Arlene-Alda
Arlene Alda | Biography 2021

Quick Information

  • Full Name Arlene Alda
  • Occupation Musician, Photographer, Writer
  • Nationality American
  • Birthplace New York, USA
  • Birth Date Mar 12, 1933
  • Age 88 Years, 6 Months
Cast of 'Four Seasons'

Arlene Alda | Biography 2021

Clarinetist

Arlene Alda was the writer, director, and one of the leading characters in the 1981 movie 'Four Seasons.' The movie was about three wealthy couples who take a vacation together and encounter marital, parental, mid-life, and other predicaments. On the discography of the movie, she said that she incorporated some characteristics of herself, her husband Alan, and their married life in the movie, which could be relatable to the characters.


Arlene Alda is an American musician, photographer, and writer famously known for her work in the movie 'Four Seasons' and her book 'Just Kids from the Bronx.'

Who is Arlene Alda?

Arlene Alda is a professional musician, photographer, and author of the book 'Just Kids from Bronx' published in 2015.

Alda started her career as a musician. She graduated with honors in music from Hunter College and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study Clarinet in Europe. She then worked at the National Orchestra in New York. Alda became the assistant first clarinetist in Houston Symphony under the baton of Leopold Stokowski, who is famously known for his work in Disney's Fantasia.

In 1957, after getting married to actor Alan Alda, she quit her professional music career to take care of their children. While raising them, she started doing photography, and her works were eventually published in national magazines like Vogue, People, and Good Housekeeping. Further, her pictures were also displayed in one-man shows in New York. She received 'Chicago Graphics Communications Award' for her photo essay 'Allison's Tonsillectomy' published in Health Magazine.

Alda is also a successful writer. She had penned over 20 books. The majority of her compositions are children's books, and some of them, such as 'Just Kids from Bronx' and '97 Orchard Street- Arlene's Photographs', are non-fiction and photographic books.

Early Life

Arlene Alda, originally Arlene Hope Weiss, was born on 12 March 1933 in Bronx, New York.

Alda grew up learning music and graduated with honors in music from Hunter College in 1954. Her parents made her take piano lessons in her childhood, so she grew up practicing the piano. As she got older, she lost interest in the piano and tried learning the clarinet instead. She fell in love with it and pursued it as her career. 

Recounting her choices, she said, "When I was a kid, I loved music but hated to practice. When I got older and playing an instrument was my own choice, I loved playing the clarinet and took off with it."

Alda received the Fulbright Scholarship and went on to study clarinet in Germany. After returning from Germany, she started working at the National Orchestra in New York. She then became assistant first clarinetist in the Houston Symphony, where she worked under the baton of Leopold Stokowski.

Photography and Movies

Alda gave up her music career in 1957 after marrying Alan Alda. She stayed home to take care of their children and took to photography as she could do it freely. Her photos soon got published in national magazines like Vogue, People, and Good Housekeeping. Her photographs were also displayed in one-man shows like Mark Humphrey Gallery in Southampton and Nikon House in New York City.

She was honored with 'Chicago Graphics Communications Award' for her photo essay 'Allison's Tonsillectomy' published in Health Magazine.

Further, she was on the camera and electrical department of Punky Brewster- a comedy TV series on air from 1984 to 1988.

She was also the writer, director, and one of the leading characters in the 1981 movie Four Seasons. The movie was about three wealthy couples who take a vacation together and encounter marital, parental, mid-life, and other predicaments.

On the discography of the movie, she said that she incorporated some characteristics of herself, her husband Alan, and their married life in the movie, which could be relatable to the characters.

She was one of the executive producers of the short film based on George Orwell's short story, Shooting an Elephant, released in 2016.

Books

Alda had published over 20 books since she started writing in 1981. Among them, 16 were children's books, and five were non-fiction and photo books. 

Some of her books include 'On-Set- A Personal Story in Pictures and Words' in 1981, 'The Last Days of MASH' in 1983, '97 Orchard Street- Arlene's Photographs' in 2001, and 'Just Kids from the Bronx' in 2015.

'Just Kids from the Bronx' was one of her critically acclaimed books. She described what it was like to grow up in the town, Bronx that produced today's influencers in almost every field of the sphere. She featured her own Bronx memories, including encounters with a nun, a cop, and an urban planner, as well as with Al Pacino, Mary Higgins Clark, Carl Reiner, Colin Powell, Maira Kalman, Bobby Bonilla, and a slew of other celebrities, athletes, scientists, and entrepreneurs.

