Alan Arkin


Actor
Alan Arkin

About

Also Known As
Alan Wolf Arkin, Robert Short
Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
March 26, 1934

Biography

An extremely versatile character actor who easily oscillated between comedy and drama, Alan Arkin struggled for several years as a theater actor until the early 1960s when he caught his first break by joining the famed comedy troupe, The Second City. With his career officially started, he made a huge impression with an Oscar-nominated performance in Norman Jewison's raucous Cold War come...

Photos & Videos

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Movie Poster
Popi - Movie Poster
The In-Laws - Movie Poster

Family & Companions

Jeremy Yaffe
Wife
Bennington classmate; married while in college in 1955; divorced; mother of Adam and Matthew Arkin.
Barbara Dana
Wife
Actor, writer. Second wife; married on June 16, 1964; wrote "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash" (1981), in which husband starred; mother of Anthony Arkin.

Bibliography

"The Clearing"
Alan Arkin (1986)
"Halfway Through the Door"
Alan Arkin, Harper & Row (1979)
"The Lemming Condition"
Alan Arkin, Harper & Row (1976)
"Tony's Hard Work Day"
Alan Arkin, Harper & Row (1972)

Notes

"Actually, I don't even think I was funny once before I got to Second City. I don't know why they hired me. It was months before I did anything that was remotely humorous. I found one character that worked, and kept playing him over and over. But on weekends we would work four or five hours a night and play 50, 60 characters, improvising, doing set pieces. And that kind of experience is invaluable." --Alan Arkin in Premiere, November 1995.

"Alan's never had an identifiable screen personality because he just disappears into his characters. His acents are impeccable, and he's even able to change his look--but oddly enough, this gift has worked against him. He's always been underestimated, partly because he's never been in service of his own success, which is one of the things I love about him. Alan's just so cool!" --Norman Jewison to Los Angeles Times, January 25, 1998.

Biography

An extremely versatile character actor who easily oscillated between comedy and drama, Alan Arkin struggled for several years as a theater actor until the early 1960s when he caught his first break by joining the famed comedy troupe, The Second City. With his career officially started, he made a huge impression with an Oscar-nominated performance in Norman Jewison's raucous Cold War comedy, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" (1966), a film that put Arkin on the map for good. He did take a step backwards with a leading role in "Catch-22" (1970), thanks to the expected hit becoming a flop. After spending several years making rather forgettable comedies, Arkin finally rebounded with "The In-Laws" (1979), and spent the next decade bouncing around from television to film to stage. Following a notable turn in "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), he delivered a standout performance as a meek salesman in "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992). Arkin went on to a greater diversity of roles with "Jeryky Boys: The Movie" (1995), "Grosse Point Blank" (1997), "Four Days in September" (1997), "The Slums of Beverly Hills" (1998) and "The Pentagon Papers" (FX, 2003). He received deserved accolades for his hilarious, but touching performance as a drug-addled, foul-mouthed septuagenarian in the surprise hit "Little Miss Sunshine" (2007), a role that finally earned him a long-awaited Academy Award. Whether in broad comedies, indie films or studio blockbusters, Arkin proved himself to be one of Hollywood’s more versatile and in-demand actors.

Born March 26, 1934 in Brooklyn, NY, Arkin was raised by his father, David, and his mother, Beatrice, both of whom were teachers. When he was 11, his family moved across country to Los Angeles, where his father was promised a job as a set painter by his uncle, a successful film composer. But as soon as the Arkins arrived, the studios went on strike for a year and a half. To fill the void, Arkin's father began teaching in the L.A. school system, but soon found himself out of work again, thanks to the Red Scare of the 1950s. Both of Arkin's parents were communist, but refused to acknowledge their political affiliations, resulting in both losing their jobs. From then on, the family struggled mightily to stay afloat. Eventually, Arkin graduated from Franklin High School in 1951 and tried to break into acting – a dream he had held since he was just five years old. But Arkin struggled to find work and instead decided to study theater, first at L.A. City College, followed by at L.A. State College and finally Bennington College in Vermont.

