Hes one of Americas most recognizable and acclaimed actorsa star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances.
My mother didnt try to stab my father until I was six, begins Aldas irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession.
Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow.
It is the story of turning points in Aldas life, events that would make him what he isif only he could survive them.
From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermists shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death cant be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them.
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, filled with curiosity about nature, good humor, and honesty, is the crowning achievement of an actor, author, and director, but surprisingly, it is the story of a life more filled with turbulence and laughter than any Alda has ever played on the stage or screen.
Two themes run through his book - family and politics. As one reviewer puts it, "in a profession where marriages are acquired and discarded like consumer goods", his 50-year marriage to Arlene, and their three happy daughters "really is something to brag about". As for politics, Alda has been highly active on behalf of the feminist movement, and whether you agree or disagree with his views on the Equal Rights Amendment (see sidebar), it is not possible to doubt his sincerity and commitment. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Though the organization of these musings can feel disjointed, Alda's intimate, dynamic narration makes one feel as if you're sitting across from a wise and entertaining friend, the kind you could listen to for hours.
Refreshingly, this collection of biographical sketches is written in a good-natured and compassionate way.
The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley
It all adds up to an amiable, occasionally amusing book. Alda tells [many stories] here, and he tells them well.
Alan Alda was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in 1936. His
Italian-American father, Robert Alda (born Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni
Roberto D'Abruzzo), was a successful actor who ran a burlesque theatre; his
mother Joan Brown, a former "Miss New York" beauty queen, suffered from
schizophrenia. His parents eventually divorced; Alan has a
half-brother, Anthony, twenty years his junior. The D'Abruzzos adopted
the name Alda by combining the first two letters of Alphonso and D'Abruzzo.
He contracted polio when he was seven years old, which left him bedridden
for two years. He graduated from Fordham University in 1956, and
joined the US Army Reserve, serving a six-month tour of duty in Korea
(3-years after the cease-fire). Shortly after, he married Arlene Weiss
(Arlene Alda is
well known in her own right as a photographer, children's book author and
musician). They have three daughters, Eve, Elizabeth and Beatrice, and seven
grandchildren. Continued in sidebar ->
Since M*A*S*H ended in 1983, Alda has been busy on...
One of the funniest, most beloved, and most often quoted entertainers in the world tells his tale of Life and Golf and somehow surviving both.
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