WILMINGTON, DE -- Irving S. Shapiro, an attorney who became the first chief executive of DuPont Co. without a technical background or ties to the DuPont family, died Sept. 13 in Wilmington following a brief battle with cancer. He was 85.

The son of Lithuanian immigrants, Mr. Shapiro grew up in Minnesota and practiced law before joining DuPont's legal department in Wilmington. He rose to become chairman and CEO, heading the nation's biggest chemical company from 1974 to 1981. Current DuPont Chairman Charles Holliday said Mr. Shapiro broke new ground for corporate executives by assuming a higher public profile than was customary for such company leaders.

Mr. Shapiro is survived by his wife Charlotte; a son, Stuart, of New York; a daughter, Elizabeth, of Delaware; and four grandchildren.