Born on April 16, 1954 in Bronx, New York, Ellen Barkin is a Golden Globe Award-nominated actress best known for her roles in Diner, Switch, Ocean’s Thirteen,
and Drop Dead Gorgeous
. The daughter of a chemical salesman and a hospital administrator, Barkin is said to have been raised in a lower-middle class Jewish family. She has roots in the immigrants from Siberia and the Russia-Poland border. She graduated from Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts and eventually attended Hunter College, with a double major in history and drama. She originally wanted to teach ancient history but later continued studying acting at New York’s famed Actor’s Studio. A Time
article mentioned that she studied acting for seven years before landing her first audition.
In 1982, Ellen Barkin’s breakthrough role in Diner
received favorable reviews. This was followed by a string of successful films, such as Sea of Love
with Al Pacino and The Big Easy
with Dennis Quaid, in 1989 and 1987 respectively. She has also appeared in off-Broadway plays, where she got reasonable favorable reviews. She has also done a lot of made-for-television films such as Before Women Had Wings
and White River Kid
in 1987 and 1999 respectively. She won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Before Women Had Wings
in 1997. Meanwhile, her performance in Switch
earned her a Golden Globe Awards nomination. In 2005, she tried her hand at producing, setting up a film production company with her brother and ex-husband billionaire investor, Ronald Perelman.
Barkin was married to actor Gabriel Byrne and two have two children. They divorced in 1999 but maintain that they are still close. A testament to their closeness is Byrne’s attending Barkin’s 2000 wedding to Perelman. This, too, ended in divorce, which gave Barkin some $40 million.
Barkin has landed a role in Ryan Murphy's new series, The New Normal