Friday, July 19, 2024

‘Little Miss Sunshine’ Actor Alan Arkin Dies at 89

Alan Arkin, who played Edwin Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine, died in his Carlsbad home on June 29. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his sons Anthony, Matthew, and Adam on Friday. In a family statement, they described him as ‘a loving husband and father’ and that he was ‘adored’ and will be deeply missed by everyone.

From 2015 to 2016, the actor, whose stage and screen career spanned seven decades, also lent his voice to JD Salinger in the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman. He also co-starred in The Kominsky Method alongside Paul Reiser, who reacted to his death by saying ‘a world without Alan is not so great’.

Michael McKearn of Spinal Tap fame also paid tribute to Arkin in a tweet and described him as ‘hilarious, charming, and armed with a flawless nonsense detector.’

Born on March 25, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York, the actor started out as a musician, singing and playing guitar in a band called The Carriers. In 1956, they rose to fame after their single The Banana Boat Song, reached the top five in the U.S.

At the same time, he was an aspiring actor, having taken lessons since he was young. After dropping out from college, he joined the Second City comedy troupe, which he once said ‘literally saved [his] life.’

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Alan Arkin in the Broadway play Enter Laughing

After playing a small acting role in the 1957 musical film Calypso Heat Wave, he starred in the Broadway play Enter Laughing, where he played the part of David Kolowitz. While the film received mixed reviews, his portrayal was praised and earned him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor.

His popularity soared further in the following years after appearing in the films The Russians Are Coming and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, both of which earned him an Oscar nomination. The former also earned him a Golden Globe Award.

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His memoir, An Improvised Life, was released in 2018

Despite his successful career, he revealed in his 2018 memoir Out of My Mind that he was ‘miserable most of the time’ during his early years. He later explained that he was able to turn his life around with meditation. He also said the only time [he] felt alive was when he was on stage.

For his work on television, Arkin received numerous Emmy Award nominations for his portrayals in The Pentagon Papers, Escape from Sobibor, and The Kominsky Method. In 2019, he also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Alan Arkin with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

He is survived by his wife Suzanne, whom he’d been married to since 1996, his three sons Anthony, Matthew, and Adam, four grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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