Alan Arkin, the Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actor, has died at 89.
His death was confirmed to PEOPLE exclusively by his sons Adam, Matthew and Anthony, who jointly offered a statement on the family’s behalf: “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.”
Most recently, Arkin costarred in The Kominsky Method for Netflix alongside Michael Douglas, earning Emmy nominations in 2019 and 2020, and Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations in 2020 and 2021.
In Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Arkin played Edwin Hoover, the grandfather of the dysfunctional family. His role — which only spanned 14 minutes of screen time — earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Arkin’s memorable turn in the 2012 Ben Affleck-directed political drama Argo earned him his fourth Oscar nomination.
He played veteran producer Lester Siegel, whose sharp sense of humor and biting line delivery won over audiences.
His son, Adam Arkin, 66, is also a well-known actor and director who has starred on TV hits including Chicago Hope, 8 Simple Rules and Sons of Anarchy.
Alan Arkin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 26, 1934; his family moved to Los Angeles during his childhood. That ‘is why I don’t live there now,” Arkin quipped to PEOPLE in 1979 from his home in Chappaqua, New York.
After finishing high school, Arkin attended several different colleges and dropped out of at least three, including Bennington College in Vermont, which lists him as an alumnus of the class of 1955.
“They might have thrown me out,” Arkin told PEOPLE of his experience in college in a 1979 story about him and his second wife, actress Barbara Dana. “I don’t remember.”
After leaving college Arkin embarked on a brief career in music with a folk group called the Tarriers, where he sang and played guitar. The short-lived group produced the hit top-5 single ‘The Banana Boat Song’ in 1957.
But Arkin, who had taken acting lessons since childhood, quit the band and set about trying to establish himself as an actor. By 1960, Arkin arrived in Chicago and became an early member of the Second City improvisational comedy troupe, according to a history on the organization’s website.
“Second City saved my life. It literally saved my life,” Arkin said. “I have a feeling it’s true for a lot of other people, too.”
After spending some time on the Second City stage in Chicago, Arkin made his Broadway debut in 1961 in From the Second City and followed it up with a Tony-winning performance in 1963’s Enter Laughing.
More television and film roles followed in the years after Arkin first made it big on Broadway; he received his first of four career Oscar nominations in 1967 for his role in the comedy The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.
Over the next 50-plus years, Arkin went on to appear in more than 100 movies and films, notably starring in movies like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968), which earned him his second Oscar nomination; Catch-22 (1970); Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).
“I’m like a horse going down the trail,” he told The Guardian in 2020. “Acting is so ingrained in my physiognomy and the channels of my brain that I find myself missing aspects of the business. But I don’t need it any more. I should probably get over it.”
Arkin is survived by his wife Suzanne Newlander, whom he married in 1996, and three children: sons Adam Arkin and Matthew Arkin, whom he shared with first wife Jeremy Yaffe, and Anthony Dana Arkin, whom he shared with second wife Dana.