Once admitted in an interview that she often has to wear glasses because she has a condition that is causing her to lose some vision in one eye.
She studied in New York at the High School of the Performing Arts, Hunter College and the Actor's Studio.
She was born and raised in the Bronx in a "middle class Jewish home" and describes her childhood as quite happy.
Considered for role in Brazil (1985) that went to Kim Greist. Director Terry Gilliam has said that he regrets not casting Barkin.
Vital statistics at age 36: 36-24-36
Ellen Barkin Detailed Biography -
Ellen Barkin was born in the Bronx on April 16, 1954. Ellen Barkin attended New York's renowned High School for the Performing Arts, majored in history and drama at Hunter College. Ellen Barkin studied acting at New York's Actors Studio. Ellen Barkin is considered one of today's most versatile actresses due to her ability to play everything form dramatic and comedic leads to sexy sirens and supporting roles.
Ellen Barkin's first acting credit was in the stage production of Irish Coffee in 1980. Soon after, she became a regular on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. Ellen Barkin received critical acclaim for her film debut as the neglected wife of an obsessive record collector in Barry Levinson's Diner (1982). Roles in Eddie and the Cruisers (1983), Buckaroo Bonzai (1984), Act of Vengeance (1986) and Desert Bloom (1986) soon followed.
However, Ellen Barkin didn't reach stardom until her steamy performance in the 1987 thriller The Big Easy, opposite Dennis Quaid. That same year, while on the set of Siesta, Ellen Barkin met. Ellen Barkin eventually married Irish actor Gabriel Byrne with whom she has two children.