Arkin, Alan 1934- (Robert Short)
Arkin, Alan 1934- (Robert Short)
Full name, Alan Wolf Arkin; born March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, NY (some sources say New York, NY); son of David I. (an artist and teacher) and Beatrice (a teacher; maiden name, Wortis) Arkin; married Jeremy Yaffe, 1955 (divorced, 1960); married Barbara Dana (an actress and author), June 16, 1964 (divorced); married Suzanne Newlander (a psychotherapist), 1996; children: (first marriage) Adam (an actor), Matthew; (second marriage) Anthony Dana (an actor). Education: Attended Los Angeles City College, 1951-52, Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles), 1952-53, and Bennington College, 1953-55; studied acting with Benjamin Zemach, 1952-55.
Agent—Endeavor, 9601 Wilshire Blvd., 3rd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Manager—Principal Entertainment, 1964 Westwood Blvd., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90025.
Actor, director, producer, composer, and writer. Member of folksinging group the Tarriers, 1957-59; actor in improvisational theatre with the Compass Players, St. Louis, MO, 1959, and (as an original member) with Second City, Chicago, IL, 1960; director of theatrical revues in the early 1960s; member of children's music group the Babysitters. Previously worked in vacuum cleaner repair and as a clerical worker.
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; American Federation of Musicians; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; Actors' Equity Association; Screen Actors Guild.
Antoinette Perry Award, best supporting actor, Theatre World Award, and Variety New York Drama Critics Poll Award, 1963, all for Enter Laughing; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding single performance by an actor in a leading role in a drama, 1966, for ABC Stage 67; Golden Globe Award, best actor in a musical or comedy, Golden Globe Award nomination, most promising newcomer—male, Academy Award nomination, best actor, Film Award nomination, most promising newcomer to leading film roles, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1967, New York Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, 1968, all for The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; Academy Award nomination, best actor in a leading role, New York Critics Award, best actor, 1968, Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor—drama, 1969, all for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Drama Desk Award, outstanding director, 1969, for Little Murders; Academy Award nomination, best live action short subject, 1969, for People Soup; Drama Desk Award, outstanding director, and Obie Award, distinguished directing, Village Voice, 1970, both for The White House Murder Case; Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture actor—drama, 1970, for Popi; Tony's Hard Work Day listed as a book of the year by the Child Study Association of America, 1972; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best director, 1973, for The Sunshine Boys; New York Critics Circle Award, best supporting actor, 1975, for Hearts of the West; The Lemming Condition listed as a book of the year by the Child Study Association of America and named an outstanding book of the year by the New York Times, both 1976; Genie Award, best performance by a foreign actor, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, 1982, for Improper Channels; Genie Award, best actor in a supporting role, 1986, for Joshua Then and Now; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding actor in a miniseries or special, 1987, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, 1988, Distinguished Service Award for the Performing Arts, Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1989, all for Escape from Sobibor; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actor in a drama series, 1997, for Chicago Hope; Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best supporting actor, 2002, Chlotrudis Award, best supporting actor, Florida Film Critics Circle Award (with others), best ensemble cast, Independent Spirit Award nomination, best supporting male, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best supporting actor, 2003, all for 13 Conversations About One Thing; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie, 2003, for The Pentagon Papers; Gotham Award nomination (with others), best ensemble cast, Phoenix Film Critics Society Award (with others), best ensemble cast, Satellite Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, International Press Academy, 2006, Academy Award, best performance by an actor in a supporting role, Film Award, best actor in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Critics Choice Award nomination, best supporting actor, Independent Spirit Award, best supporting male, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best supporting actor, Prism Award nomination, performance in a feature film, Screen Actors Guild Award (with others), outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in supporting role, Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award, best supporting actor, 2007, all for Little Miss Sunshine.
Singer, Heloise, Gate Theatre, New York City, 1958.
Compass Players, Crystal Palace, St. Louis, MO, 1959.
Member of ensemble, From the Second City (revue), Royale Theatre, New York City, 1961, then off-Broadway production, 1962.
Jimmy, Man Out Loud, Girl Quiet and The Spanish Armada (double-bill), Cricket Theatre, New York City, 1962.
Seacoast of Bohemia: Alarums and Excursions, Second City, Square East Theatre, New York City, 1962.
David Kolowitz, Enter Laughing, Henry Miller Theatre, New York City, 1963.
