IN LOVING MEMORY
DECEMBER 9, 1956-JULY 3, 2009
Antony Alda, who played Johnny Corelli on "Days of Our Lives" from 1990-1991, has died. Alda passed away on July 3, 2009. He was 52. Alda was born as Antonio D'Abruzzo on December 9, 1956 in Saint-Julien, France. His father was actor Robert Alda (who had also appeared on "Days" as Stuart Whyland from 1981-1982). The senior D'Abruzzo had changed the family's last name to Alda upon becoming an actor.
Alda first got into acting in 1965 (the same year "Days" started), when he was cast in a unsold TV pilot based on the film "Three Coins in the Fountain" (which eventually aired as a TV movie in 1970). Alda remembers that "they needed a kid about 9 or 10, who could either speak a little Italian or speak English with an Italian accent." Having split his childhood years between New York City and Rome, Italy, he spoke both languages fluently. After appearing in a few more things as a child (episodes of "Daniel Boone" and "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color"), Alda has absolutely no desire to pursue acting as a career. His new passion became music, and while he was studying theory and composition of music at Juilliard in New York, his house was robbed. Three days later, he left New York for Los Angeles.
When Alda arrived in Los Angeles in 1977, his father suggested he get back into acting. The only big advantage to having Robert Alda as his father was that it helped him get an agent. Alda would appear on "Switch", "Columbo", "Chips", "Quincy", "Knots Landing", "Throb", "Too Close for Comfort", "Hunter", as well as an episode of "M*A*S*H", featuring both himself, his father and his half-brother ("M*A*S*H" star Alan Alda).
When Alda joined the cast of "Days" in May 1990, he had a sure feeling that he'd get the part. In a 1990 Soap Opera Weekly article by Janet DiLauro, Alda stated that "You can really see things coming sometimes. I knew I was going to get the part...and not because of anything other than the fact that were just a lot of strange coincidences going on." Four strange coincidences in fact. Number 1: "I was doing a play before I got this. The producer of the play told me she had a friend on "Days"...George Jenesky (Nick Corelli). I remember saying 'Are you serious? That's the guy whose brother I would be playing.'" Number 2: Alda had taken over a role in play in 1985 which was played by Stephen Nichols, who had left the play to join "Days" as Steve Johnson. Alda then ran into Nichols at Dodger Stadium the same week he had auditioned for Days. Number 3: "My mom was at her chiropractor's office, when a woman walked in warting a "Days of Our Lives" sweatshirt. It turns out it was Carol Brown, head of the "Days" makeup department. My mom told her I'd just tested for that show and Carol asked "Which one was he? I probably did his makeup." And, finally, coincidence Number 4: "I'm driving to this club where a friend of mine plays. I decided to take a different road than I usually do. All of a sudden, I notice this big lighting store. It's called Corday Lighting!"
As for Johnny Corelli, Alda was quite pleased with his role. He stated that "I couldn't have drawn a better character myself. I've played a lot of outsider roles over the years...people who are always just a little off-center. With Johnny, you never know what the hell he can get into. He likes the challenge of what he does. He enjoys playing with people's heads. It's almost like the reason you become an actor: You could do something else, but this is more fun. He likes the sense of adventure. So do I."
In a 1990 People article, Alan Alda had this to say about his half-brother: "My father [Robert] was one of the most charming actors of his generation, and there's some of that natural charm and charisma in Tony. Plus, Tony's basic honesty adds to that, which makes him an appealing person to watch." Alda did not act much after leaving "Days" in April 1991. His final acting appearance was as a security guard in the 2004 film "National Treasure." Alda leaves behind two sons, Ian and Alexander.
A Family Affair: Alan Alda, Robert Alda and Antony Alda in an episode of "M*A*S*H", 1980.
Antony Alda (in the middle of the back row) and the cast of "Days" celebrate the show's 25th anniversary in November, 1990.
A tribute video shown at Antony Alda's memorial service, 2009.