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.
- Has three daughters: Eve, 'Elizabeth Alda' (qv) and 'Beatrice Alda (I)' (qv).
- 1975 People's Choice Award: Favourite Male TV-Performer
- 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.
- Out of his seven grandchildren, two are interested in pursuing careers in acting; his oldest granddaughter, 17 and his oldest grandson, 16.
- Studied at Fordham University in New York
- 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).
- His favorite curseword is "horse". It stems from an outburst he once had on a set, where he went through every obscenity he could think of, then unable to come up with anymore, he loudly stated "Horse!". According to Alda, it has since become his favorite curse.
- Attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.