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Good Bye Alan Arkin

Alan Arkin

Alan Arkin in Popi (Wikipedia)

Alan Arkin will surely be missed. He was one of a kind and every other positive cliché you can think of. No matter what the role, even when playing the bad guy, and especially when the movie was just God awful – like when Arkin tried to replace Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther series in 1968 with “Inspector Clouseau” – Alan Arkin’s sweet hearted nature always seemed to come through. The Oscar winning actor died on Friday at the age of 89.

Alan Arkin was an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He was born on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. He died on June 29, 2023, in Carlsbad, California.

Believe it or not, Alan Arkin actually got his start in improvisation with the Second City comedy troupe in the 1960s. Yes, that Second City. The one that gave us countless Saturday Night Live Stars and all of those talented people like John Candy and Eugene Levi went on to star on the SCTV television show.

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But Alan Arkin went on to make his mark on the big screen. His breakout performance, and possibly his best, came in the 1966 film “The Russians are Coming the Russians are Coming.” In that movie, he played the first officer of a Russian submarine that got lost in American waters in New England. First threatened by these Russians, the townspeople led by Carl Reiner eventually come to see them as just people who want to get home. The movie was way ahead of its time, promoting peace and détente with the evil communists long before President Nixon made his famed trip to China.

He also played a bad guy in “Wait Until Dark,” tormenting Audrey Hepburn’s blind character. And no one who saw it did not fall in love with the 1979 comedy “The In-Laws,” where Arkin teamed with Peter Falk. It’s surprising that Alan Arkin never teamed again with Falk.

I remember seeing that one in the theater with my family when it first came out. I then watched it again and again on cable TV. No one could see that movie enough times. “Serpentine, serpentine…”

And there was also, of course, the 1970 movie production of “Catch 22” where Arkin played the lead character.

Alan Arkin also stole the show in some smaller movies that, unfortunately, were not seen by many. These include the 1981 comedy “Improper Channels” with Mariette Hartley in which he gets caught in a bureaucratic nightmare worthy of Kafka. And then there was the 1980 satire “Simon” with Madeline Kahn and Wallace Shawn.

Arkin was a versatile actor who could play both comedic and dramatic roles. He was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine. He also won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the 1963 play Enter Laughing.

And don’t ever forget these movies too: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), Popi (1969), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001), Sunshine Cleaning (2007), Get Smart (2008), and Argo (2012).

Arkin was also a successful television actor. He starred in the series The Kominsky Method (2018-2021) for which he was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards.

According to his IMDB page, Alan Arkin has 110 different on screen credits. And number 111 has not yet been released. “The Smack” will include other Oscar winners like Kathy Bates and Marisa Tomei.

Arkin was a talented and versatile actor who left a lasting legacy on the world of cinema and television. He will be remembered for his many memorable roles and his unique comedic timing.



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