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Herb Dorfman, Orion Pictures Home Video Executive, Dies at 77

Herb Dorfman Obit Dead
Courtesy of The Dorfman Family

Herb Dorfman, former Orion Pictures executive and a home video industry veteran, died Feb. 25 of complications from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. He was 77.

Dorfman served as head of home entertainment for Orion Pictures from 1987 to late 1996. Orion was a prosperous independent studio in those days that turned out a steady stream of box office hits during Dorfman’s tenure, including “Silence of the Lambs,” “Mississippi Burning” and “Dances With Wolves.” Orion was part of a wave of sizable Hollywood independents that thrived along with the home video boom of the 1980s and ’90s.

Dorfman was known for his elaborate marketing campaigns and promotional stunts, such as his attention-getting move to send director Jennifer Lynch out for a promotional press tour for the controversial 1993 drama “Boxing Helena” when it was held up from theatrical release by litigation.

Dorfman left Orion just as the company was sold to MGM in 1996 following a bankruptcy proceeding. The Brooklyn native, who spent much time as a youth in Coney Island and Steeplechase Park, headed his own Steeplechase Entertainment Corp. from 1997 to 2009. He served as general manager for prolific home video producer-distributor Porchlight Entertainment from 2009 to 2012.

Earlier in his career, Dorfman worked in music distribution on the East Coast for Pickwick Distribution Corp. and Moss Music Group.

Dorfman’s survivors include a daughter, Alexandra Nickson, who is senior VP of TV music for DreamWorks; a son, Eryq Dorfman; and sister Gail Greene.

A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. on March 29 at Nickson’s home in Santa Clarita, Calif., to be led by Rabbi Jay Seigal of Temple Beth Shalom. For details, contact Nickson at AlexandraNickson16@gmail.com.