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Alan Wolf Arkin (born March 26, 1934) is an American actor, director, and screenwriter. With a film career spanning six decades, Arkin is known for his performances in Popi, Wait Until Dark, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, The In-Laws, Edward Scissorhands, Get Smart, Glengarry Glen Ross, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Little Miss Sunshine, Sunshine Cleaning, and Argo.
Arkin in 1975
|Born||Alan Wolf Arkin
March 26, 1934
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter, musician, singer|
(m. 1955; div. 1961)
(m. 1964; div. 1994)
|Children||3; including Adam and Matthew Arkin|
He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor twice for his performances in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Little Miss Sunshine and received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance in Argo.
Arkin was born in Brooklyn, New York City on March 26, 1934, the son of David I. Arkin, a painter and writer, and his wife, Beatrice (née Wortis), a teacher. He was raised in a Jewish family with "no emphasis on religion". His grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, and Germany. His parents moved to Los Angeles when Alan was 11, but an 8-month Hollywood strike cost his father his job as a set designer. During the 1950s Red Scare, Arkin's parents were accused of being Communists, and his father was fired when he refused to answer questions about his political ideology. David Arkin challenged the dismissal, but he was vindicated only after his death.
Arkin, who had been taking acting lessons since age 10, became a scholarship student at various drama academies, including one run by the Stanislavsky student Benjamin Zemach, who taught Arkin a psychological approach to acting. Arkin attended Los Angeles City College from 1951 to 1953. He also attended Bennington College. With two friends, he formed the folk music group The Tarriers, in which Arkin sang and played guitar. The band members co-composed the group's 1956 hit "The Banana Boat Song", a reworking, with some new lyrics, of a traditional, Jamaican calypso folk song of the same name, combined with another titled "Hill and Gully Rider". It reached #4 on the Billboard magazine chart the same year as Harry Belafonte's better-known hit version. The group appeared in the 1957 Calypso-exploitation film Calypso Heat Wave, singing "Banana Boat Song" and "Choucoune".
From 1958 to 1968, Arkin performed and recorded with the children's folk group, The Baby Sitters. He also performed the role of Dr. Pangloss in a concert staging of Leonard Bernstein's operetta Candide, alongside Madeline Kahn's Cunegonde. Arkin was an early member of the Second City comedy troupe in the 1960s.
Arkin is one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance (for The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming in 1966). Two years later, he was again nominated, for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
In 1968, he appeared in the title role of Inspector Clouseau after Peter Sellers dissociated himself from the role, but the film was not well received by Sellers' fans. Arkin and his second wife Barbara Dana appeared together on the 1970–1971 season of Sesame Street as a comical couple named Larry and Phyllis who resolve their conflicts when they remember how to pronounce the word "cooperate."
Arkin and Dana later appeared together again in 1987 on the ABC sitcom Harry, which was canceled after four low-rated episodes.
His best known films include Wait Until Dark as the erudite killer stalking Audrey Hepburn; The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Little Murders, The In-Laws, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Little Miss Sunshine, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar; and Argo. His portrayal of Dr. Oatman, a scared and emotionally conflicted psychiatrist treating John Cusack's hit man character Martin Q. Blank in Grosse Point Blank was also well received.
His role in Little Miss Sunshine, as Grandfather Edwin, who was foul-mouthed and had a taste for snorting heroin, won him the BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. On receiving his Academy Award on February 25, 2007, Arkin said, "More than anything, I'm deeply moved by the open-hearted appreciation our small film has received, which in these fragmented times speaks so openly of the possibility of innocence, growth, and connection". At 72 years old, Arkin was the sixth oldest winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
In 2006–2007, Arkin was cast in supporting roles in Rendition as a U.S. senator and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause as Bud Newman (Carol's Father), starring with Tim Allen, Martin Short, Elizabeth Mitchell, Judge Reinhold, and Wendy Crewson.
In 1969, Arkin's directorial debut was a 12-minute children's film titled People Soup, starring his sons Adam and Matthew Arkin. Based on a story of the same name he published in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1958, People Soup is a fantasy about two boys who experiment with various kitchen ingredients until they concoct a magical soup which transforms them into different animals and objects.
His most acclaimed directorial effort is Little Murders, released in 1971. Written by cartoonist Jules Feiffer, Little Murders is a black comedy film starring Elliott Gould and Marcia Rodd about a girl, Patsy (Rodd), who brings home her boyfriend, Alfred (Gould), to meet her severely dysfunctional family amidst a series of random shootings, garbage strikes and electrical outages ravaging the neighborhood. The film opened to a lukewarm review by Roger Greenspan, and a more positive one by Vincent Canby in the New York Times. Roger Ebert's review in the Chicago Sun Times was more enthusiastic, saying, "One of the reasons it works and is indeed a definitive reflection of America's darker moods, is that it breaks audiences down into isolated individuals, vulnerable and uncertain."
