Michael Harrington, a political theorist and social reform activist who advised the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped inspire the war on poverty, died Monday after a long bout with cancer. He was 61. Harrington, a professor of political science at Queens College of the City University of New York and honorary president of Socialist International, died at his home in Larchmont, N.Y., the university said in a statement yesterday. Harrington's book, "The Other America," attracted national attention in the early 1960s. In all, he wrote 16 books on the problems of massive poverty in the midst of affluence and on the cultural stress associated with technological advances. Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation, said of "The Other America": "It was one of the very few times that a book led to a federal program, the war on poverty . . . . Ever since then there's been a new consciousness that we should do something about poor people." Harrington's latest book, "Socialism, Past and Future," was published last month by Arcade Press. Harrington, who became involved in social reform as a youth, was on King's advisory committee from 1965 to 1968. He also was active in the antiwar movement and the movements against apartheid in South Africa and against American intervention in Central America. He was a founder of the Democratic Socialists of America, serving as national chairman and co-chairman from 1982 until his death. He was secretary of the Socialist International committee, which drew up a new declaration of principles in 1985. Last month, Harrington was named honorary president of Socialist International at its centennial conference in Stockholm. He was chairman of the Socialist Party from 1968 to 1972 and of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee from 1973-82. He was also a member of the Senior Seminar of the U.S. Department of State. Harrington taught at the universities of Paris, Illinois, Michigan and California at Los Angeles as well as at Harvard University and the National War College. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said, "More than any other writer in recent memory, Michael Harrington helped translate the dry and statistical analysis of poverty into passionate, human terms, and in so doing he lent moral and intellectual strength to the notion that government can and should make the elimination of poverty a primary goal for society." Harrington received his bachelor's degree from Holy Cross College and attended Yale University Law School. He received a master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1949. Harrington is survived by his wife, Stephanie Gervis Harrington, and two sons. MELANIE LANDAU Computer Printer Operator Melanie Landau, 38, a computer printer operator at the Heart and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health, died July 30 at Washington Hospital Center. She had nocardiosis, a fungal disease. Miss Landau, who lived in Chevy Chase, was born in Houston and reared in Bethesda, where she graduated from Walt Whitman High School. She joined NIH in 1974. She was named the 1988 Volunteer of the Year by the Friendship Heights Village Community Center in Chevy Chase. Survivors include her parents, Emanuel and Davetta Landau of Chevy Chase; and a sister, Elizabeth Rabin of Rockville. PHYLLIS GROOM McCREARY Economist, Artist and Vintner Phyllis Groom McCreary, 64, a former Washington artist and Labor Department economist who later operated a Virginia winery, died of cancer July 31 at her home in Rectortown, Va. Mrs. McCreary was born in Cincinnati and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Miami University in Ohio. She moved to the Washington area shortly after World War II and attended George Washington University law school. From about 1955 to 1970, she was a Labor Department economist, and had also been editor of the monthly Labor Review. For the last three years of her employment, Mrs. McCreary had worked part time to spend more time on her art work. In the 1960s and 1970s, she was a professional artist, specializing in abstract paintings and later, figures and landscapes. Her work was shown and sold at galleries and studios in Washington, Waterford, Va. and Rehoboth, Del. With her husband, John, she had operated Locust Hill Vineyard in Rectortown for about 16 years until closing the operation last year. For five years they sold wines commercially. Mrs. McCreary had been a volunteer tutor in Washington and was a member of the board of directors of the Fauquier County Literacy Volunteers. In addition to her husband, of Rectortown, survivors include her mother, Edith Estelle Groom of St. Petersburg, Fla. BEATRICE ROSENBLOOM RUDIN Hospital Board Member Beatrice Rosenbloom Rudin, 87, a former member of the board of visitors of Alexandria Hospital and president of the Sisterhood at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, died of pneumonia July 31 at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville. Mrs. Rudin was born in Pittsburgh. She moved to the Washington area in 1941, when her husband, Philip Gordon Rudin, a dentist, was stationed at Fort Belvoir for Army service in World War II. Mrs. Rudin lived in Alexandria until the early 1980s, when she moved to Rockville. She had been in the Hebrew Home for about two years. In the 1960s, Mrs. Rudin helped found Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church. Her husband died in 1988. A son, Berton M. Rudin, died in 1974. Survivors include a son, Rabbi James Rudin of New York City; two brothers, Meyer A. Rosenbloom and Stanley E. Rosenbloom, both of Pittsburgh; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. MARGARET W. BUCHANAN Retired Teacher Margaret W. Buchanan, 84, an elementary school teacher and administrator in Southern California for 40 years, died July 30 at Sleepy Hollow Manor Nursing Home in Annandale. She had diabetes and other ailments. Mrs. Buchanan was born in Des Moines. She grew up in California, graduated from Redlands University and made her career in California. In the early 1970s, she moved to Easton, Md. She had lived at Sleepy Hollow Manor since 1977. Mrs. Buchanan was a member of the National Education Association, the California Teachers Association, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Soroptimists' Club and the Business and Professional Women's Club. Her first husband, Donald Graffam, died in 1977. Her second husband, Daniel C. Buchanan, died in 1981. Survivors include two daughters, Anne G. Walker and Alice E. La Neve, both of Falls Church; two brothers, Warde D. Watson of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Morris R. Watson of Bakersfield, Calif.; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.