Peter Kass, a theater actor and director whose influence as a teacher was felt in several generations of performers, died in Manhattan on Monday. He was 85 and lived in Brooklyn.
The cause was heart failure, said his son, Robbie Kass.
In the 1940s Mr. Kass was a protégé of Clifford Odets, who asked him to direct the first incarnation of his show-business drama, "The Country Girl," at the Lakes Region Playhouse in New Hampshire. In 1950 Odets took over the directing chores for the Broadway production of the play, about a love triangle involving a play's director, its lead actor and the actor's wife (played by Uta Hagen), but he cast Mr. Kass in the supporting role of the playwright. A Broadway revival closed last month.