November 12, 1937
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
June 20, 1990 (aged 52)|
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
|Cause of death||coronary heart disease|
|Occupation||Film, television and stage actress|
|Spouse(s)||Never married; single parent|
|Children||Nguyet Baty, Ba-Nhi Mai and Kim Thuy (adopted)|
Balin was born in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents. Her father, Sam Rosenberg, was a dancer, singer and comedian who worked the Borscht Belt. He later quit show business to join his family's furrier business. Her mother was a Hungarian-born professional dancer who escaped a troubled family life by marrying at age 15. Sam Rosenberg was Balin's mother's third husband by age 21. They divorced when Ina and her brother, Richard Balin, were still quite young and the children were placed in boarding schools until their mother married a fourth time to shoe magnate Harold Balin. He later adopted the two children. 
Balin graduated from high school at age 15 after having spent five years at a boarding school in Pennsylvania.
Balin first appeared on television on The Perry Como Show. She guest-starred on dozens of television shows, including Wonder Woman, 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.
In 1959, Balin landed her first film role in The Black Orchid. She was Paul Newman's love interest in the 1960 screen adaptation of From the Terrace. 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 part in 1965's The Greatest Story Ever Told. She also co-starred with Elvis Presley in his 1969 film Charro! She co-starred in the 1971 film The Projectionist. She also co-starred in the 1982 comedy The Comeback Trail, and she appeared in The Young Doctors, the 1961 hospital drama with Ben Gazzara, and Fredric March.
In 1966, Balin toured Vietnam with the USO on the first of many trips to the war-torn region. 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.
Balin, a former cigarette smoker, died on June 20, 1990, at Yale–New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, aged 52, from complications of chronic lung disease, including pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure of the lungs). She had been at the hospital seeking a lung transplant.
A single mother, she was survived by her father, Sam Rosenberg; her three adopted children: Nguyet Baty, Ba-Nhi Mai, and Kim Thuy; a brother, Richard Balin; and two grandchildren. Ba-Nhi Mai and Kim Thuy were raised by Hollywood talent agent Ted Ashley and his wife Page (née Cuddy).
In 1961, Balin won the New Star of the Year-Actress Golden Globe Award, and she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress — Motion Picture — both for her performance in From the Terrace.
- The Black Orchid (1958) - Mary Valente
- From the Terrace (1960) - Natalie Benzinger
- The Young Doctors (1961) - Cathy Hunt
- The Comancheros (1961) - Pilar Graile
- The Patsy (1964) - Ellen Betz
- Act of Reprisal (1964) - Eleni
- The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) - Martha of Bethany
- Run Like a Thief (1967) - Mona Shannon
- Charro! (1969) - Tracey Winters
- The Lonely Profession (1969, TV movie) - Karen Menardos
- Desperate Mission (1969) - Otilia Ruiz
- The Projectionist (1971) - The Girl
- Call to Danger (1973, TV movie) - Marla Hayes
- The Don Is Dead (1973) - Nella
- Panic on the 5:22 (1974, TV movie) - Countess Hedy Maria Tovarese
- The Immigrants (1978, TV movie) - Maria Cassala
- Galyon (1980) - Janet Davis
- The Children of An Lac (1980, TV movie) - Ina Balin
- The Comeback Trail (1982) - Julie Thomas
- Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter (1986) - Regine
- That's Adequate (1989) - Sister Mary Enquirer (final film role)
- "Ina Balin, 52, Dies; Actress Adopted Vietnamese Girls". nytimes.com. The New York Times. June 21, 1990. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
Ina Balin, a film and stage actress whose adoption of three Vietnamese orphans was dramatized in a 1980 television movie in which she played herself, died yesterday at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. She was 52 years old and lived in Westport, Conn. A spokesman for the hospital said Ms. Balin died of complications of chronic lung disease. [...] She is survived by her father, Sam Rosenberg of Hallandale, Fla; her daughters, Ba-Nhi Mai and Kim Thuy, both of Westport, and Nguyet Baty of Berlin; a brother, Richard Balin of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren.
- "Elvis' Women: Ina Balin". Elviswomen.greggers.net. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Battelle, Phyllis (October 6, 1961). "Ina Balin Thinks Lipstick Gets In Way, Won't Use It". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Texas, Lubbock. p. 7. Retrieved February 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Ina Balin on IMDb
- "'Black Orchid' Another Score For 19-Year-Old Ina Balin". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. April 1, 1959. p. 47. Retrieved February 15, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ina Balin". Playbill Vault. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
- "Balin biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- "American actress Ina Balin smoking a cigarette". gettyimages.com. Getty Images. 1960. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
- "Ina Balin, 52; Movie and TV Actress Sought Lung Implant". latimes.com. The Los Angeles Times. June 21, 1990. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
She was 52 and died at the Yale-New Haven Medical Center in New Haven, Conn., where she had been seeking a lung transplant. Gertrude Brooks, a New York publicist and longtime friend, said the featured player in such films as The Black Orchid, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and The Commancheros, died of pulmonary hypertension, a steady deterioration of the lungs.
- "Actress Ina Balin, who as Saigon "was falling in 1975 helped spirit 217 Vietnamese orphans out of the city and ended up adopting three of them herself, died at the age of 52 of lung disease in New Haven, Conn". People. July 9, 1990. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
- "Theatre World Award Recipients". Theatre World Awards. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
- "Ina Balin". Golden Globe Awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved February 15, 2017.