Actor who played Morty Melnick in ‘Meatballs’ dies at age 74

Canadian actor Harvey Atkin, who is perhaps best known for playing Camp North Star director Morty Melnick in the 1979 summer camp comedy Meatballs has died at the age of 74.

While Bill Murray’s Tripper Harrison is the bonafide star of the film, Atkin’s character was one of the most iconic from the supporting cast, particularly with his signature yellow “When the Hand Goes Up, the Mouth Goes Shut” shirt. As the uptight foil to Tripper’s charismatic charm, Morty is the natural target of pranks and ends the movie waking up on a raft in the middle of the lake.

Atkin, who went on to become a regular on the TV show Cagney & Lacey, also played a camp director in a 1980 commercial for Quench Punch.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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