Accession consists of audiovisual materials and textual records related to the film and television career of Harvey Atkin. The records are primarily VHS and U-matic tapes of his various performances on television series, commercials, and films, as well as interviews. Also included are news clippings featuring reviews of Atkin’s work, interviews, and biographical sketches. As well, there are promotional materials for Meatballs and Pet Peeves, and several photographs of Atkin.
The records were gathered together by Celia Atkin for a retrospective of Harvey's career in 2018 by the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. Stuart Hands then put Celia in touch with the OJA as a repository for donation.
Elliot Harvey Atkin (1942-2017) was born and lived his entire life in Toronto. He was the son of Ida and Murray Atkin, and his grandparents had immigrated to Canada from Russia in the early twentieth century. After high school he joined his father’s construction business, and in 1963 married Celia Tessler. The couple raised two children, Lisa Atkin and Danny Atkin.
In 1969, he joined friend Larry Goldhar’s talent agency, The Character’s Talent Agency, as a partner and in the 1970s began featuring in Canadian television shows and American movies filmed in Toronto. Following breakout success in the 1979 comedy Meatballs, Atkin had a prolific career in television and voice work. He continued to live in Toronto throughout his career, flying to the US to film series such as Cagney and Lacey in the 1980s and Law & Order: SVU in the 2000s. He was also a voice performer who contributed to a number of animated television series, as well as an estimated 3,000 television and radio commercials. Larry Goldhar remained Atkin’s agent throughout his career.
In addition to his facility with languages and accents, he was known for his mechanical abilities, and hosted a handyman feature, “Help Yourself,” on CTV.
Atkin never fully retired, and passed in 2017 from cancer. In 2018, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival presented an archival screening series in his honour, The Harvey Atkin Tribute to Canadian Media.
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
USE CONDITION NOTE: It is believed that copyright for most of the material belongs to the production companies and/or broadcasters of Harvey's work. Researchers will need to determine the copyright owner prior to use.