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Obituaries in the News

June 27, 1998

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) _ John Malcolm Brinnin, a prize-winning poet, critic, anthologist and teacher who first brought Welsh poet Dylan Thomas to the United States, died Thursday. He was 81.

Brinnin, who taught poetry at Vassar College, Boston University, the University of Connecticut, and Harvard University, also served as director of the Young men’s Hebrew Association Poetry Center in New York City from 1949-56.

Brinnin’s most famous book, 1955′s ``Dylan Thomas in America,″ is a memoir of his times with Thomas during the Welsh poet’s trips to America.

Brinnin’s first collection of poems, ``The Garden is Political,″ was published in 1942. Later volumes of verse included ``The Lincoln Lyrics,″ ``No Arch, No Triumph,″ ``The Sorrows of Cold Stone,″ ``Selected Poems of John Malcolm Brinnin,″ and ``Skin Diving in the Virgins, and Other Poems.″

Brinnin also edited a literary journal, ``Signatures,″ compiled several anthologies of modern poetry, and wrote popular travel works, including ``The Sway of the Grand Saloon: A Social History of the North Atlantic,″ and ``Beau Voyage: Life Aboard the Last Great Ships.″

Another Brinnin book, ``Sextet,″ includes biographical sketches of Truman Capote; Henri Cartier-Bresson; Elizabeth Bowen; Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell; Alice B. Toklas; and T. S. Eliot. He also wrote biographies of Capote and Gertrude Stein.

Peter T. Joseph

NEW YORK (AP) _ Peter T. Joseph, a banker who headed the board of the American Ballet Theater, died Thursday of cancer. He was 47.

Joseph joined the ballet board in 1991, just as the company was facing a life-threatening financial crisis. The $5 million donation he brought with him helped keep the theater from drowning. Today, the Ballet Theater is no longer in the red.

His other contributions to art include creation of the Peter Joseph Gallery in Manhattan, a furniture design endowment at the Rhode Island School of Design and a foundation that commissions works such as the recent Richard Serra sculpture for Princeton University.

Maxine Pfeffer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Maxine Pfeffer, an assistant U.S. attorney in New York City who prosecuted the masterminds of a $10 million art theft ring, died Tuesday of cancer. She was 37.

Pfeffer, who had also prosecuted drug trafficking and immigration cases, had recently begun specializing in art law.

Last year she prosecuted three people accused of stealing and attempting to sell more than $10 million worth of drawings, including works by Albrecht Durer and Rembrandt. The works were looted from a collection in Germany at the end of World War II.

Henry G. Saperstein

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Henry G. Saperstein, who produced and marketed television shows such as ``Dick Tracy″ and films like the original ``Godzilla,″ died Wednesday. He was 80.

As the owner of UPA Productions, he also produced films including Woody Allen’s 1966 ``What’s Up, Tiger Lily?,″ in which a Japanese spy movie was redubbed in English and given a completely different plot.

In partnership with Toho Co. Ltd. of Japan, Saperstein produced and marketed several science fiction films over 25 years, including the classic 1956 ``Godzilla″ with Raymond Burr, and served as a consultant on this year’s big-screen version of the monster movie.

Saperstein was also executive producer of the 1997 Disney film ``Mister Magoo.″

``All-Star Golf,″ ``Championship Bowling,″ ``Ding Dong School″ and ``The Gerald McBoing Boing Show″ were among his TV credits as a producer.

Bohdan A. Struminski

ARLINGTON, Mass. (AP) _ Bohdan A. Struminski, an author, educator, linguist and translator who was imprisoned in his native Poland for protesting Soviet language policies, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 68.

Struminski, born in Bialystok, Poland, was a specialist in the Ukrainian, Polish and Old Slavic languages.

He spent nearly three years in a Polish prison after being convicted in 1963 of anti-Soviet activities for protesting Soviet language policies in the Ukraine.

Struminski came to the United States and later became a research associate at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and remained there until he retired in 1993.

He was the author of ``Linguistic Interrelations in Early Rus,″ and translated scholarly source materials for the Early Ukrainian Literature series published by Harvard University and the University of Alberta.

He translated Czeslaw Milosz’s ``The Captive Mind″ from Polish into Ukrainian, wrote more than 100 scholarly articles and contributed to Polish and Ukrainian publications, including Kultura and Suchasnist, under the pen names of A. Skiwsky and D. Bajurs’kyj.

Struminski was editor-in-chief of Zycie Polonii, a publication of the Eastern Massachusetts division of the Polish-American Congress.

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