Alan originally was slated to appear in Ocean's Eleven , but dropped out and his role was replaced by Carl Reiner.
Alan is a keen environmentalist and believes in preserving natural resources
Alan was originally slated to star as the character "Saul" in the 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven.
Alan was a member of the folk music band "The Tarriers".
Alan is of German and Russian ancestry.
Alan got his first paycheck for acting at the age of 14.
Alan's parents were accused of being Communists during the Red Scare in the 1950's and his father even lost his teaching job in Los Angeles as a result.
Alan's maternal grandfather came from Odessa, which is the capital of modern day Ukraine.
Alan co-wrote and had an acting role in the PBS special Nessecary Parties in 1988, which was a television adaptation of a book his wife, Barbara Dana, wrote. She also co-wrote and starred in the television version.
Alan directed the Off-Broadway revival of Jules Feiffer's play Little Murders in 1969, and he also directed the feature film version in 1971.
Alan has said the scene he hated doing most in his career was a scene in the movie Wait Until Dark. In the scene his character terrorized a blindfolded character played by Audrey Hepburn.
Alan's Broadway debut was in the 1961 play Second from the City.
Alan is Jewish.
Alan began taking acting lessons at the age of just 10.
Alan: Everybody's career has ups and downs. I like to take chances, I don't like to stand still. And I don't give a damn what the market is interested in; I want to try things. Success has nothing to do with box office as far as I'm concerned. Success has to do with achieving your goals, your internal goals, and growing as a person. It would have been nice to have been connected with a couple more box office hits, but in the long run I don't think it makes you happier.
Alan: (on the film "Wait Until Dark", in which his character terrorized Audrey Hepburn's) It was the only heavy I'd ever played up until then, and I had a miserable time; I was crazy about Audrey Hepburn. I was just in awe of her. She was an extraordinary person in every way, and I just hated terrorizing her. It just wasn't fun for me.
Alan: (on why he believes he won his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2007) I haven't got a clue. I think it's my age. Everybody thinks I'm going to keel over in a year or two.
Alan: (on Abigail Breslin's Oscar nomination for "Little Miss Sunshine") I hope she loses frankly. No, I'm serious. I am not joking. What, next year she is going to get the Nobel Prize? It's enough. She has had enough attention. I love her and I love her family; and I feel enough is enough. She is a kid; she needs to have a childhood.
Alan: There's no such thing as the best performance; it's arbitrary. What makes something the best performance? When you get 100 people who say this is the best performance, and they're all kind of titillated by that performance, and there's another performance that changed 15 people's lives, what's the gauge? Because 500 people like something, does that make it better than something that 3 people like?
Alan: There was music in our house all the time. My mother played the piano and my uncle was a pretty well-known composer. There were people coming over to our house all the time; they played guitars, piano and sang. Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Paul Robeson were all at the house. I met all these people. Music was part of our everyday life.
Alan: I spent a lot of time with my father, who took me to the Thalia movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I practically learned how to read watching foreign films. I watched Russian, German and Italian films, and it became clear to me to me at a very early age that we're basically all the same. There are cultural differences, but the similarities between people were much more important to me than the things that separated us.
Alan: I'm not crazy about the idea of competition; I don't think it's healthy.
Alan: Well, I've always been a character actor. I've never been a leading man. It gave me an opportunity not to have to take my clothes off all the time.
Alan: It's not enough for me to just be a personality and go up there and say lines nicely. I want to tell a story with a character.
Alan: There are pitfalls to the ups and there are pitfalls to the downs. I try to stay away from both of them as much as I can.