The world lost the astonishingly original character actor, Alan Arkin, this week. Arkin’s unforgettable grumbly, wry voice gave us pleasure when watching his performances for the past seven decades. He was accomplished at comedy and drama, especially good playing a villain, but he could do it all. His career brought him an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Tony Award, plus six Emmy Award nominations.
The first time I really noticed him was when my parental units took me to a drive-in theatre to catch the courageous cold-war comedy The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) when I was 12 years old. He made quite an impression, and it was rare for a year to go by when I wasn’t charmed by an Arkin performance on film or television, sometimes there would two or three. He was often the very best thing in any project. Here are ten that made a big impression.
Arkin started his career on Broadway, winning that Tony for the rollicking comedy, Enter Laughing, in 1963. I only saw him on stage once; as Dr. Pangloss in a 1968 concert staging of Leonard Bernstein‘s Candide, opposite Madeline Kahn. The last time I spent time with Arkin was when he starred opposite Michael Douglas in the humorous, heartfelt Netflix series The Kominsky Method for which he received nominations for two Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.