In 1955, Arkin dropped out of Bennington to join a folk group, The Tarriers, with whom he recorded several albums while making his film debut in "Calypso Heat Wave" (1957). After making his off-Broadway debut as a singer in "Heloise," Arkin left The Tarriers in 1959 to continue pursuing acting, though his struggles eventually tore apart his first marriage in 1960. During a stint in an improvisation group at the Crystal Palace in St. Louis, MO, he was discovered by theater director and improv teacher Paul Sills, who invited Arkin to join the original cast of The Second City, a Chicago-based improvisation group that was later famous as a breeding ground for "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) players. Though Arkin never considered himself to be much of a comedian, he nonetheless joined the troupe, mainly for a lack of something better to do. Second City proved to be a major turning point in his life and the catalyst for what became a vibrant career in comedy. After two years, however, he left to perform on Broadway in "Enter Laughing" (1963), which co-starred Barbra Dana, whom he married later in 1965.

After receiving good reviews for "Enter Laughing," Arkin followed with Murray Schisgal's "Luv," which was directed by Mike Nichols. Luckily for Arkin, director Norman Jewison was among the audience members who took notice of the comedic actor. Stunned by Arkin's brilliance on stage, Jewison cast the unknown actor in his Cold War spoof "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" (1966), earning the newcomer a Best Actor Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for his hilarious portrayal of Lt. Rozanov, a Russian officer trying to help get his submarine back in the water after it runs aground near a small New England town, touching off madcap chaos and nearly World War III. He demonstrated his dramatic range as the psychopathic killer opposite Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark" (1967), then reinvented himself again as the sensitive, deaf-mute protagonist of "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" (1968), for which he received a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Arkin took on yet another ethnic identity for his hysterical starring turn in Arthur Hiller's "Popi" (1969), playing a Puerto Rican father struggling against big odds to make a better life for his family.

Arkin followed with perhaps his highest profile role, playing Captain Yossarian in Mike Nichols' adaptation of Joseph Heller's antiwar novel, "Catch-22" (1970). Although it eventually acquired a following, the movie initially failed to live up to expectations. Because of the underwhelming response to "Catch-22," Arkin's career hit a rough patch throughout the 1970s. Resigned to such mediocre fare as "Deadhead Miles" (1972), "Last of the Red Hot Lovers" (1972) and "Freebie and the Bean" (1974), Arkin transitioned to television, appearing in "Love, Life, Liberty & Lunch" (ABC, 1976), before playing a patient at a mental institution who tries to win his release after witnessing brutal attacks by security guards in "The Other Side of Hell" (NBC, 1978). Back on film, he gave an impressive turn as Sigmund Freud opposite Nicol Williamson's Sherlock Holmes in "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" (1977), then pushed his way back into the limelight opposite Peter Falk in "The In-Laws" (1979). Unpredictably wacky from start to finish, "The In-Laws" cast Arkin as a mild-mannered dentist and respectable family man who gets pulled into the wacky international intrigue of his daughter's soon-to-be father-in-law (Falk), setting off a series of hilarious globetrotting misadventures.

Once the 1980s had arrived, Arkin was well-established as a comedic leading man who could occasionally cross over to give a strong performance in supporting dramatic roles. In "Simon" (1980), a comedy by Woody Allen's longtime co-writer, Marshall Brickman, Arkin gave a bizarrely funny performance as a professor who gets duped by a group of scientists conducting experiments to make him believe that he is an alien from outer space. He then teamed up with Carol Burnett on "Chu Chi and the Philly Flash" (1981), based on a script written by then-wife Barbara Dana and his son Adam, playing a former baseball player suffering from alcoholism who joins forces with a has-been entertainer (Burnett) after finding a mysterious briefcase that contains secret documents. After forgettable performances in "Improper Channels" (1981) and Larry Cohen's teenage werewolf comedy "Full Moon High" (1982), Arkin turned in a terrific performance as James Woods' colorful dad in "Joshua Then and Now" (1985) and was particularly memorable leading an escape from a death camp in the riveting historical drama, "Escape from Sobibor" (1987), playing a Jewish man imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp who leads 300 of his fellow captives to freedom in a daring escape. The film was based on true events revolving around one of the largest and most successful escape operations of its kind during World War II.

