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Documentary Filmmaker Leo Hurwitz Dead at 81

January 19, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ Leo Hurwitz, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who was blacklisted in the 1950s, has died. He was 81.

He died Friday of colon cancer at his Manhattan home, said his wife, Nelly.

Hurwitz began his career making newsreels depicting the hunger marches of the Great Depression.

His films include the 1942 ″Native Land,″ co-directed by Paul Strand, narrated by Paul Robeson and scored by Marc Blitzstein, and ″Dialogue with a Woman Departed,″ a tribute to his late second wife and colleague, Peggy Lawson, that won an International Film Critics Prize in 1981.

While blacklisted for his leftist views in the 1950s and 1960s, he continued to work as an independent filmmaker and producer and, without credit, co-produced, directed and edited segments for the CBS-TV ″Omnibus″ series.

In 1961 he directed television coverage of the trial in Jerusalme of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

In the mid-1960s, Hurwitz and six other directors sued the Directors Guild of America, a case that resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court decision forcing the guild to remove a loyalty oath from its membership application.

From 1969 to 1974 Hurwitz taught film at New York University.

At his death, he was working on a script for a film about the abolitionist John Brown.

Hurwitz was a native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Harvard University.

Survivors include his third wife, Nelly; and a son.

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