Ellen Barkin
Birth Date:
April 16, 1954
Birth Place:
New York, New York, USA
5' 7''
Famous for:
Her role in 'The Big Easy' (1986)
Actress, Producer
New York at the High School of the Performing Arts
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Ellen Barkin_240815
Before Women Had Wings


“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.” Ellen Barkin

An offbeat leading actress with bizarre looks and a diverse list of credits, Ellen Barkin has always managed to keep a low profile, even after she began blistering up the screen with a string of sexually charged performances in the late 1980s.  The Emmy-winning actress made a name for herself on the small screen for her outstanding portrayal of Gloria Marie Jackson, an alcoholic, embittered single mom of two, in the ABC film “Before Women Had Wings” (1997).  Produced by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, Barkin nabbed an Emmy and Golden Satellite Award, in addition to a Golden Globe nomination. Before the award-winning performance, Barkin had established a reputation for herself as a burning sex symbol. In 1987, Barkin received recognition because of her sizzling performance as feisty prosecutor Anne Osborne, opposite Dennis Quaid, in “The Big Easy,” where she took home a Sant Jordi Award. She created further lasting impressions for her devoted male fans in such films as “Siesta” (1987), “Sea of Love” (1989) and “Switch” (1991).

A gifted performer, Barkin is also well-known for playing various characters in Barry Levinson’s classic “Diner” (1982), “Tender Mercies” (1983), “Daniel” (1983), “Eddie and the Cruisers” (1983), the successful “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” (1984), “Harry and Son” (1984), “Desert Bloom” (1986), “This Boy’s Life” (1993), “The Fan” (1996), “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (1999), “Crime and Punishment in Suburbia” (2000), “Someone Like You” (2001), “She Hate Me” (2004), Todd Solondz’s “Palindromes” (2004), “Trust the Man” (2005), “Ocean’s   Thirteen” (2007), “Brooklyn's Finest” (2009), “Happy Tears” (2009), “The Chameleon” (2010) and “Another Happy Day” (2011).    

As for her private life, Barkin, whose measurements are 34C-25-34 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine), has been divorced twice. Her marriage to first husband actor Gabriel Byrne lasted for eleven years from 1988 to 1999.  Barkin and Byrne share two children, son Jack Byrne (born in 1989) and daughter Romey Marion Byrne (born in 1992). She married second husband Ron Perelman, Chairman of the Board of Revlon, Inc. from 2000 to 2006. Barkin was also romantically involved with actors David Arquette and Val Kilmer (dated in 1984). She dated director/writer Sam Levinson in 2011.

Blissful Girl

Childhood and Family:

In New York, New York, Ellen Rona Barkin was born on April 16, 1954, to a chemical salesman father and a hospital administrator mother.  Her older brother is George Barkin, who once worked as an editor in chief for The National Lampoon.  She was raised in a middle class Jewish home and had a happy upbringing.
Young Ellen demonstrated an early interest in entertainment.  She attended New York’s prestigious High School for the Performing Arts then went to Hunter College to study history and drama.  Ellen also had a chance to perfect her crafts at the Actor’s Studio.

34-year-old Ellen decided to tie the knot with Irish actor Gabriel Byrne in 1988.  A year after they married, in October of 1999, she gave birth to a baby son, Jack Byrne, and her second child, daughter Romey Marion Byrne, was born on November 18, 1992.  However, the couple became estranged in 1993 and she eventually filed for divorce three years later.  On June 28, 2000, Ellen began a new family by marrying her billionaire entrepreneur fiancé Ronald Perelman.  The couple later divorced in 2006. As reported by New York magazine, Ellen got “not one penny more” than $20 million, according to a friend of hers. She sued her ex-husband for $3.4 million in investment funds Perelman supposedly promised to invest in their film production company. Perelman was ordered to pay her $4.3 million.  

The Big Easy


A New York High School for the Performing Arts graduate, Ellen Barkin kicked off her acting career with an uncredited role as a woman playing guitar in Cheech and Chong’s “Up in Smoke” (1978). Two years later, she embarked on stage for the first time with a 1980 New York production of “Irish Coffee,” and in 1981, she was on the small screen with the made-for-TV movie “We’re Fighting Back.”  Barkin then contributed to the original Off-Broadway production of “Extremities” (1982), where she was cast opposite Susan Sarandon. However, it was her portrayal of abandoned young wife Beth Schreiber in Barry Levinson’s classic “Diner” (1982) that won the actress first notice. She followed the performance with equally fine turns as Robert Duvall’s pigheaded daughter in “Tender Mercies” (1983), the wife of Timothy Hutton in “Daniel” (1983) and Maggie Foley in “Eddie and the Cruisers” (1983). Barkin also offered a well-received performance in the cult hit “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” (1984) and “Harry and Son” (1984). In 1986, Barkin made audiences stand up and take a notice of her hot potential when she gave a wonderfully flamboyant supporting turn as a wretched, but pliant, sexpot in “Desert Bloom.”  

