Alan Alda Biography

(Actor, Director and Screenwriter Best Known for His Role in the TV Series 'M*A*S*H')

Birthday: January 28, 1936 (Aquarius)

Born In: New York, United States

Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo, better known as Alan Alda, is an award-winning American actor, director, comedian, screenwriter, and author. In his long career, he has acted in numerous films, television shows, and stage productions. Apart from acting, he has also written and directed many of those projects. He has also penned a couple of autobiographical books. He is best known for playing ‘Hawkeye Pierce’ in the long-running television series 'M*A*S*H.' He has won six 'Emmy Awards,' seven 'People's Choice Awards,' six 'Golden Globe Awards,' and three 'Directors Guild of America' awards so far. He has also received two 'Tony Award' nominations and one 'Academy Award' nomination. He hosted the television show 'Scientific American Frontiers' for 14 years. He has appeared in a number of TV series, game shows, and feature films, including a couple of Woody Allen movies. His most notable movies include 'Paper Lion,' 'Same Time, Next Year,' 'The Four Seasons,' 'Crimes and Misdemeanors,' and 'The Aviator.' He was also part of the political drama series 'The West Wing.' He is also a political activist, and his political beliefs often show up in his works. He is a strong supporter of women's rights and is also involved in charitable works.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo

Age: 88 Years, 88 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Arlene Alda (m. 1957)

father: Robert Alda

mother: Joan Browne

siblings: Antony Alda

children: Beatrice Alda, Elizabeth Alda

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Alan Alda Actors

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males

Ancestry: Irish American

Notable Alumni: Archbishop Stepinac High School

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Fordham University, Archbishop Stepinac High School

  • 1

    What is Alan Alda best known for?

    Alan Alda is best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H.

  • 2

    Did Alan Alda serve in the military?

    No, Alan Alda did not serve in the military. His portrayal of a military doctor in M*A*S*H was purely fictional.

  • 3

    Has Alan Alda written any books?

    Yes, Alan Alda is also a successful author and has written several books, including "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned" and "If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?".

  • 4

    Is Alan Alda still acting?

    Yes, Alan Alda is still active in the entertainment industry and continues to act in movies and TV shows.

  • 5

    Does Alan Alda have any special talents or hobbies?

    In addition to acting, Alan Alda is known for his interest in science and has hosted a TV show called "Scientific American Frontiers".


Alan Alda was born on January 28, 1936, in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA, to Robert and Joan Alda. His father was an actor, singer, and dancer, while his mother was a former beauty-pageant winner. He has a half-brother named Antony Alda, who is also an actor.

As a child, Alan traveled around the US with his father during his theatrical performances. He was affected by polio at the age of seven and had to go through months of painful treatment to fight the disease. His mother nursed him tirelessly during this time.

Unfortunately, when he was still young, his mother showed symptoms of mental illness, which was not easily understood in those days, and was something people were ashamed of. As such, she was not treated properly, and eventually the illness became so severe that she once tried to stab his father, who later divorced her.

He attended ‘Archbishop Stepinac High School’ in White Plains, New York. Later, he enrolled at ‘Fordham College’ in The Bronx and completed his graduation in English in 1956. During this time, he participated in the ROTC officer training program and later went on a six-month tour of duty as a gunnery officer in Korea.

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During his junior year at college, Alan Alda went to study in Europe and acted in a play in Rome. He then performed in television in Amsterdam alongside his father. His Broadway debut came in 1959, when he appeared as 'Telephone Man' in the stage play 'Only in America.'

He made guest appearances in a few television series during his stint at Broadway. When the stage play 'Purlie Victorious,' in which he played ‘Charlie Cotchpiee,’ was made into a film in 1963, he reprised his role as ‘Charlie,’ which marked his big screen debut.

In 1964, he landed the major role of ‘Felix the "Owl"’ in the stage version of 'The Owl and The Pussycat.' In 1966, he appeared in the Broadway musical 'The Apple Tree' for which he received a 'Tony Award' nomination for 'Best Actor.'

From 1965 to 1968, he participated in the television game show 'The Match Game.' In 1968, he portrayed ‘George Plimpton’ in the film 'Paper Lion.' The next year, he appeared in 'The Extraordinary Seaman' and in 1971, he acted in 'The Mephisto Waltz.'

