During the next few years, the festival expanded to include foreign and art-house films, which were shown in various venues in addition to the University of Baltimore and Towson University, such as the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore Museum of Art, 5-West Theater, and the Playhouse and Town theaters.

But Mr. Alexander had become somewhat embittered over the lack of support from Baltimore's commercial and institutional communities.

"What it has become is some little orphan child, and I'll be damned if I'll let it become an abortion," he said in 1974. "I put five years of my life into this thing."

In 1975, Mr. Alexander incorporated the film festival, but a year later, the group he helped organize suggested that he give up administering the festival and stay on as creative director of the festival, which was renamed the Baltimore Film Forum Inc.

Mr. Alexander told The Sun in 1977 that he was ousted from his job as the forum's president in "a bloodless revolt. It got ugly."

"Harvey was very persuasive but could be prickly at times," said Dr. Macksey. "He could be a rocky road and demanding in his own way."

Separated from his festival, Mr. Alexander founded an alternative festival that year, Harvey Alexander's Baltimore Film Festival 8, which was held at the University of Baltimore.

"I realize there are very few things in people's lives that make their lives work. Sometimes it is another person. Sometimes it is an event. In my life, this was my child," he said in the 1977 interview.

"I want to prove something. For a sonless man, this is it. Maybe I've made it into something. It's my child. It's my ego. It's something I possess. Maybe I need to be psychoanalyzed."

In 1974, Baltimore lawyer Stuart Rome helped get the Baltimore Film Forum Inc. recognized by the state as a nonprofit agency, which qualified it for grant money.

"Plagued by internal strife and mounting debt, the Baltimore Film Forum closed a year after staging the last Baltimore Film Festival. Its last presentation: the restored version of Sam Peckinpah's 'The Wild Bunch,' " reported The Sun in 1999.

Mr. Alexander also taught writing and literature in Maryland prisons and later hosted "In Other Words," on WBJC-FM.

"Harvey asked me to come as a guest lecturer at Patuxent, and I liked it so much, I taught there with him. Teaching in prison changed my life," said Mr. Waters. "One of our students — I can't tell you his name — who was doing time for a double murder is doing quite well now."

In 1980, Mr. Alexander began broadcasting "In Other Words," which aired at 12:30 a.m. Mondays on WBJC, after Carl Orff's lilting "Street Song," his theme song, was played.

"In the middle of that uneasy midnight hour when the old week turns into the new, Harvey Alexander struggles to bring the dying week to a sane and civilized end," wrote Evening Sun reporter Carl Schoettler in 1985. "He reads poetry over the radio — into the dark night of endless rock 'n' roll, the long empty highways of country and western, the blue void of broadcast talk."

Mr. Alexander enlisted writers and poets to read their works and at other times drafted actors, librarians and translators to read the words of William Butler Yeats, John Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dorothy Parker.

"He is slightly daft about language. He speaks in complete sentences. He enunciates correctly. He's literate," wrote Mr. Schoettler, who described Mr. Alexander's voice as a "deep, rich baritone, rolling along on a satisfying base of rumbling undertones."

Mr. Alexander explained in the 1985 interview that "one of the reasons I do the poetry program is that I enjoy it. It gives me great pleasure. It's nice to know occasionally that people listen. It's part of their language. It's an insight into the human predicament."

He added: "My feeling is that everyone should go to bed with a poet. So we serve that function."

The show ended in the late 1980s, friends said.

The former longtime Waverly resident had in recent years lived on Regester Avenue in Idlewylde.

"He loved movies. He loved to read and at the end of his life had become a complete recluse," said Mr. Waters.

"He knew my schedule and sometimes would call me at 3 a.m. to discuss an old movie that he had just watched on Netflix or a book that he had finished," said Dr. Macksey.

Plans for a memorial gathering to be held in the spring were incomplete.

Surviving is a sister, Ethel Alexander Vickery of Mount Arlington, N.J.; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com