Barkin drew accolades with her scorching stint as aggressive prosecutor Anne Osborne in “The Big Easy” (1987), in which she steamed up the movie with Dennis Quaid, the homegrown local cop she would finally prosecute.  In addition to her sexy appearance, Barkin’s acting received rave reviews and handed the actress a Sant Jordi for Best Foreign Actress in 1988.

The actress next appeared in “Siesta” (1987, with then-husband Gabriel Byrne), “Clinton and Nadine” (1988, TV), Walter Hill’s “Johnny Handsome” (1989) and once again made viewers raise their eyebrows as Helen Cruger, the candid murder suspect involved in an erotic relationship with detective Al Pacino in “Sea of Love” (1989).

Back to film after a one-year hiatus, Barkin was cast as a man reincarnated in a woman’s body in the sycophantic sex change comedy “Switch” (1991, received a Golden Globe nomination), played an opera singer in the ill-conceived “Man Trouble” (1992, opposite Jack Nicholson), rejoined Byrne for Mike Newell’s “Into the West” (1992), and played Oona Goldfarb in John Turturro’s directing debut “Mac” (1992). Barkin conveyed her best performance since “Sea of Love” in “This Boy’s Life” (1993), portraying Robert De Niro’s wife Caroline Wolff Hansen.

1995-1996 saw roles in “Bad Company” (1995), Walter Hill’s artless “Western Wild Bill” (1995), Tony Scott’s sports thriller “The Fan” (1996, with Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizam), where she won a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actress – Adventure/Drama for her work, and the gangster comedy “Mad Dog Time” (1996, again with Byrne) for director Larry Bishop.  

When Barkin made her way back to the small screen in the following year, she won some appreciation for her brilliant portrayal of alcoholic, abusive single mother Gloria Marie Jackson in the made-for-TV film “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Before Women Had Wings” (1997), for which she picked up a 1998 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress and a 1997 Golden Satellite for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Made for Television Movie. She also earned a nomination at the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made.

After being featured as a waitress in Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), Barkin played the mother of beauty contestant (Kristen Dust) in “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (1999), a blind prostitute named Eva Nell La Fangroy in the straight-to-video adventure drama “The White River Kid” (1999), the gloomy mother of a high school cheerleader (Monica Keena) in “Crime and Punishment in Suburbia” (2000) and Detective Catherine Palmer in “Mercy” (2000). She also costarred as the host of a big New York talk show, opposite Marisa Tomei and Ashley Judd, in the romantic comedy “Someone Like You” (2001), appeared as a bio tech executive in the Spike Lee Comedy “She Hate Me” (2004) and played Joyce Victor, a mother who compels her reluctant daughter to have an abortion, in “Palindromes” (2004), helmed by Todd Solondz. In 2005, she could add the Bart Freundlich-directed comedy “Trust the Man” to her impressive resume.

Barkin next could be seen in such films as “Ocean’s   Thirteen” (2007, with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and the new clan Al Pacino), “Brooklyn's Finest” (2009), “Happy Tears” (2009), “Twelve” (2010), “The Chameleon” (2010), “Shit Year” (2010), “Operation: Endgame” (2010) and “Another Happy Day” (2011). On the small screen, she portrayed Julie in the made for TV film “A Mann's World” (2011) and guest starred as Mitzi Roth in an episode of “Modern Family” called “Send Out the Clowns” (2012), from which she received an Online Film & Television Association nomination for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Barkin starred as a conservative grandmother name Jane Forrest on the television sitcom “The New Normal,” which ran on NBC for one season from September 10, 2012 to April 2, 2013. Her co-stars in the series included Justin Bartha, Andrew Rannells, Georgia King, Bebe Wood, NeNe Leakes and Jayson Blair.

Barkin had a supporting role on the coming of age drama “Very Good Girls” (2013), the first feature directed by Oscar nominated screenwriter Naomi Foner, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2013 and was given release on home formats on June 24, 2014. She next played the role of a slum lord named Elaine Greenawalt in “The Cobbler” (2014), a magic realism comedy-drama film directed by Thomas McCarthy and co-written with Paul Sado.  

In April 2005, Barkin began her starring role of Dani Kirschenbloom on the Showtime dark satirical comedy-drama series “Happyish,” opposite Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn and Bradley Whitford. The series, however, was canceled by the network in July 2015.   

Barkin has completed filming the role of Stephanie Arce in “Hands of Stone,” a forthcoming 2016 biographical action film directed and written by Jonathan Jakubowicz. The film will also star Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez and Usher.

Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie, “Before Women Had Wings,” 1998
Golden Satellite: Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Made for Television Movie, “Before Women Had Wings,” 1997
Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actress – Adventure/Drama, “The Fan” 1997
Sant Jordi: Best Foreign Actress, “The Big Easy,” 1988 Show Less
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