Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine and Argo Actor Alan Arkin Dies at 89

Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine and Argo Actor Alan Arkin Dies at 89
Alan Arkin on The Kominsky Method. Credit: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Alan Arkin, the Oscar-winning star of Little Miss Sunshine, has died. He passed away yesterday in the San Diego County community of Carlsbad, NBC News is reporting. He was 89.

No cause of death for the actor, who’s also remembered most for his role in Argo, was immediately disclosed. His sons Adam, Matthew and Anthony Arkin revealed the news of his passing in a statement.

The trio said: “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.”

Arkin was born in Brooklyn on March 26, 1934 to Russian-German Jewish immigrant parents, who were both school teachers. The two were caught up in the post-World War II red scare, so they were often left unemployed. Their family eventually moved to Los Angeles when he was a child.

The Minions: The Rise of Gru voice actor attended Bennington College. Before completing his degree, he left the school to form the music group, The Tarriers in which he sang and played guitar. The group didn’t stay together long, but did achieve fame with the hit 1957 track, The Banana Boat Song.

The entertainer then went on to become a founding member of the Second City improvisational troupe. He also continued to record music, including several children’s albums with his later group, The Babysitter.

Besides music and improv, acting was also a passion for Arkin. He won a Tony Award for his Broadway debut performance in the 1963 play, Enter Laughing. He also received a Drama Desk award for directing the 1968 play Little Murders. He later went on to helm a big screen adaptation of the latter project in 1971.

Arkin also found success on Broadway by directing the original version of Neil Simon play The Sunshine Boys in 1972. The show went on to run for more than 500 performances.

In his film work, the actor became one of only several performers who received an Academy Award nomination for their first starring role. Arkin was nominated for his role as as Rozanov in the 1966 Cold War comedy, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. He starred alongside fellow comedians Carl Reiner and Jonathan Winters in the movie.

The actor was also nominated for Oscars for his performances in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Argo. Most recently, Arkin was was nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards for his performance in the Netflix comedy-drama series The Kominsky Method. He appeared on the show with Michael Douglas.

Several of Arkin’s fellow actors, including Douglas, Viola Davis, Patton Oswalt and Natasha Lyonne, paid tribute to the late actor on social media.

Douglas said his time with Arkin was among his most memorable. He also wrote on Instagram: “Today we lost a wonderful actor whose intelligence, sense of comedy and consummate professionalism over the past 70 years has left an indelible mark on our industry.

“My experience of working with Alan were some of my most memorable. He will be deeply missed,” the Academy Award-winning Wall Street actor added.

Davis also paid tribute to Arkin on Instagram. The EGOT-winning actress wrote: “Our work inspired a generation of actors and reminded us how powerful our art can shift us. Rest well! May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Oswalt celebrated the late actor by tweeting: “Did ANYONE have the range Alan Arkin had? Hilarious, sinister, insane, tragic. No mood he couldn’t live in. RIP.”

Lyonne, who costarred with Arkin in the 1998 cult comedy-drama film, Slums of Beverly Hills, shared her feelings on her Instagram Stories. The Emmy-nominated actress stated: “Love this sweet, brilliant man so very much” and “Favorite movie dad & all time hero.”

Besides his three sons, Arkin is also survived by his wife Suzanne; their grandchildren Molly, Emmet, Atticus and Abigail; and their great grandson Elliott.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

Comment (0)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here