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Alan Alda Is 86 & a 'Role Model' for His 8 Grandkids – Some of Them Are Following in His Footsteps

Junie Sihlangu
Aug 28, 2022
01:55 P.M.
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Alan Alda continued being a role model to his many grandchildren, although he was close to 90 years old. His grandchildren took his advice in life, and some of them emulated him in the most significant ways.

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In 2018, Alan Alda, a family man and role model appeared alongside his wife, Arlene Alda, on PIX11 News. The author revealed how she met the actor when a mutual friend invited them to a Manhattan dinner party, where the pair sat on opposite sides of the table.

A rum cake fell from atop the fridge, and Alan and Arlene were hilariously the only two people at the party who grabbed spoons and jumped to eat the confection right off the floor! From that moment onward, the duo was inseparable.

Arlene and Alan Alda during the 28th Annual Tony Awards -After Party in New York City, New York, on April 21, 1974 | Source: Getty Images

Arlene and Alan Alda during the 28th Annual Tony Awards -After Party in New York City, New York, on April 21, 1974 | Source: Getty Images

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In August 2021, Alan retweeted a post by a fan who shared a thread of his Wikipedia page about how the star met his wife. The actor confirmed that they ate the cake from the floor but that he'd been "captivated" by Arlene earlier as they ate, stating:

"I heard her at the end of the table laughing at my jokes. She had me at Ha."

Arlene and Alan Alda during "The Four Seasons" New York premiere press party in New York City, New York, on  May 21, 1981 | Source: Getty Images

Arlene and Alan Alda during "The Four Seasons" New York premiere press party in New York City, New York, on May 21, 1981 | Source: Getty Images

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After meeting at the dinner party, Arlene and Alan walked through Central Park to get to the subway so they could travel to the Bronx. The pair couldn't see the path as they battled six inches of snow.

However, that didn't matter because the duo was so "busy paying attention to one another" they walked in a complete circle! After dating for a while, a year later, the couple married on March 15, 1957.

Arlene and Alan Alda during the U.S. Open on September 8, 1990, in Queens, New York | Source: Getty Images

Arlene and Alan Alda during the U.S. Open on September 8, 1990, in Queens, New York | Source: Getty Images

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The pair's careers hadn't taken off when they tied the knot. Arlene was trying to find her break as a musician and professionally played the clarinet for the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

On the other hand, in 1958, Alan got his first break in a guest role on "The Phil Silvers Show " as Carlyle Thompson III. He eventually got on stage and then on Broadway, where he was later nominated for his first Tony Award.

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Simultaneously, his wife had begun dabbling with photography and made a career switch; after studying with photographers Lou Bernstein and Morton Shapiro. Over the following years, she had several exhibitions for the Mark Humphrey Gallery and Nikon House.

In 1972, Alan got his most prominent role in "M*A*S*H," for which he was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards, leaving with five! Arlene became a freelance worker with images that appeared in Vogue, Life, and People magazines.

The actor's wife also became a children's author with books like "Hurry Granny Annie," "Morning Glory Monday," and "Lulu's Piano Lesson." The star's significant other also wrote "The Last Days of MASH."

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In 2019, the couple had been together for 62 years, and Alan said his wife's secret to such longevity was "short memory!" The actor noted how there was no relationship closer than a marriage where the couple didn't face arguments where they yelled, noting:

"But it’s helpful to remember that the person you’re yelling at is someone who you love."

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ALAN'S CHILDREN AND THE IMPACT HE'S HAD ON HIS MANY GRANDCHILDREN

Beatrice, Eve, Arlene, Elizabeth, and Alan Alda on May 21, 1981, at "The Four Seasons" New York premiere | Source: Getty Images

Beatrice, Eve, Arlene, Elizabeth, and Alan Alda on May 21, 1981, at "The Four Seasons" New York premiere | Source: Getty Images

During their marriage, Arlene and Alan welcomed three daughters. On December 18, 1958, the couple welcomed Eve Alda, one of his children that preferred staying out of the spotlight.

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She studied psychology at Connecticut College and lived in Winchester, Massachusetts. Arlene and Alan's oldest daughter also studied at Boston's Simmons School of Social Work.

