“My wife says the secret of a long marriage is a short memory,” said Alda.
Thanks to his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV show, M*A*S*H, Alan Alda became a household name. He ended up winning Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series six times for his part in the beloved show. However, he is one of the actors who has superbly managed his stardom along with his marriage of 65 years. During an interview with PEOPLE, he was asked what the thing that made him the happiest and he replied, "Laughing with my wife." Alda has always been open about how his wife is his pillar of strength.
“My wife says the secret of a long marriage is a short memory,” said Alda. She has been strong support for him. “I don’t think we spoil each other, we just love each other." “Without her, I wouldn’t do an awful lot because every time I’m leaving the house to do some work, she says, ‘You’re going to be great.’ And I say the same thing to her. She’s a writer and a photographer, busy all the time, and I’m very proud of her."
When Alda was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015, Arlene sacrificed her musical career to have more time for her marriage. She has been supportive and always by Alda's side since the diagnosis. The couple first met each other at a party in Manhattan. Arelene was studying at New York City's Hunter College and he was impressed when she picked up the clarinet at the party and started playing Mozart.
They met again a few weeks later when a mutual friend invited them for dinner. They both were sitting opposite each other and were having a good time when a rum cake which was on top of the fridge fell on the floor. It landed on the floor and they were the only ones who picked it up and ate it. That was the moment they knew they matched. They got married to each other in 1957. Alda and Arlene have three daughters together: Eva, Elizabeth, and Beatrice.
When asked which was the most fun movie he got to make, he revealed it was The Four Seasons "because I wrote it and directed it, two of my daughters were in it [and] my wife photographed it.”
Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Alda decided early that he wasn't going to let the disease define his life. “I’ve had a full life since then,” he said.
“I’m taking boxing lessons three times a week. I do singles tennis a couple of times a week. I march to Sousa music because marching to music is good for Parkinson’s,” he said in 2018. ”The silver lining is that I keep getting more confident that I can always find a workaround,” he said. ”I’m more convinced than ever that life is adapting, adjusting, and revising.”
The biggest challenge for him has been to tie shoelaces with stiff fingers, he told PEOPLE. He also said he is convinced that " life is adapting, adjusting, and revising."
When asked what makes him the happiest, "Laughing with my life."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Cindy Ord