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Harvey Orkin Collection

 Collection — document case: ACC-MSS 016 Box 01
Identifier: ACC-MSS 016

Scope and Contents

The Harvey Orkin Collection predominately contains materials about the latter part of Orkin's life. As a television writer and talent agent, Orkin corresponded with many known writers and actors such as Peter Sellers, John Cleese, Richard Burton, and Robert Redford. Many of these letters, along with personal correspondence with his family, has been included. Photographs of Orkin and his wife, Gisela Orkin, are also maintained in this collection. Materials authored by Orkin himself such as manuscripts, short stories, and articles published in the London Telegraph magazine. The collection also has several articles about Orkin and his work writing and performing on BBC-3 during his time working for Columbia Pictures Corp. in London, reviews on his novel Scuffler, and three obituaries written shortly after his death on November 3, 1975.

Dates

  • 1958 - 1975

Language of Materials

Records in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. No materials may leave the Emerson College Archives & Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials may be subject to copyright. No part of the materials protected by copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the copyright holder. Researchers are required to seek permission from the copyright holder to reproduce and/or publish materials under copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Television writer, theatrical agent, and humorist, Harvey Orkin accomplished a great deal in what turned out to be a short career. Born January 12, 1918 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Orkin's childhood home found itself buried in debt and sorrow when his father, Jacob, killed himself when he was only 16. His uncle Charlie took him in and introduced him to a life of gambling and cheating tourists on ocean liners. Charlie's influence is thought by his family to have be a significant factor in Orkin's journey to becoming a comedy writer. In his twenties he served in the Army as a hospital administrator in the Midwestern area of the United States, which possibly served as a source for his later writing for the Sergeant Bilko show during the 1950s.

At age 34 Orkin married Gisella Svetlik who had worked on Broadway as a dancer and singer. They had two children together who survive them today, Anthony and Jenna Orkin.

As a talent agent during his time working with Creative Management Associates Orkin represented several well-known actors including Peter Sellers and Richard Burton. His many efforts during his career as a writer in television included writing for the Sergeant Bilko show that went on to win an Emmy award. While working as a vice-president for Columbia Pictures in London, Orkin also wrote and performed for the show BBC-3 and wrote a few articles for the London Telegraph. His final work would be the renowned novel, Scuffler, that was published in the last years of his life. In 1974 he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and died a year later on November 3, 1975. Known for his ability as a raconteur, Orkin left behind fond memories for his friends and fans after his death.

Extent

0.42 Linear Feet

Arrangement

The collection is grouped according to format and arranged chronologically where dates have been provided.

Physical Location

4L

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Author Jenna Orkin, daughter of Harvey Orkin, donated this collection April 11, 2014.

Accruals

No further materials are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Harvey Orkin's correspondence is available online at http://harveyorkin.blogspot.com/ This is a third party website, not maintained or endorsed by Emerson College.

Processing Information

Jordan Rogers

February 26, 2016
Title
Harvey Orkin Collection
Date
2016-02-19
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Emerson College Archives and Special Collections Repository

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