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George Axelrod, 81, Stage and Screen Writer

George Axelrod, one of the most successful stage and film writers of the 1950s and '60s, died of heart failure on Sat., June 21, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Among his plays (later rewritten for the screen) were "The Seven Year Itch" (1952), "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" (1955), and "Goodbye Charlie" (1959). His screen adaptations included "Bus Stop" by William Inge (1956), Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), and, most notably, "The Manchurian Candidate" by Richard Condon (1962).

Axelrod, a New York City native, launched his theatre career working backstage. After a tour of duty in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, he wrote for television and radio and penned a critically admired novel, "Beggar's Choice." In 1971, he published his memoirs, "Where Am I Now When I Need Me?"

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