Harvey Atkin, 'Cagney & Lacey' and 'Meatballs' Actor, Dies at 74

Bob Lasky
Harvey Atkin

The Canadian actor's breakout role was Morty in Ivan Reitman's 1979 comedy, opposite Bill Murray.

Harvey Atkin, best known for playing staff sergeant captain Ronald Coleman on Cagney and Lacey and Judge Ridenour on the NBC crime drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, has died. He was 74.

His longtime agent Larry Goldhar on Tuesday announced that Atkin died Monday night in Toronto after a long illness. "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," Goldhar said in a statement.

Born in Toronto on Dec. 18, 1942, Atkin turned in his breakout role as camp director Morty Melnick in Ivan Reitman's 1979 comedy Meatballs, in which he starred opposite Bill Murray, Kate Lynch and Chris Makepeace. From 1981-88, Atkin also appeared regularly on TV's Cagney & Lacey opposite Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless. 

The CBS drama also starred Al Waxman, with whom Atkin appeared back in Canada on the long-running CBC comedy King of Kensington. Famous for his glasses, nose and mustache combination, Atkin also had film and TV credits that included Ticket to Heaven, Beetlejuice, Silver Streak and Atlantic City.

His voice acting included work on a slew of TV commercials, including a long-running gig as the voice of Leon's Furniture.

Atkin is survived by his wife, Celia; daughter, Lisa; son, Danny; three sisters; and five grandchildren.

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