Oscar Hamilton Shaftel, 88, who was fired from Queens...

Deaths Elsewhere

May 25, 2000

Oscar Hamilton Shaftel, 88, who was fired from Queens College in New York after he refused to answer a Senate subcommittee's questions about Communist affiliations in academia, died May 10. Mr. Shaftel, one of the original faculty members at Queens College when it opened in 1937, was called before the investigations subcommittee of the Senate Internal Security Committee headed by Sen. Joseph P. McCarthy in February 1953.

He and four other teachers cited the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination in refusing to answer.

After a city investigation, two laws were invoked against the teachers. One prohibited city employees from belonging to any organization considered subversive. The other called for the immediate suspension of anyone refusing to testify before courts, grand juries or legislative inquiries into official city business.

More than a dozen professors were dismissed under the laws, which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the late 1960s.

In 1982, Mr. Shaftel won a settlement from the city and received a city pension.

Lee Brewster, 57, who sold size 15 studded platform shoes, fishnet tights and hip-hugging gowns to men who like to dress as women and to costume designers for movies such as "Tootsie," died Friday of cancer in New York.

His 5,000-square-foot clothing shop, Lee's Mardi Gras Boutique, boasts size 30 dresses, corsets, satin gloves, feather boas and false eyelashes for cross-dressers.

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