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Robert J. Langs, 86, Psychoanalyst and Author

June 30, 1928 - Nov. 8, 2014
Star Staff

Robert Joseph Langs, a psychoanalyst and author of more than 40 books on psychiatry for professionals as well as the public, died of amyloidosis, a rare blood disease, at home in New York City on Nov. 8 at the age of 86.

Dr. Langs wrote and lectured all over the world on dreams, emotions, unconscious communication, and the science of the mind. His last speaking engagement was at the Library of Congress. He was a visiting professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and an honorary visiting fellow with the School of Psychotherapy and Counseling, Regents College, London. His wife, Phyllis Raphael, said that he deviated from Freud in believing that difficult traumas and death anxiety rather than sexual concerns were controlling psychiatric factors.

Dr. Langs had spent more than 30 summers on the South Fork until he became too ill to make the trip. He and his wife had a house on Bell Place in Amagansett. She said he loved being here, enjoyed working in their garden, was an ardent and excellent tennis player, and a devotee of Iacono chickens, which he barbecued. He had been treated for the disease for 10 years but it became more active during his last year.

The son of Louis Langs, a physician, and the former Estelle Levy, Dr. Langs was born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1928. He grew up there and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City. He also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the Chicago Medical School, doing an internship with the United States Public Health Service on Staten Island and serving as director of an addiction center in Lexington, Ky., before becoming a resident in psychiatry at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx.

He and Ms. Raphael were married in 1990. His first marriage, to Joan Schwartz, ended in divorce. They had lived in Plainview and Roslyn. He is survived, in addition to his wife, by three children, Charles Langs and Sandra Langs of Manhattan and Bernard Langs of New Providence, N.J., and by three stepchildren, Jenifer Chartoff of Milan, Italy, William Chartoff of Los Angeles, and Julie Chartoff of Manhattan. He also is survived by 11 combined grandchildren and step-grandchildren, and a sister, Joan Lavin of Miami Beach.

A private memorial service is to be held in Manhattan tomorrow. Contributions in his name have been suggested to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York 10128.


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