Ellen Barkin
Barkin at the Ocean's Thirteen premiere in 2007
Ellen Rona Barkin

(1954-04-16) April 16, 1954 (age 70)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Alma materHunter College
Years active1978–present
  • (m. 1988; div. 1999)
  • (m. 2000; div. 2006)

Ellen Rona Barkin (born April 16, 1954) is an American actress. Her breakthrough role was in the 1982 film Diner, and in the following years, she had starring roles in films such as Tender Mercies (1983), Eddie and the Cruisers (1983), The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), The Big Easy (1986), Johnny Handsome, and Sea of Love (both 1989).

In 1991, for her leading role in the film Switch, Barkin received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. Her subsequent film credits include: Man Trouble, Into the West (both 1992), This Boy's Life (1993), Bad Company, Wild Bill (both 1995), The Fan (1996), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Crime and Punishment in Suburbia (2000), Palindromes (2004), Trust the Man (2005), Ocean's Thirteen (2007), Brooklyn's Finest (2009), and The Cobbler (2014).

In 1998, Barkin received a Primetime Emmy Award for her performance in the television film Before Women Had Wings. In 2011, she received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her Broadway theatre debut in The Normal Heart. From 2016 until 2019, she played the leading role of Janine "Smurf" Cody on the TNT drama series Animal Kingdom. From 2012 until 2013, she played the leading role of Jane Forrest on the NBC sitcom The New Normal.

Her producing credits include the films Letters to Juliet, Shit Year (both 2010), and Another Happy Day (2011).

Early life

Barkin was born on April 16, 1954, in the Bronx, New York,[1] the daughter of Evelyn (née Rozin), a hospital administrator who worked at Jamaica Hospital, and Sol Barkin, a chemical salesman.[2][3][4] Her family was Jewish;[5][6] they had emigrated from Siberia and the Russian–Polish border.[7]

Barkin lived in Flushing, New York, and attended Parsons Junior High School. She received her high school diploma at Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts.[1] She then attended Hunter College and double majored in history and drama. At one point, Barkin wanted to teach ancient history. She continued her acting education at New York City's Actors Studio. According to Time, she studied acting for 10 years before landing her first audition.[8]


Ellen Barkin and Kate Bosworth at the Deauville American Film Festival in 2011

Her break-out role was in the comedy-drama film Diner (1982), written and directed by Barry Levinson,[1] for which she received favorable reviews. Barkin was cast in the drama film Tender Mercies (1983) after impressing its director Bruce Beresford during an audition in New York City, despite her inexperience and his lack of familiarity with her work. Robert Duvall, who played the lead role in Tender Mercies, said of Barkin, "She brings a real credibility to that part, plus she was young and attractive and had a certain sense of edge, a danger to her that was good for that part." She also appeared in the 1983 rock and roll drama film Eddie and the Cruisers.

Barkin later appeared in several successful films, including the thrillers The Big Easy (1987), opposite Dennis Quaid and Sea of Love (1989), opposite Al Pacino. Barkin also appeared in off-Broadway plays, including a role as one of the roommates in Extremities, about an intended rape victim played by Susan Sarandon who turns the tables on her attacker. About her performance in the play Eden Court, The New York Times critic Frank Rich summarized: "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 Eden Court, the moribund play that has brought her to the Promenade Theater, Miss Barkin is tantalizingly alive from her bouncing blond ponytail to the long legs that gyrate wildly and involuntarily every time an Elvis Presley record plays on stage".[9]

Barkin has also done work in made-for-television films such as Before Women Had Wings (1997), for which she won an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie and The White River Kid (1999). She voiced the start of each Theme Time Radio Hour with host Bob Dylan on XM's Deep Tracks. In 2005, Barkin set up a film production company with her brother, George, along with her husband at the time and billionaire investor, Ronald Perelman.

Barkin appeared in her Broadway debut as Dr. Brookner in The Normal Heart, for which she won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[10] Barkin has received acclaim for her performance in Another Happy Day. IndieWire cited her turn as one of the best female performances of the year.[11] In 2015, she starred as Dani Kirschenbloom, in the Showtime comedy-drama series Happyish.

From 2016 through 2019, Barkin starred as Janine "Smurf" Cody, the crime family's matriarch, in the TNT drama series Animal Kingdom.[12] The series is based on the 2010 Australian film where Smurf was played by Jacki Weaver.[13][14]

Personal life

Barkin in 2018

Barkin is the mother of two children, Jack Daniel (born 1989) and Romy Marion (born 1992), from her marriage to actor Gabriel Byrne.[1] She and Byrne separated in 1993 and divorced in 1999, but remain close.[1] Byrne attended Barkin's 2000 wedding to multibillionaire and businessman Ronald Perelman. Her second marriage ended in divorce in 2006.[15]

In 1998, Barkin had a relationship with actor Johnny Depp with whom she worked on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.[citation needed] From 2008 to 2011, Barkin dated filmmaker Sam Levinson.[citation needed]

In October 2006, "Magnificent Jewels from the Collection of Ellen Barkin" were sold for $20,369,200 at Christie's, New York.[16]