After rounding out the decade with the family drama, "Necessary Parties" (PBS, 1988), which he co-wrote with wife Barbara, Arkin started out the 1990s with a strong supporting role in Tim Burton's dark satire "Edward Scissorhands" (1990). Following more supporting turns in "Havana" (1990) and "The Rocketeer" (1991), Arkin delivered one of his finest performances in "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992), playing a beaten-down salesman who easily goes along with anything his more aggressive coworker (Ed Harris) says. Though Arkin was extraordinary, he was largely overshadowed by the tour de force performances of Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon and Oscar nominee, Al Pacino. He next starred as a bitter former baseball player in "Cooperstown" (TNT, 1993), then made a return to television for the anthology miniseries, "Picture Windows" (Showtime, 1994), playing a clown who falls in love with a married woman. More forgettable comedies like "Steal Big, Steal Little" (1995) and "The Jerky Boys" (1995) were added to his resume, which he thankfully washed away with a vivid supporting role in "Mother Night (1996).

In 1997, he appeared in two very different projects; "Grosse Pointe Blank" featured Arkin in some hilarious scenes as a psychiatrist counseling a hit man (John Cusack), while the futuristic sci-fi thriller "Gattaca" saw the actor portray a detective tracking a killer. For the Oscar-nominated foreign film based on real-life events, "Four Days in September" (1997), Arkin played the American ambassador to Brazil who was kidnapped and held hostage by rebels in 1969. He then gave a strong supporting turn as a poor, divorced father struggling to keep his family – which includes two young sons and his outspoken daughter (Natasha Lyonne) – inside the Beverly Hills school district by moving everyone into a one-bedroom apartment in the indie hit "The Slums of Beverly Hills" (1998). After a surprisingly convincing performance as a mob enforcer in "Blood Money" (TMC, 1999), he co-starred opposite Robin Williams in "Jakob the Liar" (1999), a bungled attempt to bring light humor to the Holocaust. Arkin then made the rare choice to become a season regular on the ensemble drama "100 Centre Street" (A&E, 2001-02), playing a judge whose criticized by many of his colleagues for being soft on criminals, leading to the embarrassing nickname "Let 'em go, Joe."

Arkin returned to the big screen with "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing" (2002), an ensemble drama that emerged from the 2002 Sundance Film Festival about a group of people living in New York City who live separate lives, completely unaware of the subtle interconnections that bring them together. Arkin played a pessimistic insurance company manager troubled by his ex-wife and delinquent son who enjoys deflating his more cheery employees. In "The Pentagon Papers" (FX, 2003), a made-for-cable-TV movie about former Defense Department employee Daniel Ellsberg and his struggle to leak top secret military secrets about the Vietnam War to The New York Times, Arkin played Ellsberg's Rand Corporation boss, a role that earned the actor an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. That same year, Arkin was seen in another cable movie, "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" (HBO, 2003), a true-life telling of the famed Mexican revolutionary (Antonio Banderas) and his outrageous offer to allow Hollywood to make a movie of his exploits while using the money he made to fund his war efforts. He followed with supporting turns in "Eros" (2004), "Noel" (2004) and "Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" (2006).

Arkin had a strong 2006, starting with a brief appearance in the heist thriller, "Firewall" (2006), starring Harrison Ford as a grizzled security specialist forced to help a group of thieves rob a bank he helped build the security system for. He then had a raucously funny supporting role in the surprise indie comedy hit "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006), playing the foul-mouthed, heroin-snorting grandfather of a young girl (Abigail Breslin) taken on a road trip by her dysfunctional family (Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Paul Dano and Steve Carell) so she can compete in a fiercely competitive beauty contest for seven-year-old girls. Though he was snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards, Arkin was honored at long last by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, beating out favorite to win, Eddie Murphy for "Dreamgirls" (2006). After appearing as a U.S. senator in the topical political thriller, "Rendition" (2007), Arkin delivered another scene-stealing performance in the big screen adaptation of "Get Smart" (2008), playing The Chief to Steve Carell's bumbling agent Maxwell Smart. He went on to portray Owen Wilson’s boss in "Marley and Me" (2008), the father of Amy Adams and Emily Blunt in "Sunshine Cleaning" (2009), the much older husband of Robin Wright Penn in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" (2009), and Ryan Reynolds’ father in "The Change-Up" (2011).

