Offbeat, unconventionally pretty, and utterly mesmerizing, Ellen Barkin was born in 1954 of Jewish parentage, the daughter of a chemical salesman and hospital administrator. Raised in the South Bronx and Queens, New York area, she wanted to be an actress as early as her teens and was eventually accepted into Manhattan's High School of the Performing Arts.
Barkin then attended Hunter College and received her degree after double majoring in history and drama. At one point she wanted to teach ancient history, but instead turned her thoughts back to her first love - acting. Barkin then continued her education at New York's Actor's Studio. Fearful of the auditioning process, she studied acting for seven years before finally landing her first audition. While continuing her studies, she worked as a waitress at the avant-garde Ocean Club. Performing off-Broadway in such plays "Shout Across the River" (1979), "Extremities" (1983), "Fool for Love" (1984) and "Eden Court" (1985), she was applauded across the board for her first film lead in Diner (1982) opposite Mickey Rourke and Daniel Stern, and pursued sexy tough-cookie status thereafter with such quirky roles in The Big Easy (1986) starring Dennis Quaid and Siesta (1987) with Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, whom she married in 1987 and separated from in 1993 after producing a son and daughter. She and Byrne divorced in 1999.
With trademark squinting eyes and slightly off-kilter facial features, Barkin continued the fascination of her seamy/steamy girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks status most notably opposite Al Pacino in the thriller Sea of Love (1989). In addition, she was well cast as Robert De Niro's abused wife in This Boy's Life (1993), and portrayed "Calamity Jane" in Wild Bill (1995) with earnest. Other impressionable offbeat projects included roles in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) and Mercy (2000). On TV, she was well-cast in the mini-movie Clinton and Nadine (1988) (TV) and won an Emmy award for her gripping performance in Before Women Had Wings (1997) (TV) opposite Oprah Winfrey as another abused wife who, in this case, turns her violent anger on her own daughters.
In 2000, Barkin married billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, eleven years her senior and chairman of the Revlon company, and put her career relatively on hold, appearing sporadically in edgy films like She Hate Me (2004) and Palindromes (2004). Barkin and Perelman went through an acrimonious divorce in 2006.
Just prior to her divorce in late 2005, Barkin ventured into independent film production with Applehead Pictures, a company she set up with her brother George Barkin, who is a scriptwriter and former editor-in-chief of National Lampoon and High Times, and former Independent Film Channel executive Caroline Kaplan. In her first major acting appearance since her divorce from Perelman, Barkin co-starred in Ocean's Thirteen (2007) with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and former co-star Pacino. She followed up Ocean's with a supporting role in Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest (2009), Happy Tears (2009) with Parker Posey and Demi Moore, and Twelve (2010).
Recently, Barkin has produced features, including Letters to Juliet (2010) and Another Happy Day (2011) (she also starred in the latter project). On the small screen, she appeared in an episode of "Modern Family" (2009) and her new NBC show, "The New Normal" (2012), got a sneak peek during the Olympics.
She lives with her two teenage children in Manhattan.
|Ronald O. Perelman||(28 June 2000 - 14 February 2006) (divorced)|
|Gabriel Byrne||(18 September 1988 - 1999) (divorced) 2 children|
Has one son, Jack (b. 1989), and one daughter, Romy Marion (b. 1992).
Ex-husband, Ronald O. Perelman, is the billionaire owner of the Revlon company.
Once admitted in an interview that she often has to wear glasses because she has a condition that is causing her to lose some vision in one eye.
She studied in New York at the High School of the Performing Arts, Hunter College and the Actor's Studio.
She was born and raised in the Bronx in a "middle class Jewish home" and describes her childhood as quite happy.
Christie's sold off the jewelery given to her by her ex-husband Ronald O. Perelman.
Sister of George Barkin.
Although she separated from first husband Gabriel Byrne in 1993, she did not file for divorce until May 1999.
Her favorite actor to work with is Al Pacino.
Made her Broadway debut in 2011 as Dr. Emma Brookner in "The Normal Heart".
No more bare bodies in film scenes for me. For my children's sake, I must stop. The other kids at school keep throwing it up to my children, and they are not kind.
[Speaking in 1987] It's difficult to be married outside the profession. A lawyer might not understand that going to bed with Gabriel Byrne for three days is work for me.
[of her second marriage] What the hell was I thinking? Marry a rich guy? Was I crazy? I didn't need that. I was already at the party. I didn't need someone to get me through the door. How could I be so clueless about who I am and what I value? Did I actually think I was going to give up working? It's important for me to work. (Parade magazine, May 13, 2007)
A successful marriage isn't necessarily one that lasts until you're dead. (Parade magazine, May 13, 2007)
[on becoming a young actress in the 2000s] Their careers are over in a blink. So I think it's harder for them to feel motivated to exhibit a real professionalism because they must wonder how long they are really going to be around for. It's really bad. There are exceptions obviously. There's no slow build anymore where you get a little part, then you get a little better part, then a better part until one day your agent calls you us and says 'guess what you're a movie star' and you say 'thank you!
I'd rather just be stuck at home watching Turner Classic Movies. I'm stuck with a book and old movies, that's pretty much the beginning and end of my life.
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