Arlene, Elizabeth, and Alan Alda during "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" New York City premiere party in New York City, New York, on August 15, 1979 | Source: Getty Images

Arlene, Elizabeth, and Alan Alda during "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" New York City premiere party in New York City, New York, on August 15, 1979 | Source: Getty Images

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Elizabeth Alda was born on August 20, 1960, and she followed in Alan's career footsteps. In 1981, she made her movie debut starring alongside Alan in "The Four Seasons," and five years later, she appeared in "Night of the Creeps."

Her Hollywood career was short-lived, with Elizabeth opting to teach special education. Beatrice Alda joined the family on August 10, 1961, and also joined her older sister with an appearance in "The Four Seasons."

Alan, Arlene, and Beatrice Alda during "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" New York City premiere party in New York City, New York, on August 15, 1979 | Source: Getty Images

Alan, Arlene, and Beatrice Alda during "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" New York City premiere party in New York City, New York, on August 15, 1979 | Source: Getty Images

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She's since featured in "Men of Respect," "A New Life," and many others. As she got older, Beatrice started working behind the camera, and in 2008 she had her directorial debut in "Out Late."

Alan's youngest daughter also owns the production company Forever Films Studios. The actor's children gave him eight grandchildren, and at age 84, he confessed that he and his daughters' offspring like laughing, adding:

“Everybody is good at making everybody else laugh and [it’s always] entertaining to hang out together.”

Alan and Arlene Alda and family at the 77th Annual Academy Awards on February 27, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

Alan and Arlene Alda and family at the 77th Annual Academy Awards on February 27, 2005 | Source: Getty Images

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Plowing down to age 90 for Alan proved that laughter was the best medicine! "The West Wing" star also admitted that he didn't mind spoiling his grandchildren, and now and then, he bought them gifts.

Jake [Alda Coffey] revealed that when he told his grandfather [Alan Alda] that he was interested in screenwriting, Alan went out of his way to read all of his grandson's scripts!

Alan and Arlene Alda with their daughters circa 1981 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Alan and Arlene Alda with their daughters circa 1981 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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Arlene's husband explained that he didn't see it was spoiling them but a way to show them they're loved. The actor believed there was no way he could express his care for them too much.

Alan shared his pride over some of his grandchildren already working at young ages, with one, Scott Alda Coffey, choosing acting and another working for a Public Relations firm. The star said they'd all found their interests.

Jake Alda Coffey, Arlene and Alan Alda at the "Marriage Story" premiere on November 5, 2019, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Jake Alda Coffey, Arlene and Alan Alda at the "Marriage Story" premiere on November 5, 2019, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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Arlene's husband also revealed that he willingly gave advice whenever his actor grandson needed help and often spoke to him about the craft. Scott once shared a story about his childhood under Alan that defined the type of man the famous actor was.

ALAN'S GRANDCHILDREN GUSH OVER HIM BEING AN ICONIC GRANDFATHER

In July 2020, Scott told Backstage about growing up around his famous grandparents. He recalled a summer when he was ten and visited them, wanting to create a short film.

Scott Alda Coffey at a Grand Dinner on October 20, 2018, in West Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

Scott Alda Coffey at a Grand Dinner on October 20, 2018, in West Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

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Alan got involved, taking the role of director and actor in his grandson's musical, before helping the boy to come up with a story. Scott said his grandfather's advice was valuable as he learned about structure in stories. He also learned about improvisation, being present, listening to other actors, and enjoyed it so much that he decided to do a sequel to his movie, adding:

"All these lessons and experiences, I take with me into every audition and every role I get. I've been so lucky to grow up with such a brilliant teacher and role model."

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Scott credited those childhood memories as what inspired him and helped him grow as an actor. In a TikTok video, another of Alan's grandsons, Jake Alda Coffey, lovingly paid tribute to him.

Jake noted how he grew up seeing his grandfather as a family man who ensured he and his family were supported. Like Scott, Jake recalled how they visited Alan and his wife at their Hampton's summer home, where they enjoyed making films.

Jake revealed that when he told his grandfather that he was interested in screenwriting, Alan went out of his way to read all of his grandson's scripts! Arlene's husband would then give the boy honest and helpful feedback on each writing.

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