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.
- Is the only person ever to win an Emmy for acting, writing, and directing.
- 'Richard Hooker (I)' (qv), who wrote the novel on which the film (M*A*S*H (1970)) and TV show (_"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv)) were based, did not like the TV series and in particular did not like Alda's portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce.
- Was the first person to receive Emmy awards for acting, directing, and writing for the same television series.
- Attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.
- He, father 'Robert Alda' (qv) and step-brother 'Antony Alda' (qv) appeared together in an episode of _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv), "Lend a Hand", during Season 8. Robert had previously appeared in "The Consultant" in Season 3.
- He commuted from LA to his home in New Jersey every weekend for 11 years while starring in _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv). His wife and daughters lived in NJ, and he did not want to uproot the family to LA, especially because he did not know how long the show would last.
- Was the commencement speaker at the Dwight-Englewood High School Commencement in June 1978 in Englewood, NJ, when his daughter 'Elizabeth Alda' (qv) graduated.
- Earned a reported $200,000 a week for _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv) in 1980.