Bronx, New York City New York USA
Claim to Fame
M*A*S*H, The West Wing, The Aviator
Actor/Actress, Other Crew, Director
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
A five-time Emmy Award-winning, six-time Golden Globe-winning, Academy Award-nominated American actor. He is perhaps most famous for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the television series M*A*S*H. During the 1970s and 1980s he was viewed as the archetypal sympathetic male, though in recent years he has appeared in roles which counter that image.
Couple Profile Source
Archbishop Stepinac High School, White Plains, NY
Bachelors in English, Fordham College of Fordham University (1956)
Full Name at Birth
Alphonso Joseph D`Abruzzo
Alan Alda (born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo; January 28, 1936) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is widely known for his roles as Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H (1972–1983) and Arnold Vinick in The West Wing (2004–2006). He has also appeared in many feature films, most notably in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) as pretentious television producer Lester and in The Aviator (2004) as U.S. Senator Owen Brewster, the latter of which saw Alda nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Joan Browne, Flora Martino(Stepmother)(Actress)
Beatrice Alda(Daughter), Eve Alda(Daughter), Elizabeth Alda(Daughter)
Couple Profile Source
Wiki Bio Text
Date of Birth 28 January 1936, The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
Birth Name Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Mini Bio (1)
Alan Alda was born on January 28, 1936 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo. He is known for his work on M*A*S*H (1972), The Aviator (2004) and What Women Want (2000). He has been married to Arlene Alda since March 15, 1957. They have three children.
Arlene Alda (15 March 1957 - present) (3 children)
Trade Mark (5)
Often plays ambitious authority figures that are corrupt and unethical
New York Accent
His films often reflect his liberal political views
The role of Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce on M*A*S*H (1972).
Thick, nasally voice.
He did not sign on to play Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H (1972) until 6 hours before filming began on the pilot episode.
He commuted from his home in New Jersey to LA every weekend for 11 years while starring in M*A*S*H (1972). 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.
Son of Robert Alda and Joan Brown, a former Miss New York pageant winner.
He, father Robert Alda and half-brother Antony Alda appeared together in an episode of M*A*S*H (1972), "Lend a Hand", during Season 8. Robert had previously appeared in "The Consultant" in Season 3.
Alda almost turned down the role of Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H (1972) because he did not want war to be a "backdrop for lighthearted hijinks... "I wanted to show that the war was a bad place to be.".
Suffered from a severe case of polio as a young child. At its worst point he was only able to move his left arm. He received treatment originally developed by Australian polio expert, nurse Sister Kenny, subject of the movie Sister Kenny (1946).
Alan and his wife Arlene Alda have three daughters: Eve (born on December 12, 1958), Elizabeth Alda (born on August 20, 1960) and Beatrice Alda(born on August 10, 1961).
1975 People's Choice Award: Favourite Male TV-Performer
Studied at Fordham University in New York
Earned a reported $200,000 a week for M*A*S*H (1972) in 1980.
"If you work very, very hard, this is the kind of actor, writer, and director you may turn out to be. And if you work extra hard, this is the kind of person you may turn out to be." - James Lipton, to students at New School University, where Alda gave an interview.
To show the horrors of war in a television sit-com, Alda had it written into his contract that one scene of every episode must take place in the operating room while surgery occured.
Is the first person ever to win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing. (He accomplished wins in all three categories for his work on M*A*S*H (1972) before the ending of the series).
Studied at the Sorbonne during his junior year of college.
Served in the U. S. Army, and he went AWOL every weekend because he was dating the woman that he ultimately married, Arlene Alda.
He was once selected as the most believable actor in the U. S.
Once did a cartwheel down the aisle while on his way to accept an award that he had just won.
Earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Fordham University (New York City, USA) in 1956.
Attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.
Was one of the actors considered to play President Bartlett on The West Wing (1999). Alda later landed the role of Sen. Arnold Vinick in 2004 on that series.
On October 19, 2003 he underwent emergency surgery while in La Serena, Chile to clear an intestinal obstruction.
