Abigail Breslin, the actor who played Olive Hoover in the 2006 comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine, recently bid farewell to her on-screen grandfather, Alan Arkin, who passed away at the age of 89. The bond they shared on screen was so strong that Breslin, now 27, always held a special place in her heart for Arkin. In her touching tribute, she referred to him as one of the kindest, gentlest, and funniest actors she had ever worked with. For her, he will always be “Grandpa.”
Alan Arkin, a versatile and talented actor, was confirmed to have passed away by his sons Adam, Matthew, and Anthony. They described him as a force of nature, both as an artist and as a man. His love as a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather was cherished by his family, who deeply mourn his loss.
In Little Miss Sunshine, Arkin played Edwin Hoover, the grandfather in a dysfunctional family. Despite having only 14 minutes of screen time, his performance was so captivating that both he and Breslin received Oscar nominations for their roles. Arkin won his first and only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film, a testament to the impact he could make in a short amount of time.
Arkin’s career was illustrious. Most recently, he co-starred in The Kominsky Method on Netflix alongside Michael Douglas, for which he received Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild nominations. He also received his fourth Oscar nomination for his role in the 2012 political drama Argo, directed by Ben Affleck. Affleck shared his admiration for Arkin, describing him as an incredible human being, friend, and mentor.
Born in Brooklyn in 1934, Arkin’s family moved to Los Angeles during his childhood. He attended several colleges but did not complete his studies. Instead, he embarked on a brief career in music with a folk group called the Tarriers, where he sang and played guitar. However, acting was his true calling. He began taking acting lessons as a child and eventually became an early member of the Second City improvisational comedy troupe in Chicago. He credited Second City with saving his life.
Arkin made his Broadway debut in 1961 and won a Tony in 1963, which catapulted him to stardom. Over the next five decades, he appeared in more than 100 movies and films, including notable titles like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, Edward Scissorhands, and Glengarry Glen Ross.
Alan Arkin leaves behind an indelible mark on the world of cinema and theater. His legacy is not just in the characters he portrayed, but also in the hearts of those he worked with, like Abigail Breslin, who will always remember him fondly as “Grandpa.” He is survived by his wife Suzanne Newlander and three children.
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