Lee Orgel, animation producer and veteran of Broadway, television and the film industry, passed away at his home in Burbank, California, of emphysema on May 12, 2004 at the age of 78.
The New Jersey native began his career 60 years ago as the stage manager for MGMs live presentations at the Capitol Theater in New York, after which he became one of the pioneers of television while continuing to produce on Broadway.
His producer credits include some of the first animated commercials, the original interactive chalk talk show, CARTOON TELETALES, and one of the earliest daytime game shows, PICTURE PLEASE.
This was followed by his own production company, Jomar Productions, where he developed and produced numerous shows including THE NEW ADVENTURES OF THE THREE STOOGES and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO cartoon series.
As producer and creative head of UPA Pictures, he produced the first animated primetime network special MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL and animated feature, GAY PUR-EE, voiced by Judy Garland.
Television writing credits include MR. ROBERTS and BATMAN, including the episode, The Purr-fect Crime, which was selected by TV Guide as one of the 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. On Broadway, he produced George Bernard Shaws DON JUAN IN HELL, starring Ricardo Montalban and Agnes Moorhead.
For the past 15 years he was a senior executive at Crest Nationals film and video facilities in Hollywood where he was a mentor to numerous up and coming filmmakers as well as the point person for their large format telecine, which was an industry first. Crest National has been family-owned since its inception in 1961, serving major film studios, software companies, the home video market, record labels, advertising agencies, independent producers and distributors, the inflight entertainment industry and industrial clients the world over.
Lee has been an integral part of our organization as well as the industry at large, said Ron Stein, president of Crest National. He will be sorely missed.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Leatrice, daughter Jo Ann Orgel, son Mark Orgel, M. D., and grandchildren Matthew and Alicia Orgel. Services were held on May 16 at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park in Burbank.