The former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, reviewed her book and said, "Arlene Alda must be a great listener because all kinds of amazing people tell her remarkable things in 'Just Kids from the Bronx.' No matter where you grew up, you'll find this a down-to-earth, inspiring book about the American promise fulfilled."

In 2018, the duo co-authored and released the book 'Journeys: An American Story: 72 Essays about Immigration and American Greatness.'

'The Book of ZZZs'

Alda wrote 'The Book of ZZZs', a 16-page children's book that was published on 10 February 2009. 

Targeting the toddlers of age group 2 to 5, 'The Book of ZZZs' is suitable for a read at any time of the day, but particularly before bed. The book peculiarly wants the readers to understand the importance of both rest and play, and that there is time for both on a busy day. Perfect for beginner readers, the book consists of a few texts and depicts its plot in the form of a picture, as well as has a poetic flow. The book's photos are thought to capture the tranquility and wonder of dreams.

Pigs and puppies, cats and meerkats, babies and adults are among the plot's components used to emphasize that all species' sleep and sleep can be astounding.

'Arlene Alda's 1,2,3'

'Arlene Alda's 1,2,3' is a 32-page children's book written by Alda and released by Tricycle Press on 1 September 2003. It is aimed at children aged 4 to 8. Possessing photographic skills, the author focused her photographic vision on nature and everyday things in the surroundings, finding numerals in the most unexpected locations in this book. Few numeral instances mentioned in the book include the curl of hair corresponding to the number 6, the flamingo's legs to the number 4, the spiral seashell to the number 9, and the counting runs from 1 to 10 and back again.

'Did You Say Pears?'

'Did You Say Pears?' by Arlene Alda was released on 10 January 2006.

The book depicts skillful wordplays and takes a lighthearted and witty look at such words that have similar sounds but different meanings. Alda created this book of photographs in resonance with luscious pears. With the apparently simple text and appealing photos that offer a first taste of the complexity of words, the book aims to help young readers improve their developing sense of language.

'Iris Has a Virus' 

'Iris Has a Virus; is another children's book written by Arlene Alda and released by Tundra Books on 9 September 2008. The premise of the book follows the eponymous character Iris as she discovers how tedious stomach illness can be. Things get more exhausting as her brother, Doug, seemingly enunciates that her illness always eventuates at the wrong time.

In this amusing narrative about Iris's typical illness and her misplaced anxieties, young readers get to grasp the plot of sibling rivalry and misunderstanding related to germs that cause illnesses as they are termed bugs.

Arlene Alda's engaging vocabulary is filled with rhymes in this captivating book for children who have more than a runny nose. In addition, the book includes Lisa Desimini's upgraded, one-of-a-kind, brilliant cut-paper collage illustrations.

'Morning Glory Monday'

'Morning Glory Monday', yet another children's book written by Alda and released by Tundra Books on 30 September 2003 consists of a universally appealing story. The book, which is based on a true story of residents of 97 Orchard Street in New York's Lower East Side, sprucing up their dreary homes with morning blossoms, integrates basic beauty into daily lives, enunciating that even the bleakest of places, and hearts can be redeemed.

The book’s storyline follows a mother who misses her native Italy's aesthetic nature, blooming flowers, and blue sky. Despite her young daughter's constant probe to cheer the mother, be it either through handstands or funny jokes or even a trip to Coney Island, the mother never seemed to move on from her homesickness. But, there at Coney Island, the daughter wins a package of seeds that turns out to be a treasure. Surprisingly, when the seeds are sown, they grow into morning glories that extend to her mother and anyone else who passes by.

'97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Life'

'97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Life' prepared by Linda Granfield and Arlene Alda was released on 2 October 2001. The Confinos' apartment, an only area of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum with outstanding infrastructure in New York City, is the setting for the book. Furthermore, the book emphasizes on 97 Orchard Street along with the Museum as it gives people a chance to learn about the immigrant experience of millions of people that migrated to North America.

In '97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Life', Linda Granfield tells the story of four families that resided at 97 Orchard Street, including the Confinos. Using a combination of text and historical images, the book depicts the daily lives of immigrants in several of North America's main cities during 1916. Arlene Alda's delicate pictures, which capture the pain, dignity, and optimism included in 97 Orchard Street, brilliantly accompany the tales and historical documents.

Moreover, the book contains helpful information on the Museum and its attempts to assist new immigrants who have had similar experiences. Though the readers might not have the chance to visit the Museum, this book serves as an essential resource for learning the history of North America.

Personal Life

Arlene met her husband, Alan, at a Manhattan party hosted by a mutual friend in 1956. The hostess, by mistake, dropped a rum cake off from the top of the refrigerator. Arlene and Alan picked their spoons and sat down on the kitchen floor to eat the cake.

