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Son of an Injured Father

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

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His father, an artist and writer who worked as a teacher, lost his job in the 1950s during the infamous Red Scare on communists and people holding political left) - simply for refusing to answer questions about their political affiliation.

Unfortunately, he was rehabilitated only after his death.


American film, TV and theater actor, director, musician, and singer of Russian origin Alan Wolf Arkin was born March 26, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.

About parents and family

Alan Arkin was born into a non-religious Jewish family.

Father - David I. Arkin (19.12.1906 - 08.10.1980), artist, writer, and songwriter.

Mother - Beatrice Wortis, a teacher from a family of German immigrants.

David Arkin is the son of emigrants from Russia and Germany.

In 1945, the father moved his family (wife and children, including 10-year-old Alan) from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, hoping to get a job as a teacher and a job show business decorator.

But with the lengthy strike in Hollywood that happened at the time and the "communist" stamp for being leftist David Arkin lost both his job as a teacher and not was able to get into Hollywood.

Alan Arkin is the successor of his father's creative dynasty, and his three sons also belong to the cinema:

Adam Arkin, Matthew Arkin, and Anthony Arkin).

Revenge for Father

Alan Arkin embodied his father's dreams and plans for Hollywood.

Alan Arkin is a winner of the American Golden Globe (1967) and Oscar (2007) awards, as well as the British BAFTA (2007), multiple nominee for these awards.

Moreover, Alan Arkin is one of only six actors to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

And, quite symbolically, the first appearance on the screen was the role of... well, of course, a character of Russian

Lieutenant Rozanov in the military comedy "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming!" (1966).

About Education

Alan Arkin took acting lessons from the age of 10, became a scholarship holder at various theater academies.

One of the former students of Konstantin Stanislavsky himself, Benjamin Zemach, who taught Alan the psychological approach to acting, also "clipped" among his teachers.

Alan Arkin attended Los Angeles City College from 1951 to 1953.

And also attended Bennington College.

Taking acting lessons, Alan still dreamed of a musical career in his youth, even soloing and playing guitar in the folk band The Tarriers, which he created with two of his friends.

With their two hits, the group even made it into the Hollywood feature film "Calypso Hot Wave" (1957). The musical drama of Fred F. Sears, exploited the musical style popular at the time - calypso. Formally, although without an entry in the credits, this picture became the debut for Alan Arkin (although it is not counted as a purely acting one).

From 1958 to 1968, Alan Arkin performed and recorded with the children's folk group The Baby Sitters.

Theatrical Career. The Beginning

But the time has come for the theaters and their stages.

In the early 1960s, Alan Arkin made a successful Broadway debut, winning a Tony Award for one of his first performances.

In the drama "Wait Until Dark", he played the psychopathic tormentor of the heroine Audrey Hepburn.

And in the production of Leonard Bernstein's musical Candide, he played the role of Dr. Pangloss.

Also, in the 1960s, Alan Arkin was one of the earliest members of the Second City comedy troupe.

Film and TV Career. The Beginning

The first roles of Alan Arkin on the screen, both formal and actual, have already been noted by KinoBlog above.

Film and TV Career. Summary

His screen career spanned over 60 years!

Overall filmography:

  • as an actor in films and on TV - more than a hundred roles;

  • as a director - more than 10 projects;

  • as a composer, author, and/or performer - 6 projects.

Although Alan Arkin is a character actor, his roles are predominantly gruff eccentric characters.

But over the course of his long career, he has acted in films of very different genres - from the cult military tragicomedy "Catch-22" (1970) to the Timberton's fairy tale "Edward Scissorhands" (1990).

By the way, "Catch-22" had its own Snowden, played by Jon Korkes.

And yes, by the way, he gave private acting lessons while he stayed at his home in Greenwich Village, New York.

In addition to the already mentioned film works, Alan Arkin is best known to viewers around the world for the following film and TV projects:

  • full-length drama "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" (1968), the role of John Singer;

  • "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006), a full-length tragicomedy, playing the role of a grandfather who is not indifferent to porn and heroin. For this role, Alan Arkin received his "Oscar" in 2007;

  • action-adventure comedy "Get Smart" (2008), the role of Chef. In this film, several more actors and actresses of Russian origin played. Read a KinoBlog post, for example, about Sergey Priselkov HERE;

  • "Argo" (2012), a full-length historical biographical thriller drama, starring Lester Siegel;

  • Sidney Lumet crime drama television series "100 Center Street" (2001-2002), portrayed Joe Rifkind in 12 episodes.

One of Alan Arkin's latest screen roles is in the Hollywood comedy "Going in Style" (2017), Alan Arkin playeda certain Albert.

He was accompanied by such stars as Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd and others.

About Creative Hobbies

Alan Arkin is the author of numerous books, including several children's fantasy novels.

In March 2011, he published his memoir 'An Improvised Life'.

The Last Path

Alan Arkin has died at the age of 89.

This sad event happened on June 30, 2023, in Carlsbad, CA, USA.


Filmography of Alan Arkin on the KinoBlog media partner portal - on IMDb


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