PARIS (AP) _ Russian writer and playwright Vladimir Maximov, once a leading Soviet dissident, died Sunday in Paris at age 64.

Maximov had been suffering from cancer, said friends of the writer who announced his death.

A child of the streets turned dissenting artist, Maximov became a central figure in the Soviet exile community. He returned to his homeland numerous times following the fall of communism, realizing his wish to be published there.

Born Nov. 27, 1930, Maximov, whose name originally was Samsonov, lost his parents to Stalin's labor camps. He took on the life of a nomad, running with street thieves, and was often chased by police. He spent time in Soviet prisons and work camps.

Maximov began writing in 1952, and gained his first real recognition a decade later when he joined in publishing a dissident literary anthology. His short story, ``Man is Alive,'' was successfully adapted for the stage.

He joined the literary review ``Oktyabr,'' but resigned in 1968 to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Thrown out of the Soviet writers' union in 1973, he was forced into exile the following year. In 1975, Maximov was stripped of his citizenship and cut off from his homeland.

Maximov went to Paris and founded the Russian literary review Continent, which appeared in several languages and carried works by Andrei Sakharov and other renowned Soviet dissidents.

After the collapse of communism, he returned home for visits. His last work, ``Nomad to the End,'' was published in Russia in March.

Maximov is best known for ``Seven Days of Creation'' and ``A Train for Moscow.'' Another work, ``Adieu From Nowhere'' recounts his tumultuous adolescence.

Details of Maximov's survivors and funeral arrangements were not immediately known.