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.
- Once played the role of Sky Masterson in 'Guys 'n' Dolls', the same role his father, 'Robert Alda' was known for.
- Earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University (New York City, USA) in 1956.
- 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.
- Despite being an active Democrat, he has recently played two Republican senators in TV and film--the fictitious Arnold Vinick in _"The West Wing" (1999)_ (qv) (which garnered him an Emmy win) and the real-life 'Owen Brewster' (qv) in _The Aviator (2004)_ (qv) (for which he received an Academy Award nomination).
- With the exception of taking a course in Theater Games, he's never studied acting. His degree from Fordham University is in Science. He felt that he was a natural performer and that studying would ruin his gift for being natural.
- Best known by the public for his starring role as Chief of Surgery - Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce on _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv).
- He did not sign on to play Hawkeye Pierce on _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv) until 6 hours before filming began on the pilot episode.
- Was the only actor to appear in every episode of _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv).