Veteran Hollywood actor Alan Alda was so sure of himself when he courted his future wife, but his mother nearly undid all of his hard work and left him with a smoldering resentment for years.
Award-winning actor Alan Alda had to utilize his wooing skills to win over his future wife Arlene Alda. Alan Alda is best known for his indelible portrayal as Hawkeye Pierce in “M*A*S*H.”
Alan spoke about how he met his one and only wife in his book “Never Have Your Dog Stuffed And Other Things I’ve Learned,” published in 2005.
At a friend’s party, the two ran into one another and shared rum cake on the floor. He disclosed that their common friend Bea had cooked cake for dessert and had left it to cool on top of the refrigerator.
A fork in hand, Alan went to the kitchen as the cake dropped to the floor during dinner. With her fork, Arlene imitated the action:
“We sat down and made a flirty display of appetite by eating rum cake off the linoleum. Was a woman ever courted in this manner?”
After that, the two strolled over to Central Park, where snow had fallen earlier. We were sidetracked in conversation about travel, history, and art, and before long we were lost in the park as well, Alan recounted. She had recently returned from a year spent in Germany on a Fulbright.
Nevertheless, they were allowed to return. Before Arlene, a clarinetist, traveled to Europe, the comic said that she had never considered that conversing with “nonmusicians” may be fascinating.
Meanwhile, he discovered it was enjoyable to engage in conversation with others while still “fresh from Paris.” Different lessons were exchanged between the two parties.
Even at three in the morning, Alan went to see Arlene’s parents because she lived with them and offered him some rye bread for the trip home. Since devouring the rum cake, they had not eaten anything:
“I dozed off on the train and awoke at the end of the line in Brooklyn. I rode the subway back to Manhattan, arrived at five, and ate a slice of her bread out of my pocket while opening a can of beer for breakfast. Arlene was her name, Alan recalled.
Alana was immediately aware after the encounter that he was deeply in love with Arlene. He tried to tell her, but he just could not. He had thought about asking her out, but he figured she would say no. He also felt “not good enough” for her:
“Even though I was in love with her, I was unable to call her on the phone. I felt that I had to ask her out on the ideal date in order to avoid her saying no because I was so awkward and inexperienced. Nothing was adequate, and even if there was, I couldn’t afford it.”
After three weeks, Alan finally summoned the guts to ask Arlene to see “Four Saints in Three Acts,” an off-Broadway production of Gertrude Stein’s opera.
The pair watched the performances for two hours while seated in the very last row of the balcony. Was ever a lady wooed in this manner, Alan pondered once more.
Since that time, he claimed, they had become “inseparable.” He got to know Arlene better and realized that in addition to being smart, she has a variety of skills.
She studied the cello and played the piano in addition to the clarinet. Arlene also pursued a master’s degree in music education.
Alan claimed that he would always find Arlene in front of a cello that was “nearly as big as she was” whenever they crossed paths. He developed a deeper love for her as a result.
The two began spending time together every day, meeting in between classes and going for extended walks along the Bronx River.
Arlene spent her entire youth learning about the botanical gardens and became familiar with the names of each flower they passed, according to the six-time Emmy Award winner.
In order to keep up with her, Alan used his charm to name the flowers in Latin. This conversation developed into “gibberish,” which made her giggle. He consequently found himself “enormously attracted” to her.
“She was both my inspiration and my savior”.
Later, he decided that it was appropriate to present Arlene to Joan Browne, his mother. Alan stated to Arlene that he was not anticipating a response from his mother and that he was only letting her know what she was getting into by getting close to him.
He had no idea that things would go south. On that fateful afternoon, they stood in the kitchen with Alan’s mother as she made his favorite Swedish pancakes.
Browne interrupted the three of them in their conversation and “gazed at Arlene through narrowed eyes.” Although she informed Arlene that she thought the dish “appeared as though it were going to be exquisite,” Alan noted that she said Arlene was suspiciously examining it.
Arlene refuted Browne’s claim that she would steal her recipe. However, Alan’s mother insisted that Arlene was keeping tabs on her every step and would eventually market her secret to wealth: “I am aware of your actions. This is my work. I made this up.”
Her son, however, asserts that millions of Swedes can make Swedish pancakes. The trio went to the dining area to dine when he shifted the topic.
The “Marriage Story” star revealed that tensions quickly rose in the room after only a short period of time and that his mother was powerless to control the animosity directed at Arlene. Alan later admitted that at that same moment, he stood up, pushed back his chair, and told his mother to stop what she was doing.
Stop it, he exclaimed. Browne questioned his topic of discussion. “You are competent in your field. Just stop, “Alan answered. The situation quickly descended into a mother-and-son brawl. She has a right to speak up for herself, according to Browne:
“Nothing will be stopped by me. You’re very rude! You invite folks in here just so they may rob me. I’m entitled to self-defense. You can’t subject me to this. I am intelligent.”
After Alan’s mother gently left the room after he fell into a rage, he and Arlene left with the lunch she had prepared for them. When reflecting on that time, the New York native said that his mother had paranoid schizophrenia in an interview with The Guardian published in November 2019: “I was upset for a long time because I didn’t know why she behaved that way, and I thought I didn’t have a genuine mother.”
After giving birth to her baby, Browne received a diagnosis for the illness. Alan claimed that, in retrospect, he realized how much his mother loved him despite the odd ways she expressed it.
She nonetheless showed her love for him in the only ways she could, he claimed, adding, “When I look back, I understand that even with her illness, she loved me very, very much.”
Alan remarked that he had the opportunity to understand his mother more fully than ever before before she went away. He made sure she had a comfortable final week.
Despite that sad event during her initial contact with his mother, he and Arlene began their lives together.
The pair has been married for 60 years after being married in 1957. Beatrice, Eve, and Elizabeth were the couple’s three daughters, and they also had eight grandchildren.
When questioned about the key to a successful marriage, Alan replied that his wife had answered it was all about memory:
“A short memory is the key to a long marriage.”
When couples argue angrily, Alan advised them to keep in mind that they are speaking to the people they value most in life, since this could have a big impact on how the argument is handled.
In his biography from 1983, the “The actor from “Tower Heist” said that he and Arlene occasionally argue, but they “take turns being strong. We alternate being wise as well.”
When he and the photographer disagree about a choice, according to Alan, they typically work out a compromise. At the end of the day, he claimed, they both “care.”
The author of children’s books and the Golden Globe Award recipient both live simple lives and have been married for 65 years.