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Stanford Calderwood, arts patron who brought “Masterpiece Theater” to public television and secured funding for “French Chef” Julia Childs’ earlier shows, died Thursday May 10 of pancreatic cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 81.

Scottsbluff, Neb., native earned a bachelor degree at U. of Colorado, served in the Navy during WWII, became a reporter- photographer for the Manchester, N.H., Union Leader and for wire services, then followed his writing and photographic bent to the advertising department of Polaroid Corp. in 1953, climbing the corporate ladder including stints in Milan and Tokyo. While there, he led the corporation to underwrite Child’s show.

He left Polaroid in 1970 as an executive vice president to become prexy of WGBH-TV in Boston. During his brief stint at that pubcaster, he convinced the BBC to reduce its prices on older dramas and got Mobil Oil to underwrite the new series (after being rejected by about 40 other corporations). It continues as one of PBS’ longest-running series.

In 1972, he become a money-management concern chiefly owned by Yale U., and in 1981 he bought control of Trinity Investment Management of Boston.

Besides furnishing endowments to museums and schools, he served as a trustee of Radcliffe College, taught economics at Wellesley College and was elected a Harvard Fellow in 2000.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Norma Jean Smith Calderwood.