From there, he reunited with Kinnear for the independent comedy-drama "Thin Ice" (2011), which was generally well-received following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Arkin returned the following year with a supporting role in one of the surprise critical darlings of the year, director-star Ben Affleck’s based-on-fact Iranian Hostage Crisis drama, "Argo" (2012). Cast as jaded Hollywood producer Lester Siegel, Arkin’s character was a darkly comic highpoint of the film, as he assists CIA operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) in concocting a phony movie production to be filmed in Iran, which in reality is a cover for a daring rescue operation. As Affleck and "Argo" basked in critical praise and mounting awards speculation, Arkin was rightfully nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon... (1994)
Director
Fire Sale (1977)
Director
Little Murders (1971)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Dumbo (2019)
Going in Style (2017)
Love the Coopers (2015)
Million Dollar Arm (2014)
In Security (2014)
Grudge Match (2013)
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
Stand Up Guys (2012)
Argo (2012)
Thin Ice (2011)
The Change-Up (2011)
The Muppets (2011)
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)
City Island (2009)
Marley & Me (2008)
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
Get Smart (2008)
Raising Flagg (2007)
Rendition (2007)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Grandpa [Edwin Hoover]
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
Firewall (2006)
Eros (2004)
Cast ("Equilibrium")
Noel (2004)
And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003)
America's Sweethearts (2001)
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001)
Varian's War (2001)
Jakob the Liar (1999)
Frankfurter
The Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Gattaca (1997)
Four Days In September (1997)
Mother Night (1996)
Heck's Way Home (1996)
The Dogcatcher
Doomsday Gun (1995)
The Jerky Boys (1995)
Steal Big, Steal Little (1995)
North (1994)
Taking the Heat (1993)
Cooperstown (1993)
So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)
Indian Summer (1993)
Uncle Lou
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
The Rocketeer (1991)
Coupe de Ville (1990)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Havana (1990)
Necessary Parties (1988)
Escape From Sobibor (1987)
A Deadly Business (1986)
Big Trouble (1985)
Bad Medicine (1985)
Dr Ramon Madera
Joshua Then and Now (1985)
The Emperor's New Clothes (1984)
Bo
The Return of Captain Invincible (1983)
Deadhead Miles (1982)
Cooper
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
Full Moon High (1981)
Simon (1980)
The Magician of Lublin (1979)
Yasha Mazur
The In-Laws (1979)
Sheldon Kornpett
Improper Channels (1979)
Jeffrey Martley
The Other Side of Hell (1978)
Frank Dole
The Defection of Simas Kudirka (1978)
Simas Kudirka
Fire Sale (1977)
Ezra Fikus
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)
Hearts of the West (1975)
Kessler
Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1975)
Rafferty
Freebie and the Bean (1974)
Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972)
Barney Cashman
Little Murders (1971)
Lieutenant Practice
Catch-22 (1970)
Captain Yossarian
The Monitors (1969)
Popi (1969)
Abraham Rodriguez
Inspector Clouseau (1968)
Insp. Jacques Clouseau
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
Singer
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Roat
Woman Times Seven (1967)
Fred
The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming (1966)
Rozanov

Writer (Feature Film)

Necessary Parties (1988)
Writer

Producer (Feature Film)

Thin Ice (2011)
Executive Producer
The In-Laws (1979)
Executive Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Going in Style (2017)
Song Performer
Calypso Heat Wave (1957)
Composer

Director (Special)

The Boss (1989)
Director
The Visit (1987)
Director
Twigs (1975)
Director

Cast (Special)

Alan Arkin: Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival (2015)
Himself
1997 Emmy Awards (1997)
Presenter
The Kennedy Center 25th Anniversary Celebration (1996)
Catch-22 (1996)
The Fourth Wise Man (1985)
The Second City 25th Anniversary Special (1985)
A Matter of Principle (1984)
Two Guys From Muck (1982)
Louie
Love, Life, Liberty & Lunch (1976)
Lawrence (Story 1)
The Trouble with People (1972)
Husband (Story 5)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Pentagon Papers (2003)

Life Events

1956

With Erik Darling and Bob Carey, co-founded the folk group The Tarriers

1958

Off-Broadway debut, "Heloise"

1958

Recorded four albums of songs for children with The Babysitters

1959

Joined the improvisational group The Compass Players at the Crystal Palace in St. Louis, MO

1960

Became a member of Chicago's Second City Group

1961

Broadway debut in the revue, "From the Second City"

1963

Screen acting debut in short, "That's Me"

1963

Delivered Tony-winning turn in Carl Reiner's "Enter Laughing"

1966

Off-Broadway directing debut, "Eh?"; credited as Robert Short

1966

Feature acting debut, "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming"; earned Best Actor Oscar nomination

1967

Terrorized a helpless and blind Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark"

1967

Short film directing debut, "T.G.I.F"

1968

Earned second Best Actor Oscar nomination as a deaf mute loner in "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"

1969

Starred in Arthur Hiller's "Popi"; earned a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination

1969

Directed off-Broadway revival of Jules Feiffer's "Little Murders"

1970

Landed plum role in Mike Nichols' film adaptation of Joseph Heller's antiwar novel "Catch-22"; initial tepid response hurt his career; film has since acquired cult status

1971

Feature film directing debut, "Little Murders"; also acted

1972

Broadway directorial debut, Neil Simon's "The Sunshine Boys"

1975

Directed episodes of NBC's short-lived series "Fay," starring Lee Grant

1975

Co-directed (with Clark Jones) George Furth's TV adaptation of his play "Twigs" (CBS)

1977

Directed and acted in "Fire Sale"

1977

Portrayed Sigmund Freud to Nicol Williamson's Sherlock Holmes in "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution"

1979

Feature producing (executive producer) debut, "The In-Laws"; also acted; second film with director Hiller

1981

Teamed with Carol Burnett in the film "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash"; scripted by Arkin's then-wife Barbara Dana

1982

Provided the voice of Schmendrick the Magician in the animated feature "The Last Unicorn"

1985

Won critical praise as James Woods' colorful dad in "Joshua Then and Now"

1987

Delivered an Emmy-nominated turn in CBS movie "Escape from Sobibor"

1987

Directed "The Visit," the fifth episode of PBS' first original comedy series "Trying Times"

1987

Co-executive producer and star of short-lived ABC series "Harry"; also starred wife Barbara Dana

1988

Co-wrote (with wife Barbara Dana from her novel) and co-starred with her in the PBS special "Necessary Parties"

1990

Offered a satiric turn as suburbanite in "Edward Scissorhands"

1992

Joined a heavyweight cast for the film version of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross"

1993

Played a bitter ex-ballplayer in TNT's "Cooperstown"

1993

Helmed first feature in 16 years, "Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon"; also co-starred with son Anthony

1995

Appeared in "Jerky Boys: The Movie"

1996

Played George Kraft in film version of Kurt Vonnegut's "Night Mother"

1997

Offered a hysterically funny turn as hitman John Cusack's psychiatrist in "Grosse Point Blank"

1997

Played American ambassador to Brazil in the Oscar-nominated foreign film "Four Days in September"

1998

Played the family patriarch in "The Slums of Beverly Hills"

1998

Returned to the stage in the off-Broadway play (also co-authored) "Power Plays"; also starred son Anthony, Elaine May and May's daughter Jeannie Berlin

2001

Headlined the ensemble cast of the A&E series "100 Centre Street"

2003

Cast in the FX miniseries "The Pentagon Papers"; received a Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination

2006

Played a foul-mouthed grandfather with a taste for heroin in the indie comedy "Little Miss Sunshine"; earned a SAG nomination for Best Supporting Actor

2007

Co-starred with Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon in "Rendition"

2007

Played an elderly handyman in director Neal Miller's character-driven comedy drama "Raising Flagg"

2008

Played The Chief in the adaptation of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry's hit 1960s spy parody "Get Smart"

