When M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) premiered in 1972, it was an instant success, and remained one for eleven seasons, until the show ended in 1983. The dramedy about a field hospital and its military staff set during the Korean war featured Alan Alda (86) as the head surgeon, who had a hard time keeping the other men in line. He appeared in every single one of the 256 episodes.
Alan Alda, AKA "Captain Pierce"
His character, "Captain Benjamin Franklin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce," was a brilliant surgeon, a womanizer, and a great poker player, and made the show go down in U.S. TV history as a cult classic. His talents weren't limited to acting however, Alda also wrote and directed numerous episodes, for which he received numerous Emmy nominations.
Alda wasn't just a nominee though, he also won several Emmys for best script, direction, and the leading role. To this day, he is still the only person to have won the prestigious Emmy Award in all three categories for the same show.
Alan Alda: A true Hollywood icon
After M*A*S*H ended, Alda appeared in over 70 Hollywood productions such as Manhattan Murder Mystery (alongside Woody Allen) and What Women Want. He also remained a TV favourite and had numerous guest roles in primetime TV shows, including Emergency Room. In 2005, he was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as a U.S. Senator in the Martin Scorsese epic The Aviator but did not end up winning the coveted award.
Missing out on an Oscar can't have been too much of a blow, however, after having won six Golden Globes, seven Emmys (including one for his life achievements), seven People’s Choice Awards, and being made a member of the Television Hall of Fame in 1994. And his long-lasting career seems far from over. Even at 84 years of age, he’s still working and recently appeared on the TV show Horace & Pete alongside Louis C.K. and Steve Buscemi in 2016, three episodes of The Good Fight in 2019 and eight episodes of Ray Donovan as "Dr. Arthur Amiot" in 2020!
Alan Alda: The man behind the roles
Alda married his wife, Arlene, in 1957 when he was 21 years old and they’ve been together ever since. The couple has three children, Eve, Beatrice and Elizabeth, who all have children of their own, making Alan Alda a grandfather eight times over, as well as a true living Hollywood legend. In July 2018, he revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in early 2015, but that he has managed to live with it. He posted an inspiring message on Twitter: "...my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!" A legend, and a fighter!