Another year drifts into history and many people are happy to see it go. 1990 seemed to be a down year in Personalities, reflecting the confused state of national, economic and world affairs.

One decidedly high point was when Millie, the Personalities column's 1989 Personality of the Year, penned an autobiography, with the help of her mistress, First Lady Barbara Bush. The book immediately hit the bestseller list, handily and deservedly beating out the memoirs of former White House resident Ronald Reagan ...

It probably helped Millie that the First Lady's popularity remains high. One sign was the Ikea advertisements on the backs of buses around town: "Nancy Reagan style at Barbara Bush prices" ...

They may not have to worry about cheaper by the dozen, but the Bushes now have 12 grandchildren, with son Marvin and his wife, Margaret, adopting a 2-month-old boy they named Charles Walker. The Bush breakdown is five boys and seven girls ...

Milestone: Rose Kennedy, the matriarch of the fated Kennedy family, who has had a front-row seat to much of this country's history, turned 100 ...

John F. Kennedy Jr. has something to celebrate. After twice failing the New York state bar examination (and seeing a New York Post headline: "The Hunk Flunks"), he passed. The 30-year-old bachelor observed: "I'm clearly not a major legal genius" ...

At the beginning of the year, Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater had everything going for him. His president was in the White House, his stock was high in the party, his wife, Sally, was pregnant with their third child, he had an interest in the successful Arlington restaurant Red, Hot & Blue, and he cut a blues album in Nashville with his idol B.B. King. Then the bottom dropped out when an inoperable brain tumor was discovered and Atwater underwent numerous hospital stays and radiation therapy ...

It was not the best year for Washingtonian Editor Jack Limpert as he faced two major lawsuits: one for $50 million-plus by former White House press secretary Ron Nessen, and one for $32 million from Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. Limpert, who has been editor of the successful city magazine for most of its 25 years, said the publication had never faced such major suits but added, "We've never lost a lawsuit" ...

Cooke finally saw his little girl this year. In Los Angeles for his lawsuit against the Washingtonian, Cooke met for the first time the 3-year-old Jacqueline Kent Cooke, the child from his marriage to Susan, a woman he now loathes. Tense at first, Cooke told the little girl she was "beautiful," picked her up and gave her a hug and a kiss ...

Cooke's new marriage to Marlene Ramallo Chalmers has, according to friends and Cooke-watchers, given the gruff billionaire his first real happiness since the Redskins won their second Super Bowl ...

Washington and Tennessee lawyer Fred Thompson, who describes his acting on television and in movies as his golf, had a big year. The former minority counsel in the Senate Watergate hearings had significant film roles in "The Hunt for Red October," "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" and "Days of Thunder." Not bad for a recreational activity ...

Marta Istomin celebrated her 10th anniversary as artistic director of the Kennedy Center and was on the short list of people expected to be second in command to the center's new chairman, New Yorker Jim Wolfensohn. But something happened and she was out ...

One of the major blunders of the year was the clumsy way NBC replaced the warm Jane Pauley with the brittle Deborah Norville, damaging the "Today" show's ratings and creating a cynical new term for the dictionary -- to be "Norvilled." Speculation is that once Norville takes maternity leave in the spring, the highly respected newswoman Katie Couric, a Washington native, could end up in the anchor seat permanently ...

Something to remember when listening to Paul Newman's Kansas twang in the new film "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge." The actor had help with the Jayhawk accent from none other than Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole. The Kansas lawmaker recorded a bit of the "Romeo and Juliet" balcony scene for Newman, which the actor then studied. The actor wrote a letter to Dole promising that he would be listed in the film's credits as "Shakespearean Tutor to Mr. Newman" ...

Syndicated columnist Art Buchwald commented on his successful battle with Paramount Pictures, which claimed it had made no money on the Eddie Murphy hit film "Coming to America," when he said: "I can't believe the company that made 'The Ten Commandments' would have such bad bookkeeping" ...

