Ruth Orkin, a photojournalist and film maker whose works appeared originally in Life and Look magazines but now are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and other hallowed art halls, died Wednesday of cancer. She was 63.
Miss Orkin's photos of celebrities and street scenes appeared regularly for decades in leading pictorial publications. Her film, "The Little Fugitive," co-directed with her husband, Morris Engel, won the top award for a feature at the Venice Film Festival in 1953.
For many years Miss Orkin was often confined to her Central Park West apartment by her illness but used the opportunity to take color photographs of Central Park, which were collected in two books, "A World Through My Window" and "More Pictures From My Window."
One of her photo sequences, of three children playing cards on a porch, was part of Edward Steichen's legendary exhibit "The Family of Man," which toured the country after being shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955.
A native of Boston, Miss Orkin grew up in Hollywood, where her mother, Mary Ruby, was a silent-screen actress. She came to New York in 1944 to begin a free-lance career, and one of her early projects involved three summers of taking candid pictures of musicians at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Mass.
One of her better known early works was of a young Leonard Bernstein without a shirt.