A tough, no-nonsense blonde from the Barbara Stanwyck school of acting, actress Ellen Barkin made her acting debut in a 1980 New York stage production of "Irish Coffee;" later appearing in the original off-Broadway presentation of "Extremities. " She learned the ropes as a cast member of the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow" before making her feature debut as the unappreciated wife who misfiles her husband's records in Barry Levinson's ensemble film "Diner" (1982). Roles as Robert Duvall's headstrong daughter in "Tender Mercies" (1983) and Timothy Hutton's wife in "Daniel" (1983) followed. But it would not be until "Desert Bloom" (1986) that she opened Hollywood's eyes to her sultry potential, delivering a wonderfully splashy turn as a resilient sexpot who enlivened the picture whenever on the screen. Barkin had never looked better and soon capitalized on her bold, sexy new image by breaking into leading roles, including that of the uptight lawyer in the sweaty romance "The Big Easy" (1987) opposite Dennis Quaid, and as the provocative possible murderess in "Sea of Love" (1989) co-starring Al Pacino. Proving sex appeal had no age limit, Barkin returned to feature films as the sole femme fatale in "Ocean's Thirteen" (2007), while playing a tough-as-nails federal agent unafraid to ruffle feathers in "Brooklyn's Finest" (2009) and earning significant buzz for her performance in "Another Happy Day" (2011), which underscored her stature as one of the most versatile and respected actresses on the screen.