Member of ensemble, A View from under the Bridge (revue), Second City, Square East Theatre, 1964.
Harry Berlin, Luv, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1964.
The Opening, 1972.
De Recha, "Virtual Reality," Power Plays, Promenade Theatre, Chicago, IL, then Promenade Theatre, New York City, 1998.
Also appeared in The Sunshine Boys; The Sorrows of Stephen.
David Kolowitz, Enter Laughing, U.S. cities, 1964.
(As Robert Short) Eh?, Circle in the Square, New York City, 1966.
Hail Scrawdyke!, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1966.
Little Murders, Circle in the Square, 1969.
The White House Murder Case, Circle in the Square, 1970.
The Sunshine Boys, Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 1972.
Molly, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1973.
Joan of Lorraine, 1974.
Rubbers and Yanks 3 Detroit 0, Top of the Seventh (double-bill), American Place Theatre, New York City, 1975.
The Soft Touch, Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA, 1975.
Joan of Lorraine, Hartman Theatre, Stamford, CT, 1976.
Sorrows of Stephen, Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, Jupiter, FL, 1984.
Room Service, Roundabout Theatre, New York City, 1986.
Forgive Me, Evelyn Bunns, Asolo State Theatre, Sarasota, FL, 1986.
Power Plays, Promenade Theatre, Chicago, IL, then Promenade Theatre, New York City, 1998.
Taller Than a Dwarf, Wilbur Theatre, Boston, MA, then Longacre Theatre, New York City, 2000.
(As part of musical group the Tarriers) Calypso Heat Wave, Columbia, 1957.
That's Me (short), 1963.
Pretzel peddler, The Last Mohican (short), 1965.
Lieutenant Rozanov, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (also known as The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!), United Artists, 1966.
Fred, "The Suicides," Woman Times Seven (also known as Sept fois femme and Sette volte donna), Embassy, 1967.
Harry Roat Jr., Roat, and Roat, Sr., Wait until Dark, Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, 1967.
John Singer, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, 1968.
Inspector Jacques Clouseau (title role), Inspector Clouseau, 1968.
Himself, The Monitors, Commonwealth United Entertainment, 1969.
Abraham Rodriguez, Popi, United Artists, 1969.
Captain John Yossarian, B-52 bombardier, Catch-22, Filmways, 1970.
Lieutenant Practice, Little Murders, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1971.
Cooper, Deadhead Miles, Paramount, 1972.
Barney Cashman, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Paramount, 1972.
Bean, Freebie and the Bean, Warner Bros., 1974.
Kessler, Hearts of the West (also known as Hollywood Cowboy), United Artists, 1975.
Gunny Rafferty, Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (also known as Rafferty and the Highway Hustlers), Warner Bros., 1975.
Ezra Fikus, Fire Sale, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977.
Sigmund Freud, The Seven-per-cent Solution (also known as Seven Per Cent Solution and The Seven Percent Solution), Universal, 1977.
Sheldon Kornpett, The In-Laws, Warner Bros., 1979.
Yasha Mazur, The Magician of Lublin (also known as Ha-Kosem mi ubin and Der Magier), Cannon, 1979.
Professor Simon Mendelssohn (title role), Simon, Warner Bros., 1980.
Flash, Chu Chu and the Philly Flash, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1981.
Jeffrey Martley, Improper Channels, Rank-Crown International, 1981.
Dr. Jacob Brand, Full Moon High (also known as Moon High), Filmways, 1982.
Voice of Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn (animated; also known as Das Letzte Einhorn), ITC, 1982.
Captain Invincible (title role), The Return of Captain Invincible (also known as Legend in Leotards), Seven Keys, 1983.
(Archive footage) Roat, segment "Wait until Dark," Terror in the Aisles (also known as Time for Terror), 1984.
Dr. Ramon Madera, Bad Medicine, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1985.
Reuben Shapiro, Joshua Then and Now, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1985.
Leonard Hoffman, Big Trouble, Columbia, 1986.
Fred Libner, Coupe de Ville, Universal, 1990.
Bill Boggs, Edward Scissorhands, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1990.
Joe Volpi, Havana, Universal, 1990.
Peevy, The Rocketeer, Buena Vista, 1991.
George Aaronow, Glengarry Glen Ross, New Line Cinema, 1992.
Uncle Lou Handler, Indian Summer (also known as L'ete indien), Touchstone, 1993.
