Jan. 28th, 1936
New York City, New York, USA
Alan Alda's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2015 - The Longest Ride
2011 - Tower Heist
2011 - Wanderlust
2008 - Diminished Capacity
2008 - Flash of Genius
2007 - Resurrecting the Champ
2004 - The Aviator
2000 - What Women Want
1998 - The Object of My Affection
1997 - Murder at 1600
1997 - Mad City
1996 - Flirting with Disaster
1996 - Everyone Says I Love You
1995 - Canadian Bacon
1993 - Manhattan Murder Mystery
1989 - Crimes and Misdemeanors
1986 - Sweet Liberty
1981 - The Four Seasons
1979 - The Seduction of Joe Tynan
1978 - Same Time, Next Year
1978 - California Suite
1971 - The Mephisto Waltz
Guest TV Roles[none found]
As a boy, Alan Alda suffered through polio, developing his sense of humor while bedridden, watching his eccentric family's antics. As a young man he started in comedy with Chicago's Second City troupe, and his first big break came with the Americanized version of the British skit show That Was the Week That Was, in 1964, with David Frost and Buck Henry.
During his stint in the Army, shortly after the Korean war, Alda served as a gunnery officer in Korea. M*A*S*H, of course, was set during the Korean war. As Dr Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H, Alda brought the series a perfect balance of wiseass and gravitas. As the series continued its long run, Alda gained more power behind the scenes, and some critics complained that the series delivered more political statements than laughs in its latter seasons. Over its eleven seasons, M*A*S*H earned numerous Emmy awards, and Alda earned five -- three for acting, one for writing, and one for directing. He is the only artist to win Emmys in all three of these categories. He wrote 20 and directed 32 episodes of M*A*S*H.
Alda has written or directed five feature films, of which the best reviewed was The Seduction of Joe Tynan with Meryl Streep. Playing perfectly off his M*A*S*H role, Alda played a self-obsessed and none-too-funny TV sitcom star in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors. He was the longtime host of Scientific American Frontiers on PBS, and in the last season of TV's The West Wing, Alda played a moderate Republican running for President.
- He has twice played characters from Maine, from opposite ends of the ethical spectrum. In _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv) he was noble surgeon Hawkeye Pierce, whose hometown was Crabapple Cove. In _The Aviator (2004)_ (qv) he played corrupt U.S. Sen. 'Owen Brewster' (qv), nemesis of 'Howard Hughes (I)' (qv). The author of the original "M*A*S*H" books, Maine doctor Richard Hornberger (writing as 'Richard Hooker (I)' (qv)), based the Pierce character on himself but was said to dislike the TV version of his story as overly moralistic. As for Sen. Brewster, whose smarmy hypocrisy was well-depicted by Alda, he was booted out of the Senate by Maine voters in the next Republican primary.
- Has three daughters: Eve, 'Elizabeth Alda' (qv) and 'Beatrice Alda (I)' (qv).
- Briefly considered a run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in New Jersey after 'Bill Bradley (IV)' (qv) announced his retirement in 1995.
- Studied at Fordham University in New York
- Served in the U. S. Army, and he went AWOL every weekend because he was dating the woman that he ultimately married, Arlene.
- In 2005 he became the fifth actor to receive an Oscar, Emmy and Tony nomination in the same calendar year (for _The Aviator (2004)_ (qv), _"The West Wing" (1999)_ (qv) and Glengarry Glen Ross, respectively).
- Was the first person to receive Emmy awards for acting, directing, and writing for the same television series.
- Before his 2003 emergency surgery in Chile, the surgeon tried to explain the procedure he was about to perform in layman's terms. Alda confidently asserted that the operation is called an end-to-end anastomosis. The stunned surgeon asked how he knew that. Alda replied that he had done the procedure numerous times on _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv).