Dick Orkin, a radio personality who created the popular “Chickenman” character before branching into radio advertising and voiceover work in the San Fernando Valley, died on Sunday following a stroke. He was 84.
After a successful career as a radio broadcaster in Chicago and elsewhere, Orkin founded in 1973 the Famous Radio Ranch, a recording studio for voiceover work in radio, television, audio books and video games. Originally it was located in Hollywood until moving to Sherman Oaks in 2006. The studios are now owned and operated by Orkin’s daughter, Lisa.
“He had been struggling with health issues for a while and lately was on the mend, but Saturday night he had a stroke and Sunday evening he passed away,” Lisa Orkin wrote on her Facebook page.
In an interview with the Business Journal in 2014, Orkin said that his career turned when he got into radio serials, first with “The Adventures of Chickenman,” a spoof of the “Batman” television series, followed by “The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.”
“Chickeman” celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and Orkin made all the episodes available on a subscription podcast service, with select episodes also on iTunes.
In the Business Journal interview, Orkin said it was the humor of “Chickenman” that sustains the serial.
“It is as relevant today as it was then because I was careful about not getting too contemporary,” Orkin said. “I stayed away from local references that would date it.”
Orkin is an inductee in the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Illinois Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame.