Alan Arkin - Actors and Actresses





Nationality: American. Born: Alan Wolf Arkin in New York City, 26 March 1934. Education: Attended Los Angeles City College. Family: Married Barbara Dana, 1964; sons: the actor Adam and Matthew from previous marriage, and Anthony. Career: Late 1950s—member of folk singing group the Tarriers; early 1960s—member of Chicago improvisational acting company Second City, a group including Mike Nichols and Elaine May; 1963—Broadway debut in Enter Laughing received much critical attention; mid-1960s—stage directing career began with off-Broadway production of Little Murders ; 1966—feature film debut in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming ; 1971—directed first feature film, Little Murders ; 1987—in TV series Harry . Awards: Best Actor, New York Film Critics, for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter , 1968; Best Supporting Actor, New York Film Critics, for Hearts of the West , 1975; Golden Globe for Comedy Performance, for The Russians Are Coming , 1966; Canadian Genies, for Best Actor for Improper Channels , 1981, and for Best Supporting Actor for Joshua Then and Now , 1985. Address: c/o William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.


Films as Actor:

1962

That's Me (short)

1963

The Last Mohican (short)

1966

The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (Jewison) (as Rosanov)

1967

Wait until Dark (Young) (as Roat); "The Suicides" ep. of Woman Times Seven (De Sica) (as Fred)

1968

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Miller) (as John Singer); Inspector Clouseau (Yorkin) (as title role)

1969

Popi (Hiller) (title role); The Monitors (Shea) (cameo)

1970

Catch-22 (Nichols) (as Yossarian)

1972

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Saks) (as Barney Cashman); Deadhead Miles (Zimmerman)

1974

Freebie and the Bean (Rush) (as Bean); It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy (Cy Howard—for TV)

1975

Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (Richards) (as Rafferty); Hearts of the West (Zieff) (as Kessler)

1976

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (Ross) (as Freud)

1978

The Defection of Simon Kudirka (Rich—for TV) (title role)

1979

The Magician of Lublin (Golan) (as Yasha); The In-Laws (Hiller) (as Sheldon Kornpett, + exec pr)

1980

Simon (Brickman) (as Simon Mendelssohn)

1981

Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (Rich); Improper Channels (Till) (as Jeffrey)

1982

The Last Unicorn (Rankin and Bass) (as voice of Schmendrick, the Magician)

1983

The Return of Captain Invincible ( Legend in Leotards ) (Mora) (title role)

1984

A Matter of Principle (Arner)

1985

Big Trouble (Cassavetes) (as Leonard Hoffman); Bad Medicine (Miller) (as Dr. Madera); Joshua Then and Now (Kotcheff) (as Reuben Shapiro); The Fourth Wise Man (Michael Ray Rhodes—for TV)

1986

A Deadly Business (Korty—for TV)

1987

Escape from Sobibor (Gold—for TV) (as Feldhendler); Necessary Parties (Arner—for TV) (+ sc)

1990

Coupe de Ville (Roth) (as Fred Libner); Too Much Sun (Downey); Edward Scissorhands (Burton) (as Bill Boggs); Havana (Pollack) (as Joe Volpi); The Rocketeer (Johnston) (as Peevy)

1992

Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley) (as George Aaronow)

1993

So I Married an Axe Murderer (Schlamme); Indian Summer (Binder) (as Uncle Lou); Taking the Heat (Tom Mankiewicz—for TV) (as Tommy Canard); Cooperstown (Haid—for TV) (as Harry Willette)

1994

North (Rob Reiner) (as Judge Buckle); The Jerky Boys (Melkonian) (as Lazarro); Doomsday Gun (Robert M. Young—for TV)

1995

Steal Big, Steal Little (Andrew Davis) (as Lou Perilli)

1996

Mother Night (Gordon) (as George Kraft)

1997

Grosse Pointe Blank (Armitage) (as Dr. Oatman); Gattaca (Niccol) (Detective Hugo)

1998

Slums of Beverly Hills (Jenkins) (as Murray Abramowitz); Jakob the Liar (Kassovitz) (as Max Frankfurter)

