh.

     

  • Donna Summer

    5

    Five-time Grammy winner Donna Summer was the voice of disco, as far as I'm concerned. Who didn't rock out to "She Works Hard for the Money"? She was an icon. Plain and simple.

  • Etta James

    6

    "At last ... my love has come along ..." Ah, those words. That voice. Filling the dancefloor at weddings everywhere. Probably for the rest of time. Singer Etta James left us this year, but she left behind music that will stay with us forever.

  • Helen Gurley Brown

    7

    As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Helen Gurley Brown took sex out of the bedroom and splashed it on the cover of a glossy magazine, telling American women that they too had a right to be happy in both the bedroom and the boardroom. She wanted sex to be shame-free, and for women be both fun and fearless.

     

  • Sally Ride

    8

    When I was little, I wanted to either have my own beauty salon or be an astronaut, a dream I never would have had without Sally Ride. Ride's 1983 ride on the Challenger made her the first American woman in space, telling girls everywhere that even the sky was not the limit.

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