Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 26, 2005

Robert R. Granville, 89, an FBI agent in New York who headed the team that arrested Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in a sensational Cold War espionage case, died April 12 in Tampa, Fla., two weeks after suffering a stroke.

Mr. Granville began working for the FBI in 1940 and was promoted to field supervisor of Soviet espionage in the New York office six years later. On July 17, 1950, he and fellow agents arrested Julius Rosenberg in his apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Mr. Rosenberg was charged with giving atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Three weeks later, Mr. Granville and other agents arrested Mr. Rosenberg's wife, Ethel, as she left a federal courthouse where she had testified before a grand jury.

The couple were accused of getting the information from Ethel Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, a former machinist at the atomic weapons center in Los Alamos, N.M.

In March 1951, the Rosenbergs were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, and despite legal appeals and protests by those who questioned their guilt, were executed in June 1953. It was the first execution of civilians in the United States for spying.

Mr. Granville was also involved in the Cold War case of Justice Department analyst Judith Coplon. She was accused in 1949 of passing government secrets to the Soviets through her lover, Valentin A. Gubitchev, an official at the United Nations. Although Miss Coplon was found guilty in two trials, her conviction was eventually overturned because Mr. Granville had arrested her without a warrant and because the FBI had used illegal wiretaps.

Mr. Granville left the FBI in 1952 when he was chosen by President Harry S. Truman to head a committee on equal employment opportunities.

George P. Cosmatos, 64, a film director best known for box-office hits Rambo and Tombstone, died last week in Victoria, B.C. Doctors had recently diagnosed lung cancer, said his friend and fellow director Richard Donner.

Known for an ability to fix troubled projects and create blockbuster films, he delivered what many consider his finest achievement in 1993 - Tombstone, the film about legendary American lawman Wyatt Earp starring Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell.

Mr. Cosmatos dismissed criticism of violence in Rambo, the 1985 film about a U.S. combat veteran who returns to Vietnam on a one-man mission to rescue missing-in-action soldiers.

"What's with these prejudiced people? They're for censorship, not a free society," Mr. Cosmatos said. "It's a psychological release for people to have a hero who can do the fighting and dirty work while we eat our popcorn."

Born in Florence, Italy, and raised in Egypt and Cyprus, Mr. Cosmatos spoke six languages and was an avid bibliophile with a passion for cigars and film restoration.

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