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Secrets To Longevity by Actor Hal Linden

Updated on November 5, 2016

Handsome Hal Linden

A Star is Born

The stage is where Hal Linden was first bitten by the "acting bug." This talented celebrity got his start growing up in New York City. He loved music and wanted to be a big band leader. In school, Linden played the saxophone, clarinet and sang in various bands.

After attending college, Linden was drafted into the armed forces and continued to play the clarinet to entertain the troops during the 1950s.

Returning back to New York, Linden worked in summer stock productions and off Broadway, before landing on Broadway and earning Tony Awards. Linden shared with me during a recent telephone interview, "My first Broadway debut was a hit musical with Judy Holliday in Bells Are Ringing."

As a Broadway star, Linden continued appearing onstage in a variety of productions that included On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and The Pajama Game.

Then he was cast in the hit television show Barney Miller and was one of the most recognizable and loved stars of television. After a good run with Barney Miller, Linden returned to acting on Broadway. He also made around 15 films and was cast in over 50 guest roles in hit television shows that include The Love, Boat, The Golden Girls, The Boys are Back, Touched by an Angel, The Nanny, The Rockford Files, The Drew Carey Show, Law & Order, Will & Grace, Hot in Cleveland, The Mindy Project, 2 Broke Girls, and Royal Pains.

85 and Going Strong!

On Stage Still at 85

Recently I saw Hal Linden in a fabulous production of 'Fantasticks" at the Pasadena Playhouse.

When I asked where he gets his energy to perform night after night at every 8 p.m. show in Pasadena, he said, "I'm doing what I love to do." I told him that his presence onstage is that of a man in his 60s, as Henry, an older Shakespearean actor with a slightly failing memory. Linden maneuvers the multi-level stage with grace. At times when he grabs the railing, or another actor’s arm to climb up to a platform, I wonder if he is just in character and can traipse up and down on his own. "I have one new knee and one new hip," said Linden. “I can walk up fine, it's stepping down stairs that slows me a little.”

3 Secrets to Living a Long Life

Linden shared his secret to living a long life:

1. Good Genes - His mother lived to be 98 years old. "She was hearty and rarely sick." Linden proudly said, "I’ve never been sick in bed. If I have a cold, I get over it quickly,”

2. Lifestyle - He also attributes his good fortune in health to the following, “I’m not a drinker, occasionally I will have a glass of wine, and I don’t smoke,” said Linden. “I do drink coffee in the morning.”

3. Keep Moving - Six days a week, Linden goes down to the gym in his building and works out for at least one hour. He especially likes the elliptical machine, “I do this to keep the juices going."

Finding Love

Working on The Fantasticks was "immense fun” for Linden. It's a story all about love, finding lasting love and not imagined love. “One has to experience life’s pains to have love,” Linden told me.

Early in his life, Linden found love when he met and married his wife, Fran Martin while working summer stock in 1955. They married in 1958, and raised four children together, until she died in 2010.

Hal Linden

What's Next for Hal Linden?

Linden continues to guest star in television shows regularly, he plays in a band and is offered movie scripts. Currently he is also in rehearsals to star in next year's production of comedian and writer, Steve Martin's hit - Picasso at the Lapin Agile at The Globe Theatre in San Diego.

The clever and crowd-pleasing comedy opens February 4, through March 12, 2017 and is directed by The Globe’s very own Barry Edelstein.

This is Steve Martin's third creative relationship with The Old Globe at Balboa Park. Set in Paris, 1904, The Lapin Agile, is a watering hole to struggling artists and would-be geniuses. One night Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein, whose egos are as big as their intellects, spar with the regulars and each other about art, science, inspiration, love, and the promise of the 20th century. Martin throws into this mix a mysterious blue suede shoes visitor.

"I will be turning 86 years old, while performing at The Globe," said Linden, "I hope your readers will come see me." I hope to be sitting in the audience cheering this extremely nice and talented actor with applause and ovations.

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