Alan Arkin

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Date of Birth: March 26th 1934

Academy Award-winning American actor and director. He is best-known for starring in such films as Catch-22, The In-Laws, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, Glengarry Glen Ross and Little Miss Sunshine, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2007. He is the father of actor Adam Arkin.

Arkin, who had been taking acting lessons since age 10, became a scholarship student at various drama academies, including one run by Stanislavsky student Benjamin Zemach, who had taught Arkin a psychological approach to acting. Arkin attended Franklin High School, in Los Angeles, followed by Los Angeles City College from 1951 to 1953. With two friends, he formed the folk music group The Tarriers, in which Arkin sang and played guitar. The band-members co-composed the group's 1956 hit "The Banana Boat Song" — a reworking, with some new lyrics, of a traditional, same-name Jamaican calypso folk song combined with another titled "Hill and Gully Rider". It reached #4 on the Billboard magazine chart the same year as Harry Belafonte's better-known hit version.

Arkin is one of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance (for The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming) in 1966. Two years later, he was again nominated, for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

Arkin is equally comfortable in comedy and dramatic roles. Among those for which he has garnered the most favorable critical attention are his Oscar-nominated turns above; Wait Until Dark, as the erudite killer stalking Audrey Hepburn; director Mike Nichols' Catch-22; The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (where he played Sigmund Freud); writer Jules Feiffer's Little Murders, which Arkin directed; the The In-Laws, co-starring Peter Falk; Glengarry Glen Ross; and Little Miss Sunshine, for which he received his third Oscar nomination, in the category of Best Supporting Actor. On the 11th February 2007 he received a BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Grandfather Edwin in Little Miss Sunshine. On February 25, 2007, upon winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Arkin, who plays a foul-mouthed grandfather with a taste for heroin said, "More than anything, I'm deeply moved by the open-hearted appreciation our small film has received, which in these fragmented times speaks so openly of the possibility of innocence, growth and connection". At 72 years old, Arkin became the sixth oldest winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

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