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'A Raisin in the Sun' Director Petrie Dies in L.A.

Emmy Award-winning director Daniel Petrie Sr., who helmed such critically acclaimed TV fare as "Sybil" and "Inherit the Wind," has died in Los Angeles, a spokesman for the Directors Guild of America said on Tuesday.

Petrie was 83 and reportedly had been suffering from cancer. He is perhaps best remembered for his 1961 film "A Raisin in the Sun" starring Sidney Poitier. The film won a special prize at the Cannes film festival.

The Canadian-born director began his career in TV's golden age and went on to win Emmy Awards for the miniseries "Eleanor and Franklin" in 1976 and "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" in 1977.

Born Nov. 26, 1920 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Petrie planned on becoming a teacher but changed directions after serving in the Canadian Army in 1942.

He received a masters degree from Columbia University after World War II then hit the boards as an actor in the Broadway production of "Kiss Them for Me."

Petrie went behind the camera in 1948 to direct live televised theater for "Studio One" and in the 1950s, he directed live programs such as "Robert Montgomery Presents" and "Kraft Theater."

Michael Apted, president of the Directors Guild of America described Petrie as one of the organization's "true heroes."

"He was known for his kind and thoughtful nature, but when it came to defending the economic and creative rights for DGA members, Dan was one the toughest leaders at the negotiation table," Apted said in a statement. "We will miss him greatly."

Petrie is survived by his wife of 57 years, Dorothea Petrie, and their four children -- screenwriter Dan Petrie Jr., director Donald Petrie, actress Mary Petrie, and producer June Petrie.


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