Royal Alcott 1928-2008

My father Royal died a few weeks ago — that’s why I was away from the computer for a few stats

The story of my family life is, as my brother Eric says, "complicated," too much so to get into here for the time being, but while I was at my father’s house in Eureka Springs, AK the other day I snagged a couple of killer pictures of him that capture him in his prime. The first one was taken in 1947, which would make it probably his senior-year portrait. The second is him at the high-water mark of his Mad Men-era advertising career, late 50s perhaps, early 60s at the latest. He worked for Leo Burnett in Chicago, then for Art Linkletter’s production company in LA, then Foote, Cone and Belding in Chicago later on (I think that’s the order — accurate communication was never a priority in my family). I’ve never watched Mad Men, but now I feel like I should just to get to know what his life was like. The final picture is one I took of him in 1991. I’ve got plenty of things to say about him at some point, but for now let me salute a handsome devil who knew how to rock a three-piece suit.


38 Responses to “Royal Alcott 1928-2008”
  1. seamusd says:

    Condolences. It’s always hard losing a patriarch, even if he lived a long and full life.

    • Todd says:

      It was especially long and full when you consider that he chain-smoked Winstons for 40 years of it.

      • rennameeks says:

        Sorry for your loss. :/ On the bright side, I look forward to hearing about your late father’s past.

        (My grandfather used to smoke too and he lived until 81, despite that past and other medical history complications, so I know what you mean.)

  2. timdenee says:


    Also, you don’t watch Mad Men!? You really should. It’s superb.

  3. rxgreene says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Those are some great pics of him, and it sounds like he had an amazing career.

  4. pirateman says:

    I’m sorry to hear that, man. That really sucks. That second picture is fucking cool, though.

  5. Sorry for your loss, my mother’s father just died this morning. I can see how tough it is to go through. I hope the toughest part is over, and you can start moving forward soon.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  7. swan_tower says:

    I’m very sorry to hear that.

    (And you’re right — he was a handsome devil.)

  8. sheherazahde says:

    My condolences on your loss

  9. yesdrizella says:

    My condolences. 🙁 He definitely was a looker.

    And once you get past Christina Hendricks’s voluptuous figure, Mad Men is quite entertaining.

    (and of course by that I mean once you stop ogling her.)

  10. Sorry for you and your family’s loss. May he rest in peace.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to hear

    Best wishes to you and family at this time, Todd.

    Royal Alcott is a magnificent name. Looking forward to hearing stories of your father soon.


  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m really sorry to hear it.

    In happier news, Mad Men is now out on DVD.

    I’m also sorry to say that I can’t keep my glibness in check for the entirety of a post.

  13. teamwak says:

    My condolences, Todd. I hope you treasure your obviously happy memories of him.


  14. marcochacon says:

    Sharp lookin’ dude. I’m sorry for your loss.

    That’s an excellent remembrance post: I would hope to do as well for the people in my life.


  15. autodidactic says:

    For what it’s worth, you’re handling it with a lot more grace than I did when my father died. But I know it hurts still, and you have my sympathies.

  16. sorceror says:

    My condolences; I’m sorry for your loss.

    “Royal” is an unusual first name! Is there a story behind it?

    • Todd says:

      The only story I know about it is that he had an uncle who was also named Royal. It was an Alcott family tradition that names would get passed on, not linearly but kind of sideways. So my grandfather’s name was Gilbert Farley Alcott, my father’s name was Royal Gilbert Alcott and my brother’s name is Kent Farley Alcott and so forth.

      My own name, Todd Stuart, as far as I know isn’t named after anyone — I think my father had fulfilled the name-naming-after quotient by that point.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Todd,

        Long time reader, first time responder.

        Gilbert Alcott had a brother named Royal Alcott. When Margaret gave birth to dad, she was “knocked out” as was the childbirth custom at the time. She had a totally different name picked out but as she was drugged the doctor (or most likely nurse) asked Gilbert what the name was to be. Gilbert and brother Royal, who came along for some reason, were drunk and decided it would be fun to name the boy after themselves. Hence Royal Gilbert Alcott.


        • Todd says:

          Hey, I remember you, you’re my…sister, right?

          If I’m not mistaken, a similar fate almost befell me — I was almost named “Duncan” while our mother was still unconscious.

  17. stormwyvern says:

    My condolences to you and your family.

    Your dad certainly was a handsome devil who could have rocked three-piece suits with the best of them.

  18. Anonymous says:

    My sincere condolences.

    The handkerchief in the pocket? The tie tucked into the vest? Your dad completely rocks that look.

    — N.A.

  19. I’m sorry for your loss, Todd.

  20. monica_black says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about your father’s death.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that middle picture– Don Draper has some catching up to do in the rakish/cool dept. Very sorry for your loss, the late Mr Alcott seemed to be cut from a very fascinating cloth. I, too, look forward to hearing more about him. When you’re ready.
    On a similar note, my mom smoked Bel Air’s from age 13 to 60; quit @ 60 but still got lung cancer 13 years later.

  22. kornleaf says:

    for what ever it is worth, i am sorry for your loss.