Ellen Barkin Wiki Bio

Ellen was born in The Bronx, New York City USA, on 16 April 1954 – her zodiac sign is Aries, and she holds American nationality. She’s an actress and film producer, perhaps known best for her role in the TNT drama series “Animal Kingdom”, as well as for her performance in the musical “The Normal Heart”, which earned her a Tony Award.

Early life, family and education

Ellen was born into the Jewish family of Evelyn Rozin who was a hospital administrator, and Sol Barkin who was a chemical salesman – both her parents emigrated from Russia not long after World War II. Ellen has a younger brother George, who was once the editor-in-chief of the magazines “High Times” and “National Lampoon”.

Ellen spent most of her formative years in Flushing, New York where she attended Parsons Junior High School; she later studied at Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts, from which she matriculated in 1972. As she was deeply interested in teaching ancient history, Ellen double majored in history and drama at Hunter College, however, after graduating in 1976, she chose to pursue acting full-time, and went on to study drama at New York City’s Actors Studio.

Roles in movies

Ellen made her acting debut as an extra in the 1978 musical comedy “Up in Smoke”, then after having landed supporting roles in made-for-television movies “Kent State” and “We’re Fighting Back”, she made her breakthrough in the 1982 comedy drama “Diner”, written and directed by Barry Levinson, and which starred Steve Guttenberg, Mickey Rourke and Kevin Bacon. In the following year, she was cast in the drama “Tender Mercies”, after having impressed director Bruce Beresford, in spite of her unfamiliarity with his work, and her lack of acting experience. Ellen received favorable reviews for her performance in the film, which led her to land important roles in big production movies in the following years – Ii 1987, she played the female lead in the thriller “The Big Easy”, starring opposite Dennis Quaid. Two years later, she starred alongside Al Pacino in the mystery crime drama “Sea of Love”, centered on a detective investigating a series of murders, while falling in love with a woman who might be the culprit.

Happy 67th Birthday Ellen Barkin

Posted by Flashback to the 80's on Friday, April 16, 2021

In 1993, Ellen played one of the leads in Leonardo DiCaprio’s breakthrough film “This Boy’s Life”, based on the memoirs of author Tobias Wolf. Three years later, she starred alongside Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes in the sports action drama “The Fan”, directed by Tony Scott, and which is based on the eponymous novel by Peter Abrahams. In 1998, Ellen played a supporting character in the adventure comedy drama “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, written and directed by Terry Gilliam. A year later, she played one of the main characters in the satirical mockumentary “Drop Dead Gorgeous”. Written by Lona Williams and directed by Michael Patrick Jann, the film follows a small-town beauty pageant; despite receiving mixed reviews at its release, the movie has since gained numerous new fans, especially after its streaming release in 2019, when it gained the status of a cult classic.

While Ellen has been more focused on her TV work in the recent years, she has still had several successful film roles, with her most recent having been in the 2022 Netflix comedy thriller “The Man from Toronto”, which starred Kevin Hart, Woody Harrelson and Jasmine Mathews.

Roles in TV series

Ellen made her TV series debut in 1980, in two episodes of the romantic drama “Search for Tomorrow”. She then had various episodic roles in series such as “Murder Ink” (1983), “Faerie Tale Theatre” (1986) and “Modern Family” (2012), until she was cast to play the supporting character Jane Forrest in the sitcom “The New Normal” also in 2012. The series was created by Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler, aired on NBC, and follows the story of a gay couple from Los Angeles, California and a surrogate mother carrying their baby – the series was cancelled after only a single season, as it received mixed reviews from the critics. Ellen’s next TV role was in the short-lived satirical comedy drama “HAPPYish” (2015), created by Shalom Auslander, and which starred Steve Coogan and Kathryn Hahn.

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Ellen’s most notable TV series role has been in the crime drama “Animal Kingdom”, in which she played the Cody family’s matriarch, Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody. Created by Jonathan Lisco and based on the eponymous 2010 Australian movie, the series follows a 17-year-old boy as he reunites with his estranged relatives, who are running a criminal enterprise in Oceanside, California. The series aired on TNT for six seasons, from 2016 to 2022, receiving positive reviews from critics and audience alike.

Work in musical theatre

Aside from starring in movies and TV shows, Ellen’s also appeared in a number of Broadway and off-Broadway plays. In 1982, she starred alongside Susan Sarandon in the off-Broadway musical “Extremities”, receiving praise for her performance. She also had a role in the play “Eden Court”, about which the “New York Times” critic Frank Rich wrote a somewhat backhanded compliment – “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 2011, Ellen made her Broadway debut in “The Normal Heart”, receiving the 2011 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance.

Love life and relationships

In 1988, Ellen married actor Gabriel Byrne, with whom she has two children, sons Jack Daniel born in 1989, and Romy Marion in 1992. She and Gabriel separated in 1993, but their divorce wasn’t finalized until 1999; the two stayed on amicable terms, co-parenting their two children.

Five years after separating from Gabriel, Ellen started dating her “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” co-star Johnny Depp, but their relationship lasted for only a few months, as the actor was struggling with substance abuse at the time. In 2000, she married multi-billionaire businessman Ronald Perelman, whom she had met at the 1999 Oscars after-party organized by “Vanity Fair”. However, their marriage was reportedly very turbulent, as Ellen frequently accused her then-spouse of infidelity, and they ended up parting ways in 2006. It’s been speculated that Ellen received more than $60 million as a divorce settlement, then in 2007, she received additional $4.3 million, after having sued her ex-husband for failing to invest in their film production company.

As of June 2022, Ellen seems to be single, has been married twice, and has two sons with her first husband Gabriel Byrne.

Johnny Depp trial testimony

Ellen recently attracted a lot of attention when she appeared as a witness during the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial. She testified against her ex-boyfriend, saying that he was controlling and temperamental during their relationship. ‘I had a scratch on my back once that got him very, very angry, because he insisted it came from me having sex with a person who wasn’t him’, she said. She also talked about him throwing a wine bottle in her direction, while he was arguing with some friends in a hotel room.

During her deposition, Ellen further testified that Depp was frequently under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs. She revealed that they were together for about four months, and that their relationship was ‘more sexual than romantic’.

Age, height, and net worth

Ellen’s 68 years old; she has medium long blonde hair and brown eyes, is 5ft 6ins (1.68m) tall, and weighs around 120lbs (55kgs).

As of July 2022, her net worth has been estimated at more than $80 million.

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