Oscar Winner Alan Arkin Dies at 89
An Oscar and Tony Award winner — and a fixture onscreen for decades — has died. Alan Arkin passed away on June 29 at his home in California. He was 89 years old.
His death was confirmed by his sons to People Magazine. In a statement, they wrote “Our father was a uniquely talented force of nature, both as an artist and a man. A loving husband, father, grand and great grandfather, he was adored and will be deeply missed.” No cause of death was given.
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Born in Brooklyn in 1934 to a family of immigrants, Arkin rose to prominence in the early 1960s in the New York theater scene. He won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor for his work in the 1963 play Enter Laughing. As a stage performer, Arkin was also one of the earliest members of the famous Second City comedy troupe.
Arkin earned his first Oscar nomination for 1967’s The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, then got another nomination two years later for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. He finally won his first and only Academy Award in 2006, for his portrayal of a dysfunctional family’s dyspeptic grandpa in the indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine. Arkin was nominated for an Oscar for the final time in 2013, for his supporting turn as a lovably profane Hollywood producer in Ben Affleck’s Argo.
As a film actor, Arkin had a half century of memorable roles. He replaced Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, starring in the film Inspector Clouseau. He starred in the film versions of Wait Until Dark and Catch-22. He was in one of the very first buddy cop movies, Freebie and the Bean. He was in The In-Laws and Edward Scissorhands and The Rocketeer and So I Married an Axe Murderer and Glengarry Glen Ross and Grosse Point Blank and on and on and on.
Arkin continued working steadily all through the 2010s. His recent films included the live-action remake of Dumbo and Netflix’s film version of Spenser Confidential. His final film appearance came as a voice in 2022’s Minions: The Rise of Gru. His most high-profile project of recent years was probably The Kominsky Method, an award-winning Netflix TV series in which Arkin co-starred with Michael Douglas; Arkin starred in two of the show’s three seasons.
In other words, “prolific” barely even begins to describe Arkin’s career in show business. You could program an entire film festival just with great Alan Arkin movies — which, come to think of it, would be a pretty nice way to honor this unforgettable screen presence.