Little Miss Sunshine: Abigail Breslin Pays Tribute to Alan Arkin, “You Will Always Be Grandpa in My Heart”

Earlier this week Academy Award-winning actor Alan Arkin passed away. Though having a career spanning decades in Hollywood, ranging from Catch-22 in 1970 to Netflix’s The Kominsky Method in 2021, one of his most memorable roles was in 2007’s Little Miss Sunshine. Starring as Grandpa in the movie, Arkin would appear in the film’s award-winning ensemble alongside Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, and Abigail Breslin; plus he would go on to win his first Oscar for the part. Following Alan Arkin’s death, Abigail, who played the titular character of the movie, has shared a touching post to her on-screen grandfather.

“Alan Arkin was one of the kindest, wittiest and most lovely human beings I have had the privilege of working with,” Breslin wrote on Instagram. “I remember when we were doing the ‘Am I pretty?’ scene in Little Miss Sunshine and on the first take, he yelled out to ‘cut!’ and get my mother immediately because I was crying. I said, ‘No, Alan I’m acting!’, and he cracked up. I love that story because that’s who Alan was. He cared deeply about his work, but above all and most importantly, he was a genuinely kind and thoughtful man. Dearest, Alan… you will be profoundly missed. Thank you for everything. My sincerest condolences and love are sent to his family, including his beautiful wife Suzanne. Although we were not related in real life, you will always be ‘Grandpa’ in my heart. Rest peacefully. <3″

An indie darling, Little Miss Sunshine was produced independentely and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2006, only to be picked up by Fox Searchlight and released in theaters that summer. The film would go on to be nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Breslin. Arkin would win Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role while screenwriter Michael Arndt would win Best Original Screenplay. The cast for Little Miss Sunshine would go on to win the Screen Actor’s Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

At the time of Alan Arkin’s death he was 89 years old. He is survived by his three sons, all actors, Adam, Matthew, and Anthony; he’s also survived by his wife of over twenty five years, Suzanne Newlander Arkin.

(Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)