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Way Back When: Alan Arkin, Best Supporting Actor Nominee

Alan Arkin
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Alan Arkin is nominated for an Oscar for his supporting performance in ‘Argo,’ but this veteran actor has been around for decades. In today’s Way Back When, we take a look at his earlier roles.

‘The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming’

One of Alan Arkin’s earliest roles was in Norman Jewison’s 1966 comedy ‘The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming,’ in which a Soviet sub runs ashore on the coast of New England, and the locals are sent into a panic, risking their lives over what they perceive to be an invasion. Arkin plays the Russian Lt. Rozanov, and you can check out his great accent below:

‘The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter’

In 1968, Arkin starred with Sondra Locke in this drama about a deaf-mute (Arkin) who befriends a troubled teenage boy and touches the lives of everyone he meets. He helps so many people around him with their problems, but struggles to solve his own issues. Watch Arkin in a scene with Locke below:


Arkin plays Captain John Yossarian in the 1970 war comedy ‘Catch-22,’ about a soldier who tries to get himself certified insane so he can evade participating in any more flying combat missions. In this clip, Arkin refuses to wear clothes to accept a medal:

‘Sesame Street’

From 1970 to 1972, Arkin had a recurring role on ‘Sesame Street,’ showing up a few times to play Larry in the “Larry and Phyllis” sketches. In this episode, Larry is making strange noises, and when Phyllis asks what’s up, he explains that it’s just the way he sings.

‘Freebie and the Bean’

‘Freebie and the Bean’ is a sublimely wacky 1974 comedy about two detectives (Arkin and James Caan) trying to bring down a crime boss, but just when they find the crucial piece of evidence they need to finally bust the guy, they learn a hitman’s been hired to take him out. Enjoy this awesome three-minute trailer for the film:

‘The In-Laws’

In 1979, Arkin starred opposite Peter Falk in this comedy about a dentist (Arkin) whose daughter is marrying the son of a man who claims to be a CIA agent (Falk). With only 48 hours to go until the wedding, Falk drags Arkin on a series of chases and mishaps from New York all the way to Central America. Check out the trailer:

‘The Return of Captain Invincible’

Arkin starred in this 1983 musical/superhero parody about Captain Invincible, a hero once praised for helping defeat the Nazis, but who was later accused of supporting communism. Invincible is called out of retirement to help America once again, but now he’s an alcoholic. Watch Arkin and the legendary Christopher Lee sing in this clip:

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