Alan Arkin

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Alan Arkin with wife, 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

Alan Wolf Arkin (born March 26, 1934 in New York ) is an American actor , singer , director , children's book author and Oscar winner .

life and work

Still in his school days, Arkin joined the band The Tarriers ; he wanted to make a career as a folk singer . When the band had a hit single in the US charts in 1956 with a first version of the Banana Boat Song , he left college to tour with the band. Despite a successful European tour , Arkin left the band. A friend invited him to join the Chicago theater company Second City .

In the early 1960s he moved to New York and performed on Broadway . In 1963, he received his first Tony Award for best supporting actor in the comedy Enter Laughing . The comedy Luv , directed by Mike Nichols , was very popular and drew the attention of director Norman Jewison to him. In 1966, Arkin got his first role in a Hollywood film. In Jewison's war farce The Russians Are Coming! The Russians are Coming! he played a Soviet submarine officer; for this he received a nomination for the Oscar for best leading actor and for the BAFTA Award for best newcomer .

Arkin remained loyal to the theater, however, and that same year performed a short-lived production of Hail Scrawdyke! first time directing. In 1967 he switched back to film and took on the role of the villain at Audrey Hepburn's side in the thriller Wait until it's dark . In the following years he concentrated on his film career. He received his second Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of a deaf and mute in the film drama The Heart is a Lone Hunter . In 1970 he took on the lead role as Captain Yossarian of the US Air Force in Mike Nichol's film adaptation of the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller . Catch-22 - The evil trick made Alan Arkin known worldwide.

In 1971 he directed the adaptation of the play Kleine Morde by Jules Feiffer . The following year he published his first children's book entitled Tony's Hard Work Day . In the mid-1970s, Arkin returned to Broadway as a director and rarely took on film roles. In 1981 he played the lead role in the television film Papa Haut auf den Putz, written by his son Adam Arkin . In the 1990s he drew attention mainly through appearances in the films Glengarry Glen Ross , Four Days in September and Jacob the Liar .

In 2004 he published his first book translated into German, Cassie loves Beethoven . His three other children's books are currently only available in the original English edition.

In 2007 , Arkin won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine . He received another nomination for this award in 2013 for the film Argo . In 2019 he was immortalized with a star on the Walk of Fame . The guest speaker was Steve Carell . His sons Adam , Anthony and Matthew are also actors.

Filmography (selection)


  • Alan Arkin: Halfway Through the Door . Harper & Row, 1984, ISBN 0-06-060307-0 (yoga and self-discovery autobiography, English)
  • Alan Arkin: The Clearing , Harpercollins, 1986, ISBN 978-0062500328 (English)
  • Alan Arkin: The Lemming Condition . HarperOne, 1989, ISBN 978-0062500489 (English)
  • Alan Arkin: Cassie loves Beethoven . Disney-Hyperion, 2000, ISBN 978-0786805648 (English); German edition: Cassie loves Beethoven, translated by Fred Schmitz, Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-499-21277-3
  • Alan Arkin: An Improvised Life: A Memoir . Da Capo Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0306819667 (English)

Web links

Commons : Alan Arkin  - Collection of Images