Jan. 28th, 1936
New York City, New York, USA
Alan Alda's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
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.
- Was one of the actors considered to play President Bartlett on _"The West Wing" (1999)_ (qv). Alda later landed the role of Sen. Arnold Vinick in 2004 on that series.
- Attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.
- Earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University (New York City, USA) in 1956.
- 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).
- Once did a cartwheel down the aisle while on his way to accept an award that he had just won.
- Was the commencement speaker at the Dwight-Englewood High School Commencement in June 1978 in Englewood, NJ, when his daughter 'Elizabeth Alda' (qv) graduated.
- Was the first person to receive Emmy awards for acting, directing, and writing for the same television series.
- Alda almost turned down the role of Hawkeye Pierce on _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv) because he did not want war to be a "backdrop for lighthearted high jinks... I wanted to show that the war was a bad place to be."