November 12, 1937
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 20, 1990
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||Film, television and stage actress|
|Spouse(s)||never married single parent|
|Children||adopted 3 Vietnamese girls in 1976: Nguyet Baty, Ba-Nhi Mai and Kim Thuy|
Life and career
Born Ina Rosenberg to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, Ina Balin first appeared on television on The Perry Como Show. She also did summer stock, which led to roles on Broadway, and in 1959, she won the Theatre World Award for her performance in the Broadway comedy, A Majority of One, starring Gertrude Berg and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. That same year, she landed her first film role in The Black Orchid, starring Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn.
A year later, Balin was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress — Motion Picture for her performance opposite Paul Newman in From the Terrace. She also appeared in The Young Doctors.
In 1961, she appeared as Pilar Graile in The Comancheros with John Wayne and Stuart Whitman. Co-starring with Jerry Lewis in the 1964 hit comedy The Patsy, Balin also had a secondary, but important part in 1965's The Greatest Story Ever Told. She also co-starred with Elvis Presley in his 1969 film Charro!
Balin guest-starred on dozens of television shows, including Adventures in Paradise, Bonanza, The Lieutenant, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Battlestar Galactica, Get Smart, It Takes a Thief, Ironside, Twelve O'Clock High , Quincy, M.E. and Magnum, P.I. She appeared with Joseph Cotten, Fernando Lamas and Dean Jagger in the 1969 made-for-television movie The Lonely Profession.
In 1966, Balin toured Vietnam with the USO on the first of many trips to the war-torn region. She co-starred in the 1971 film The Projectionist, which marked the screen debut of Rodney Dangerfield. In 1975, she aided in the evacuation of orphans during the fall of Saigon. Eventually, she adopted three of these orphaned children. In 1980, she played herself in a made-for-television movie based on her experiences, The Children of An Lac.
While working on The Children of An Lac, she became acquainted with Christy Marx who, at the time, worked as a producer's liaison for various television programs. According to Marx, she used Balin's story as a basis for a character in the animated show Jem when she became a writer. The character of Ba Nee is based on Balin's adopted daughter, Ba-Nhi. Ba Nee's obsession with and struggle to find her birth father are the focus of several episodes of Jem. She co-starred in the comedy The Comeback Trail with the lead actor and director from The Projectionist.
Balin died on June 20, 1990, in New Haven, Connecticut, at age 52 from pulmonary hypertension brought on by coronary heart disease. A single mother, she was survived by her three children, Nguyet Baty, Ba-Nhi Mai, and Kim Thuy.