The oldest of three sons of Broadway star Alan Arkin, American actor Adam Arkin has had stage and movie work, but is best known for his TV assignments. In 1977 Arkin was starred in his first series, the one-season sitcom Bustin' Loose, wherein the 21-year-old actor played a man finally escaping his overprotective parents. Arkin went on to play an inner-city biology teacher in the brief 1982 TV series Teachers Only; a Chicago bookie in the short-lived 1986 weekly Tough Cookies; and an attorney in 1988's A Year in the Life, which lasted eight months of our lives. In 1990, just when it seemed as though Arkin was going to become the King of Cancellation, he made the first of many guest appearances on the quirky CBS series Northern Exposure as Adam, the sociopathic, in-your-face hermit/gourmet chef. The character reappeared sporadically until 1993, sometimes as a welcome touch of anarchy, other times as merely a loud-mouthed royal pain. In 1994, Adam Arkin was given his most recent crack at regular weekly series work, playing a dedicated but mercurial doctor on the TV drama Chicago Hope, where he was matched insult for insult by the equally obstreperous Mandy Patinkin. Though that well-regarded series came to a close in 2000, Arkin continued to work steadily in both movies and TV appearing in a diverse string of projects including A Slight Case of Murder, the sitcom Baby Bob, and the Will Smith vehicle Hitch. He had a major part on the short-lived TV series Life starting in 2007, and in 2009 appeared in the Coen Brothers Best Picture nominee A Serious Man. He also maintained a steady career as a director of series television helming episodes of Monk, Ally McBeal, and Grey's Anatomy. In 2012 he could be seen in The Sessions, a film that won the audience award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- As a child, accompanied his father, actor-director Alan Arkin, to movie sets around the world, and took acting classes at the famed Berghof Studio when he was 10 years old.
- Made his first film appearance at 13 in 1969's Oscar-nominated short People Soup. His father directed the film; younger brother Matthew costarred.
- In 1981, landed his first leading role in a feature film in the werewolf high-school comedy Full Moon High.
- Was considered by producer Glenn Caron for the role of David Addison on Moonlighting; the part went to Bruce Willis.
- Appeared on Broadway in 1991, as Gary Peter Lefkowitz in a Tony-nominated production of I Hate Hamlet. .
- Won a Daytime Emmy for directing 2001's My Louisiana Sky.
- Received a Drama Desk award nomination in 2005 for Best Lead Actor for his performance in the Broadway production of Brooklyn Boy.