A-14 The Sun Thursday, Aug. 29, 1985 Diplomat, actor attend Samantha Smith's rites AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) A Soviet diplomat and actor Robert Wagner were among 1,000 people to pay final respects Wednesday to Samantha Smith, the young peace advocate whose smile "melted the barriers between nations and warmed the hearts of the coldest diplomats." Reading a statement by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Kulagin, first secretary for cultural affairs at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, recalled Samantha's two-week tour of the Soviet Union in July 1983, describing her as a "brilliant beam of sunshine." Kennebec County is one of 10 in the state where Soviet travel is restricted, but State Department officials gave Kulagin quick clearance to travel to the memorial service for Samantha and her father, Arthur, who were among eight people killed in a plane crash Sunday. Kulagin said he hoped the 13-year-old girl, who took the trip to his country with her parents at the expense of the Soviet government, would prove to be "a symbol of the future in Soviet-American relations." Samantha was invited on the trip by the late Yuri V. Andropov, then the Soviet leader, to whom she had written about her fears of war. Wagner, w ho was filming a television series with Samantha, accompanied her mother, Jane, and other relatives to the front pew at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday. The 70-minute, ecumenical service for Samantha and her father also featured prayers, readings, hymns and testimonials from friends and Gov. Joseph E. Brennan. Samantha and her father, who had quit his job teaching English at the University of Maine at Augusta to oversee her budding acting career, were killed with six other people when their Bar Harbor Airlines plane crashed and exploded while trying to land in Auburn. The Smiths' bodies are being cremated. Actress Ruth Gordon dies of stroke at 88 EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) Actress Ruth Gordon, who often played the part of a sprightly eccentric during a 70-year stage and screen career that included an Oscar for "Rosemary's Baby," died Wednesday at 88. Gordon died of a stroke in her sleep at her Martha's Vineyard summer home, said Dr. Robert Ne-vin, the medical examiner. Her husband of 43 years, writer and director Garson Kanin, was with her. Kanin said Gordon had awakened early in the morning and complained she was not feeling well but just wanted to go back to sleep. "She went to sleep and I was holding her hand. Presently, I was aware . . . she wasn't breathing right and I couldn't find a pulse," said Kanin, 72, who then called police. Gordon, who as a teenager defied acting coaches who told her she would never make it, won the Academy Award as best supporting actress for her 1968 role as a devil worshipper in "Rosemary's Baby." She won an Emmy for a 1979 appearance on the TV show "Taxi." Her screen credits also included "Inside Daisy Clover," "Where's Poppa," and "Harold and Maude," which attracted a devoted following. In addition, she fc vX : ; ft v Ruth Gordon . . . dies in her sleep played Clint Eastwood's feisty, shotgun-toting mother in "Every Which Way But Loose" and "Any Which Way You Can." One of the houses where she once lived is now a nursing home. "And in every room there's a TV, and on every one I'm there. I'm there in 'Every Which Way But Loose' or 'Rosemary's Baby' or 'Taxi.' Isn't that fascinating?" she said in an interview with The Associated Press last November. "I don't care who remembers me, or for what. I love it. I never get over it. 1 never got used to it." "Harold and Maude" was a box-office flop when it opened it 1971. But the story of a IS) year-old boy's love affair with an 80-year-old woman achieved cult status among college students. Twelve years after its release, it finally made a profit. Gordon said when her $50,000 check for the movie arrived in the mail in 1983, she almost threw it away. "I thought it was one of those sweepstakes from Reader's Digest," she said. She co-starred in a film scheduled for release this fall. "Maxie," about a 1920s flapper who invades the body of a housewife. She also wrote two books, "Myself Among Others" and "My Side," an autobiography, and three plays. With Kanin, she wrote the screenplays for the hit Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movies "Adam's Rib" and "Pat and Mike." Gordon was raised in Quincy, a suburb south of Boston, as Ruth Gordon Jones. Her father was a factory foreman. She left home in 1915, riding a train to New York City w ith a $50 bill pinned to her corset. "I wasn't pretty, I was 5 feet tall, I didn't know anyone in New York, I didn't have any talent, I didn't have any money," she once wrote. But she told a hometown crowd in November, "I wanted to be an actress. I was going to be an actress." In New York, she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where, after a year, she says she was told, "We don't think you'll ever be an actress. So don't come back." But she persisted and first appeared on stage in 1915 at the Empire Theater in New York City with a part in "Peter Pan." Following that were years of shows in small theaters in small cities, finally stardom on Broadway in such shows as "The Matchmaker" and "A Doll's House." She returned several times to Quincy but also loved her adopted i home. New York. "We're tough, and I can't tell ya how I admire people who are tough . . .," she said. "People go, they dodge the cars, brakes screech, the taxi drivers yell. It's a challenge." Before marrying Kanin, she was married in 1918 to Gregory Kelly. She had one son, Jones Harris, whose father was producer Jed Harris. Kanin said there would be no funeral or memorial service, at Gordon's request. "She didn't approve of that," he said. 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