Ellen Rona Barkin
(born April 16
) is an Emmy Award
-winning and Golden Globe Award
-nominated American actress
Barkin was born in the Bronx
, New York
, to a chemical salesman father and a hospital administrator mother who worked at Jamaica Hospital. Barkin was raised in a lower-middle-class Jewish
family, a descendant of immigrants from Siberia
and the Russia
border. Barkin received her high school diploma at Manhattan
's High School of Performing Arts
. She then attended Hunter College
and double majored in history
. At one point, Barkin wanted to teach ancient history
. She continued her acting education at New York's Actor's Studio
. According to Time
, she studied acting for seven years before landing her first audition.
Barkin became a notable actress in the 1980s. Her break out role was in Barry Levinson's Diner
(1982), for which she received favorable reviews. Barkin would later appear in several successful films, including the thrillers Sea of Love
(1989), opposite Al Pacino
and The Big Easy
(1987), opposite Dennis Quaid
Barkin also appeared in off-Broadway plays. New York Times critic Frank Rich summarized her performance in the play, Eden Court, saying: "If it were really possible to give the kiss of life to a corpse, the actress Ellen Barkin would be the one to do it. In Eden Court, the moribund play that has brought her to the Promenade Theater, Miss Barkin is tantalizingly alive from her bouncing blond ponytail to the long legs that gyrate wildly and involuntarily every time an Elvis Presley record plays on stage".
Barkin has also done work in made-for-television films like Before Women Had Wings (1997) and The White River Kid (1999). Currently, she voices the start of each Theme Time Radio Hour with host Bob Dylan on XM's "Deep Tracks". In 2005, Barkin set up a film production company with her brother, George, along with her ex-husband and billionaire investor, Ronald Perelman.
Barkin has a brother, George, who was formerly the editor in chief of National Lampoon
and High Times
. Barkin is the mother of two children, Jack Daniel (born 1989) and Romy Marion (born 1992), from her first marriage to actor Gabriel Byrne
. The two separated in 1993 and divorced in 1999, but are still close; Byrne even attended Barkin's 2000 wedding to businessman Ronald Perelman
. According to New York Magazine
, that marriage ended in a messy divorce in 2006 with Barkin receiving $40 million. Barkin is currently suing Perelman for $3.4 million in investment funds he reportedly promised to invest in their film production company, but has yet to deliver.
Emmy Award Wins
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie: Before Women Had Wings (1997).
- Golden Satellite Awards - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Before Women Had Wings (1997).
- Sant Jordi Awards (Barcelona, Spain): Best Foreign Actress: The Big Easy (1987).
Golden Globes Nominations
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical: Switch (1991).
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Before Women Had Wings (1997).