Radio veteran Dick Orkin, creator of ‘Chickenman,’ has died at 84
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Dick Orkin, whose voice was familiar to many Chicago radio listeners, died Sunday in California, his daughter posted on Facebook.
“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, posted on Facebook. “He was an incredible father and we all feel blessed that we had him in our lives as long as we did.”
The news was first reported by Robert Feder, who said Orkin was 84.
Orkin was production director at WCFL in 1967 when he created “The Adventures of Chickenman” — which, at its height, was syndicated to more than 1,500 stations worldwide, according to Feder.
Orkin’s deadpan superhero, the alter-ego of shoe salesman Benton Harbor, had no powers. He wanted to fight crime in Midland City, so he went to a costume store. He settled on a chicken because the other option, a rabbit suit, didn’t test well. Indeed, the first person he ran into outside the store, who professed to being a criminal, said the costume “makes me want to kiss you” because he looked “adorable.”
Returning to the store, Benton Harbor declared: “Wrap up the chicken, please.”
More recently, Orkin was the voice of the put-upon son “Dickie” who tries to talk his grandmother out of various money-making schemes and urges her to just get a loan from First American Bank.
Lisa Orkin said services are planned for Thursday in Los Angeles.