Born on July 18, 1887 in Springfield, Massachusetts, he would make his entrance into the film industry as the assistant director to Ralph Ince on the 1920 silent film, Out of the Snows. He"d work as the assistant director on another sixteen films between 1928 and 1934, the most notable of which would be 1933"s Morning Glory, directed by Lowell Sherman and starring Katharine Hepburn and Douglas Fairbanks Junior. In 1934 he would be given the chance to helm his first picture, The Silver Streak, which was one of the top money-makers for Radio-Keith-Orpheum Pictures that year.
He would only direct two more films, the second of which, Hi, Gaucho!, he would also write the story foreign
Atkins died on June 18, 1968 in Los Angeles, California.