Award-winning actor, comedian, director, producer, singer and writer Alan Arkin has passed away at the age of 89. Arkin died Thursday, June 29, 2023 in Carlsbad, California. No official cause of death has been released yet, but he is known to have suffered cardiac problems for years.

Alan Wolf Arkin was born March 26, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York. His career stretched from the 1950s to 2023. Beginning with the famed comedy troupe The Second City, and he then moved on to performing as an actor in legitimate theater. He made his motion picture debut in 1957 in Calypso Heat Wave, where he performed as lead singer and guitarist of the folk band The Tarriers.

SciFi and Fantasy Roles

Naturally, in a career that lasted over half a century, his career included many roles in science fiction and fantasy Sci-Fi and Fantasy roles.

Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn,{image via Rankin/Bass}
  • Wait Until Dark (1967) Arkin played both Harry Roat, Sr. and Harry Roat, Jr.
  • The Seven Percent Solution (1976) He played Dr. Sigmund Freud.
  • Simon (1980) Arkin was nominated for a Saturn Award for playing the title role.
  • The Last Unicorn (1982) He voiced Schmendrick the Magician.
  • The Return of Captain Invincible (1983) Arkin starred as Captain Invincible
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990) Arkin shone in the supporting role of Phil Boggs.
  • The Rocketeer (1990) Arkin played the hero’s mechanic friend, A.”Peevy” Peabody
  • Gattaca (1997) He played Detective Hugo.
  • Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause (2006) He played Santa’d father-in-law, Bud Newman
  • Get Smart (2008) Arkin played the Chief, the role created by Edward Platt on TV.
  • Bojack Horseman In 2015 and 2016, Arkin voiced J. D. Salinger. in the Netflix cartoon.
  • Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) Voicing Wild Knuckles was his final role.

Other Major Roles

  • Calypso Heat Wave (1957) Arkin was the lead singer of The Tarriers
  • The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966) He played Lt. Rozanov.
  • Inspector Clouseau (1968) Arkin took over the role Peter Sellers made famous.
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) Arkin received an Oscar nomination for his role as John Singer.
  • Catch-22 (1970) He had the starring role as Captain John Yossarian.
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006) Arkin won an Oscar for his role as Edwin Hoover
  • Escape from Sobibor Arkin earned an Emmy for playing Leon Felhendler.
  • Argo (2012) Hereceived an Oscar nomination for playing Lester Siegel
  • Dumbo (2019) He appeared in the live-action reboot of Disney’s Dumbo as Griffin Remington.


Like many actors, he tried his hand at directing. Like many writers, he eventually became a producer. He made his directorial debut with the comedy short T.G. I.F. (1967) and followed it up with the children’s short People Soup (1979), which he also wrote. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, Live Action. He directed the black comedy Little Murders (1971), which was nominated for a WGA Award. He was nominated for a Tony Award for directing Neil Simon’s play The Sunshine Boys. He also directed Samuel Beckett is Coming Soon (1993), which he also produced, and Twigs (1975). Arkin was executive producer of The In-Laws (1979) and Thin Ice (2011). He belonged to two folk music groups, the Tarriers, and a children’s folk group, The Baby Sitters.


Alan Arkin was married three times and divorced twice. He had three sons. He is survived by his sons, Adam, Mathew, and Anthony, his widow, the former Suzanne Newlander, and his granddaughter Molly Arkin and grandson Emmet Arkin. (In 1969, Alan Arkin cast his sons Adam and Matthew in People Soup, which he wrote and directed. The movie was based on a short story he wrote, which was published in Galaxy Magazine.)

From 1955 to 1966, he was married to Jeremy Yaff, the mother of his two oldest sons. From 1964 to 1994, he was married to actress-screenwriter Barbara Dana, the mother of his youngest son, Anthony Dana Arkin. The two appeared together on Sesame Street as a husband and wife. In 1996 he married psychotherapist Suzanne Newlander. They were together until his death.

Awards and Honors

Alan Arkin never achieved the coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) status, but as awards and honors go, he was one of the more decorated actors in the history of show business.

  • BAFTA Award – He won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine. He was also nominated for BAFTA Most Promising Newcomer in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming and Best Supporting Actor in Argo.
  • Emmy Award He was nominated six times between 1967 and 2020, but never won.
  • Oscar Award Arkin was nominated for his acting four times but only won once, for Little Miss Sunshine. As a director, he won an Oscar for Best Short Subject, Live Action.
  • Tony: Nominated twice, won once. He was nominated for Best Direction of a Play for The Sunshine Boys. He won a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Enter Laughing in 1963.
  • Golden Globes: Alan Arkin was nominated seven times for Golden Globe Awards between 1967 and 2021. He won his sole Golden Globe for Best Actor in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.
  • Screen Actors Guild Award Arkin was nominated eight times for a SGA Award. He won twice, for Argo and Little Miss Sunshine.
  • Saturn Award Arkin was nominated for Best Actor in Simon.
  • Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence Arkin was granted the Peck Award in 2014 to recognize his life’s work.

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.

Alan Arkin lived a long, full creative life as a father, a grandfather, an entertainer, a writer, and a singer. Our condolences to his family, friends, and legion of fans, especially Molly and Emmett. May his memory be a blessing. He will be remembered “when men are fairy tales in books written by rabbits.” Farewell to Schmendrick, the last of the red hot swamis.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.