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Bruce Paltrow, 58, dies

Emmy-nommed director, producer, writer

Emmy-nommed Bruce Paltrow, known for creating, producing, directing and/or writing critically acclaimed TV skeins and films — and for being father to Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow as well as director Jake Paltrow and husband to Tony-winning actress Blythe Danner — died Wednesday night in Italy, where the father and daughter had celebrated Gwyneth’s 30th birthday. He was 58.

A publicist said he was stricken with a recurrence of throat cancer, which he had first battled in 1999, and by pneumonia. He was airlifted to a Rome hospital, where he died.

His wife, who was in Hollywood starring in her new CBS series “Presidio Med,” left production and flew to Italy to be with her daughter.

Jake Paltrow, Gwyneth’s older brother and, like his father, a TV director, was in New York working on “NYPD Blue.”

The senior Paltrow was best known for such landmark Emmy-winning series as “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” “St. Elsewhere,” “A Little Sex” and “The White Shadow.”

He was creator-exec producer of CBS skein “The White Shadow” (1978-81), skein about a white basketball coach at a mainly black inner-city school. Show starred Ken Howard.

Paltrow then produced NBC medical drama “St. Elsewhere” (1982-88) about doctors at a Boston hospital. It starred veteran thesp William Daniels and launched the careers of Denzel Washington, Mark Harmon and Ed Begley Jr.

Daniels, who won two Emmys for his work on “St. Elsewhere” and later became prexy of the Screen Actors Guild, told Daily Variety on Wednesday that Paltrow’s ability to work collaboratively as a producer was the most important factor in the success of the series.

“Bruce provided the look, the vision and the humor, which was instrumental since it was such a group effort,” Daniels noted. “He was always very supportive of what I was doing as an actor without interfering. It’s a terrible loss.”

Daniels recalled Paltrow’s kindness to him when the series launched with his Mark Craig character seemingly a minor player. “He told me, ‘Listen, Billy, when the writers see what you’re doing with this character, you’ll become a big part of it.”

Paltrow’s film credits include “The Operating Room” and “Duets” (which he wrote and directed his daughter in).

Other credits “Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct: Lightning” and “Shirts/Skins.”

Brooklyn native attended Tulane U. and studied art before turning to scenic work Off Broadway and met Danner. They moved to Hollywood, where his TV career burgeoned.

At the time of his death, he had a script in the works.

A champion of women and minorities, he receiving the first Diversity Award from the Directors Guild of America in 1997.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

(Dave McNary and news services contributed to this report.)

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