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Subject: Bruce Paltrow, producer and director of 'St. Elsewhere'

dead at a young 58
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Date Posted: October 04, 2002 1:43:12 EDT

Bruce Paltrow, a producer and director who strove to incorporate social themes into his television series, most notably ``The White Shadow'' and ``St. Elsewhere,'' died yesterday at a hospital in Rome while there to celebrate the 30th birthday of his Oscar-winning daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow. He was 58 and lived in Los Angeles.

Mr. Paltrow suffered from pneumonia and complications from an unexpected recurrence of throat cancer, said Stephen Huvane, a publicist for his daughter.

His wife, the actress Blythe Danner, was in Los Angeles at the time working on her new television series, ``Presidio Med.'' Their son, Jake, a television director, was in New York.

Mr. Paltrow and Ms. Danner met while working on a 1969 Off Broadway production of ``Someone's Comin' Hungry,'' a short-lived play about a black Vietnam War veteran and his white wife; she starred in the play and he produced it. They married in 1970.

``We're not Andy Hardy types, but we're also not Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero,'' Mr. Paltrow told an interviewer just before their wedding, referring to a glamorous celebrity couple of the time. ``We're more like Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman or Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.''

This drew a rebuke from Ms. Danner: ``Oh no, honey. We don't even know those people. We're just us.''

Born in Brooklyn and reared in Great Neck, N.Y., Mr. Paltrow graduated from Tulane University and returned to New York, where he worked in television and the theater before becoming a creator and director of episodic television.

``The White Shadow,'' an acclaimed series about the white basketball coach of a racially mixed high school in a poor urban neighborhood, had its debut in 1978 and earned Mr. Paltrow, the executive producer and frequent director, Emmy nominations in 1980 and 1981.

After directing ``Operating Room,'' a 1980 television movie, Mr. Paltrow was a producer and director on the popular ``St. Elsewhere'' series, which had its debut in 1982 and focused on the doctors and patients at a struggling Boston hospital.

Mr. Paltrow's first theatrical film, ``A Little Sex'' (1982), starred Tim Matheson as a married man fighting sexual temptation. It was neither a critical nor a box-office success, and he soon returned to television.

In 1989 his wife was part of the ensemble cast of ``Tattingers,'' a short-lived television drama that he created. In 1995 he directed another television movie, ``Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Lightning,'' which starred Randy Quaid and Ving Rhames.

And in 2000 he directed Gwyneth in the film ``Duets,'' set in the world of competitive karaoke. More recently, he directed episodes of ``Homicide: Life on the Street'' and ``The Mind of the Married Man.''

Ms. Danner, meanwhile, has had a prolific career in theater, film and television, including a Tony Award for the 1970 production of ``Butterflies Are Free'' and an Emmy nomination this year for ``We Were the Mulvaneys,'' a television adaptation of that Joyce Carol Oates novel.

Besides his wife and children, Mr. Paltrow is survived by his mother, Dorothy Paltrow; a brother, Robert Paltrow of New York; and two sisters, Randi Paltrow of Cleveland and Fran Paltrow of Sands Point, N.Y.

Both children followed their parents into show business, Gwyneth, the actress who won an Academy Award for ``Shakespeare in Love'' in 1999, and Jake, a director who has also worked in episodic television, including ``N.Y.P.D. Blue.''

The elder Mr. Paltrow was once asked what effect his family's peripatetic show business life had on his young children. ``I am sure that all the traveling and separation takes it toll on the kids,'' he said. ``But the quality of the time we have together is very good.''

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