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