As in any year, the big news was in marriages and divorces: orange blossoms and big bucks. The split-ups of the year were Donald and Ivana Trump and John and Patricia Kluge. The Trump split, like everything involved with the former billionaire, was a media circus, with Ivana having a makeover and Donald expressing his love for the bountiful Marla Maples, who seems to have presumed too much about future marriage plans and "our" money. When last heard from, Donald was out and about with such nubile cuties as Rowanne Brewer, a former Miss Maryland who graduated from Herndon High School. The Trumps ended their marriage and began the usual money battles. Ivana, not satisfied with a prenuptial agreement that gave her $10 million and their Connecticut home, wanted half of his fortune. The way the Trump empire has collapsed, there are those who think she should have taken the $10 million and run. The Kluges' marriage ended in dignified silence. The 75-year-old richest man in America is reportedly giving his 41-year-old wife and former model the couple's 45-room Charlottesville mansion and the annual interest on $1 billion, or some $85 million a year ...

This was the year of a Kennedy wedding and a Kennedy divorce. Kerry Kennedy, the 30-year-old daughter of the late senator Robert Kennedy, and Andrew Cuomo, the 32-year-old son of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, joined dynasties when they were married in St. Matthew's Cathedral here ... And the 12-year marriage of Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and his wife, Sheila, ended ...

To no one's surprise, Effi Barry moved out on the mayor, taking son Christopher to a Connecticut Avenue apartment and a new life. She stood by her man during what had to be a painfully embarrassing trial for her and gained stature while her husband's crashed. She even made People magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of 1990." She reportedly has a book contract and strong job possibilities. Marion Barry has yet to find book interest and it isn't certain what he'll do for a living ...

There were several other going-separate-ways marriages of local interest: First Daughter Dorothy LeBlond left her husband, William; Rep. Mickey Edwards, a veteran of four marriages, and wife, Lisa, a former Miss Oklahoma and a singer with the Washington Opera, called it quits after nine years; Sugar Ray Leonard and his wife, Juanita, formalized their long "trial separation" with a quiet divorce and the champ was said to be generous; President Reagan's daughter Patti Davis dumped her yoga instructor husband, Paul Grilley; the frequently married Larry King didn't even last a year with wife and Philadelphia businesswoman Julie Alexander; and even though they never married, the longtime relationship between former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann and starlet Cathy Lee Crosby has ended in acrimony as the two engage in legal battles over property they own together ...

CIA Director William Webster, who was on every short list of the most eligible men in town, changed his status and married Lynda Jo Clugston, head of marketing at the Watergate Hotel ...

The marriage that didn't happen was to take place in September between Community for Creative Non-Violence leader Mitch Snyder and his CCNV partner and companion of 15 years, Carol Fennelly. But in July, memorial services for Snyder, who had hanged himself, were held outside the shelter, where his wedding to Fennelly was to have been ...

Early last January, Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger said he had decided to settle down and marry his girlfriend of 12 years, model Jerry Hall, mother of their two children. No one was too excited about the announcement, since back in 1983 the couple had said they would marry "any day now." They finally did in November in a Hindu ceremony on the island of Bali ...

Doesn't it make the heart sing to see everyone's favorite egoists, Oscar winner Jane Fonda and CNN founder Ted Turner, walking hand in hand, showing off an engagement ring, talking of future marital bliss? ... And Warren Beatty and Madonna. Their affair lasted through the publicity exercises for "Dick Tracy," but did anyone believe Beatty could keep up with her? Clearly one of America's smartest businesswomen, Madonna was off on a smash tour and making sexy videos like "Justify My Love" that even MTV wouldn't show. Last year Madonna made $39 million and she knows there are millions more in them thar hills. Comic Jay Leno summed it up neatly when he joked, "The Energizer bunny's battery finally wore out. He wandered into a Madonna video" ...

And now the big moment. The Personalities column's Personality of the Year: Donald Trump. The only publicity gimmick he ignored this year was an opportunity to pose nude for Cosmopolitan magazine. Even he decided that was too much. Trump symbolizes the 1980s: He had it all and lost it all. There's a lesson there somewhere ...

Eric Brace contributed to this column.