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Tadeusz Kantor, 75, an internationally known avant-garde theater director, author and painter, died Saturday in Krakow.

The cause of death was not reported by Polish radio.

Kantor was known for creating dynamic, inventive theater based on historical and personal themes. He was present in his productions not as an actor but sitting on stage, watching along with the audience. He used scenery of his own creation.

He was especially popular in France, where a Paris premiere was scheduled next month for his newest play, "Today Is My Birthday."

Kantor was born in Wielopole in southern Poland and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow.

During World War II, he founded the underground, experimental Independent Theater. He organized the first postwar modern art exhibition in 1948 in Krakow and organized his Cricot 2 Theater there in 1956.

His productions included "In the Little Country House" in 1961, "The Madman and the Nun" in 1963 and "Water Hen" in 1967.

His "Theater of Death" started with the 1975 premiere of "The Dead Class," which won international prizes.

He participated in various theater festivals and art exhibitions worldwide.

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