Martin Ritt, the maverick director of "Norma...


Martin Ritt, the maverick director of "Norma Rae," "The Front" and "The Long Hot Summer" who once was blacklisted in Hollywood, died yesterday of complications from heart disease at Santa Monica Hospital. His family said he was 76, but studio and other biographies listed him as 70. Mr. Ritt, who often set his films in the South, never shied from controversial issues, such as racial prejudice in "Sounder," blacklisting in "The Front," and labor rights in "The Molly Maguires" and "Norma Rae." He made his first feature, "Edge of the City," with Sidney Poitier in 1957, and directed his last movie, "Stanley and Iris," which starred Jane Fonda and Robert DeNiro, in 1989.

Tadeusz Kantor, an internationally known avant-garde theater director, author and painter, died yesterday in Krakow, Poland. He was 75. Mr. Kantor was known for creating dynamic, inventive theater based on historical and personal themes. He was present in his productions not as an actor, but sitting on stage, watching along with the audience. He was especially popular in France, where a Paris premiere was scheduled in January for his newest play, "Today is My Birthday."

Howard A. Schneiderman, 63, who led Monsanto Co.'s move into biotechnology, died Wednesday of leukemia in St. Louis. Mr. Schneiderman was chief chemist and senior vice president of research and development at Monsanto. Under his leadership, Monsanto built its Life Sciences Research Center for Biotechnology Research

Harrington Putnam Jr., 57, a retired designer of wallpaper, textiles and furniture, died of AIDS Tuesday at his home in Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Putnam designed products for manufacturers of home furnishings. He was born in Manhattan and graduated from Princeton University and the Parsons School of Design.

Hortense Gabel, 77, a judge and social reformer whose reputation was tarnished when her daughter claimed she pulled strings to get the daughter a job in Bess Myerson's cultural affairs office, died Friday in Manhattan. She had long been in poor health and had suffered several minor strokes this year. A leader in the fight against racial discrimination in housing after World War II, Mrs. Gabel was a justice for the trial-level state Supreme Court from 1976 until 1987. In 1988 a federal jury acquitted her of charges that she secured a job for her daughter, Sukhreet, with Ms. Myerson, the city's cultural affairs commissioner, by ruling favorably in a divorce case involving Ms. Myerson's male companion.

Laurence R. Hoagland, 77, the father of Representative Peter Hoagland, D-Neb., died of pneumonia Wednesday in Omaha, Neb. Mr. Hoagland was a former president of Carpenter Paper Co. and senior vice president of Nationwide Papers Inc. After retiring in 1975 from the Omaha World-Herald, he was interim director of the Joslyn Art Museum for a year.

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