The Truth About Alia Shawkat's Legendary Grandfather

Interview magazine explains that despite the fact that Alia Shawkat is only 31 years old, she already has over two decades of experience in show business. The actress is best known for her role as Maeby Fünke in "Arrested Development." While her parents aren't in show business, Shawkat does have roots in Hollywood. So, here's the truth about Alia Shawkat's legendary grandfather, Paul Burke. Burke was a fellow actor and shared the screen with some of the most famous faces of the golden age of cinema.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Burke died in 2009 at the age of 83 in Palm Springs. He had leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The actor, who received two Emmy nominations in the early 1960s, was best known for his work on TV, like his granddaughter, Shawkat. According to IMDb, Burke's first real credited acting job was in "The Lone Ranger" in 1955, and he didn't retire from the business until 1990, with an episode of "Columbo."

Speaking about his career in TV Guide per the LA Times, Burke said, "Acting is more exciting than living. It's more electric, more immediate. That's because life is full of random elements. In acting, you select, you choose the elements. This selection allows you to get to the essence of the character, the essence of an experience."

While Alia Shawkat has found immense success on screen, Paul Burke went before her. Here's the truth about her relationship with her legendary grandfather.

Alia Shawkat was close to her grandfather

According to the Independent, Paul Burke moved to Palm Springs in 1990 after he retired from acting. While speaking to Interview magazine, Alia Shawkat explained that she would go out to visit him and he has shaped her career in some aspects. "We were very close. He retired in Palm Springs, and when my parents were starting their business, we moved there," she said.

"'Naked City' was his main one," Shawkat shared, "It got all these Emmys. A lot of up-and-coming New York actors started off on that show: Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman had small parts when they were young. I met Robert Redford once at the Sundance Labs and said to him, 'My mom told me that you worked on 'Naked City'; that was my grandfather,' and he couldn't believe it. He was like, 'Oh my god, that was one of my first jobs out of theater. It changed my life.' It was kind of cool. Getting to do a show now in New York is kind of an ode to him."

Shawkat had already been working for a decade prior to her grandfather's death.

His most famous series was described as 'television's finest weekly hour'

Paul Burke had a career that spun decades. However, The New York Times explained that "The Naked City" was one of his most memorable roles. The ABC series was shot between 1958 and 1963 and he played Detective Adam Flint. When it ended, LA Times TV columnist Cecil Smith said, "It took the police show and gave it a dignity and compassion that at times approached high tragedy. And it shot them on the harrowing schedule of television, trying for impossible deadlines. But the end result was films and productions of such quality that they rivalled the finest theater films."

After his death, the Independent wrote that in his part in "The Naked City," "Burke was not the most animated of actors, he was handsome and had a tight-lipped doggedness that suited his portrayal of the tough police detective who manages to maintain his integrity and idealism despite confronting the worst aspects of Manhattan life."

Smith went on to say that "The Naked City" "may be remembered as television's finest weekly hour." It went on to earn Burke two Emmy nominations.

He did sensational stunts for the time and was a true method actor

Paul Burke's obituaries reflected that throughout his career he didn't just commit to a range of roles. According to the Independent, Burke was known for doing some seriously risky stunts. According to the publication, he told the columnist Hedda Hopper, "once I had to jump from one roof to another when the stuntman refused because it was too windy to take a chance."

He took on a lot of roles involving crime and law enforcement, and the LA Times reported that Burke went the extra mile to ensure his performances were authentic. According to the paper, in order to get into character for "The Naked City," Burke went out on patrol and on raids with the New York Police Department. He also spent a night in Sing Sing prison. "The area of the condemned has barred windows that look down over the Hudson," Burke once told the LA Times' Cecil Smith.

"You can see trains going by as if to emphasize the life outside that is to be taken away. I was not against capital punishment before we made that show but now, I don't know. It's experiences like that on 'Naked City' that make it tough to see it end. It went beyond the monetary, it was something you were proud to be associated with."

He worked with Hollywood greats like Steve McQueen

The Hollywood Reporter said that in Paul Burke's long career, he starred in stand-out shows like "12 O'Clock High" and "Dynasty." Search engine Bing noted that he also took on roles in "Magnum P.I.," "Starsky and Hutch," and "Charlie's Angels." Later on in his career he was in Angela Lansbury's "Murder, She Wrote," "Hot Shots," "Cagney and Lacey," and "Columbo" with Peter Falk. This meant acting with some of the most famous faces in Hollywood.

During his time on "The Crown Affair," he played a police officer who was chasing after acting legend Steve McQueen. Similarly, Interview magazine outlined that Burke worked with the aforementioned Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Redford.

His time on screen also helped Burke find love. According to IMDb, he started filming "12 O'Clock High" in 1964, and it was during his time on set that he met his second wife Lyn Peters. The pair got married in 1979.

He was accused of criminal activity but was acquitted

It wasn't just Paul Burke's professional life that caught the attention of the press. According to the YouTube channel Remembering Famous People, in 1989 Burke and then-New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. were indicted on racketeering charges for aiding and abetting a gambling scheme. However, they were both acquitted of their charges. According to The Associated Press, Connick Sr. could have faced 25 years in jail and a fine of $250,000.

The AP reported that at the time he said, "I did nothing wrong. The allegations are pure D baloney.″ Burke was charged with helping Connick Sr. plan to return seized records to convicted bookmaker Walton Aucoin, who was arrested in December 1988. There is no public record of Burke speaking about being indicted with the district attorney.

At the time, Burke had a regular gig as Neal McVane on "Dynasty," Nicholas Broderick on "Hot Shots," and Senator Tom Andrews on "Hotel."