2000

Arigo (Arkin and Dana); Magicians (Merendino); Varian's War (Chetwynd—for TV)



Films as Director:

1967

T.G.I.F. (short) (+ sc)

1969

People Soup (short) (+ sc)

1971

Little Murders (+ ro as detective)

1977

Fire Sale (+ ro as Ezra Fikus)

1987

The Visit

1993

Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon (+ ro as the director)

2000

Arigo (+ ro)

Alan Arkin in Catch-22
Alan Arkin in Catch-22

Publications


By ARKIN: books—

Tony's Hard Work Day (for children), 1972.

Halfway through the Door: An Actor's Journey Towards the Self , New York, 1979.

The Clearing (for children), New York, 1986.

The Lemming Condition (for children), New York, 1989.

Some Fine Grampa (for children), New York, 1995.


By ARKIN: article—

Interview in Films and Filming (London), November 1967.

On ARKIN: article—

Current Biography 1967 , New York, 1967.

"Alan Arkin," in Film Dope (London), March 1988.


* * *


Alan Arkin is the poor man's Jack Lemmon. Think of Lemmon's major film roles, from It Should Happen to You to The Apartment , Save the Tiger to Missing . Arkin could have played any one of these parts effectively. Both actors can play comical bumblers with serious sides, and both excel as sensitive characters whose nervous temperaments are hair-triggered. Considering Arkin's solid talent and his proven versatility, it is regrettable that this actor has not had Lemmon's opportunities to shine on the silver screen.

Arkin was no novice to acting when he made his feature film debut in the popular satirical comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming . Three years prior to that, he had won a Tony Award for his much acclaimed starring role in the Broadway production of Carl Reiner's autobiographical seriocomedy Enter Laughing . In Russians , Arkin, co-starring with Reiner and a large star cast, won an Oscar nomination playing a zany Russian squad leader who steps off a Soviet submarine which accidentally has been grounded near an island off the Massachusetts coastline. As he communicated with the startled natives, Arkin spoke a blend of strange Russian lingo and broken Russian-English, which left a bizarre, but very comical, impression.

His next effort, Wait until Dark , was a very showy role for the newcomer. In this taut suspense film, he played a psychotic who dresses up as three different people in order to retrieve a cache of drugs unwittingly in the possession of a blind woman (Audrey Hepburn). His menacing leap at the helpless woman's ankles and the unrelieved wickedness of his character even in his death throes gave audiences the dark and dramatic side of the actor's repertoire. After his appearance the following year in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter , as a lonesome deaf-mute who befriends a young girl, it seemed as though Arkin's new status as a major movie star was cemented. So moving was his portrayal that he received his second Academy Award nomination.

Since then, only a handful of important screen roles have come his way. The most significant of these was in Catch-22 , where he played Captain Yossarian in Joseph Heller's scathing satire of U.S. Army life during World War II, which was presented in a surreal and absurdist style. He also gave outstanding comic performances in The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and The In-Laws , and made an interesting and credible Freud in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution . In fact, Arkin never has done poorly in a film, even when the material was flawed or forgettable. Yet he has been unable to sustain the stardom and attention he obtained so early; the multidimensional, extraordinary roles with which he began his film acting career inexplicably dried up.

Arkin turned to directing in the late 1960s, and in 1971 did a credible job bringing Jules Feiffer's Little Murders to the screen. In the 1970s, he also wrote several books, including an autobiographical work about his involvement with yoga. In the past few years, Arkin has been appearing in films on a steady basis, sometimes enriching mediocre movies with brief but sparkling appearances. His two most significant recent roles have been as the camp director in Indian Summer and a real estate salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross , the film version of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, in which he shares screen time with Jack Lemmon. Nevertheless, it is a shame that an actor of Arkin's caliber has not, over the years, been offered more and better lead roles, and been allowed to fulfill the promise he exhibited in his earliest films.

—Doug Tomlinson, updated by Audrey E. Kupferberg

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