Robert Alda (born Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D’Abruzzo; February 26, 1914 – May 3, 1986) was an American theatrical and film actor, a singer, and a dancer. He was the father of actors Alan and Antony Alda. Alda was featured in a number of Broadway productions, then moved 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 Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D’Abruzzo in New York City, 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 his performing career 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 biographical film Rhapsody in Blue (1945) as well as the talent agent in the Douglas Sirk classic Imitation of Life (1959). On Broadway, he originated the role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1950), for which he won a Tony Award, and starring in What Makes Sammy Run? (1964). He was also the host of the 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. They divorced in 1946. 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.
He is buried in the Garden of Ascension lot 9101 Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale, California.
Guys and Dolls (1950–1953)
Harbor Lights (1956)
Roger the Sixth (1957)
What Makes Sammy Run? (1964–1965)
My Daughter, Your Son (1969)
The Front Page (1969–1970)
The Sunshine Boys (1974-1975)
Rhapsody in Blue (1945) as George Gershwin
Cinderella Jones (1946) as Tommy Coles
Cloak and Dagger (1946) as Pinkie
The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) as Conrad Ryler
The Man I Love (1947) as Nicky Toresca
Nora Prentiss (1947) as Phil Dinardo, Cafe Owner
Bungalow 13 (1948)
April Showers (1948) as Billy Shay
Homicide (1949) as Andy
Hollywood Varieties (1950) as Master of Ceremonies
Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950) as Neil
Mister Universe (1951) as Fingers Maroni
Two Gals and a Guy (1951) as Deke Oliver
Beautiful But Dangerous (1955) as Maestro Doria
Assignment Abroad (1955) as Major Bill Morgan
Imitation of Life (1959) as Allen Loomis
Un militare e mezzo (1960) as Roy Harrison
Cleopatra’s Daughter (1960) as Inuni—Pharaoh’s Architect
Revenge of the Barbarians (1960) as Ataulf
The Devil’s Hand (1961) as Rick Turner
Force of Impulse (1961) as Warren Reese
Toto and Peppino Divided in Berlin (1962) as the judge
Musketeers of the Sea (1962) as Vice Governatore Gomez
That Woman (1966) as Wally
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969) as Kenneth Allandice
Night Flight from Moscow (1973) as Polygraph interrogator
M*A*S*H (1975–1980, TV series) as Dr Anthony Borelli
Cagliostro (1975) as Pope Clement XIII
The House of Exorcism (1975) as Father Michael
Natale in casa d’appuntamento (1976)
I Will, I Will… for Now (1976) as Dr Magnus
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) as Richard Entwhistle
Bittersweet Love (1976) as Ben Peterson
The Rip-Off (1978) as Captain Donati
The Rockford Files (1978, TV series) as Cy Margulies
Every Girl Should Have One (1978) as Adam Becker
Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978) as Mr White
Supertrain (1979, TV series) as Dan Lewis
Days of Our Lives (1981–82) as Stuart Whyland
Amanda’s (1983, TV series) as Mr Gordon (final appearance)
Actor Robert Alda – Wikipedia