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Alan Arkin

Actor / Writer

Born: 26 March 1934
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as:

The foul-mouthed grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine

Veteran stage and screen star Alan Arkin is known to modern moviegoers mainly for his supporting roles in comedies, including Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006). Arkin began his career as a folk singer, then worked with the Second City improvisational troupe in Chicago and, later, on Broadway. He won a Tony for his first big stage role -- the lead in the Broadway version of Carl Reiner's Enter Laughing (1963) -- and he received an Oscar nomination for his first big movie role -- as a Soviet sailor in the film farce The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966). He then turned in memorable dramatic performances on screen, terrorizing Audrey Hepburn in the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark and earning another Oscar nomination as the lead in the 1968 film version of the Carson McCullers novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. He led the all-star cast of the Hollywood failure Catch-22 (1970, based on the bestseller by Joseph Heller), but during the 1970s he was a popular leading and supporting player in comedies, including Freebie and the Bean (1974, with James Caan), Hearts of the West (1975, with Jeff Bridges) and The In-Laws (1979). After several mediocre movies during the 1980s, Arkin started off the '90s with a memorable performance as the unruffled dad who helps Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands (directed by Tim Burton). Frequently cast in broad comedic roles, Arkin also appeared in the dramatic ensemble piece Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, with Alec Baldwin) and the film version of Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night (1996, starring Nick Nolte). Over the years Arkin has directed several plays on Broadway and a handful of feature films, and he has published several children's books, including The Lemming Condition, Some Fine Grampa! and Tony's Hard Work Day. His recent films include Grosse Pointe Blank (1997, starring John Cusack), Jakob the Liar (1999, starring Robin Williams) and Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001, with Matthew McConaughey). Arkin received his third Oscar nomination in 2007 and won the Academy Award as best supporting actor, for his performance as the drug-addicted, sharp-tongued grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine (2006, with Abigail Breslin). He was nominated again for an Oscar for his supporting role in the Ben Affleck movie Argo (2012).

Extra credit:

Arkin is married to actress and writer Barbara Dana... He has three sons who are actors: Adam, Anthony and Matthew... Arkin co-wrote the 1950s single "The Banana Boat Song," popularized by Harry Belafonte.

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