(Uncredited) Police chief, So I Married an Axe Murderer, TriStar, 1993.
The director, Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon, I'mnd Productions/Tiny Baby Productions, 1993.
Lazarro, The Jerky Boys, Buena Vista, 1994.
Judge Buckle, North, Columbia, 1994.
Lou Perilli, Ruben's partner, Steal Big, Steal Little, Savoy Pictures, 1995.
George Kraft, Mother Night, Fine Line, 1996.
Dr. Oatman, Grosse Pointe Blank, Buena Vista, 1997.
Charles Burke Elbrick, Four Days in September (also known as O que e isso, companheiro?, and Four Days in September (O que e isso companheiro?), Miramax, 1997.
Hugo Coldspring, Gattaca (also known as The Eighth Day), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1997.
Hugo Pool, BMG Independents, 1997.
Murray Abromowitz, The Slums of Beverly Hills, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1998.
Max Frankfurter, Jakob the Liar (also known as Jakob le menteur), TriStar, 1998.
Arigo, True Crime Productions, 1998.
Milo, Magicians, 2000.
Wellness guide, America's Sweethearts, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2001.
Gene, 13 Conversations about One Thing (also known as 13 Conversations), 2001.
Dr. Pearl/Hal, "Equilibrium," Eros, Warner Independent Pictures, 2004.
Artie Venzuela, Noel, Screen Media Films, 2004.
Arlin Forester, Firewall, Warner Bros., 2006.
Grandpa Edwin Hoover, Little Miss Sunshine, Fox Searchlight, 2006.
Father Benkhe, The Novice, 2006.
Bud Newman, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (also known as Pretender), Buena Vista, 2006.
Flagg Purdy, Raising Flagg, Palisades Pictures, 2006.
Senator Hawkins, Rendition, New Line Cinema, 2007.
Joe, Sunshine Cleaning, Overture Films, 2008.
The chief, Get Smart, Warner Bros., 2008.
Marley & Me, Fox 2000, 2008.
Producer, That's Me (short), 1963.
Producer, The Last Mohican (short), 1965.
Director, Thank God It's Friday (short; also known as T.G.I.F.), Columbia, 1967.
Director and producer, People Soup (short), Columbia, 1969.
Director, Little Murders, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1971.
Director, Fire Sale, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1977.
Executive producer, The In-Laws, Warner Bros., 1979.
Director and producer, Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon, I'mnd Productions/Tiny Baby Productions, 1993.
Director, Arigo, True Crime Productions, 1998.
Director, Blood (Thinner Than Water) (short), 2004.
Television Appearances; Series:
Larry, Sesame Street (also known as Sesame Street Unpaved, The New Sesame Street, and Open Sesame), PBS, 1970-72.
Harry Porschak, Harry, CBS, 1987.
Joe Rifkind, 100 Centre Street, Arts and Entertainment, 2001-2002.
Television Appearances; Movies:
It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy, 1974.
Frank Dole, The Other Side of Hell (also known as Escape from Hell and The Next Howling Wind), NBC, 1978.
Title role, The Defection of Simas Kudirka, CBS, 1978.
Harold Kaufman, A Deadly Business, CBS, 1986.
Leon Feldhandler, Escape from Sobibor, CBS, 1987.
Harry Willette, Cooperstown, TNT, 1993.
Tommy Canard, Taking the Heat, Showtime, 1993.
Colonel Yossi, Doomsday Gun, HBO, 1994.
Dogcatcher, Heck's Way Home (also known as The Long Way Home and Un drole de cabot), Showtime, 1996.
Willy the Hammer, Blood Money, Showtime, 1999.
Freier, Varian's War (also known as Varian Fry, un heros oublie), Showtime, 2000.
Harry Rowen, The Pentagon Papers, FX Channel, 2003.
Sam Drebben, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, HBO, 2003.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
Louie, Two Guys from Muck, NBC, 1982.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Presenter, The 19th Annual Tony Awards, WWOR (New York City), 1965.
Title role, "The Love Song of Barney Kempinski," ABC Stage 67, ABC, 1966.
Husband, "Double Trouble," The Trouble with People, NBC, 1972.
Lawrence, "Natasha Kovolina Pipishinsky," Love, Life, Liberty, and Lunch, ABC, 1976.
Presenter, The 30th Annual Tony Awards, ABC, 1976.
To America, CBS, 1976.
