Date of Birth 26 March 1934, New York City, New York, USA Birth Name Alan Wolf Arkin Height 5' 9" (1.75 m) Alan Wolf Arkin is an Academy Award-nominated American actor, director, author and musician, best-known for starring in such films as The In-Laws, Catch-22, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Wait Until Dark, Edward Scissorhands, Four Days in September and Little Miss Sunshine. As a musician and co-composer, his re-writing of the "Banana Boat Song" became a hit record, and as an author he has published both children's books and science fiction short stories. He is the father of actor Adam Arkin. Early Life and Career Arkin was born in New York City to a Jewish family; his maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Odessa. His father, David I. Arkin, was a painter and writer who mostly worked as a teacher. The family moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, California when Arkin was eleven years old, but an eight-month Hollywood strike cost Arkin's father David, an art teacher, a set designer job he had wanted to take. Additionally, David Arkin and wife Beatrice were accused during the 1950s Red Scare of being Communists, which led to his father losing his job after refusing to answer questions regarding his political affiliation. David Arkin challenged the dismissal and ultimately prevailed, but after his death. 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, and Bennington College from 1954 to 1955. He dropped out and with two friends 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 played recorder on the 1956 Ed McCurdy release "When Dalliance Was in Flower" (Elektra Records LP EKL-110). The liner notes described Arkin as "an accomplished young man in his early twenties. He plays the guitar and recorder and has worked as a television and stage actor, delivery boy, dude ranch entertainer, pot washer and baby sitter. He has recorded an entire album for Elektra titled Folksongs — Once Over Lightly". From 1958 to 1968, Arkin performed and recorded with the children's folk group, The Baby Sitters. Acting Career Arkin is one of only five 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. In a piece he wrote for the Second City book, Arkin said he had wanted to be an actor since he was five. It was in a performance in St. Louis that Arkin caught a casting director's eye, who later met with the actor to tell him about a comedy troupe he was assembling in Chicago and if he wanted a job, it was open. Arkin politely declined, before heading back to New York City with the impression that he wasn't going to lose out on a career by moving to Chicago. But after another year as a struggling actor at 29 years old, Arkin called the director and asked if the offer was still open. With the offer still on the table, he packed his bags and headed for the Midwest, thinking it was a mistake. But Arkin later said that it turned out to be fortuitous since his career blossomed upon joining the fledgling improvisational comedy troupe The Second City. 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 portayal of Grandfather Edwin in Little Miss Sunshine. On Broadway, Arkin starred in Enter Laughing and Luv and directed The Sunshine Boys, among others. Personal Life Arkin has been married three times. He and Jeremy Yaffe, to whom he was married from 1955 to 1960, have two sons: Adam Arkin, born Aug. 19, 1956 or 1957 (accounts differ), and Matthew Arkin, born circa 1960. In 1967, Arkin had son Anthony (Tony) Dana Arkin with actress-screenwriter Barbara Dana (born 1940), to whom he was married from June 16, 1964 to the mid-1990s. Circa 1996, Arkin married a psychotherapist, Suzanne. His most famous relative is David Arkin of Wichita KS. Writing Arkin has published science fiction stories in Galaxy and Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines; his story "The Amazing Grandy", in the August 2001 issue of the latter, involved Martin Gardner-style debunkers. He has also written the children's books including The Clearing, Tony's Hard Work Day, and Cassie Loves Beethoven.