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Alan Arkin, Oscar-winning actor, dead at 89

<i>Matt Carr/Getty Images</i><br/>Actor Alan Arkin is pictured here in 2012.
Matt Carr/Getty Images
Actor Alan Arkin is pictured here in 2012.

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — Alan Arkin, the Oscar-winning star of “Little Miss Sunshine,” has died, his family announced Friday.

He was 89.

“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,” his sons Adam, Matthew, and Anthony Arkin said in a statement to CNN.

Born in Brooklyn to Russian-German Jewish immigrant parents, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child.

Arkin attended Bennington College but left to form the music group, The Tarriers in which he sang and played guitar. The group didn’t stay together long but had a hit with “The Banana Boat Song” in 1957.

He then went on to become a founding member of the Second City improvisational troupe, and also continued to record music, including several children’s albums with his group, The Babysitter.

But acting was also a passion and Arkin won a Tony Award for his Broadway debut performance in the 1963 play “Enter Laughing” and a Drama Desk award for directing the 1968 play “Little Murders,” which he also directed for the big screen.

Arkin also directed the original Broadway version of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” which ran for more than 500 performances.

In his film work, he became one of a handful of actors to be Oscar nominated for their first starring role. In Arkin’s case, he was nominated for his role as as Rozanov in the 1966 war comedy, “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.

He also earned Oscar nominations for his performances in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” (1967), and “Argo” (2012).

Most recently, Arkin was was nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards for his comedic turn in the Netflix series “The Kominsky Method.”

Fellow actors including Viola Davis and Patton Oswalt paid tribute to Arkin on social media.

“Our work inspired a generation of actors and reminded us how powerful our art can shift us,” Davis wrote on Instagram. “Rest well! May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

“Did ANYONE have the range Alan Arkin had?,” Oswalt tweeted. “Hilarious, sinister, insane, tragic. No mood he couldn’t live in. RIP.”

Natasha Lyonne, who costarred with Arkin in 1998’s “Slums of Beverly Hills,” shared her feelings on her Instagram Stories, writing of the late actor, “Love this sweet, brilliant man so very much” and “Favorite movie dad & all time hero.”

Arkin is survived by his wife Suzanne, sons Matthew, Anthony and Adam, grandchildren Molly, Emmet, Atticus, and Abigail, and great grandson Elliott.

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