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Alan Alda’s Wife: A Closer Look at Arlene Alda, The Woman Beside the Legendary Actor

From their chance encounter to enduring friendship, delve into the mesmerizing story of Alan Alda's wife, Arlene Alda, and their extraordinary journey together.
by Robyn Kerkhof | Sep 12 2023
Credits: J Carter Rinaldi/FilmMagic

Alan Alda, known for his iconic roles in TV shows like M*A*S*H and The West Wing, has always been in the spotlight. But behind every great man is a great woman, and in Alan Alda’s case, that woman is his wife, Arlene Alda.

In this article, we will explore who she is and their marriage and shed light on some intriguing aspects of Alan Alda’s life.

Alan Alda’s Wife: Meet Arlene Alda, Artist and Photographer

Arlene Alda (90 years old), originally known as Arlene Weiss (born in New York City on March 12, 1933), is an American artist who has excelled in music, photography, and writing. She began her professional career as a clarinetist before transitioning into photography and children’s book authorship.

Alda was born in the Bronx, New York City, to Jewish parents. She attended Evander Childs High School and Hunter College, where she graduated in January 1954 as a music major with honors.

She further honed her musical talents by becoming a member of the National Orchestra, conducted by Leon Barzin, and trained under clarinet experts Abraham Goldstein and Leon Russianoff. Alda also played in the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. 

However, Alda’s passion for photography led her to study with notable photographers Mort Shapiro and Lou Bernstein, eventually leading her to establish a successful career in the field. Her work has been showcased in various exhibits, including Nikon House and the Mark Humphrey Gallery.

Alda’s photographs have been featured in esteemed publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Vogue, People Magazine, Life Magazine, and Today’s Health Magazine, earning her recognition with a Chicago Graphics Communications Award for her photo essay, “Allison’s Tonsillectomy.” Additionally, she has authored 15 children’s books, including the popular “Sheep, Sheep Sheep, Help Me Fall Asleep,” and “Arlene Alda’s 1,2,3,” which received an American Library Notable citation. 

Love at First Sight: How Alan Alda Met His Wife 

Arlene and Alan’s love story began in a New York City restaurant in 1956. At the time, Alan was studying at Fordham University and working as a waiter to support himself.

Fate brought the two together when Arlene, accompanied by her friend, went to dine at the restaurant where Alan was working. It was love at first sight, and they quickly formed a connection that would stand the test of time.

Arele and Alan Alda’s Long Lasting Marriage and Children

Alan Alda and Arlene Weiss tied the knot on March 15, 1957, just a year after they met. Their union has proven to be a lasting one, as they have celebrated over six decades of marriage.

Together, they have three daughters: Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice. With a solid commitment to family, they have created a loving and supportive environment for their children to thrive.

Alan Alda’s Best Friend

When Wayne Rogers departed from the television series M*A*S*H in 1975, this significant event marked a turning point in the life of actor Mike Farrell, who was subsequently chosen to portray the character J.B. Hunnicutt in the show. It was during this period that Farrell formed a strong bond with renowned actor Alan Alda, ultimately laying the foundation for their enduring and exceptionally close friendship.

Their camaraderie extended beyond the confines of the set, leading many to credit them as the pioneers of the bromance phenomenon. Despite the passage of time, their friendship has endured, as demonstrated by Farrell and Alda’s continued involvement in their enduring bromantic relationship.

Even after all these years, the bromance between Mike Farrell and Alan Alda remains strong. Even though Farrell joined the cast of M*A*S*H a few years after its premiere, the show officially celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.

While their friendship spans 48 years, we can quickly round it up to 50. On Alda’s podcast, they had a heartwarming reunion, and their conversation showcased their unwavering bond, unaffected by time, distance, or a lack of frequent communication. Their humor and chemistry clearly indicate their enduring and fantastic friendship.

Son of An Actor: Alan Alda’s Famous Family

Sprinkled with stardust, Alan Alda, now a sprightly 87, made his grand entrance into the world on January 28, 1936, right in the heart of the bustling New York City. Born to parents who each carried their own glittering accomplishments, Alda’s lineage was steeped in the spotlight.

His father, Robert Alda, himself a luminary of the stage and silver screen, commanded attention with his Broadway performances and cinematic roles. On the other side of the family constellation, Alda’s mother, Joan Browne, had secured her own crown as a triumphant beauty pageant victor.

Alan Alda, a solo star in terms of birth order, wasn’t the only note in the family symphony. His father’s prior chapters had also written half-siblings into his life story through previous relationships, further enriching the tapestry of his kinship.

So, amidst the glitz of New York City, Alan Alda’s journey began, intertwined with a legacy that combined theatrical brilliance, radiant beauty, and the promise of his remarkable path.

Alan Alda and Parkinson’s Disease

In 2015, Alan Alda publicly revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the nervous system. Despite this challenging diagnosis, Alan Alda has remained resilient and determined to raise awareness about the disease while continuing his work as an actor and science communicator.

Arlene Alda has been an integral part of Alan Alda’s life, accompanying him through their six decades of marriage, raising their children, and being his best friend along the way. Together, they have weathered the ups and downs of life with grace, love, and unwavering support for each other.

If you want to dive deeper into Alan Alda’s life and experiences, be sure to check out his book “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?” on the Blinkist app. With a free 7-day trial, you can enjoy a condensed version of the book and discover the power of the app’s bite-sized insights into a variety of non-fiction works.

Start your free trial today and expand your knowledge to new horizons.

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