Legendary American actor Alan Arkin has passed away at age 89, leaving behind an illustrious and varied career in film. According to a statement from his family released through Variety, he died peacefully at his home in Carlsbad, California on Thursday.
The highly-acclaimed actor’s achievements are nothing short of extraordinary – with four Academy Award nominations and one win for the 2006 hit Little Miss Sunshine under his belt, as well as a Tony Award for his debut Broadway role.
“Our father was a uniquely talented force of nature, both as an artist and a man. A loving husband, father, grand and great grandfather, he was adored and will be deeply missed,” shared his three sons, Adam, Matthew, and Anthony, in their joint statement to People magazine.
Alan Arkin made a prominent mark in Tinseltown with his exceptional range and talent, charming audiences with memorable roles spanning a broad spectrum: lighthearted comedy, intense drama, serious suspense, and more. His indelible presence will remain in our hearts forever.
Alan Arkin was a trailblazer in Hollywood. In 1966, his first major movie role earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor – he played a Soviet sailor in the Cold War comedy The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!. Fifteen years later, he would make cinematic history again.
Initially turned down for the beloved Little Miss Sunshine role due to concerns over his healthy appearance, Arkin ultimately won a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing the foul-mouthed, 80-year-old grandfather whose long life of debauchery had taken a physical toll.
It was this kind of versatility – and courage – that made Alan Arkin one of the most memorable actors of a generation.
Alan Arkin reflected on the treasured memory of receiving a rejection that was too good to be true during an interview with The New York Times in 2007. “It’s the best rejection I ever got in my life — they thought I was too virile!” he exclaimed, flexing his biceps in a muscleman pose as if the interviewer could feel the strength radiating from him.
Arkin had certainly proved his versatility and dramatic skills with his role as a psychopathic killer opposite Audrey Hepburn in 1967’s Wait Until Dark, but later revealed while it was memorable it wasn’t always comfortable. “I didn’t like being cruel to her,” he stated. “It made me very uncomfortable.”