Mr. Elkins’ career began in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency in New York City. One year later he was heading up WMA’s legitimate theatre department. Following William Morris, Mr. Elkins was named Vice-President in Charge of West Coast Production at GAC (now ICM).
From 1956 to 1960, Mr. Elkins ran his own personal management firm representing such clients as Lee Adams, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Robert Culp, Gypsy Rose Lee, James Komack, Steve McQueen, Herbert Ross, Mike Stewart and Charles Strouse among others.
Shortly thereafter, Elkins began producing for the legitimate stage. He produced over forty shows on Broadway and London’s West End, including the musical version of Clifford Odets’ “GOLDEN BOY” starring Sammy Davis, Jr., and “THE ROTHSCHILDS” by Sherman Yellen, Bock & Harnick (for which Hal Linden won a Tony Award). In 1969 he produced the original “OH! CALCUTTA!” at the Eden Theatre, with numerous productions to follow in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Brussels, Paris, Stockholm, Hamburg, Australia, Israel and South America. Many of these productions ran for more than five years, however, none of them equaled “OH! CALCUTTA!’s” astounding twenty year run on Broadway.
Other noteworthy Elkins projects included Gore Vidal’s “AN EVENING WITH RICHARD NIXON”, Leonard Bernstein’s “CANDIDE” and the first successful Tennessee Williams production in London of “A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE” starring Claire Bloom (which won the Evening Standard Award). Ms. Bloom appeared in many of Elkins’ subsequent productions: The distinguished repertory presentation of Ibsen’s “A DOLL’S HOUSE” and “HEDDA GABLER”. Elkins teamed with Martin Luther King to produce “BROADWAY ANSWERS SELMA” as well as the double Tony Award winning South African play “SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD” and “THE ISLAND“, both by the critically acclaimed Athol Fugard in 1978 he produced the revival of “STOP THE WORLD...I WANT TO GET OFF” starring his “GOLDEN BOY” pal, Sammy Davis, Jr., followed by “AN EVENING WITH QUENTIN CRISP” which toured the US and garnered Mr. Crisp a Drama Desk Award in New York and a Drama Critic’s Circle Award in Los Angeles. Elkins received a Drama Critics Circle Award for his presentation of Georgia Brown in her one-woman show “GEORGIA BROWN AND FRIENDS”.
Elkins’ early films include “RICHARD PRYOR LIVE IN CONCERT”, Arthur Penn’s “ALICE’S RESTAURANT” (Academy Award nominee/best director), Elaine May’s “A NEW LEAF” (Golden Globe nominee/best picture) starring Miss May (Golden Globe nominee/best actress) and Walter Matthau. He also produced the film version of “A DOLL’S HOUSE” starring Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins and Sir Ralph Richardson.
Mr. Elkins won an Ace Award for the videotaped production of “THE DEADLY GAME”, based on the Frederic Duerenmatt novella for Home Box Office, starring George Segal, Trevor Howard, Robert Morley, Emlyn Williams and Alan Webb.
His videotaped production of the Broadway show “PIPPIN” starring Ben Vereen, William Katt, Chita Rivera and Martha Raye is distributed in the worldwide home video market along with “THE HUBERMAN FESTIVAL” (nominated for a Grammy Award) with Zubin Mehta conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel, Shlomo Mintz, Itzhak Perlman, Issac Stern, Henryk Szeryng and Pinchas Zuckerman.
Elkins partnered with Jeff Stetson and director Bill Duke to produce the American Playhouse presentation of “THE MEETING” (an apocryphal meeting between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X). The program aired on PBS in May of 1989 and won an Ohio State Award.
Mr. Elkins was Co-Executive Producer on the Viacom/NBC series of two, two-hour mysteries entitled “RAY ALEXANDER” starring Louis Gossett, Jr. He produced with Kushner-Locke the two-hour NBC/MOW “FATHER AND SON”. For CBS Elkins co- produced “A FATHER FOR CHARLIE” and “TO DANCE WITH OLIVIA”
In the fall of 1995 Elkins, Gossett and Showtime produced “INSIDE” in South Africa. The Arthur Penn helmed film starred Louis Gossett, Jr., Nigel Hawthorne and Eric Stoltz. Airing on Showtime and was then released theatrically in several major US cities, France and Belgium. The production was nominated for an Emmy Award, and a Cable Ace Award and was chosen for the Director’s Fortenite in the Cannes Film Festival. Additionally, it was shown at numerous film festivals, including Toronto, San Francisco, Munich, Flanders, Galway, Haifa and Carthage.
Mr. Elkins, Mr. Gossett and Showtime produced other movies such as “RUN FOR THE DREAM: THE GAIL DEVERS STORY” (nominated for an NAACP Image Award), starring Charlayne Woodard as Gail Devers. The Hallmark/Showtime’s production of “IN HIS FATHER’S SHOES”, which received a Daytime Emmy Award.
Mr. Elkins’ relationship with Showtime continued as co-producer with Frank Martin, a six hour- documentary entitled “SEX, CENSORSHIP AND THE SILVER SCREEN”, and is currently producing “FOR THE LOVE: The History of Letters of Black Soldiers in America”, also with Frank Martin.
OF LIBERTY” hosted by Halle Berry and introduced by Colin Powell.
“Hilly”, known to his friends and colleagues, currently runs his own management/production company in Beverly Hills. He is currently developing a film production of Kurt Vonnegut’s “CAT’S CRADLE”, and The TIMOTHY LEARY STORY. On the pre-production front, Elkins is set to produce David Golden’s “THE HUNTSMAN”, with Matt Penn on board to direct.
Utilizing his theater background, Mr. Elkins has put a deal together between Showtime Networks and The Mark Taper Forum, utilizing writers with theatre backgrounds working in conjunction with Gordon Davidson to develop a unique series of films and series to be shown on Showtime. Currently in development is a project entitled “Challenger” based on the unfortunate disaster.
Mr. Elkins is currently developing two projects with Leonardo DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way, entitled “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut with James V. Hart on board to write the screenplay, as well as “The Timothy Leary Story”.
7 Tony nominations
3 Tony Awards
1 Ohio State Award
1 Daytime Emmy Award
1 Outer Circle Critics Awards
1 Film TV Daily Award
1 Film Critics Award
1 Drama Desk Award
1 Evening Standard Award
1 NAACP Image Award nomination
1 British Variety Club Award
1 Whitbread Anglo-American Theatre Award
1 Cable Ace Award
1 Grammy nomination
Who’s Who in Entertainment
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,
Academy of Television Arts and Science,
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists,
Producers Guild of America
Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors,
National Conference of Personal Managers