Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

December 16, 2003

Jeanne Crain, 78, an actress who specialized in frothy comedies in the 1940s and whose career was capped by her starring role in the controversial Elia Kazan classic Pinky, died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Ms. Crain appeared in 64 films and many television shows during her long career, playing opposite such stars as Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas and William Holden.

Pinky brought her only Academy Award recognition, a nomination for best actress in 1949. It was a daring film at a time when Hollywood avoided racial controversy, about a girl who passes for white in the North but faces the bitter hatred of whites after returning to her grandmother's home in the Deep South.

Lena Horne and other black actresses sought the role, but Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck decided on a white star with box-office appeal.

Pinky was widely praised by critics but encountered opposition in the South, especially because a white man in the film wants to marry Pinky despite knowing her heritage.

The movie's controversy enhanced Ms. Crain's popularity. She recalled that her fan letters rose to 6,000 a week, and only 1 percent were critical.

Her 1943 movie debut followed the Hollywood cliche: She appeared in a swimming suit beside a pool in the all-star The Gang's All Here. She was elevated to leading roles in her next films - Home in Indiana, In the Meantime, Darling, Winged Victory and State Fair, which featured Rodgers and Hammerstein's only original score for a movie.

Margie, an entertaining, nostalgic tale of a small-town girl in the 1920s who gets a crush on her French teacher, established Ms. Crain in 1946 as an important Fox star. She followed with a musical, You Were Meant for Me, opposite Dan Dailey, and An Apartment for Peggie, a romance with William Holden.

Oscar Schachter, 88, a pioneer of international law who helped create the legal framework used by the United Nations, died Saturday in New York.

A professor at Columbia University Law School since 1975, he was slated to teach through the spring semester of this year.

Mr. Schachter, who graduated from Columbia Law School at the head of his class in 1939, worked in the United Nations' legal department from 1946 to 1966, before moving on to become deputy executive director of the U.N. Institute for Training and Research from 1966 until 1975.

Michael Small, 64, who composed music for The Parallax View and a number of other movie thrillers, died of prostate cancer Nov. 25 in New York.

Mr. Small's first film score was for the 1969 comedy Out of It. He went on to compose music for a number of well-known thrillers, including Klute (1971), Marathon Man (1976) and the 1981 remake of The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Born in New York City, Mr. Small graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he wrote music for plays.

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