Orton Havergal Hicks, a veteran film industry executive, died May 10 of natural causes in Hanover, N.H. He was 96.
A native of Minneapolis and a graduate of Dartmouth College, Hicks’ business career began with the Eastman Kodak Co., where he worked as a film salesman.
In 1928, he founded Films, Inc., one of the world’s largest distributors of 16mm entertainment film to non-theatrical outlets, including schools, hospitals and churches.
Hicks served as president of that company until 1938 and subsequently continued as an adviser to the company well into the 1980s.
Hicks also founded the Seven Seas Film Corp., which supplied pics to ships at sea. He was also chairman of Walter O. Gutlohn, Inc., a New York company which distributed films to nontheatrical markets for RKO, Universal, Paramount and Monogram.
During World War II, Hicks served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he organized a system which made it possible for American military personnel in every theater of war to see firstrun movies.
Following the war, Hicks worked for Loews Intl. Corp. for 13 years.
In 1958, Hicks returned to Dartmouth as a VP of development, alumni affairs and public relations, where he played a central role in launching Dartmouth’s film studies program.
Hicks is survived by a son, a daughter, 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Dartmouth in July.
Contributions in Hicks’ name may be sent to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, West Wheelock St., Hanover, NH 03755, or to the Vice President Emeritus Fund, 6068 Blunt Alumni Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.