Robert Alda

Robert Alda (born Alphonso 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 father of actors Alan and Antony Alda. 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).

Robert Alda
Alda in 1976
Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo

(1914-02-26)February 26, 1914
New York City, U.S.
DiedMay 3, 1986(1986-05-03) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Years active1935–1984
Childrenwith Browne:
Alan Alda
with Marino:
Antony Alda

Life and career

Alda, an American of Italian descent, was born Alphonso 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.[1] 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.[2]

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). He was very successful on Broadway, originating 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 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.[3] 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.[4]


Selected filmography

See also

  • Biography portal


  1. Robert Alda Biography (1914–1986)
  2. Strait, Raymond (1983). Alan Alda: A Biography. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 7–9. ISBN 0-312-01703-0.
  3. 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 February 17, 2014.
  4. "Robert Alda dies at 72"
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