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Steve Krantz; TV producer was novelist's spouse

LOS ANGELES -- Steve Krantz, the husband of novelist Judith Krantz, the producer of the X-rated animated movie "Fritz the Cat," and creator of successful TV miniseries, died Jan. 4 from complications of pneumonia. He was 83.

During his TV career, Mr. 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 eventually grossed more than $100 million and spawned a sequel.

Mr. 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, Mr. Krantz produced miniseries of his wife's pot boiler novels, including "Scruples" 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," but she did it, she said, thinking it would be a failure and would prove him wrong.

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