Arlene Alda, who grew up in The Bronx, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hunter College, and then received a Fulbright Scholarship to study clarinet in Cologne, Germany in 1954-55. The Fulbright Grant became the steppingstone to realizing her dream of becoming a professional clarinetist, ultimately playing in the Houston Symphony under the baton of Leopold Stokowski. She switched careers when her children were young and became an award-winning photographer and writer, whose work has appeared in books, newspapers, magazines and galleries.
She is the author of nineteen books, many of them children’s books illustrated with her photographs. Her latest book (for adults), Just Kids from the Bronx: Telling it the Way It Was, An Oral History consists of stories about growing up in the Bronx, based on interviews with 63 accomplished women and men, ranging in age from in their 80s to their 20s. Included are such luminaries as Colin Powell, Carl Reiner, Regis Philbin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mary Higgins Clark, Dion DiMucci, Bobby Bonilla, Manny Azenberg, Chazz Palminteri, and Al Pacino, amongst others. She is the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of eight. She and her husband, the actor Alan Alda, live in New York City and Long Island.