2008

Played Owen Wilson's boss in the family film "Marley and Me"

2009

Played the much older husband of Robin Wright Penn in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," written and directed by Rebecca Miller

2009

Played Amy Adams and Emily Blunt's father in the independent feature "Sunshine Cleaning"

2010

Co-starred in the independent film "City Island"

2011

Cast as Ryan Reynolds' father in "The Change-Up"

2011

Re-teamed with "Little Miss Sunshine" co-star Greg Kinnear in the crime drama "Thin Ice"

2011

Made cameo in "The Muppets"

2012

Played a veteran Hollywood producer in political thriller "Argo," directed by Ben Affleck

2012

Co-starred with Al Pacino and Christopher Walken as aging con men in crime comedy "Stand Up Guys"

2013

Played an aging magician opposite Jim Carrey and Steve Carell in "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"

Photo Collections

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Movie Poster
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter - Movie Poster
Popi - Movie Poster
Popi - Movie Poster
The In-Laws - Movie Poster
The In-Laws - Movie Poster

Videos

Movie Clip

Simon (1980) - Epstein, Rats And Chickens Austin Pendleton as Becker leads the team at the comical “Institute For Advanced Concepts” in flattering professor Alan Arkin (title character) into believing he’s being brought on as a colleague, rather than a test subject, introducing Madeline Kahn as Dr. Mallory with a powerful pitch, in writer-director Marshall Brickman’s Simon, 1980.
Simon (1980) - Did You Get The Fluids? Madeline Kahn as scheming Dr. Malllory, with her colleagues at the unglued “Institute For Advanced Concepts” (William Finley, Austin Pendleton, and Wallace Shawn as Eric Van Dongen) confirms she’s collected bodily fluids from Alan Arkin, the unwitting title character, the professor they’re planning to brainwash, who believes he’s conducting his own research, with a sensory deprivation tank, in Marshall Brickman’s Simon, 1980.
Simon (1980) - Institute For Advanced Concepts Opening narration by James Dukas harkens Sleeper, 1973, which writer-director Marshall Brickman wrote with Woody Allen, and introduces Max Wright as Hundertwasser, Wallace Shawn as Van Dongen, Jayant as Barundi, William Finley as Fichlander and Austin Pendleton as the boss Becker, in Simon, 1980, starring Alan Arkin.
Simon (1980) - Dare To Dream! At the unbridled “Institute For Advanced Concepts,” boss Becker (Austin Pendleton) introduces an idea, picked up by Hundertwasser (Max Wright), with help from Wallace Shawn, and Doris the computer (voice of Louise Lasser!), introducing Alan Arkin as the title character professor, director Marshall Brickman shooting on location at Columbia, in Simon, 1980.
Simon (1980) - Massive Anxiety Ensues Neurotic psychology professor Alan Arkin (title character) is explaining to girlfriend Lisa (Judy Graubart from The Electric Company!) about his freelance sensory-deprivation experiment, with help from student Josh (Keith Szarabajka), in writer-director Marshall Brickman’s Simon, 1980.
Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The (1976) - Toast Of Four Continents Freud (Alan Arkin) brings Watson (Robert Duvall) and just-recovered Holmes (Nicol Williamson) to a Vienna hospital to see patient Lola Devereaux (Vanessa Redgrave), whose trouble he quickly deduces, in novelist-screenwriter Nicholas Meyer’s popular riff on Arthur Conan Doyle, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, 1976.
Hearts Of The West (1975) - This Ain't A Cotillion! Rehearsing with Miss Trout (Blythe Danner) then on camera, newly recruited movie-star Lewis (Jeff Bridges) gets coached by director Kessler (Alan Arkin), who later cuts a deal, in Howard Zieff's Hearts Of The West, 1975.
Hearts Of The West (1975) - You've Got Your Man! Director Kessler (Alan Arkin) pitches a difficult idea to his stunt cowboys and Lewis (Jeff Bridges), not yet hip to the biz, volunteers, later consoled by Pike (Andy Griffith) et al, in Hearts Of The West, 1975.
Hearts Of The West (1975) - Open, Real Rugged Gunfighter Smile Opening with Jeff Bridges as Lewis in a screen test, Alan Arkin the voice of the director, which won’t make sense until later in the movie, then with his brothers and Frank Cady his cranky dad, in director Howard Zieff’s Hearts Of The West, 1975, also starring Andy Griffith and Blythe Danner.
Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The (1976) - Only The Facts Have Been Made Up Colorful opening credits and the introduction of Mrs Hudson (Alison Leggatt), Watson (Robert Duvall) and Sherlock (Nicol Williamson), from The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, 1976, directed by Herbert Ross, from Nicholas Meyer’s audacious and generally well-received novel and screenplay.
Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The (1976) - My Evil Genius Emerging from director Herbert Ross’ ethereal cocaine-withdrawal sequence, Holmes (Nicol Williamson) has regained his wits and seems glad that Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin) and Watson (Robert Duvall) have perhaps cured his addiction, in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, 1976.
Wait Until Dark (1967) - Atmosphere Of Mistrust Con men Carlino (Jack Weston) and Talman (Richard Crenna) realize their ex-partner could not have invited them into this Greenwich Village apartment, just as Roat (Alan Arkin), hunting for a missing doll stuffed with drugs, appears, early in Wait Until Dark, 1967, starring Audrey Hepburn.