Arkin also directed Fire Sale (1977), Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon (1993) and Arigo (2000).
Arkin is the author of many books, including Tony's Hard Work Day (illustrated by James Stevenson, 1972), The Lemming Condition (illustrated by Joan Sandin, 1976), Halfway Through the Door: An Actor's Journey Toward Self (1979), and The Clearing (1986 continuation of Lemming). In March 2011, he released his memoir, An Improvised Life.
Arkin has been married three times. He and Jeremy Yaffe (m. 1955–1961) have two sons: Adam Arkin, born August 19, 1956, and Matthew Arkin, born March 21, 1960. He was married to actress-screenwriter Barbara Dana from 1964 to the mid-1990s. They lived in Chappaqua, New York. In 1967, they had son Anthony (Tony) Dana Arkin. In 1996, Arkin married psychotherapist Suzanne Newlander. They live in Carlsbad, California.
|1978||The Other Side of Hell||Frank Dole||TV movie|
|Defection of Simas Kudirka, TheThe Defection of Simas Kudirka||Simas Kudirka||TV movie|
|1985||The Fourth Wise Man||Orontes||TV movie|
|1986||A Deadly Business||Harold Kaufman||TV movie|
|1987||Escape from Sobibor||Leon Feldhendler||Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
|1988||Necessary Parties||Archie Corelli||TV movie|
|1993||Cooperstown||Harry Willette||TV movie
Nominated—Cable ACE Award for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
|Taking the Heat||Tommy Canard||TV movie|
|1994||Doomsday Gun||Col. Yossi||TV movie|
|1999||Blood Money||Willy "The Hammer" Canzaro||TV movie|
|2001||Varian's War||Freier||TV movie|
|2003||Pentagon Papers, TheThe Pentagon Papers||Harry Rowen||TV movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
|And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself||Sam Drebben||TV movie|
|2004||Noel||Artie Venzuela||TV movie|
|1964||East Side/West Side||Ted Miller||episode: "The Beatnik and the Politician"|
|1966||ABC Stage 67||Barney Kempinski||Episode: "The Love Song of Barney Kempinski"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama
|1970–1971||Sesame Street||Larry||4 episodes, with then-wife Barbara Dana as Larry's wife Phyllis|
|1979||Carol Burnett & Company||Himself||Episode: "Episode #1.2"|
|1980||The Muppet Show||Himself||Episode: Season 4, episode 20|
|1983||St. Elsewhere||Jerry Singleton||Episode: "Ties That Bind"
episode: "Lust En Veritas"
|1985||Faerie Tale Theatre||Bo||Episode: The Emperor's New Clothes|
|1987||Harry||Harry Porschak||7 episodes|
|1997||Chicago Hope||Zoltan Karpathein||Episode: The Son Also Rises
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|2001–2002||100 Centre Street||Joe Rifkind||10 episodes|
|2005||Will & Grace||Marty Adler||Episode: "It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World"|
|2015–2016||BoJack Horseman||J. D. Salinger (voice)||4 episodes|
|2017||Get Shorty||Eugene||Episode: "The Yips"|
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- FolkEra.com: The Tarriers[permanent dead link]. FolkEra.com.
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- Best Actor. FilmSite.org.
- Nixon, Rob (2018). "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies.
- "Dreamgirl" Jennifer Hudson Wins Oscar Archived July 23, 2012, at Archive.is. NewsMax.com, February 26, 2007.
- Galaxy Magazine (November 1958). November 1958.
- "Movie Review - - ' Little Murders' Is Back As Film Arkin Directed - NYTimes.com".
- Canby, Vincent (February 21, 1971). "What's So Funny? Murders". New York: New York Times. p. D1.
Little Murders succeeds, at times triumphantly, and it does everything more or less backwards.
- "Roger Ebert's review". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. January 1, 1971. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "Alan Arkin Biography - life, family, children, name, story, school, mother, young, son - Newsmakers Cumulation". Notablebiographies.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
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- jtomally9681 (May 2, 2011). "Classic Sesame Street - Larry and Phyllis - Singing" – via YouTube.
- Alan Arkin on IMDb
- Alan Arkin at AllMovie
- Alan Arkin at the Internet Broadway Database
- Alan Arkin at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Q&A with Arkin at Time.com
- Folkera Tarriers article
- Stephen Capen Interview on Worldguide, Futurist Radio Hour – October 10, 1995