Presenter and performer, The 31st Annual Tony Awards, ABC, 1977.
Presenter, The 53rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1981.
Flagg Purdy, "A Matter of Principle," American Playhouse, PBS, 1984.
The Second City 25th Anniversary Special, HBO, 1985.
Orontes, The Fourth Wise Man, ABC, 1985.
Archie Correlli, "Necessary Parties," WonderWorks, PBS, 1988.
In the Director's Chair: The Man Who Invented Edward Scissorhands, 1990.
Showbiz Today, CNN, 1995.
The Kennedy Center 25th Anniversary Celebration, PBS, 1996.
"Catch-22," Great Books, The Learning Channel, 1996.
Presenter, The 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, CBS, 1997.
Comic Relief VIII, HBO, 1998.
Presenter, The 12th Annual Critics' Choice Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2007.
The 79th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2007.
Live from the Red Carpet: The 2007 Academy Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2007.
Presenter, The 80th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2008.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
(With Second City) The David Susskind Show, syndicated, 1962.
Ted Miller, "The Beatnik and the Politician," East Side/West Side, CBS, 1964.
The Les Crane Show, ABC, 1964, 1965.
Mystery guest, What's My Line?, CBS, 1965.
Busting Loose, CBS, 1977.
The Mike Douglas Show, syndicated, 1977.
Carol Burnett & Company, 1979.
The Muppet Show, syndicated, 1980.
Jerry Singleton, "The Ties That Bind," St. Elsewhere, NBC, 1983.
Jerry Singleton, "Newheart," St. Elsewhere, NBC, 1983.
Jerry Singleton, "Lust Et Veritas," St. Elsewhere, NBC, 1983.
Bo, "The Emperor's New Clothes," Faerie Tale Theater (also known as Faerie Tale Theater: The Emperor's New Clothes and Shelley Duvall's "Faerie Tale Theatre"), Showtime, 1985.
Jim Eisneberg, Sr., "E.M. 7, Raiders Minus Three and a Half for a Nickel," A Year in the Life, NBC, 1987.
Tully, "Soir Bleu," Picture Windows (also known as Picture Windows: Language of the Heart), Showtime, 1995.
Zoltan Karpathein, "The Son Also Rises," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1997.
The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 2001.
Marty Adler, "It's a Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad World," Will & Grace, NBC, 2005.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS, 2006.
Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2006, 2007.
Sunday Morning Shootout, AMC, 2007.
Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, syndicated, 2007.
Caiga quien caiga, 2007.
"Rendition," History in Focus, 2007.
Also appeared in Captain Kangaroo, CBS; Hawaii Five-O, CBS.
Television Executive Producer; Series:
(With others) Harry, CBS, 1987.
Television Work; Specials:
(With Clark Jones) Director, Twigs, CBS, 1975.
(With others) Producer, "Necessary Parties," Wonder-Works, PBS, 1988.
Television Director; Pilots:
(With others) Fay, NBC, 1975.
Television Director; Episodic:
"The Visit," Trying Times, PBS, 1987.
"The Boss," Trying Times, PBS, 1989.
Albums (Cast Recordings):
Luv: A New Comedy, Columbia, 1965.
Albums (with the Babysitters):
The Babysitters, 1958.
Songs and Fun with the Babysitters, 1960.
The Family Album, 1965.
The Babysitters Menagerie, 1968.
Singles (with the Tarriers):
"The Banana Boat Song," 1957.
Also recorded other projects with the Tarriers.
Man Out Loud, Girl Quiet, Cricket Theatre, 1962.
(And author of lyrics and sketches) A View from under the Bridge, Square East Theatre, 1964.
Composer of songs, including "Cuddle Bug," "That's Me," and "Best Time of the Year."
"The Way of All Fish," Power Plays, Promenade Theatre, Chicago, IL, then Promenade Theatre, New York City, 1998.
The Last Mohican (short), 1965.
Thank God It's Friday (short; also known as T.G.I.F.), Columbia, 1967.
People Soup (short), Columbia, 1969.
Arigo, True Crime Productions, 1998.
Blood (Thinner Than Water) (short), 2004.
(With others) "Necessary Parties," WonderWorks, PBS, 1988.
Tony's Hard Work Day, illustrated by James Stevenson, Harper, 1972.
The Lemming Condition, illustrated by Joan Sandin, Harper, 1976.