Trailer

Family

David I Arkin
Father
Teacher. A painter and writer who couldn't make a living at it, so he taught; Communist; lost his job teaching in Los Angeles during Red Scare of 1950s.
Beatrice Arkin
Mother
Teacher. Communist.
Adam Arkin
Son
Actor, screenwriter. Born on August 19, 1956; mother, Jeremy Yaffe; wrote "Improper Channels" (1981), in which father acted, and acted with him in "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash" (1981) and "Full Moon High" (1982); Alan also played Adam's long-lost father on CBS' "Chicago Hope".
Matthew Arkin
Son
Lawyer, actor. Born c. 1960; mother, Jeremy Yaffe; acted with father in Carl Reiner's "North".
Anthony Dana Arkin
Son
Actor, director. Mother, Barbara Dana; appeared in small role in "Full Moon High" and as father's son in PBS special "A Matter of Principle" (1984).

Companions

Jeremy Yaffe
Wife
Bennington classmate; married while in college in 1955; divorced; mother of Adam and Matthew Arkin.
Barbara Dana
Wife
Actor, writer. Second wife; married on June 16, 1964; wrote "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash" (1981), in which husband starred; mother of Anthony Arkin.

Bibliography

"The Clearing"
Alan Arkin (1986)
"Halfway Through the Door"
Alan Arkin, Harper & Row (1979)
"The Lemming Condition"
Alan Arkin, Harper & Row (1976)
"Tony's Hard Work Day"
Alan Arkin, Harper & Row (1972)
"Some Fine Grandpa"
Alan Arkin, HarperCollins

Notes

"Actually, I don't even think I was funny once before I got to Second City. I don't know why they hired me. It was months before I did anything that was remotely humorous. I found one character that worked, and kept playing him over and over. But on weekends we would work four or five hours a night and play 50, 60 characters, improvising, doing set pieces. And that kind of experience is invaluable." --Alan Arkin in Premiere, November 1995.

"Alan's never had an identifiable screen personality because he just disappears into his characters. His acents are impeccable, and he's even able to change his look--but oddly enough, this gift has worked against him. He's always been underestimated, partly because he's never been in service of his own success, which is one of the things I love about him. Alan's just so cool!" --Norman Jewison to Los Angeles Times, January 25, 1998.

Regarding Hollywood's fickle nature: "The tide comes in, and the tide goes out. Believe me, I wasn't taking a breather in the 70s ... "I was broke when I made 'The Jerky Boys'. But that's nothing to be ashamed about. My job is to make a living from the best material that comes my way. I'd only be embarrassed if I didn't take my acting--even in 'The Jerky Boys'--seriously. But I always do." --Arkin quoted in New York Post, January 26, 1998.

Arkin plans to direct a film about the Brazilian psychic surgeon Arigo, written by wife Barbara and produced by John Cusack, who would also portray the part of a visiting American journalist.