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Harvey Atkin (1942 - 2017)

Everett Collection / Paramount

Harvey Atkin (1942 - 2017)

Harvey Atkin, the character actor who played camp director Morty Melnick in “Meatballs,” died Monday, July 17, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 74.

Atkin’s friend and agent Larry Goldhar confirmed the news the following day in a statement.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved friend, husband, father, and grandfather, Harvey, passed away peacefully last night following his battle with cancer.”

The Canadian actor had a recurring role as Sergeant Ronald Coleman on the television series “Cagney & Lacey” and appeared on multiple episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as Judge Alan Ridenour.


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Atkin was born Dec. 18, 1942, in Toronto, Ontario. He was a real estate agent before becoming an actor. He started his acting career doing TV commercials in Canada.

Atkin was also a voice actor. He played Mario and Luigi’s archenemy, King Koopa, on the “Super Mario Bros.” animated cartoon series.

He is probably best remembered for his role in the summer camp comedy film “Meatballs,” which was released in 1979. Atkin’s camp director character, Morty, tries to rein in his crazy head counselor, Tripper Harrison, who is played by Bill Murray. A running joke in the movie is that everyone calls him Mickey instead of Morty. His performance as Morty Melnick earned Atkin a Genie nomination.

He is survived by his wife, Celia, two children, and five grandchildren.

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