Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo
February 26, 1914
New York City, U.S.
|Died||May 3, 1986 (aged 72)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.|
Robert Alda (born Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo; February 26, 1914 – May 3, 1986) was an Italian-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).
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. (D'Abruzzo is a toponymic surname.) 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 starred 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).
In the mid-1950s, Alda starred as espionage agent Colonel Bill Morgan in the syndicated TV series Secret Files USA, the episodes of which were based on stories from American intelligence services.
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, his younger son by his second wife.
Alda appeared in an episode of The Feather and Father Gang in 1977.
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 and mother of Antony, Flora Marino, an Italian actress whom he met in Rome, until his death.
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.