- Alan Arkin passed away on June 30, 2023, at age 89.
- The Academy Award-winning actor was married three times in his life.
- His role in The Kominsky Method was a nod to his third and final wife, Suzanne Newlander.
Alan Arkin died on Friday, leaving behind a family in mourning. “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 issued in a statement to PEOPLE. Alan was 89, and besides his three boys, he left behind a widow, Susan Newlander.
The actor – who was first nominated for an Oscar in 1967 for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, before winning the Best Support Actor award for Little Miss Sunshine – was married three times in his life. Before trying the knot with Susan Newlander, Alan married Barbara Dana and Jeremey Yaffe. As the world mourns the loss of this acting titan, here’s what you need to know about his wives.
Suzanne Newlander Arkin
Suzanne Newlander, a psychotherapist, was Alan Arkin’s third wife. The two tied the knot in 1996. In 2020, Alan told The Guardian that he and his wife led a quiet life while living out in California. “They rarely leave the house and avoid discussing politics or the state of the environment,” wrote Xan Brooks. Alan said that he avoided these discussions because he didn’t “want to live in a state of terror” all the time.
Alan incorporated his wife into his work on The Kominsky Method. The comedy-drama, starring Michael Douglas, Paul Reiser, and Arkin, followed Sandy Kominsky (Douglas), a fictional actor who is now a revered acting coach. Arkin portrayed Norman Newnlander, Sandy’s friend and agent. The last name was a nod to his wife.
In 2109, Jayne Seymour revealed how she met with Alan’s wife over an awkward scene in The Kominsky Method. “[Alan said] ‘Oh my God, I’m gonna have a love scene with Jane Seymour,” the actress told Closer Weekly. “So… he looks at his wife, and then he turned to me and said, ‘Could you have brunch with my wife because I wanted her to meet you because I believe we have to become intimate.”
Jane was happy to accommodate Alan’s request and put his fears to rest. “So it was the cutest thing,” she told Closer Weekly. “We went out for brunch. Suzanne’s lovely! She gave me the OK. And then we would giggle about and Alan. And… I really watched how she was with him and her kind of way of dealing with him — because the character he plays is not far off from who he is. It might be who he is!”
Alan also teamed with his wife to teach workshops and retreats at The Omega Institute, Bennington College, and Columbia College. “It’s a combination of things that I am only a part of,” he told The Slender Thread. “This is not my own design, but the feedback we are getting from a lot of people says that Suzanne and I bring to the workshop a completely accepting attitude, that we don’t have the need for them to be good or bad or to get anything out of it. I think people respond to the fact that we don’t have a specific need except for them to have a good time.”
Alan’s second wife was Barbara Dana, an “actress who had a successful Hollywood career,” reads her bio on Turner Classic Movies. She and Alan were married from 1964 to 1994. She and Alan had one son together, Anthony Arkin.
Barbara began her career mainly appearing in films, such as 1968’s Inspector Clouseau, which starred her then-husband, Alan Arkin. “She kept working in film throughout the seventies and the eighties, starring in the Alan Arkin comedy Fire Sale (1977) and The In-Laws (1979).”
She also appeared in Sesame Street in the program’s early days, appearing as Phyllis in the Larry and Phyllis sketches.
At the time of Alan’s death, publications used the past tense to describe Barbara, indicating that she had also passed on. However, no official death date could be confirmed.
Alan married his first wife in 1955. She is reportedly a retired nurse. She is the mother of Alan’s first two children, Adam and Matthew Arkin. Not much is known about her, save that she and Alan divorced in 1961.
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