Movie director Martin Ritt, whose tender and tough portrayals of the human condition were immortalized in such films as "Hud," "Sounder" and "Norma Rae" died Saturday after suffering a massive heart attack.

Ritt died about 4:15 a.m. at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center several hours after being admitted. A hospital spokeswoman said he was 76, but other sources said he was 70.The heavy-set director spent 30 years building a reputation as a "thinking" director. He adapted several films from novels, including three by William Faulkner.

His last film was "Stanley and Iris," which was released earlier this year and featured Robert De Niro and Jane Fonda.