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William Como, longtime editor of Dance Magazine, the influential journal of the ballet world, has died of lung cancer at the age of 63.

Through the magazine, Como championed new dance companies and regional companies, such as Ballet West and the San Francisco, Boston and Tulsa, Okla., ballets, and was an advocate for the critical acceptance of the Stuttgart Ballet in West Germany, the Danish Royal Ballet and Maurice Bejart's companies in France, among others."And he did the same thing with young dancers and young choreographers, such as John Neumeier, an American choreographer and artistic director of the Hamburg Ballet in West Germany," said Norma McLain Stoop, a senior editor of the magazine and a good friend of Como's.

Como died Sunday night at Lenox Hill Hospital, Stoop said.

He was born in Williamstown, Mass., on Nov. 10, 1925, and he was educated at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Como had a brief career as a dancer and actor both in California and New York from 1948 to 1953, before joining the magazine.

From 1954 to 1960, Como was sales manager of Dance Magazine, then was promoted to advertising manager and assistant to the publisher from 1961 to 1969. The next year he was named editor in chief, a position he held until his death.

Como also edited Ballroom Dance Magazine, which was renamed After Dark, from 1968 to 1979, when it folded. He also had a weekly half-hour show about dance on National Public Radio, Stoop said.

Como is survived by a brother, Joseph, of Alexandria, Va., and his mother, Janet Como, of Williamstown, Mass.