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Elmer Rice, Noted American-jewish Playwright, Dies in London; Was 74

Elmer Rice, the noted American playwright and novelist, died in a Southampton hospital yesterday of pneumonia at the age of 74. He was taken off the liner France last week after suffering a heart attack and admitted to the Southampton hospital. Pneumonia set in later in the week. Born in New York City, the son of Jacob and Fanny Reizenstein, he left high school after his sophomore year and held jobs as a claims clerk in a commercial house and later as a law clerk. He later attended law school and was admitted to the bar but quit that profession to take up writing. He changed his name after writing his first play.

A prolific writer, Mr. Rice turned out 50 full-length plays, four novels, a book about the theater and many one-act plays, short stories, articles, screenplays, television scripts, as well as an autobiography, "Minority Report." Known as one of the formative figures in the modern American theater, Mr. Rice won a 1929 Pulitzer Prize for his play, "Street Scene."

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