They bonded over that incident, and Arlene recounted it as the beginning of their lifelong friendship in a 1981 interview, "We were the only two people who did it and I think it cemented our friendship for life. That sort of playfulness has stood us in good stead for 24 years."

They got married 11 months later, in 1957.

Alan was a struggling actor at that time, and Arlene had stopped working after giving birth to their first daughter. So, to make their ends meet, from time to time, Arlene gave piano lessons and played at parties and gatherings. Alan went on to star and co-write on the popular comedy series M*A*S*H. He later received an 'Academy Award' nomination for the movie The Aviator, released in 2004.

The couple has three daughters Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice, and eight grandchildren.

Relationship with Husband

Alan and Arlene have happily completed over 60 years of marriage. In an interview with the magazine Today in 2018, Alan described how a dessert incident at a party made their relationship happen.

"The hostess of the evening had made a rum cake, and she put it on the refrigerator to cool." Alan continued, "The refrigerator shook, and the cake fell off the refrigerator and hit the floor. Arlene and I were the only two people who went in with spoons and ate it off the floor." 

Alan was all smiles as he said, "That's how you know. When two people eat a cake off the floor, that's it for life."

"All this matchmaking on the Internet, and they ask them questions — just toss a cake on the floor and see who goes for it," Alan humorously suggested in that same interview.

In another exclusive interview with US Weekly on 3 December 2018 Alan spoke about his successful marriage life and as well had shared a humorous tip for keeping it together.

“[My wife] says the secret to a long marriage is a short memory”, Alda told US Weekly at the New York City premiere of Paris to Pittsburgh (2018). Furthermore, in that same interview he subsequently added that his wife is the "best present" he's ever received for the holidays

Moreover, Alan is a dedicated family person. He traveled to Los Angeles from his residence in New Jersey for the 11 seasons of M*A*S*H just to ensure the precise functioning of his family life.

"We have friends who have been married as long or longer," Alan told Sydney Morning Herald in 2015 when he was asked about the secret of their togetherness. "I think in Hollywood it gets talked about more", he added.

Additionally, actor Alan Alda has always been a supporter of women's rights. He was a strong advocate of the Equal Rights Amendment, which Congress passed but the states never ratified. Alan was also a member of President Gerald Ford's 1976 International Women's Year Commission. 

Daughters

Alan and Arlene have three daughters, Eve Alda, Elizabeth Alda, and Beatrice Alda.

Eve Alda

Eve, Alan, and Arlene's first child was born on 18 December 1958. Unlike Eve's younger sisters, who followed in their father's footsteps and sought their place in the entertainment industry, she chose a more conventional path. Eve got her psychology degree at Connecticut College, as of her Facebook page. Her profile also mentions that she attended the Simmons School of Social Work in Boston.

She may not have been hooded under the Hollywood stardom because of her different pathway, but she definitely keeps up with her father and younger sisters. She once used her personal Facebook account to discuss her father's decision to announce that he suffers from Parkinson's disease.

“Glad my Dad decided to go public with Parkinson’s diagnosis, this morning,” she opened up. “In his interview on CBS this morning, he was very upbeat (which is truly his approach), and mentioned he’s continued to work and has ‘had a full life’ since his diagnosis. He kinda didn’t mention that ‘full life’ is putting it mildly … I think he’s working more and harder now than he ever has!”, she added.

Elizabeth Alda

On 20 August 1960, Alan and Arlene had their second baby, daughter Elizabeth. Differing from her elder sister, Eva's career path, Elizabeth chose to follow in her father's footsteps and sought a career in acting. She made her cinematic debut with her father in 1981's The Four Seasons when she was young. Elizabeth went on to star in Night of the Creeps in 1986 thereafter.

After just a brief stint in Hollywood, Elizabeth chose to change her career to special education teaching. Alan had discussed the career transition of his daughter in an interview with the Saturday Evening Post.

“Elizabeth [was an] actress for a while,” he addressed the magazine. “But then Elizabeth decided she didn’t really care for acting. She became a teacher of the deaf and a special education teacher in general. [My daughters] all have advanced degrees and I’m very proud of them”, Alan added.

Beatrice Alda

Alan and Arlene's third child, Beatrice was born on 10 August 1961. She too followed her father's footsteps, therefore, owns credits for films, namely, The Four Seasons (1984), A New Life (1988), and Men of Respect (1990). Beatrice honed her behind-the-camera skills as she got a bit older. With the documentary Out Late, she made her directorial debut in 2008. She is also the proprietor of Forever Films Studios, a production business. Beatrice has four children with her partner Jennifer Brooke.

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