From 1972 to 1983, he played the protagonist ‘Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce’ in the television series 'M*A*S*H,' a situational comedy set against the backdrop of the ‘Korean War.’ Alda, who was initially reluctant to act in lighthearted comedies on war, went on to star in 251 episodes of the show, working as a writer in 19 and director in 32 episodes.

Next, he shifted his focus to the big screen and went on to appear in a number of movies like 'Same Time, Next Year' (1978), 'The Four Seasons' (1981), and 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' (1989). He received ‘Golden Globe’ nominations for the first two, while 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' earned him a couple of 'Best Supporting Actor' awards.

From 1993 to 2005, he served as the humble and humorous host of the television program 'Scientific American Frontiers.' It focused on informing the public about new technological advances in science and medicine.

He appeared in at least one movie almost every year, acting in films, such as 'Whispers in the Dark' (1992), 'Flirting with Disaster' (1996) and 'What Women Want' (2000). He also continued to make guest appearances on television, and played a recurring role in the political drama series 'The West Wing' from 2004 to 2006.

In 2004, he was cast in Martin Scorsese's ‘Oscar’ award-winning film 'The Aviator,' in which he acted alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. He then acted in Steven Spielberg’s historical drama film 'Bridge of Spies' (2015).

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In 2018, he was cast in the television crime drama series ‘Ray Donovan’ where he played ‘Dr. Arthur Amiot.’ The following year, he was cast in the drama film ‘Marriage Story.’

Major Works

Alan Alda's portrayal of the sarcastic but good-hearted Army surgeon in the series 'M*A*S*H' is by far his most popular role on-screen. The series went on to become one of the highest-rated shows in the U.S. television history, with the final episode titled 'Goodbye, Farewell and Amen' being the single most-watched episode of any American broadcast network television series.

Even though he played a brief role in the movie 'The Aviator,' he displayed his acting skills while playing the Conservative Maine Senator ‘Owen Brewster’ in the film. He went on to receive his first 'Academy Award' nomination for the role.

Awards & Achievements

Alan Alda received a total of 21 ‘Emmy’ nominations for his contribution to the series 'M*A*S*H' as an actor, writer, and director. He won five out of the 21 nominations. He is the first person to receive awards in three different categories for a television series. He also received six 'Golden Globe Awards' for his performance in the show.

He won another ‘Emmy Award’ in 2006 for his portrayal of Republican Senator and presidential candidate ‘Arnold Vinick’ in 'The West Wing.' He received the award under the 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series' category.

Personal Life & Legacy

Alan Alda met Arlene Weiss in 1956, when he was still attending ‘Fordham College.’ He met her at a party thrown by a mutual friend. They got married a year after his graduation and have three daughters, Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice.

Despite the fact that both his parents were devout Catholics, he went on to become a non-believer. Even though he is often described as an atheist or agnostic, he doesn't like those labels.

He appeared in CBS’s ‘This Morning’ in 2018, in which he announced that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2015.

Facts About Alan Alda

Alan Alda is not only an accomplished actor but also a skilled amateur chef, known for his love of experimenting with different recipes in the kitchen.

He is an avid advocate for science and has been involved in various projects to promote scientific education and awareness.

In addition to his acting talents, Alan Alda is also an accomplished author, having written several books on topics ranging from communication to his own life experiences.

Alda is a talented musician and is proficient in playing the clarinet, a skill he has showcased in various performances over the years.

Alan Alda Movies

1. Marriage Story (2018)


2. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

  (Comedy, Drama)

3. Same Time, Next Year (1978)

  (Romance, Comedy, Drama)

4. The Four Seasons (1981)

  (Drama, Comedy)

5. Bridge of Spies (2015)

  (History, Drama, Thriller)

6. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

  (Comedy, Mystery)

7. The Aviator (2004)

  (History, Biography, Drama)

8. The Longest Ride (2015)

  (Romance, Drama)

9. Gone Are the Days! (1963)

  (Drama, Comedy)

10. Nothing But the Truth (2008)

  (Mystery, Thriller, Drama, Crime)


Golden Globe Awards
1983 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1982 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1981 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1980 Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1976 Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1975 Best TV Actor - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
Primetime Emmy Awards
2006 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing (1999)
1982 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1979 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1977 Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1974 Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1974 Actor of the Year - Series M*A*S*H (1972)
People's Choice Awards
1982 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1981 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer Winner
1981 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1980 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer Winner
1980 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1979 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1975 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner

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