Alan Arkin on Hollywood success: ‘I was miserable pretty much all of the time’

Alan Arkin on Hollywood success: ‘I was miserable pretty much all of the time’

October 19, 2020

In his mid-30s, the actor was living the dream, but was far from happy. As he publishes his memoir Out of My Mind, he talks about turning his life around – and the disgraced guru he pinned his hopes on

Alan Arkin met his guru on a Hollywood film set in 1969. Arkin was the star and John was his stand-in, a lowly factotum, the id to his ego. At the time, Arkin was successful but unsatisfied, looking for meaning, craving some guidance. His encounter with John set him on a path towards enlightenment that continues to this day. As for the guru, he took a different, darker route.

Arkin recently wrote a book, Out of My Mind, about his spiritual journey and the lessons he’s learned. He subheaded it “Not Quite a Memoir” because he worried that people might be expecting a tell-all autobiography, the sort of gossipy trash he’d never write. Damned if he’s going to dish the dirt on Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp and all the others he’s worked with. He’d rather write about meditation, reincarnation and Tibetan Buddhism. He’d rather write about John – at least up to a point.

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