Robert Alda

Active - 1945 - 1981  |   Born - Feb 26, 1914 in New York City, New York  |   Died - May 3, 1986   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Mystery, Action, Crime

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Actor Robert Alda studied architecture at NYU, briefly working in this field until choosing show business. He started performing in vaudeville, and in burlesque as a tenor and straight man; by 1934, he was well established on radio. He made a spectacular film debut in Warner Bros.' 1945 biopic Rhapsody in Blue (1945), essaying the role of George Gershwin over the objections of director Irving Rapper, who'd wanted to hold off production until Tyrone Power was available. Alda did as good a job as possible, given the banalities of the scripts, though his piano-playing sequences are obviously faked and tricked up. Alda's starring career faded out rather quickly; he was more successful with second leads and villainous roles, and in the early 1960s became a fixture of Italian sword-and-sandal and spy films. Returning to Broadway in 1950, Alda created the role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, winning a Tony Award in the process. In 1954, he starred in the syndicated TV series Secret File USA. Robert Alda was the father of Alan Alda, with whom he appeared in a poignant MASH TV episode of the late 1970s.

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