Has succeeded Donald Sutherland in two roles: Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H (1972), and Flan in Six Degrees of Separation (1993). He played the latter part in an Audio Books recording. During an appearance both made at a ceremony/dinner for Queen Elizabeth II, the two happened to be standing in the reception line next to each other. As they waited for the Queen to make her way down the line, Alda whispered to Sutherland, "Thank you for my life.".
He was the only actor to appear in every episode of M*A*S*H (1972).
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith; pg. 7-8. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
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.
His favorite curse word 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 yelled "Horse!" According to Alda, it has since become his favorite curse. Additionally, the character of Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan) on M*A*S*H (1972) used similar language for his version of cursing, using, often yelling, "Horse Hockey!" or "Cow Pucky!" or "Buffalo Cookies!", each referring to solidified animal droppings instead of stronger language.
His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry.
Has been nominated three times for Broadway's Tony Award: in 1967, as best actor-musical for The Apple Tree, in 1992, as best actor-play for Jake's Women and in 2005 as best performance by a featured actor-play for Glengarry Glen Ross.
He has twice played characters from Maine, from opposite ends of the ethical spectrum. In M*A*S*H (1972) he was noble surgeon Hawkeye Pierce, whose hometown was Crabapple Cove. In The Aviator (2004) he played corrupt U.S. Sen. Owen Brewster, nemesis of Howard Hughes. The author of the original "M*A*S*H" books, Maine doctor Richard Hornberger (writing as Richard Hooker), based the Pierce character on himself but was said to dislike the TV version of his story as overly moralistic. As for Sen. Brewster, whose smarmy hypocrisy was well-depicted by Alda, he was booted out of the Senate by Maine voters in the next Republican primary.
Briefly considered a run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in New Jersey after Bill Bradley announced his retirement in 1995.
Has the distinction of playing three U.S. Senators--Sen. Joe Tynan in The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979), real-life Sen. Owen Brewster in The Aviator (2004) and Sen. Arnold Vinick in The West Wing (1999) . Furthermore, he received an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Aviator (2004).
He and Loretta Swit were the only two to appear in both the pilot episode of M*A*S*H (1972) and in the final show (with the exception of the opening credits, where Gary Burghoff's character Radar appears, albeit edited after his departure from the show, and Jamie Farr, who provides the voice of the PA announcer in the pilot episode).
Was the commencement speaker at Caltech's 108th commencement in June 2002.
Born 5:07 AM.
Richard Hooker, who wrote the novel on which the film (M*A*S*H (1970)) and TV show (M*A*S*H (1972)) were based, did not like the TV series and in particular did not like Alda's portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce.
Was the commencement speaker at the Dwight-Englewood High School Commencement in June 1978 in Englewood, NJ, when his daughter Elizabeth Alda graduated.
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) (which garnered him an Emmy win) and the real-life Owen Brewster in The Aviator (2004) (for which he received an Academy Award nomination).
In 2005 he became the fifth actor to receive an Oscar, Emmy and Tony nomination in the same calendar year (for The Aviator (2004), The West Wing (1999) and Glengarry Glen Ross, respectively).
Nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for "Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself" [Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling)].
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).
Best known by the public for his starring role as Chief of Surgery - Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce on M*A*S*H (1972).
Once played the role of "Sky Masterson" in "Guys and Dolls," the role first played in the original Broadway production by his father, Robert Alda.
Out of his seven grandchildren, two are interested in pursuing careers in acting; his oldest granddaughter, 17 and his oldest grandson, 16.
Was considered for the role of Ross Webster in Superman III (1983). Robert Vaughn was cast instead.
Was a fan of Dragnet 1967 (1967), which featured his future M*A*S*H (1972) co-star, Harry Morgan.
Harry Morgan, said to be one of his idols, later replaced McLean Stevenson, on M*A*S*H (1972), for the fourth season.
His favorite episodes of M*A*S*H (1972) are M*A*S*H: Dear Sigmund (1976) and M*A*S*H: In Love and War (1977), which he wrote and directed.
