Screenwriter and publicist Orin Borsten died Nov. 18 in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 94.
Borsten began his career as a child actor in Atlanta and appeared on Broadway in the “American Way.”
After serving in the Army medical corps during WWII, he came to Hollywood, where his first job was publicizing Artie Shaw and the Gramercy 5; he later handled public relations for talent including Mario Lanza and Hattie McDaniel. Borsten orchestrated the publicity campaign that earned Dorothy Dandridge an Academy Award nomination for her role in “Carmen Jones.”
For five years, he was the “leg man” for Erskine Johnson, who wrote a column about Hollywood for The Daily News. He then went on to pen “Fever for Life,” a play that was produced in 1957 by the Theatre Guild and which starred Rip Torn, Barbara Barrie, and John Randolph.
For television, he wrote episodes for the “U.S. Steel Hour,” “Naked City” and “Outer Limits.” He scripted the feature film “Angel Baby” which starred George Hamilton and Joan Blondell.
From 1965-1976, Borsten worked in Universal Pictures’ publicity department, on films including “Jaws,” “American Graffiti,” “Airport,” “Earthquake” and “Topaz.” While at Universal, he wrote a syndicated column called “Hollywood Spotlight” for which he interviewed numerous stars and filmmakers.
In 1977, Borsten retired and co-authored the book “A Loving Gentleman: the Love Story of William Faulker and Meta Carpenter.” He returned to publicity to work on “Porky’s” and “Zorro the Gay Blade.”
Borsten was a member of the Writers Guild of America, and the Publicists Guild, for which he served on its board of directors as 1st Vice President. Also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he was involved in the Nicholl Fellowships in Writing program.
Borsten is survived by his son Joseph; his daughter Joan Borsten Vidov, a film executive; a grandson and a great-grandson.
Donations may be made to the Nicholl Fellowships in Writing, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Academy Foundation, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA. 90211.