Director, screenwriter, and author, and beloved actor Alan Alda turns 82 this week.
Best known for his 11 years portraying wisecracking M.A.S.H. doctor, Hawkeye Pierce, Alan Alda became a household name during his time on the wildly popular series. Because of Alda’s brilliant portrayal of Korean War-era army field surgeon, the show was consistently at the top of the ratings. In fact, when it went off the air in 1983, it was still performing well in the Nielsens. To prove just how beloved the series was, its finale episode, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” remains the most watched television episode of all time, with a whopping 105.9 viewers!
Alda was born Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo on January 28, 1936, to actor, Robert Alda (Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo) and former beauty queen, Joan Browne. Interesting tidbit: the surname “Alda” was created by using the first two letters of his father’s first and last names: AL-phonso DA-bruzzo.
Alan grew up in New York and at the age of seven, contracted polio. He underwent painful treatment that eventually resulted in his recovery. He went to Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, and graduated with an English degree from Fordham University in 1956. Soon after, he turned his sights to the “family business” - acting.
Alda began his performing career in the 1950s appearing in numerous stage plays and then moved on to television and film. Alda was nominated for an Emmy award an astounding 31 times and won five. He was also nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 2005’s “The Aviator.”
Since M.A.S.H. went off the air, Alda continued to wow television and movie audiences. He appeared in many well-loved programs including, “The Four Seasons,” “The West Wing,” “ER,” “30 Rock,” and more recently,“The Blacklist.” He was also a frequent guest star on popular game shows like “What’s My Line” and “20,000 Dollar Pyramid.”
During his career, Alan Alda has been very generous with his time, lending his support to numerous charitable organizations, including St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
As Alda celebrates his 82nd birthday, we are happy to report that there is no sign of retirement in sight. We can look forward to many more years of the comedic and dramatic acting genius of one of America’s most revered actors.
In honor of Alan Alda’s birthday, we present the final few minutes that the world saw him in his signature role of Hawkeye Pierce on M.A.S.H. If you’d like to experience a moment of nostalgia, just click on the video, below. Enjoy!