The Clearing, Harper, 1986.
Some Fine Grandpa, HarperCollins, 1995.
One Present from Flekman's, HarperCollins, 1999.
Cassie Loves Beethoven, Hyperion, 2000.
Cosmo: A Cautionary Tale, Azro, 2005.
Halfway through the Door: An Actor's Journey toward the Self, Harper, 1979.
Contributor to periodicals, including Galaxy.
Contemporary Authors, Volume 112, Gale, 1985, pp. 30-32.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th ed., St. James Press, 2000.
Newsmakers, Issue 4, Gale Group, 2007.
Something about the Author, Volume 59, Gale, 1990, pp. 1-8.
Entertainment Weekly, April 11, 1997, p. 63; February 2, 2007, p. 48.
New York Times, February 9, 1986.
"Arkin, Alan 1934- (Robert Short)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/arkin-alan-1934-robert-short
"Arkin, Alan 1934- (Robert Short)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved April 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/arkin-alan-1934-robert-short
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
Nationality: American. Born: Alan Wolf Arkin in New York City, 26 March 1934. Education: Attended Los Angeles City College. Family: Married Barbara Dana, 1964; sons: the actor Adam and Matthew from previous marriage, and Anthony. Career: Late 1950s—member of folk singing group the Tarriers; early 1960s—member of Chicago improvisational acting company Second City, a group including Mike Nichols and Elaine May; 1963—Broadway debut in Enter Laughing received much critical attention; mid-1960s—stage directing career began with off-Broadway production of Little Murders; 1966—feature film debut in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; 1971—directed first feature film, Little Murders; 1987—in TV series Harry. Awards: Best Actor, New York Film Critics, for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, 1968; Best Supporting Actor, New York Film Critics, for Hearts of the West, 1975; Golden Globe for Comedy Performance, for The Russians Are Coming, 1966; Canadian Genies, for Best Actor for Improper Channels, 1981, and for Best Supporting Actor for Joshua Then and Now, 1985. Address: c/o William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.
Films as Actor:
That's Me (short)
The Last Mohican (short)
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (Jewison) (as Rosanov)
Wait until Dark (Young) (as Roat); "The Suicides" ep. of Woman Times Seven (De Sica) (as Fred)
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Miller) (as John Singer); Inspector Clouseau (Yorkin) (as title role)
Popi (Hiller) (title role); The Monitors (Shea) (cameo)
Catch-22 (Nichols) (as Yossarian)
The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Saks) (as Barney Cashman); Deadhead Miles (Zimmerman)
Freebie and the Bean (Rush) (as Bean); It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy (Cy Howard—for TV)
Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (Richards) (as Rafferty); Hearts of the West (Zieff) (as Kessler)
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (Ross) (as Freud)
The Defection of Simon Kudirka (Rich—for TV) (title role)
The Magician of Lublin (Golan) (as Yasha); The In-Laws (Hiller) (as Sheldon Kornpett, + exec pr)
Simon (Brickman) (as Simon Mendelssohn)
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (Rich); Improper Channels (Till) (as Jeffrey)
The Last Unicorn (Rankin and Bass) (as voice of Schmendrick, the Magician)
The Return of Captain Invincible (Legend in Leotards) (Mora) (title role)
A Matter of Principle (Arner)
Big Trouble (Cassavetes) (as Leonard Hoffman); Bad Medicine (Miller) (as Dr. Madera); Joshua Then and Now (Kotcheff) (as Reuben Shapiro); The Fourth Wise Man (Michael Ray Rhodes—for TV)
A Deadly Business (Korty—for TV)
Escape from Sobibor (Gold—for TV) (as Feldhendler); Necessary Parties (Arner—for TV) (+ sc)
Coupe de Ville (Roth) (as Fred Libner); Too Much Sun (Downey); Edward Scissorhands (Burton) (as Bill Boggs); Havana (Pollack) (as Joe Volpi); The Rocketeer (Johnston) (as Peevy)
Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley) (as George Aaronow)
So I Married an Axe Murderer (Schlamme); Indian Summer (Binder) (as Uncle Lou); Taking the Heat (Tom Mankiewicz—for TV) (as Tommy Canard); Cooperstown (Haid—for TV) (as Harry Willette)
North (Rob Reiner) (as Judge Buckle); The Jerky Boys (Melkonian) (as Lazarro); Doomsday Gun (Robert M. Young—for TV)
Steal Big, Steal Little (Andrew Davis) (as Lou Perilli)
Mother Night (Gordon) (as George Kraft)
Grosse Pointe Blank (Armitage) (as Dr. Oatman); Gattaca (Niccol) (Detective Hugo)
Slums of Beverly Hills (Jenkins) (as Murray Abramowitz); Jakob the Liar (Kassovitz) (as Max Frankfurter)
Arigo (Arkin and Dana); Magicians (Merendino); Varian's War (Chetwynd—for TV)
Films as Director:
T.G.I.F. (short) (+ sc)
People Soup (short) (+ sc)
Little Murders (+ ro as detective)
Fire Sale (+ ro as Ezra Fikus)
Samuel Beckett Is Coming Soon (+ ro as the director)
Arigo (+ ro)
By ARKIN: books—
Tony's Hard Work Day (for children), 1972.
