Alan Arkin

24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala - Arrivals

Arkin in 2013, photo by PR Photos

Birth Name: Alan Wolf Arkin

Date of Birth: March 26, 1934

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: June 29, 2023

Place of Death: San Marcos, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Alan Arkin was an American actor, director, comedian, singer, and musician. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine (2006). He also starred in the films The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; Wait Until Dark, Inspector Clouseau, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Popi, Catch-22, Little Murders and Fire Sale, both of which he also directed; The In-Laws (1979), Simon, Edward Scissorhands, The Rocketeer, Glengarry Glen Ross, Grosse Point Blank, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Rendition, Sunshine Cleaning, Get Smart, Argo, Love the Coopers, and Dumbo (2019), and on television’s Escape from Sobibor, The Pentagon Papers, BoJack Horseman, and The Kominsky Method; as well as in many works on stage.

Alan was the son of Beatrice, a teacher, and David I. Arkin, a teacher, painter, lyricist, writer, and set designer. He was the brother of bass musician Bobby Arkin and author Bonnie Cordova. He was from a Jewish family, who emigrated from Russia and Alsace-Lorraine. His family moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was eleven. His parents were accused of being Communists during the 1950s Red Scare, and his father was fired from his job.

Alan was married to psychotherapist Suzanne Newlander. He had a son, actor Anthony Arkin, with his former wife, actress and screenwriter Barbara Dana; and two children, actor and director Adam Arkin and actor, acting instructor, and author Matthew Arkin, with his former wife Jeremy Yaffe. His uncle was psychiatrist and professor Joseph Wortis, who long edited the scientific journal Biological Psychiatry, and his cousin, Joseph’s son, is young adult and children’s literature author Avi.

Alan’s paternal grandfather was Arthur Eleazar/Lazar Arkin (the son of Louis/Lobe Elias Arkin and Ida Silberberg). Arthur was a Russian Jewish emigrant, from Wasalishki.

Alan’s paternal grandmother was Fannie/Freeda/Fanny Krinski/Krimski/Krinsky (the daughter of Shaia/Isiah Krinsky and Leah Sher). Fannie was a Russian Jewish emigrant, from Walkevisk.

Alan’s maternal grandfather was Harry Wortis (the son of Zev Wolf Wortis and Rosa Weintrop). Harry was a Jewish emigrant from Russia. Zev was the son of Simcha Fortis and Bathia Weintraub.

Alan’s maternal grandmother was Selina/Selena Brunswick (the daughter of Isaac Brunswick and Rosine/Louise Bloch/Block/Black). Selina was a Jewish emigrant from Alsace-Lorraine. Isaac was the son of Corneille Brunschwig and Jeanette Grumbach. Rosine was the daughter of Joseph Bloch and Marguerite Katz.

Sources: Genealogy of Alan Arkin (focusing on his father’s side) –

Alan Arkin on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Alan’s parents –

Alan’s parents on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Alan’s paternal grandparents, Arthur Eleazar/Lazar Arkin and Fannie/Freeda/Fanny Krinski/Krimski/Krinsky –

Alan’s paternal grandfather, Arthur Eleazar/Lazar Arkin, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Death record of Alan’s paternal grandmother, Fannie/Freeda/Fanny (Krinski/Krimski/Krinsky) Arkin –

Alan’s mother on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Alan’s maternal grandparents, Harry Wortis and Selina/Selena Brunswick –

7 Responses

  1. Dar says:

    Geez this sucks man. Such a great and talented actor. Always loved this guy and he always reminded me of my grandpa. Rest in Peace.

  2. andrew says:

    “His grandparents were immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, and Germany”

    • follers says:

      Three of his grandparents were born somewhere in the Russian Empire, which could include Ukraine. His maternal grandmother is listed as being from either “France” or “Germany”, and it looks like she was from Alsace-Lorraine, which explains that.

      • Freerk says:

        It depends on when it was. “Alsace” is the French writing of the German “Elsass”, Lorraine is German “Lothringen”. “Alsace-Lorraine” (“Elsass-Lothringen”) was the name of these two regions as one united part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918.

        Both regions have been inhabited by Celts and Franks for 1500 years and were part of the Francian Empire. When Louis the Pious, the son of Charlemagne, died, his Empire was divided in the Treaty of Verdun (843) in three parts between his three sons. Unfortunately the oldest son, who reigned over Middle Francia, died in 855; in the Treaty of Meerssen 870 both Alsace and Lorraine were given to Louis the German; but when he died, the forever conflict between the Western Franks in France and the Eastern Franks in Germany began …

        Parts of Alsace were given to the French king in the late 17th century and Lorraine in 1766, but up to the French Revolution, both regions were culturally German and there are still many German surnames today.

        From 1871 to 1918 (when the Germans lost WWI), “Elsass-Lothringen” as a unit was part of the then German Empire. That was probably the time Arkin’s parents were born. That would explain that he says in an interview that he saw German films in his youth (, and the “Honolulu Advertiser” can write about him in an article: “Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Russian and German immigrants” … (

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