Alda in 1976
|Born||Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo
February 26, 1914
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 3, 1986
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale|
(m. 1932; div. 1946)
Robert Alda (February 26, 1914 – May 3, 1986) was an American theatrical and film actor and father of actors Alan and Antony Alda. A talented singer and dancer, Alda was featured in a number of Broadway productions before moving to Italy during the early 1960s. He appeared in many European films over the next two decades, occasionally returning to the U.S. for film appearances such as The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969).
Life and career
Alda, an American of Italian descent, was born Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo in New York, New York, the son of Frances (née Tumillo) and Antonio D'Abruzzo, a barber born in Sant'Agata de' Goti, Benevento, Campania, Italy. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York in 1930. He began as a singer and dancer in vaudeville after winning a talent contest, and moved on to burlesque.
Alda is known for portraying George Gershwin in the biopic Rhapsody in Blue (1945) as well as the talent agent in the Douglas Sirk classic Imitation of Life (1959). He was very successful on Broadway, starring in Guys and Dolls (1950), for which he won a Tony Award, and in What Makes Sammy Run? (1964). He was also the host of the short-lived DuMont TV version of the game show What's Your Bid? (May–June 1953).
Alda's first wife, and mother of actor Alan Alda, Joan Browne, was a homemaker and former beauty pageant winner. Alda was married to his second wife, Flora Marino, an Italian actress whom he met in Rome, until his death.
Alda made two guest appearances with his son Alan on M*A*S*H, in the episodes "The Consultant" (January 1975) and "Lend a Hand" (February 1980). The latter episode also featured Antony Alda (1956–2009), his younger son by his second wife.
Alda appeared in an episode of The Feather and Father Gang in 1977.
Alda died on May 3, 1986, aged 72, after a long illness following a stroke.
- The Front Page (1969–1970)
- My Daughter, Your Son (1969-1969)
- What Makes Sammy Run? (1964–1965)
- Harbor Lights (1956)
- Guys and Dolls (1950-1953)
- Rhapsody in Blue (1945) - George Gershwin
- Cinderella Jones (1946) - Tommy Coles
- Cloak and Dagger (1946) - Pinkie
- The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) - Conrad Ryler
- The Man I Love (1947) - Nicky Toresca
- Nora Prentiss (1947) - Phil Dinardo, Cafe Owner
- Bungalow 13 (1948)
- April Showers (1948) - Billy Shay
- Homicide (1949) - Andy
- Hollywood Varieties (1950) - Master of Ceremonies
- Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950) - Neil
- Mister Universe (1951) - Fingers Maroni
- Two Gals and a Guy (1951) - Deke Oliver
- Beautiful But Dangerous (1955) - Maestro Doria
- Assignment Abroad (1955) - Major Bill Morgan
- Imitation of Life (1959) - Allen Loomis
- Un militare e mezzo (1960) - Roy Harrison
- Cleopatra's Daughter (1960) - Inuni - Pharaoh's Architect
- Revenge of the Barbarians (1960) - Ataulf
- The Devil's Hand (1961) - Rick Turner
- Force of Impulse (1961) - Warren Reese
- Toto and Peppino Divided in Berlin (1962) - Lo Bianco
- Musketeers of the Sea (1962) - Vice Governatore Gomez
- That Woman (1966) - Wally
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969) - Kenneth Allandice
- Night Flight from Moscow (1973) - Polygraph interrogator
- M*A*S*H (1975-1980, TV Series) - Dr. Anthony Borelli
- Cagliostro (1975) - Pope Clement XIII
- Lisa and the Devil (1975) - Father Michael
- Natale in casa d'appuntamento (1976)
- I Will, I Will... for Now (1976) - Dr. Magnus
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) - Richard Entwhistle
- Bittersweet Love (1976) - Ben Peterson
- The Rip-Off (1978) - Captain Donati
- Every Girl Should Have One (1978) - Adam Becker
- Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978) - Mr. White
- Supertrain (1979, TV Series) - Dr. Dan Lewis
- Robert Alda Biography (1914-1986)
- Strait, Raymond (1983). Alan Alda: A Biography. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 7–9. ISBN 0-312-01703-0.
- Alda, Alan. "Alan Alda TV Legends Interview, Part I (13:25-14:30)". Archive of American Television. Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Robert Alda dies at 72
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