Barkin has a brother, George, who was formerly the editor-in-chief of National Lampoon and High Times.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 Up in Smoke Woman Playing Guitar Uncredited
1982 Diner Beth Schreiber
1983 Tender Mercies Sue Ann
1983 Daniel Phyllis Isaacson
1983 Enormous Changes at the Last Minute Virginia
1983 Eddie and the Cruisers Maggie Foley
1984 Harry & Son Kate Wilowski
1984 The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension Penny Priddy
1985 Terminal Choice Mary O'Connor
1986 Desert Bloom Aunt Starr Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actress
1986 Down by Law Laurette
1987 The Big Easy Anne Osborne Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actress
1987 Made in Heaven Lucille Uncredited
1987 Siesta Claire
1989 Johnny Handsome "Sunny" Boyd Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1989 Sea of Love Helen Cruger Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
1991 Switch Amanda Brooks Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1992 Mac Oona Goldfarb
1992 Man Trouble Joan Pruance
1992 Into the West Kathleen
1993 This Boy's Life Caroline Wolff Hansen
1995 Bad Company Margaret Wells
1995 Wild Bill Calamity Jane
1996 The Fan Jewel Stern Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Adventure/Drama
1996 Mad Dog Time Rita Everly
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Waitress At North Star Cafe
1999 Drop Dead Gorgeous Annette Atkins
1999 The White River Kid Eva Nell La Fangory
2000 Crime and Punishment in Suburbia Maggie Skolnick
2000 Mercy Detective Cathy Palmer
2001 Someone Like You Diane Roberts
2004 She Hate Me Margo Chadwick
2004 Palindromes Joyce Victor
2004 Ocean's Twelve Abigail Sponder Scenes deleted[17]
2005 Trust the Man Norah
2007 Ocean's Thirteen Abigail Sponder
2009 Brooklyn's Finest FBI Agent Smith
2009 Happy Tears Shelly
2010 Twelve Mrs. Brayson
2010 The Chameleon Kimberly Miller
2010 Shit Year Colleen West
2010 Operation: Endgame Empress
2011 Another Happy Day Lynn Hellman Nominated — Women's Image Network Awards for Best Actress in a Feature Film
2013 Very Good Girls Norma Berger
2014 The Cobbler Elaine Greenawalt
2016 Hands of Stone Stephanie Arcel
2017 Active Adults Lucy
2021 Breaking News in Yuba County Debbie
2022 The Man from Toronto The Handler
2023 The Out-Laws Lily McDermott [18]


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Kent State Student Television movie
1981 We're Fighting Back Chris Capoletti Television movie
1982 Parole Donna Television movie
1984 Terrible Joe Moran Ronnie Television movie
1986 Act of Vengeance Annette Gilly Television movie
1986 The Princess Who Had Never Laughed Princess Henrietta Television movie
1988 Clinton and Nadine Nadine Powers Television movie
Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1997 Before Women Had Wings Glory Marie Jackson Television movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
2001 King of the Hill Lenore (voice) Episode: "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator"
2012 Modern Family Mitzi Roth Episode: "Send Out the Clowns"
2012–2013 The New Normal Jane Forrest Lead role; 22 episodes
2015 Happyish Dani Kirschenbloom Lead role; 9 episodes
2016–2019 Animal Kingdom Janine "Smurf" Cody Lead role; 46 episodes
2017 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Sasha Walz Television movie
2023 Poker Face Kathleen Townsend Episode: "Exit Stage Death"


  1. ^ a b c d e Witchel, Alex (April 22, 2011). "Ellen Barkin Is No Uptown Girl". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on April 20, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2011. Barkin, who turned 57 on April 16 ...
  2. ^ Hoffman, Jan (April 4, 1993). "Film; Ellen Barkin: Is She Difficult Or Just Straight Outta Queens?". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  3. ^ Gottlieb, Jeff. "The Kew Gardens Hills Five" (PDF). Central Queens Historical Association. Retrieved September 14, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "He Doesn't Play a Doctor on TV – But Give Him Time". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. May 27, 2001. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  5. ^ Kempley, Rita (August 28, 1987). "The Big Time of Ellen Barkin; Acclaimed as an Actress, She's Now Shooting Toward Stardom". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2008.
  6. ^ "Ellen Barkin on her 'New Normal' role". SFGate. The New York Times. September 25, 2012. Archived from the original on September 26, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  7. ^ Carl Reiner. Interview by Carl Reiner. June 1, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2008. Archived December 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Corliss, Richard. "Show Business: Barkin Up the Right Tree". Time, October 23, 1989
  9. ^ Rich, Frank (May 15, 1985). Stage: Ellen Barkin In 'Eden Court' Archived July 12, 2022, at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times.
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew."The Normal Heart Begins Beating on Broadway April 19" Archived April 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, April 19, 2011
  11. ^ Review: 'Another Happy Day' Features One Of The Year's Best Female Performances By Ellen Barkin Archived November 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine IndieWire. November 15, 2011
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 29, 2015). "Ellen Barkin & Scott Speedman To Star In John Wells' TNT Pilot 'Animal Kingdom'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 14, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  13. ^ Seth Kelley (April 17, 2016). "'Animal Kingdom': Ellen Barkin & Others Talk TNT Drama at Tribeca - Variety". Variety. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "Tribeca Film Festival 2016: Ellen Barkin talks Animal Kingdom - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  15. ^ Geoffrey “Scotty” Gray. "Tough Love" Archived June 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. New York. March 19, 2006.
  16. ^ "Top Ten Most Expensive Private Jewelry Collections Sold at Auction". January 13, 2014. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  17. ^ Visible on Blu-ray release under the section, "Meet the Team, Again"
  18. ^ Grobar, Matt (October 28, 2021). "'The Out-Laws': Ellen Barkin, Nina Dobrev, Michael Rooker, Lil Rel Howery & More Round Out Cast Of Netflix Action Comedy". Deadline. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2022.