Phillip Hayes Dean, 83, a playwright, director, and theater actor who wrote the one-man play Paul Robeson starring James Earl Jones on Broadway in 1978, died Monday in Los Angeles from a heart condition, according to a family spokesman.

His plays include The Last American Dixieland Band, Moloch Blues, Freeman, The Owl Killer and Dink's Blues, and The Sty of the Blind Pig, which Time called one of the best plays of 1971.

Mr. Dean's most famous work is Paul Robeson, a powerful chronicle of the singer, actor, and civil rights activist, which has had three Broadway productions and a London production, and has toured across the United States and Europe.

Wren T. Brown, founder of the Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, where a production of Paul Robeson is playing, called Mr. Dean "a towering playwright and brilliant man of the theater." - AP