Halfway through the Door: An Actor's Journey Towards the Self, New York, 1979.
The Clearing (for children), New York, 1986.
The Lemming Condition (for children), New York, 1989.
Some Fine Grampa (for children), New York, 1995.
By ARKIN: article—
Interview in Films and Filming (London), November 1967.
On ARKIN: article—
Current Biography 1967, New York, 1967.
"Alan Arkin," in Film Dope (London), March 1988.
* * *
Alan Arkin is the poor man's Jack Lemmon. Think of Lemmon's major film roles, from It Should Happen to You to The Apartment, Save the Tiger to Missing. Arkin could have played any one of these parts effectively. Both actors can play comical bumblers with serious sides, and both excel as sensitive characters whose nervous temperaments are hair-triggered. Considering Arkin's solid talent and his proven versatility, it is regrettable that this actor has not had Lemmon's opportunities to shine on the silver screen.
Arkin was no novice to acting when he made his feature film debut in the popular satirical comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. Three years prior to that, he had won a Tony Award for his much acclaimed starring role in the Broadway production of Carl Reiner's autobiographical seriocomedy Enter Laughing. In Russians, Arkin, co-starring with Reiner and a large star cast, won an Oscar nomination playing a zany Russian squad leader who steps off a Soviet submarine which accidentally has been grounded near an island off the Massachusetts coastline. As he communicated with the startled natives, Arkin spoke a blend of strange Russian lingo and broken Russian-English, which left a bizarre, but very comical, impression.
His next effort, Wait until Dark, was a very showy role for the newcomer. In this taut suspense film, he played a psychotic who dresses up as three different people in order to retrieve a cache of drugs unwittingly in the possession of a blind woman (Audrey Hepburn). His menacing leap at the helpless woman's ankles and the unrelieved wickedness of his character even in his death throes gave audiences the dark and dramatic side of the actor's repertoire. After his appearance the following year in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, as a lonesome deaf-mute who befriends a young girl, it seemed as though Arkin's new status as a major movie star was cemented. So moving was his portrayal that he received his second Academy Award nomination.
Since then, only a handful of important screen roles have come his way. The most significant of these was in Catch-22, where he played Captain Yossarian in Joseph Heller's scathing satire of U.S. Army life during World War II, which was presented in a surreal and absurdist style. He also gave outstanding comic performances in The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and The In-Laws, and made an interesting and credible Freud in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. In fact, Arkin never has done poorly in a film, even when the material was flawed or forgettable. Yet he has been unable to sustain the stardom and attention he obtained so early; the multidimensional, extraordinary roles with which he began his film acting career inexplicably dried up.
Arkin turned to directing in the late 1960s, and in 1971 did a credible job bringing Jules Feiffer's Little Murders to the screen. In the 1970s, he also wrote several books, including an autobiographical work about his involvement with yoga. In the past few years, Arkin has been appearing in films on a steady basis, sometimes enriching mediocre movies with brief but sparkling appearances. His two most significant recent roles have been as the camp director in Indian Summer and a real estate salesman in Glengarry Glen Ross, the film version of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, in which he shares screen time with Jack Lemmon. Nevertheless, it is a shame that an actor of Arkin's caliber has not, over the years, been offered more and better lead roles, and been allowed to fulfill the promise he exhibited in his earliest films.
—Doug Tomlinson, updated by Audrey E. Kupferberg
"Arkin, Alan." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/arkin-alan
"Arkin, Alan." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved April 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/arkin-alan