11 February, 2009
Robert Alda, born Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo, was an American actor. He was the father of actor Alan Alda.
Alda, an Italian American, was born in Annapolis, Maryland to Anthony and Frances T. D'Abruzzo. 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, followed by brief work in vaudeville he moved onto burlesque. He is known for portraying George Gershwin in the biopic Rhapsody in Blue (1945). 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).
Alda moved to Italy in the early 1960s and appeared in many successful European films over the next two decades, occasionally returning to the U.S. for appearances such as in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969).
Robert Alda made two guest appearances with his son on M*A*S*H. His first guest appearance was in the episode "The Consultant"; his second was in "Lend a Hand." This episode is of particular note since it also featured Alda's youngest son by his second wife Flora Martino, Antony Alda, who is also an actor.
Alda died of a stroke caused by embolism on May 3, 1986, aged 72.