October 09, 1997 12:00 AM

“The Rainmaker” playwright N. Richard Nash, 87, died on Dec. 11. Besides the hit 1954 play (which then became a 1956 movie with Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster), Nash also wrote screenplays and novels . . . “Amos ‘n’ Andy” actor Nick Stewart, 90, who played the slow-witted character Lightnin’ on the early ’50s show (which was later removed from the air over protests that it was the sole depiction of African-Americans on TV), died in Los Angeles yesterday. After the series he founded L.A.’s Ebony Showcase Theater, which helped launch several acting careers, including those of John Amos, Nichelle Nichols and Isabel Sanford . . . Newspaper publisher Randolph A. Hearst, 85, the last surviving son of press baron William Randolph Hearst and father of Patricia Hearst, died of s stroke in San Francisco yesterday. In the ’70s he was a familiar figure himself in the news, following the kidnapping of his daughter Patty by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army. She was later released and has since then appeared in several John Waters movies.

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