Friends with: Shirley Jones, Robert Alda, Harry Morgan, Loretta Swit, McLean Stevenson, Wayne Rogers, Mike Farrell, Larry Gebhardt, Gene Reynolds, David Ogden Stiers, Jamie Farr, Carol Burnett, Marlo Thomas, Faye Dunaway, Lynne Thigpen, Woody Allen, Michael Caine, Lily Tomlin, Samuel L. Jackson, Paul Rudd, Noah Wyle, Sandy Dennis, Alex Karras, Jane Fonda.
He married his wife Arlene in 1958, shortly after finishing his army training.
Made his first appearance onstage in 1936 at the age of six months during a burlesque schoolroom sketch that his father was headlining.
In 1958, he won a three-year Ford Foundation fellowship, making him a paid staff member of the Cleveland Playhouse.
Appeared on the front cover of TV Guide 11 times.
His parents Robert Alda and Joan Brown were married in 1932.
He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013 for his services to arts and entertainment.
Childhood friend of Carol Burnett.
He is most widely known to be a very private man.
Alongside Norman Lloyd, William Daniels, Christopher Lee, Dick Van Dyke, Ernest Borgnine, Mickey Rooney, Betty White, Angela Lansbury, Adam West, Edward Asner, William Shatner, Marla Gibbs, Larry Hagman, Florence Henderson and Shirley Jones, Alda is one of the few actors in Hollywood who lived into their 80s and/or 90s without ever either retiring from acting or having stopped getting work.
Was considered for the role of Father Damien Karras in The Exorcist (1973).
Was considered for the role of President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing (1999). He did have a recurring role as Senator Arnold Vinick.
Was considered for the role of Joe Gideon, protagonist in All That Jazz (1979), that was ultimately played by 'Roy Scheider'.
He was originally cast as Billy Minsky in The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968), but was unable to leave his role on Broadway in "The Apple Tree," and had to be replaced by Jason Robards.
From 1980 to 1983, he won four consecutive Golden Globes in the Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical category for his work in M*A*S*H (1972).
He was awarded the 1993 Drama Logue Award for Performance in "Jake's Women" in presented by the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson at the James A. Doolittle (University of California) Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Personal Quotes (13)
[on the popularity of M*A*S*H (1972)] I hear from people who watch six and seven times a day. It scares me.
Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.
Republicans are as capable of coming up with great ideas and moving this country along as anyone - they just don't do it.
What I can't completely understand is most other people's fascination with what the famous among us do with their lips and the rest of their bodies. Why do ordinary people become the target of this curiosity simply by virtue of the fact that other people recognize their names and faces but know nothing else about them? Why do we care what they think, what they wear, what they eat?
[from an interview in "Ms." magazine] I used to be a Catholic. I left because I object to conversion by concussion. If you don't agree with what they teach, you get clobbered over the head until you do. All that does is change the shape of the head.
We're lucky that we don't have anybody there just trying to collect the money. There's plenty of money to be had and you can get the same amount by doing junk every week. By just showing up. But you also lose your soul. What's the pleasure in losing your self-esteem, your dignity?
It's too bad I'm not as wonderful a person as people say I am, because the world could use a few people like that.
Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won't come in.
[on the death of Harry Morgan] We had just a wonderful time reminiscing. That was the last time I saw Harry.
[on his chances of winning Best Supporting Actor for The Aviator (2004)] It'll go to Morgan Freeman. No doubt in my mind.
If I could become nearly as versatile as Dad, I would be completely happy. An actor cannot be too one-sided or only half-experienced in these days when he is called upon to double in TV, legit stage plays and movies. He must be able to act anything from stylish farce to low comedy, 'Oedipus Rex' to Shakespeare and modern drama.
[acknowledging the assistance of veteran actor Howard Da Silva] (He's) a wonderfully talented actor and director who is helping me immensely by coaching me in a wide variety of good parts.
Asking a director if he does his own editing is like asking a writer if he does his own punctuation.
M*A*S*H (1972) $220,000