Alan Arkin’s “Improvised Life”

May 26, 2011

The Academy-Award winner Alan Arkin has always been a supremely gifted role-player on screen, delivering deadpan comedy and harrowing realities to his audiences. Now he emerges as a charismatic storyteller, revealing in his memoir, <i>An Improvised Life</i>, his childhood epiphany that ever since the age of five he had wanted to be an actor. However, it wasn’t until many years later, while on a location shoot overlooking the Hudson Valley, that he discovered during an intimate conversation with one of his co-stars what he had really been doing throughout his life, in pursuit of his artistic dream. “With that one statement I realized that what she’d said about herself was the impulse behind all of my own interests, all of my needs, all of my studying, compulsions, and passions,” Arkin writes in the beginning pages of his book. “This is dedicated to everyone who wants to be the music.”

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