Alan Arkin at the "Going in Style" premiere
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Film Alan Arkin Dies at 89: Actor Was a Great Comedian From ‘The Russians Are Coming’ to ‘Argo’

Alan Arkin Dies at 89: Actor Was a Great Comedian From ‘The Russians Are Coming’ to ‘Argo’

Alan Arkin at the "Going in Style" premiere

Acting legend Alan Arkin has died at the age of 89. His publicist confirmed the news to IndieWire.

The Oscar, Tony, Emmy, BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe winner died at his home.

Perhaps best known for his roles in “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, Arkin began his acting career in 1957 – and ended with an astonishing amount of work. Arkin was an early member of the Second City comedy troupe and starred on Broadway with his 1963 Tony-winning performance “Enter Laughing.”

His film debut also came through comedy: In his first major screen role in Norman Jewison’s 1967 Cold War caper “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” he plays the “political officer” on a Soviet submarine runs aground on a small New England island of just 200 residents. The submarine’s captain, too embarrassed to radio for help from the mother country, sends a landing party of nine to the island to try to get help there – a fishing vessel, perhaps, that can dislodge them from the rocks. Arkin plays his character as a political officer, a fanatic, with real borscht-and-balalaika taste. When a little boy behind a screen door at his house thinks Arkin shouldn’t be trusted, Arkin ominously slides two fingers across the screen in a failed attempt at fatherhood—think Sacha Baron Cohen as Erran Morad. Arkin received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role.

Arkin exploited that threat openly in “Wait Until Dark” as a black leather-clad drug dealer convinced that Audrey Hepburn, playing a blind woman, has her precious stash of drugs in her possession. Based on a play, it’s a one-room thriller that Arkin masters with godlike malice.

In 1968, Arkin replaced Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the ‘Pink Panther’ films and displayed his dramatic skills in an Oscar-nominated performance for ‘The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.’ The role earned Arkin a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor.

Arkin frequently collaborated with director Mike Nichols, both on the comedy “Luv” and the subsequent film “Catch-22.” Arkin’s comedic side was central to his directorial debut “Little Murders” starring Elliott Gould. Arkin went on to direct the Broadway production of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Direction of a Play.

Arkin’s television career includes roles in “St. Elsewhere” and “The Muppet Show” in the 80s. He later won two Emmys for ‘The Kominsky Method’ in 2018 and 2019 (and his last big or small screen appearance was in a 2021 episode of ‘Kominsky’), as well as lend the voice of him to’ BoJack Horseman”.

Notable film roles also include the cult hit ‘Gattaca’, ‘America’s Sweethearts’, ‘Grosse Point Blank’, ‘Mother Night’ and ‘The Pentagon Papers’.

Arguably, the biggest highlight of Arkin’s career was his role as a grandfather in the independent film “Little Miss Sunshine” in 2006, starring Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell and Paul Dano. Arkin made history as the then sixth-oldest winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at age 72. It had been 37 years since his previous nomination. He She said during his Oscar acceptance speech that he was “deeply moved by the heartfelt appreciation our little film has received, which in these fragmented times speaks so openly about the possibility of innocence, growth and connection.”

Arkin received his fourth Academy Award nomination for Ben Affleck’s “Argo.” Arkin has also published a number of novels and memoirs.

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