Producer Steve Krantz, novelist's spouse, dies

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Steve Krantz, the husband of novelist Judith Krantz who produced the X-rated animated movie "Fritz the Cat" and created a successful TV miniseries out of his wife's potboilers, has died. He was 83.

The Brooklyn-born Krantz died at a hospital here on Jan. 4 from complications of pneumonia, John Tellem, a family spokesman, said Friday.

During his TV career, Krantz wrote for Milton Berle and Arthur Godfrey; was executive producer for Steve Allen's "The Tonight Show;" and helped create several comedies, including "Dennis the Menace" and "Bewitched" as head of creative development at Columbia Pictures Television.

He later turned to features such as "Fritz the Cat," based on the Robert Crumb underground comic. The 1972 feature went on to gross more than $100 million and spawned a sequel.

Krantz's other movies included "Cooley High," about black high school students in the 1960s. It inspired the TV comedy "What's Happening?"

In the 1980s and 1990s, Krantz produced miniseries of his wife's novels, including "Scruples," "Mistral's Daughter" and "Dazzle."

His wife once told the Los Angeles Times that his insistence she could write fiction prompted her to create her first novel, "Scruples," in order to prove him wrong.

After his retirement, Krantz was involved with mental health counseling and was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson to the board of the California Mental Health Planning Council.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sister, Sunny Onish of Manhattan, sons Tony and Nicholas of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren.
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